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I was very fortunate today to be able to speak with Matt McGee, a SEO industry expert that writes primarily about small business and local search marketing topics. Matt’s most well known blog is the Small Business Search Marketing Blog but he also writes on a blog called Hyper Local Blogger that gives tips on marketing smaller niche blogs focused on local areas.
Matt has always seemed to be a really down to earth kind of guy, and it was really great to get him on the phone and discuss some of the success he’s had with his local blogs, and hear some tips on social networking and social media based SEO.
Here are some things I brought away from the interview…
Social Media and Participation
- Matt hasn’t spend a huge amount of time on traditional SEO for his 4 hyperlocal real estate blogs in regards to link building. It sounds like he has had more success with social media participation. He shared a story about how he shot some local video of a minor league baseball game that featured a draft pick for the Colorado Rockies. After shooting the video, he contacted some bloggers in Colorado to see if they would be interested in the video, and shortly thereafter, they featured his video and linked to his blog. He seems to have focused more on building unique content that people want to share as a link building technique.
- He shared another tip for local blogging that included participating on photo sharing websites like Flickr that have small internal local groups. His blogs have received a decent amount of traffic from these groups, and because the people are local, he has a great opportunity to build local relationships.
- I found it interesting that Matt isn’t a huge fan of syndicating content or writing on social networking type websites since those websites are not an asset that he owns. He prefers to stick with building quality content and value on his own sites. In the conversation I used the example of Activerain, and I completely understand his viewpoint. For one thing… you can write great content for a site like Activerain, but customers on the site can be on someone else’s profile within 2 clicks. And all the while, you are only helping to build the value and authority of their domain name.
Tips on Finding Blog Content & Managing Your Time as a Blogger
- Matt had some great tips on finding good local content: subscribe to local RSS feeds for newspapers, news sites and tv stations. School district websites, utility companies, chamber of commerce, visitor’s bureau, local periodicals, etc.
- Create a calendar for local events, and attend the events to get pictures and video
- Matt writes at a furious pace, and the best tip he had to improve time management was to simply set a realistic goal for yourself for a certain number of posts per week.
Starting a local blog as a place for local conversation, information and events
- The local blogs Matt started were purposely not attempting to be a blatant marketing tool, but a place where the community could come to get information, news, and join in a local conversation.
- It is refreshing to see a model like this that focuses more on quality information instead of trying to shove a marketing message down someone’s throat.
- Matt does have plans to transition the blogs to become more of a marketing tool once the sites have a decent amount of subscribers and readership built up.
Thank you again Matt for the interview!
If you enjoy articles about local blogging, you will really enjoy this short series by Matt: