Local businesses wanting to improve their online visibility are regularly tasked with proving their “localness” and relevance to search engines.
In my last article on using local partnerships and collaborations to build authority and visibility, we touched on the importance of community participation and engagement as a means to establish this localness.
Two primary means of engaging with local customers are via events or establishing communications during relevant occasions.
Both offer the opportunity to create informational, educational, or promotional content where local businesses are able to demonstrate their experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness – or E-E-A-T – which Google strongly factors into its Search Quality Rater Guidelines and, subsequently, its search rankings.
Local event participation and seasonal communication also serves to address distance and prominence factors, which are strongly believed to the ranking signals for local businesses.
Further and related to the above, Google’s rankings are refined by both locality and personalization as the primary goal is to deliver the right content to the right people on the right device for each and every search.
Better visibility of engaging content in search rankings can, in turn, lead to more targeted traffic and potential customers.
Why Seasons Matter
Seasons naturally have a strong impact on consumer behavior.
They influence how people shop, the products they need, and the services they seek.
For instance, a small ice cream shop will likely experience a surge in sales during the summer months; a landscaping company will begin to see inquiries spike at the first sign of spring or as the summer is winding down; a tax preparation and accounting service will see a rush of clients as tax season approaches.
Limited time offers during specific periods create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.
Where To Start
A logical place to begin developing a local event or seasonal strategy is identifying the types of events and occasions that are most relevant to your business and customer base.
Consider what events or initiatives would resonate with your local audience; look for ways to authentically connect with them.
These can be events hosted by your business, a local business partner, or those you support/sponsor through a local organization.
Types of events to consider might include:
- New product launches or special promotions.
- Educational in-person seminars or online webinars, depending on where and how you deliver your services.
- Business milestones, e.g., anniversaries or new locations.
- Client appreciation events.
- Holiday and seasonal events or promotions e.g., Black Friday, Christmas.
- Local charity events.
- Local sports or other club events.
There are no doubt other types of events specific to your business or local community, so use your imagination to come up with something differentiating.
Once you’ve determined the types of events you want to host or otherwise be involved in, create an event plan outlining the details of each event, including:
- Event goals, e.g., number of attendees, number of new leads.
- Event organizer(s).
- Date, time, and event schedule.
- Speaker list, if applicable.
- Event promotions, i.e., where, when, and how.
- Event content requirements.
Creating Event-Based Content
As noted, holding or participating in events provides ample opportunity to generate content.
Once you’ve identified the local events and occasions that matter most to your business and customers, it’s time to tailor your content to showcase your local E-E-A-T, enhance your event’s visibility along with that of your brand, and maximize attendance.
Event Web Page Content
If you plan to hold regularly scheduled events or simply want to highlight your community participation on your website and provide quick access to event details, it will make sense to create a dedicated Events page or add an Events section to your About Us page.
This page should naturally contain all pertinent event details and link to any relevant service pages or complementary content (see below).
If you are partnering with another business or organization, this content will also provide a place to include relevant links to additional details regarding the event or your business partner.
If you are linking to a partner business or organization website, you should, of course, be seeking a link in return. Links like these are important signals for the search engines to contextually establish your connection to your local community, i.e., proof of your “localness.”
This webpage should also include an FAQ section to answer any common pertinent questions your customers may have regarding the events or the organizations involved.
Informative Blog Posts And Articles
Depending on the event theme or topic, a detailed blog post or article with relevant images, audio, or video can be created, published, and distributed to provide prospective attendees with helpful background or educational information.
This content would naturally link back to a relevant event page along with related product or service pages as a means to build their authority.
For example, the landscaping company referenced above that is hosting a Welcome Back Spring event may publish and post a blog or blog series on prepping your gardens and lawns for the Spring.
The tax accountant may approach a local personal investment advisor to co-publish and share an article on How To Minimize Your Tax Exposure just before tax time arrives and run a joint in-person seminar or online webinar.
Google has clearly signaled relevant, useful, high quality content is a key ranking factor. Events and seasons provide natural vehicles around which this type of content can be created to benefit your target audience.
It’s no secret that video has become popular, and depending on the audience, the preferred method of web communication is via social channels like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
Anyone with a mobile device can now quickly create and distribute effective, authentic videos.
Sharing educational or promotional video content on these platforms in the form of how-to guides or product/service promotions aligned with an upcoming event or a seasonal shift can help a local business stand out from its competition.
YouTube videos, in particular and in light of the fact Google owns this platform, can and should be optimized to appear in YouTube and Google search results.
These types of videos should, in turn, be embedded into the aforementioned event web pages and/or blog posts and articles created to support them.
Social Media Content
Assuming a local business has already started to build a social media following, on whichever channel is most relevant to the business’s target audience, any web, blog/article, or video content should be shared via these channels.
For most local businesses, social media simply represents an extension of their offline community.
Further, social posting aims to have the engaging content created be viewed, read, liked, shared, and/or clicked on. All social posts should include clear calls to action (CTAs) and links to event details.
When thinking about creating event or season-specific social media posts, be sure to incorporate unique, relevant hashtags, e.g., #welcomebackspring #springgardenprep #location. Hashtags, in addition to being social search tools, have become key branding tools that tie the posted content to the business, event, and location.
During an event, encourage participants and attendees to share their comments and/or experiences via social media with the appropriate hashtag.
This can even be tied to an opportunity for those with the best or most posts to be recognized or rewarded, thereby increasing engagement.
These posts can be re-shared on your social channels and represent an opportunity to highlight your local expertise and trustworthiness.
Back To Partnering
Partnering with local influencers, like-minded businesses, or organizations to co-host events or run joint promotions lightens your workload by sharing event/content responsibilities, expands your reach, and introduces your brand to new audiences.
Identify and reach out to those organizations or individuals with a similar target audience and propose mutually beneficial collaborations with shared goals and expected outcomes.
Measure And Analyze Everything
The success of any digital marketing strategy is informed by analytics.
By tracking key metrics like organic search visibility, paid ad results, social engagement, and website visits, you can assess which aspects of events worked and which did not in order to make necessary adjustments to current or future campaigns.
Another way to measure an event’s success is to simply ask participants for their feedback.
Consider sending post-event surveys to attendees to see what they liked or didn’t like, letting them know their opinion matters and will help to create more value-added events and content from which they will ultimately benefit.
By adopting a holistic approach to integrating local events and seasonal campaigns into their marketing mix, local businesses can forge stronger connections with their communities, thereby enhancing their prominence and establishing the E-A-T-T Google is looking for through tailored content to drive sustainable growth.
Google’s desire to deliver personalized, relevant, local results within a defined area will reward the most engaged and active businesses.
Keeping in mind, consistency and data-backed adaptability are key to long-term success.
Featured Image: kenary820/Shutterstock