This weekend I went to my first WordPress Meetup which was held in PD Johnson’s in Dallas. I wasn’t too sure of what to expect; the summary of the group made it seem like it would be pretty informal. It was. Everyone trickled in, about ten of us, and while some of us ate and others pulled out laptops we chatted mostly about Twitter and WordPress plugins.
Most of my time is spent with people who know little about technology, forget about WordPress and blogging, so hanging out with people who I can actually talk to those things about is refreshing.
However, I know that Dallas has a much larger audience of WordPress fans and major (or at least more than minor) bloggers. I was disappointed that the group doesn’t seem to attract enough of the audience using blogging and social media to its fullest extent. Granted, the group hasn’t been meeting for very long (just since April I think).
What I’d like to see more of is a formal atmosphere where people are encouraged to share with the whole group about how they use WordPress, what benefits it has for them, and how others can improve upon their blogging. One of the reasons I wish for this is because I’ve spent the past three years learning everything I can about WordPress and I’m dying to share the knowledge I’ve gained. It would be neat if the meetups consisted of neatly packaged topics so that the goal is clear and people know why they are coming and what they’re taking away.
On the other hand, maybe the point of these meetups is simply to socialize with other WordPressers and something so formal is outside the lines of what is thought necessary for the group. In that case, I’d love to be part of a new group that encouraged the formal training/learning of WP while the meetup group existed alongside the new group.
Struggling to beat out your competitors on a national scale is tough to do – taking them on locally ain’t so tough!
You just have to know what to do.
Optimizing your content, but especially the markup of your page, is crucial to succeeding in dominating your local search results.
Adding semantics to your page puts you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition (in most cases). geoRSS is great because it’s SO sepecific.
Example: Your company services 10 surrounding cities. Create a page specific to each of those cities and explain why your service is helpful to that city in particular. Add some GeoRSS meta tags to the header and now search engines know exactly what is meant to be going on.
Benefit: Search engines pick up on the standard keyword phrases that signal it to be about a certain geographic area but at the same time they are certain which area it is about because of the GeoRSS tags. AND there are lots of sites out there that crawl the web looking for GeoRSS tags so they can aggregate local news, entertainment, and companies and display them on hyperlocal dashboard-like sites. Make it easy for them!
GeoRSS also has a WordPress plugin called GeoPress that makes blogging and local optimization a breeze. Check it out.
Duh, Use Your Address
Put your company’s address somewhere on every page of your site. Google can be certain they’re plugging you into the right locality if you provide them it.
Business Search Engine Submission
Make sure you manually submit as much information about your site as possible to Google, Yahoo!, Live, and Yelp so they can return your company as a result in local searches.
outside.in outlines a few more methods of making known local connections your page has. They suggest linking to a Google map even, or just categorizing or tagging your content with a zip code. SEO Igloo Blog has some copyrighting tips to help and so does James Harrison. HyperLocal Blogger outlines some strategy.
I’m pretty excited to implement a new plugin in my future sites. Sugarrae and Yoast came together and developed a plugin to customize the login, registration, and profile pages of WordPress which are usually all styled with the standard WP style.
Check it out: Customize Your Community