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Right Hand Planning is a professional marketing agency that develops marketing strategies that help brands build traffic, leads and sales.

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Filtering by Category: Local Marketing

How to Get Your Business On the Right Side of Google

Pete Semple

A local business listed on the right side of GoogleIf you haven’t noticed, Google is now putting local business contact information, directions and operating hours directly in the top right corner of the search results page – often making a visit to your website unnecessary. In this post we'll tell you:

  • How to get your business on the right side of Google
  • What are the implications of Google putting you there
  • Exactly what steps to take to make the most of the information shown
  • How to keep traffic coming to your site

RELATED:

List your business on maps and in local directories

Check Your Business in Local Listings - Free

Google Now Featuring Small Business Details at Right in Search Results

These callout displays of information appear to be an extension of their "Knowledge Graph" rolled out in May 2012.

At first we saw this happening with public institutions like the local branch of our public library. Then we saw Google showing the hours (for that day) of the local location of a grocery store chain.

Now, as you can see in the picture, Google is even showcasing the hours and location of our local veterinary clinic. This is a mixed bag situation but one you can make the most of.

Implications of Your Business Being Listed as Google's "Knowledge Graph"

It's one thing if Google highlights information on a historical figure like "Napoleon," or the "weather in Paris", but there are more significant impacts when Google does this to a business or non-profit that would prefer to present their information on their own website on their own terms.

  • Can you get Google to stop showing your business's info at the right? Probably not. It's Google and they're going to do what they do. But you can take control of the information that appears there as much as possible.
  • The good news - is that people who are trying to contact you will see your location, hours and phone number boldly featured at the right and be able to find you right away. This may be your ultimate goal - to get them to visit or call.
  • The bad news  - is that customers might visit or call without first getting vital questions answered on your website or giving you their contact information like an email address which you've carefully set up your website to capture.

How To Control Your Business Information that Google Shows

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em: List your business with the relevant Google accounts. Google's offerings can get a little confusing so here's a breakdown of the different types of Google business listings:

Google Plus for Business

Google Plus for business siteStart here - Create an account at Google Plus for Business (http://www.google.com/+/business/). This is where you create your own Google+ page for your business. At Google Plus you have complete control of your  business listing information. Also, Google Plus is the social media of Google where you can give and receive "+1"s and network with others.

Google Places for Business

Google Places lists your business.Then go here - Google Places for Business (https://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness)  - This is where Google lists your business in their business listings. It's kind of like the Google Yellow Pages. Google Places replaces the old Google Local.

A Fast, Easy and Inexpensive Way to List Yourself in Many Places is with a Local Listings Package

Once you have a Google Plus account, link your Google Plus with your Google Places. This puts you in as much control of your Google listings as possible. This is where Google gets information about your hours and location, including for placement on Google Maps, and more. Google Places is where your business reviews will appear.

From Google Places you can run specials to appear when people are close by (perfect for local retail and restaurant businesses) and you can start an AdWords campaign.

In Summary: Google Plus - You have complete control and it's Google social networking site so you can share information and connect with other people. And Google Places - is Google's business listings with hours, location and photos (you control) and reviews which you can respond to, but not delete.

You can learn more from Google about the differences between Google business listings here.

Claim Your Business on Listing and Review Sites

Make sure to claim your business in all the review sites that show on your business listing. In the example above you can see that Google has chosen to show links to superpages.com, insiderpages.com, CitySearch and Yahoo.com. These are big ones, but there are others.

A much faster and easier method is to use a Local Business Marketing package to quickly claim your site on the major review sites and business listings.

How to Divert Traffic Back to Your Site

After you've listed your business and uploaded photos with Google and the other major online listing and review services you've done the best you can at managing the info Google chooses to show at right of the search results.

Now it's time to take control of diverting traffic back to your own website where you have complete control of the information you present to customers and can collect email addresses for your mailing list.

Grab Prospects with Content Marketing

When customers search for information and product alternatives they typically go through the stages of a "Purchase Funnel": Awareness, Consideration, (Inquiry), Preference, Purchase (followed by Retention/Advocacy).

Using content marketing in the purchase funnel

Expands Your Footprint

Use informative content to catch people in the Awareness, Consideration  Preference, phase of their search. Creating specific materials (articles and/or graphics) expands your presence and broadens the group of prospective people you can reach by giving you many opportunities to get your name in front of people as they research your industry for the first time or as they look for specific service providers.

Builds Your Brand's Awareness

By creating content that solves problems and explains options and alternatives you position yourself as the helpful brand or person with the answers. This is the beginning of a relationship and makes sure prospects keep you in mind as they narrow their choice of service providers.

Establishes Your Expertise

Writing informative and educational content shows potential customers that you know what you are talking about when it comes to the business you're in. If few in your industry are doing this, it puts you ahead. If many in your industry are producing helpful content you'll want to do this to keep up.

Use On-Site and Off-Site Content

You definitely want people to see that you answer questions and explain how your products and services benefit your customers when they come to your website. After all, this is where you need to close the deal and you don't want them going anywhere else if they're lacking information.

However, you can't just rely on your website to get your name in front of prospective customers. A strong content marketing strategy places your great content on multiple sites shared by your industry or of interest to your target audience.

And the best writing technique gives the audience just enough information to be helpful, but also leaves them with a tease about getting even more if they follow the link back to your site.

Content Marketing Helps Organic SEO

Finally, an added benefit of an on and off-site content marketing strategy is that it creates internal site links and external inbound links which helps Google see how your content is related to sites and topics around the web.

We only mention this last as an added benefit because a content marketing strategy should be more about intersecting searchers with informative content than a backlink strategy to improve SEO. For Local SEO options click here.

Need Hands-Free Content Writing and Distribution?

Check out this Guest Blog Posting offer...

View Article Writing Options and Rates

UPDATE: It looks like WebProNews is noticing an even more disturbing trend with Google Knowledge Graphs, which is Google offering name brand information in the Knowledge Graph on even a generic search like, "Travel Insurance". Read the article here.

RELATED:

List your business on maps and in local directories

Check Your Business in Local Listings - Free

How Two Local Small Businesses Use Mobile Marketing Apps

Pete Semple

Today we're going to look at how two local brick-and-mortar businesses, an auto mechanic and an apparel and embroidery shop, use smartphone apps to connect with their customers and open a mobile marketing channel.

Use Offline Methods To Get On Customers' Mobile

How A Local Auto Mechanic Uses Their Mobile Marketing App

Customer List --> Direct Mail --> QR Code for App Download

App Giveaway Using Direct Mail with QR Code

An auto mechanic in our neighborhood sent a direct mail piece to his customer list that included a QR code to download his app.

What's On An Auto Mechanic App? It turns out there are a number of things that an app can do that benefit the customer and the auto shop.

Here are some of the services he offers through his app:

  • App-only Specials ("push notifications")
  • Loyalty program tracking
  • Cheap gas finder
  • MPG calculator
  • Maintenance records access

Benefits of Mobile Marketing Apps for Small Business and Customers

You can see in the list above apps provide a lot of great ways connect with your customers in meaningful ways. How nice for them to get rewards for their loyalty and to be able to access their maintenance records.

Push Notifications - Send Coupons and Marketing Messages To Customers' Smart Phones

The repair shop can also send a "push notification" directly to the customer that will be seen on their mobile phone, for example they can alert their customers when it's time for their oil change or another service.

Push notifications can also be sent to all your customers to announce a special, offer a trackable coupon (find out who responds) or to announce special events like grand openings or in-store sales or celebrations.

Track Loyalty Program Rewards

The auto shop offers the fourth oil change free. On the app you can see how many you've redeemed. And the merchant can send a reminder anytime via Push Notification to remind customers of their loyalty progress.

Store Records for Customer Convenience

Do you keep your car records in a file folder? With the app on the smartphone, you can access your car records anytime from your "handy" (as the Germans call them)

Make And Check Appointments, Easily Find Business Contact Info, Share App with Spouse...

These are self-explanatory and really only represent a fraction of what can be done because every industry has its own opportunities.

Offline Marketing Requires Repeated Efforts, Apps Can Be Long Lasting

How Much Do Mobile Marketing Apps Cost?

These apps aren't cheap. $1000 and up to develop, depending on complexity, and then there's a fee of about $100 a month to track use and launch push notifications via a user-friendly dashboard.

Thinking of using an app? Give us a call at (424) 237-8155 to discuss ideas.

How Does A Local Promotional Clothing Company Use Mobile Marketing?

QR Code to Distribute Mobile App In StoreThis company promotes their mobile site in store. Actually they do it in an interesting way - they offer a little protective credit card sleeve.

These sleeves are used to protect those credit cards that have a wireless chip (the ones that let you wave your card across the terminal instead of swiping).

What do you think about using the card protection sleeve for the QR code location? We'd probably just put the QR a business card or a sticker on the counter or cash register, but we don't have one of those wireless/swipeless credit cards, so what do we know?

What Does An Embroidery/Promotional Clothing Mobile Site Do?

  • Concise list of pages for products (the product pages are more clearly laid out than on their normal site)
  • Sign up for text message alerts - a type of Push Notification
  • Location finder by zip or by GPS in phone
  • Prominent 800 number placement

Their mobile site contains mostly descriptions of their services and contact information as opposed to offering actual functionality like the auto mechanic app does.

What's The Difference Between Using QR Code For Mobile Site Versus To Download App?

The fact that you can sign up to receive text messages through the EmbroiderMe mobile site at least gets customers on a contact list. That's a good thing.

However, once you scan the code and get the link to the site, there's nothing on your phone to remind customers they've ever been there (unless they review their browser history. On a mobile? We're lucky if we know how to clear the history let alone review it).

An App Stays On The Customer's Phone

The fact that an app stays on the customers phone until they delete it is a huge advantage over linking a QR code to a mobile site. Plus, a well-designed app with a smart push-marketing strategy - one that adds real value to the customer, and isn't annoying or overused - can bring repeat business for years.

Of course it's worth pointing out again that there are monthly fees with an app that there aren't with a just offering a mobile website. In the case of Embroidery me they're attempting to sign people up to receive text messages and avoid those monthly fees. As with most things, there are trade offs.

Your Thoughts

Hopefully these two examples will help other local business owners generate some ideas of their own to mix their traditional marketing efforts with mobile marketing.

Have you seen an interesting use of mobile marketing applications? Share it below. And if you have any questions, feel free to post them and we'll try to find the answer or perhaps another reader will chime in.

Questions on app use and costs? Give us a call at (424) 237-8155, 9 to 5 Pacific Time.

Client's SquareSpace Website And Local Marketing Campaign

Pete Semple

Square Space Site ExampleLast week we made a small business website in SquareSpace 6 for Sara a manicurist who works in a nail salon in southern Florida.

Website and Marketing Package Prices

 SquareSpace and SEO Optimiztion

Site and keywords indexed in GoogleIt's easy to set up important SEO optimization settings in SquareSpace in urls, page names and meta descriptions.

SquareSpace gives you a free yourdomain.squarespace.com domain but for marketing and SEO purposes, we went with a domain from NameCheap and set that as the canonical (preferred) domain with Google.

SquareSpace automatically generates a Sitemap which we added to Google WebMaster Tools and viola! the site was complete and the next day all pages were indexed in Google search results.

Local Marketing Campaign

Our client selected the Comprehensive Local Marketing package to help her site appear in the local business listing listings in her area. This package uploads all the data about her business, including her phone number, address and website,  into several databases that serve hundreds of website and smartphone directories.

These listings give her site extra visibility in local business listings as well as add important backlinks that help her site rank organically in her keyword's search results.

Here's a partial list of local marketing campaign sites in the Comprehensive Package:

Data Provider Description
InfoGroup InfoGroup's point of interest (POI) data is used by the top 5 internet search engines, 90% of in-car navigation systems in North America, mobile navigation, GPS, and internet yellow pages.
Acxiom Acxiom's InfoBase data powers internet yellow pages and local search applications. Companies like Google, Superpages.com, Local.com and Yellowbook look to Acxiom as a primary source for listing information.
Dun & Bradstreet D&B is the world's leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses. D&B's global commercial database provides quality business information that customers rely on to make critical business decisions.
Compass Compass offers comprehensive and accurate information on U.S. businesses to websites like LinkedIn and Facebook, mobile companies like Nokia, and credit bureaus like Equifax and Experian.
Factual Factual provides access to definitive, global data to power web and mobile apps. Thousands of mobile apps and websites use Factual's data, including Booyah, Foursquare, and Trulia.
nSphere nSphere powers local search on over 500 niche vertical directories like Car and Driver, Computer User, Dogster, EZTrader, Fathers.com, Golf Week, JD Power, Kiplinger, Outdoor.com, and many more.

Important Local Directory Listings

After a few weeks, her site was showing in these important local directory listings.

Publisher Status Link
Yelp Published http://www.yelp.com/biz/nails-by-sara-stuart?fsid=2Bwys-lpXPr16N43MmyMcg
ChamberOfCommerce.com Published http://www.chamberofcommerce.com/stuart-fl/47043733-nails-by-sara/
Judys Book Published http://www.judysbook.com/Nails-By-Sara---r38683772.htm
Local Database Published http://www.localdatabase.com/business/28385690/Nails_By_Sara.html
ShowMeLocal Published http://www.showmelocal.com/profile.aspx?bid=15449313
USCity.net Published http://uscity.net/listing/nails_by_sara-888888694889
Tyloon Published http://www.tyloon.com/store/14929192/nails-by-sara.html
CitySquares Published http://citysquares.com/b/nails-by-sara-20155867
AboutUs.org Published http://www.aboutus.org/nailsbysarastuartfl.com
Company.com Published http://www.company.com/business/Nails-By-Sara/fgbdagedhh

SquareSpace and WordPress

Sara had in mind a site she liked that was made with SquareSpace and while we usually use Wordpress, we dug into SquareSpace and made her a nice site.

SquareSpace  Updates Automatically

SquareSpace is a very easy site building service to work in. It takes some getting used to when used to working in WordPress, but here's one thing I like about it - there are no updates. SquareSpace keeps the backend running so there are no Plugin or WordPress updates every time you login!

SquareSpace Not Free, But It Is Cheap

It's not free, but neither is WordPress.org because you still have to buy hosting. The lowest tier service which was fine for our client Sara is $96 a year. At $8 a month, a bargain.

SquareSpace Or Wordpress?

WordPress has MANY plugins that markters and webmasters have come to rely on. Also WordPress has many more theme options than SquareSpace, so we're not going to abandon WordPress overnight.

However, SquareSpace is easy to use and makes good-looking website with SEO e-commerce and code-ediitng factors built in so it's definitely a worthwhile tool for some jobs.

How A Small Business Can Manage Online Reviews - A Company Sues A Reviewer, And Wins

Pete Semple

Business Sues Yelp Reviewer - And Wins Revised Review!

Did you hear about the contractor who sued a woman who left him a bad Yelp review? Yikes! It's getting messy out there with defamation claims coming up against free speech rights. And the courts are starting to weigh in. Yelp_responseMore on that below.

But first, what does all this mean for small and local businesses who are affected by online reviews?

Learn the ways your local small business can manage reviews and how to affect your site's placement in review sites.

  • Should you just ignore all online reviews and let people talk? Does it ever make sense to respond to a negative review online?
  • Did you know there are ethical and legitimate ways to increase your number of good reviews, and even turn bad situations into positive reviews?
  • Don't let review sites dominate the search results when people search your business name online.

Learn all these options and more here...

Local Small Business Implications For Review Sites

Local review sites like Yelp can be a boon, a bane or just part of the background of doing business in today's online world.

Pages of glowing reviews can drive new customers excitedly in the door, but as the contractor who sued knows, too many bad reviews, or even one harsh accusatory one, can do serious damage.

To sort out how local businesses should manage online reviews let's look at the environment, what exactly could go wrong, and what options a local small business has in interacting with online review sites and reviewers.

How To Manage Online Reviews, Both Good and Bad

Online review sites have a big impact on local businesses. Suing a reviewer is obviously an extreme reaction, but here are many other options to help you take charge of online reviews:

Don't Respond At All - Many business choose to just let all their online reviews stand. This isn't a terrible approach because even responding to bad reviews can be tricky business. Even in the days before the internet - people talk, what are you gonna do? But even if you decide not to respond, at least do the following...

At Least Read Your Reviews - It's easy to recall what you're doing well and dismiss bad reviewers as a couple of "Negative Nelsons". But too many negative online reviews can hurt your sales so it's better to hear the bad news. It may turn out there are indeed issues of which you've been unaware.

Once addressed, the bad reviews will fade into the past and be replaced with positive reviews. And if the improvements you make are mentioned by more recent reviewers (we've seen this happen a lot), previous and future customers can be assured the problems of the past have been corrected.

Answer Your Critics - If you do decide to reply to a negative review on the review site, it's important not to blame or insult the customer, don't come across as defensive or sarcastic, and don't get dragged into hashing out online the details of their experience. Reviews are mostly read by customers and potential customers so they're more likely to side with your disgruntled guest if it feels like an argument is taking place.

How To Address Negative Reviews Diplomatically - Never get into an argument or use sarcasm. State that you are truly sorry the customer had a bad experience, state that you take their concerns seriously, emphasize your commitment to quality and let everyone know that you or your staff are available and trained to address problems right away because your goal is to be sure everyone leaves a satisfied customer. This will make it easier for readers to empathize with a caring business owner and serve to soften the impact of the negative review.

Of course this only works if there are only a few negative reviews. See our next step to learn how to build up a bank of good reviews to protect your rating average against the occasional complaint.

Floyds 99 Asks for Yelp ReviewsAsk For Reviews Proactively (More Below) - It's better to build up a base of good reviews than to be caught off guard by excessive bad reviews later. Also, the fewer reviews you have in general, the more the bad ones will stick out. So stack the deck with good ones by encouraging the quiet, happy customers to speak up.

Turn Mistakes Into A Customer's Feel Good Story - Mistakes are going to happen, but when you've created an environment in which your staff knows that an unsatisfied customer experience is unacceptable, correcting mistakes can be a major opportunity.

A bad situation that gets corrected creates a perfect little mini-drama. As long as the story has a happy ending, their journey from initial high hopes, to problem, to happy resolution creates the perfect anecdote for your customers to share online and with their friends.

As long as there is a hero you provide in the form of an attentive staff member who does what it takes to fix the situation, someone's initial displeasure can be turned into a cute story to share. People love these types of vignettes with a happy ending.

Ways To Ask For Reviews

Email Follow Up

The best way to get a review is to directly ask for them. How? Getting a customer's email address is usually the preferred way to communicate because once you have a customer's email address you can keep in touch with them to update them with news about news and offers. There are many legitimate reasons to ask for an email address (to confirm appointments, to send future sales and coupons, track warranty information, in order to download literature from on your website, etc).

Once you have their email it's very easy and efficient to create a series of automatic emails to go out. A service like AWeber is only $19 a month for your first 500 subscribers and offers simple step-by-step guidance that teaches novice email marketers to set up an automated series. This is the best way to be sure emails go out without requiring a staff member to manage each customer correspondence.

Broadcast emails like sales, events, announcements, newsletters, and blog posts can be easily sent to your list once you have this type of system in place. These are great tools to build relationships and even gain a few extra sales.

In Store Signage

When collecting their email is not feasible, like at a restaurant for example, consider location signage asking for reviews. With the prevalence of smart phones and tablet computers it never hurts to place reminders in locations where people are waiting and likely to pull out their device. On a table tent or on the check at a restaurant, or in the waiting area at mechanic or even at a doctor's office.

[important] FYI - We've recently noticed signs asking for reviews in dentist and doctors' offices. And we're talking about high-end providers. If the practice sounds cheesy, rest assured it's being done tastefully in better establishments from Back Bay Boston to Manhattan Beach, CA. [/important]

Regardless of how you communicate with your customers, be sure to encourage them to notify you immediately of any issues not to their satisfaction. An important part of this is to train your staff to be sure they know how important it is that all guests/patients etc. are happy. Again, the way to know is to ask. Once a patron seems satisfied asking for a review might be appropriate, or rely on the signage or followup email depending on your service model.

Appear On More Than Just Review Sites

It's best if when people search your business by name that you appear in multiple local listing sites and not just in the review sites. This will ensure that  anyone looking for things like your location, specials or operating hours can find you easily without automatically being drawn into reading reviews.

It's tempting to let the review sites do the local listing work for you, but it's not a safe strategy for searchers to only find you there.

A better method is to get your name, address, website and phone number to appear in many local listing sites as possible such as YellowPages, WhitePages, CitySearch, Foursquare, Google Maps and more. This way you can have control and offer many more places for people to find you outside of review sites.

Rather than update your information site by site you can use a service that puts you on all the sites and databases that serve the local search results for less than $150 a year (see below). Being listed with more sites gives you many more placement opportunities to be found in the local search results and map listings.

These services also list you in GPS services like Garmin and TeleNav and in iPhone, Android and Blackberry 411 directory assistance databases.

[important]How big of an opportunity is this? Recently we were searching for "tacos" in Torrance, CA in the Google Maps app of our Android phone - and there we no listings within about 10 miles! Yet there were dozens of taco places within two miles of our location. The first one that gets listed will be the only business to show up on the map!

If there are opportunities to list Tacos near L.A., you can be sure there are many other opportunities out there.[/important]

Other Fun Ways To Deal with Bad Online Reviews

There's a good article on these topics and more in Web Pro News. We like this anecdote from the piece,

Some businesses, rather than suing or paying for good reviews, are simply having fun with the bad ones. I prefer this approach. San Diego's Craft & Commerce is recording their bad Yelp reviews, and playing them for customers while they're in the bathroom. Seriously. Awesome idea.

We agree it's a great approach. It reminds us of another business owner who put quotes from his bad Yelp reviews on his staff T-shirts that we wrote about last year (photo at top). This shows he can take the heat and shows his personality. Is there a risk? Hey, everything has risks, even playing it safe. And these approaches won't be appropriate for everyone.

Other Notes and News About Local Business Reviews

Media Stories Are Not Reality

It's important to remember that the media specializes in "Man Bites Dog" stories not dog bites man. In other words, the stories that make the news are reported because they're exciting to read. And they're exciting to read because they are unusual.

It's rare that bad reviews lead to catastrophic consequences and court cases. We hope to provide food for thought but we hope you don't feel the need to prepare for battle.

Yelp Has To Deal With Google SEO Too!

Welcome to our world, Yelp. Yelp is accusing Google of unfairly putting Google's reviews before Yelp's reviews in the search results.

  • Is Google unfairly gaming their "organic" search results, or wisely watching out for their own best interests?
  • Why can't Google use their own popular platform they invested in and built to promote their review product?
  • What if Google reviews are naturally ranking because they're as valid and popular as Yelp's?
  • What is fair to the searcher?

The mechanics of Google's algorithm is top secret so we don't know if the results are in fact "gamed" or truly served up organically based on the algo!

But what this does show is that even big companies like Yelp have to contend with Google search placement issues.

Yelp Sued for Use of Term "Best Of"

And online reviews are causing turmoil in the offline world - Yelp is being sued by Village Voice Media Holdings, publishers of the Voice and alternative weeklies in other cities, which claims they own the "Best Of [A City]" concept and therefore Yelp is infringing on their trademark when Yelp uses the term on the Yelp site. It appears Yelp is taking readers from these publications and these weeklies are also using the courts to fight back.

Contractor Sues Yelp Reviewer

The basics of this story are, a former customer accused a contractor not just of doing a bad job, but of stealing jewelery from her home. The contractor felt the negative review - and accusation of unproven criminal behavior - was costing them business and a judge made the reviewer change her review. You can read all the details here in the Washington Post.

Conclusion

Take Control Over Your Local Listings and Online Reviews

Online reviews, local listings and map citations are now a well-established part of local internet marketing. There no reason to be at the mercy of reviewers and review sites when you can take positive and proactive steps to determine how and where your business appears online.

The first is to position yourself all over the search results pages and in the map listings for your neighborhood and on mobile phone maps and GPS databases. The second step is it to ensure a large volume of good reviews by regularly asking your happy customers to submit reviews on your behalf.

Bolster Your Local Business Listings For A Very Low Annual Rate

For more information about spreading the good word about your establishment online see our local business listing packages that start at only $146 a YEAR! These services put you on the map (literally with Google and more) and promote your business to hundreds of local listings sites including, Yelp, Foursquare, Yellow and White Pages sites and even GPS and iPhone directories. Check out our local business listings service here.

How To Find Local Search Terms

Pete Semple

This is good tool for finding local search terms, http://www.5minutesite.com/local_keywords.php.Site to find local search terms

Choose Zip Code and Radius to Find Local Search Terms

Put in your keywords, plug in your zip code, select a radius and scroll down to the bottom for a long list of the communities people are adding to your terms.

This is not only useful for on-site SEO and content marketing, but it's a great tool for finding local keywords for AdWords too. Just copy and paste the list and add it to your campaign (remove any irrelevant terms or city names first, of course).

Bada Boom Badda Bing! Find the top local search terms with city names.

Local Business Content Marketing Tips

Pete Semple

Have you ever done a Google search and come across an article that had the phrase, "San Antonio Lawyer" in it repeatedly? Actor Tommy Lee Jones in cowboy hatWe rarely do anymore. Probably because Google is smart enough to weed out that type of unhelpful content.

Avoid Poorly Written Content - Everyone Else Does

But we do see these types of poorly written spammy articles all the time in article marketing sites and social bookmarking sites where business owners and SEO companies are trying to share content and build backlinks.

Will these techniques get a few points for overall inbound links and for having links from related content? Maybe a little. But obviously these articles aren't adding any value to a reader and therefore they are not going to be picked up by any other blogger or webmaster as content worth sharing. And Google definitely knows enough to stay away from them.

Focus On Local Issues for Local Content Marketing

So, what's a San Antonio lawyer to do if he wants to use content marketing to promote his local business? Write about local aspects of his industry! It can be a challenge doing local business content marketing so here are some tips to get your keywords in without losing your audience's attention.

Brainstorm to come up with ideas that are related to your industry and set in a local context. Even though we don't know anything about practicing law or San Antonio, here are few things that come to mind.

Brainstorm Your Business' Topics With A Local Twist

The way we came up with this list is to imaging a reason a local searcher might search these topics. We imagined someone who wants to invest in property in Texas or your aunt lives there and has a legal question she'd like you to help her with, or your college-age kid is getting married to a local girl he just met on Spring Break.

  • Texas wills and estates law - "For example, a client in San Antonio needed a will and his estate included..."
  • Bexar County Commercial Zoning Laws - "While working on a commercial land deal, we discovered that the commercial zoning laws in and around San Antonio are..."
  • Prenuptial agreements San Antonio, TX - "Texas prenuptial law is fairly straightforward.Once the prenuptial agreement is signed by both parties, it is filed in the Bexar County courthouse in San Antonio at 100 Dolorosa  San Antonio, TX."

Get Specific To Solve Their Pain Point

People just don't search in Yellow-Pages-style topic headings like "San Antonio lawyer". It would be a waste of time to search that broadly and they know search engines can reliably deliver much more specific answers.

It's much more effective to talk about likely events and circumstances in which you have expertise than to jam as a bunch of generic terms into an article. After all, how  many clients call a law firm to say they need a "San Antonio lawyer"? Probably none because it's way too broad of a topic. Yet we see this example all the time. Instead a person needing local lawyer is likely to do a much more specific search like the ones above.

Position Yourself As The Expert With The Answers

And when they do type in a specific search, this is where they're going to find your relevant and targeted content that speaks to their exact needs provides a sensible answer and establishes you as the expert in the field. Bingo - you've got yourself a client, partner.

By thinking across a broad range of topics and using your specific expertise it should be easy to come up with many topics simply based on conversations you've had with customers.

Use stories based on actual examples to provide specific answers to showcase your expertise and intersect with prospects at their time of need.