Create a Decent One-Page Local Business Site

If the community you serve has a local forum, now is the time to become a regular participant there. An apparent outcome of the “hidden gems” component of Google’s Helpful Content update is an uptick in forum-based results in the SERPs, including the local SERPs.

As my friends at Near Media describe it:

“The boost Google is giving to forums and social content is intended to deliver more information from real people, with personal expertise, insights or first-hand knowledge. This is also a way for Google to preemptively address the coming AI content crisis and other lower quality content (e.g., spam, lead-gen) that doesn’t really serve users.”

Greg Sterling, Mike Blumenthal, and David Mihm point to old, established platforms like the Berkeley Parents Network, and I’ve often referenced community hubs like the West Seattle Blog’s forum. Research whether your town or city has such a forum and become active there.

Note that this does not mean continuously pitching your business there, which will only annoy your neighbors and potential customers!

Instead, participate in discussions and try to be helpful to others as you develop a reputation for trustworthiness and community spirit. Then, when someone appears on the platform asking where to get their wedding dress altered, their fence rebuilt, or the tree trimmed, you’ll be able to respond from a place of sharing rather than hard-selling, and if you are well-liked enough, you may find neighbors recommending you.

If your community has no stand-alone forum, you may be able to find a subreddit on Reddit for your region.

The goal of this activity for your local business is twofold: firstly, to become more connected with your community so that it becomes local wisdom that you offer a particular service when neighbors need it and, secondly, that you may find some of your threads surfaced by Google in the local results as they strive to provide content based on real experiences rather than AI fantasies.

But, you’ll still want a website to direct interested parties to, so we move on to tip 3.

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