Local Search and Blogging

zach.todd

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2020
Messages
29
I think blogging has always been seen as important for SEO, but I wasn't sure how that fits with local search and GMB ranking. Can blogging be just as helpful to a local law firm as it is to a software company?

I was curious, so I ran an experiment, and I'd like to share the results. I collected data on the rankings and blog content of 2,900 law firms, across 8 cities, and extracted 18,948 article titles. I did this experiment in two phases -- first with a generic search query like "Houston lawyers", and then with a more specific one like "Houston divorce lawyer." I did this to look at how blogging effects general domain ranking versus ranking for more specific keywords.

To start off with the generic query, I'll first show a breakdown of sites grouped by result page, and whether they have or do not have a blog.

hasblog1.png

The X axis here starts with page 1 of search results at left. Each bar group represents 8 cities worth of results for that page number. From this, at least, I see only a faint correlation between having a blog and search rank.

What happens when we look at a more specific query, i.e. "Houston divorce lawyer"?

hasblog_divorce.png

Having blog content that mentions the "divorce" keyword seems to have a noticeable effect here, with law firms that have blogs tending to show up higher in the search results. Does the amount of content on the blog have an impact on search ranking? I crawled each law firm site to extract estimated article counts, and came up with this scatter plot.

blogging_divorce.png

There is a real, albeit not incredibly strong, correlation here between post count and rank. For what it's worth, previous experiments with GMB reviews have produced correlation coefficients as high as -0.32, as opposed to the -0.08 seen here.

As per usual, be forewarned about correlation vs causation, and take conclusions with a grain of salt.

My own takeaway is that having a blog for local businesses can be worthwhile, but it doesn't seem necessary to invest in a huge amount of content. The rewards also seem to be found in ranking for specific keywords, as opposed to more generic queries. I can only guess that local business blogs don't earn many backlinks, which is why they aren't associated with the domain ranking for generic queries.

Anyway, I hope that this has been an interesting read! I can answer any questions, and welcome any poking of holes in my approach.
 

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