There are hundreds of factors that go into calculating your domain’s overall trust, authority, and search visibility. Ongoing content is, of course, an essential part of the SEO process, but standard high-quality content isn’t enough if you want to rank for queries containing local-specific keywords or local searches, which populate locally relevant results.
First, you’ll have to create locally-relevant content. Covering local events in detail (especially if your business is directly involved) is always a good idea, as is discussing the state of your industry in the context of your current region. Any relevant, value-adding way you can find to get geographic keywords into the title and body of your article will likely do just fine.
However, writing local-specific content is only the first part of the process. If you really want to see greater local SEO results, you’ll need to publish and distribute your content on a diverse range of locally appropriate sources. Fortunately, there are plenty of options at your disposal:
1. Social Media
Social media platforms are always a solid standby for content syndication, but they can be especially useful when dealing with local content. In addition to posting your local content whenever you publish a new piece, work actively to share content from other local businesses. Chances are, they’ll return the favor, and you’ll slowly build up a network of other businesses and residents in the area. This will increase your local relevance, and will greatly expand the local reach of your content overall.
Another option is to check out neighborhood-based groups on Facebook or LinkedIn (though they are rarer in the latter). On Facebook, only an individual can post content to a group — meaning you can’t post as your brand — but as long as you’re willing to dig in with your personal profile, it can be a critical opportunity to reach your local audience directly.
2. Local News Sources
Local news sources have a few main advantages. First, they’re always hungry for news, which means you have a much greater chance of getting published with them than you do at getting published in an outlet on a national scale. Second, they offer a much higher domain authority than most other places you’ll be able to post your content.
Depending on the reputation and standards of the news outlet you choose, you may need to carefully format your material. Some local news sources will only accept perfectly formatted press releases, while others will be open to other alternative sources of content, such as blog posts, opinion pieces, or infographics.
3. Local Community Pages and Forums
If you look for them, it should be pretty easy to find specific websites and forums dedicated to a particular community. For example, your city might have a forum dedicated to discussing new public developments, or a website dedicated to listing new restaurants as they are unveiled.
These pages don’t always carry a high authority, so be wary of where you post. Also, because most of these forums and community pages typically have a niche focus, be aware that your business and your content may not be a fit for all of them. For example, if you sell furniture, it wouldn’t make sense for you to post an article about one of your latest products on a forum about community gardening. The relevance factor is critical if you want to avoid a link-based penalty.
4. Neighborhood Websites and Bulletins
In addition to topic-based community pages, you should also be able to find individual websites or bulletin-style event listings for each neighborhood in your region. If you can track down the administrator of one of these sites, it should be extremely easy for you to get your content posted. This is especially true if your business is undergoing new changes, or if you are announcing your presence at an upcoming community event.
5. Local Directories and Third-Party Apps
It goes without saying that you need to be involved on third-party directories and review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor for local SEO. Without this presence, your local SEO campaign cannot succeed — at least not since Google’s Pigeon update. But take things a step further when you can — post actively on these third-party applications, and don’t be afraid to make mention of your latest publications as long as they’re in the context of a response to a review or an overall company update.
6. Guest Blogs by Other Residents
Last, but not least, allow other community leaders, business owners, and local residents to post relevant material as guest posts on your blog. In reciprocity, you’ll likely be allowed to publish your own material on their blogs. The more incoming and outgoing links you have to other businesses and authorities in your area, the stronger your local authority will grow.
Interviews are a perfect opportunity for this segment of your strategy. Because you’re interviewing another known regional authority, you’ll each gain greater visibility and a new audience for your brand.
All of these options are useful in distributing your local content, but bear in mind two additional details. First, the authority level of your sources still matters. It’s not worth posting on a neighborhood forum if the site is in bad shape and hasn’t been updated in years — you could wind up doing more harm than good for your domain authority. Second, diversity still matters. Don’t spend all your time posting content on one source. Be sure to evenly distribute your material to ensure a healthy range of different outlets.