In the multi-location world, where brands can have hundreds or thousands of local pages, a common pain they repeatedly encounter is how to take organic local pages to the next level. These pages tend to be static in terms of changing content regularly and as a result, rarely acquire external equity-passing links. With the SEOsphere buzzing from all the recent reported drastic fluctuations in SERP traffic over the past few weeks and Google finally confirming Panda, one of their most spam-fighting algorithms, as an official component of its search algorithm, these changes must force marketers to think more creatively to provide value to their users.
So how can Brands improve the quality of these location pages at scale? Hyper Local Event-Marketing
The term “hyper-local event marketing,” refers to the citation-building technique of promoting a brand-hosted social gathering at one or more business locations. For example, brands in the auto parts industry may host monthly car shows or sporting good stores may invite professional athletes to do signings at retail locations. Any of these examples provides an opportunity to drive traffic online, build authority through citations, and ultimately generate in-store traffic.
Often times, Brands already have strategic offline hyper-local event initiatives in place, but don’t ever align those existing initiatives with their online marketing efforts. By connecting these dots, so to speak, you can achieve a few key things to improve the value of your location pages and ultimately boost the authority of these pages in SERPs. The following are some of the benefits of taking your event marketing efforts to your location pages:
Attract Inbound Links to Each Location Page
Since location pages are static in nature, they don’t acquire many external equity passing links and all it can take is a few quality inbound links from a variety of unique domains to move that needle. With that being said, the reason why event-related content can prove to be so effective is because this content is inherently buzz-worthy and organically tends to acquire the inbound links needed from local bloggers, news media sites looking for more event details (type of event, location, date/time) and these links in turn develop authority.Once these events are live online, they can potentially increase reach far past a static local page alone thanks to amplification methods like social shares from local users promoting and generating trustworthy content that organically mentions the brand itself.
SERP Rich Snippet Optimization
One draw of integrating events into local pages is that once these are marked up in structured data, big search engines like Google will display a rich snippet, a form of structured data markup, underneath the location page that fills up more organic SERP real estate. A brand’s ability to capitalize and maximize state within organic search results increases its likelihood of boosting click through rates into the local pages themselves, enticing users to make actions that will drive them to find out information about or even join the event.
We know that Google analyzes SERP engagement data and query success rates to assess if a given search result populated, successfully satisfied the query by a searcher. By leveraging this event rich snippet, users are already primed to knowing that upon clicking into that SERP listing with a rich snippet, detailed information will be provided on the web page. This will reduce the occurrence of users bouncing back to the SERP and clicking into an other SERP listing, a common occurrence known as ‘Pogo-sticking’.
Increased User Value
Publishing event related content on your location pages simply provides fresh, unique, value added content for the end searcher. Searchers don’t get value out of boiler template content used across thousands of pages, which explains why local pages might have low engagement or traffic in the first place. This is exactly what the Panda algorithm was engineered to combat—stoping sites with thin/poor quality content from climbing their way into Google’s top organic search results. If you want a solid, scalable strategy to avoid being hit from Panda, these are the types of online marketing initiatives that should be practiced.
So, are your location pages where they need to be? Don’t know? First, examine your local SEO strategies and proactively assess how hyper-local event marketing can be integrated. After all, the most visible brands on search engines are often the most valuable brands to users.