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Yoh localizes blogs to boost search results

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Philadelphia-based talent agency Yoh Services places professional temps or contract laborers such as engineers, nurse practitioners and occupational health workers in jobs throughout the U.S. As a result, the company needs to be seen both as a national and a local workforce company. “It [requires] a high degree of trust to hire a firm,” said Joel Capperella, Yoh's VP-marketing. “People like to work with companies that have a good presence where they want to work.” Blogging has been a part of the company's overall marketing strategy since 2009. Yoh used blog posts to increase its significance as a thought leader in the industry. While the company's corporate search rankings were solid, it was not showing up in Google's local search rankings where Capperella wanted it to be, especially for local-focused search terms and phrases such as “microbiologist job in Raleigh” or “security engineer in Washington, D.C.,” even though the company has local pages that support those cities. “We needed to focus on improving our rankings for the [local] microsites that live off our main page and show our reach in a region,” Capperella said. “Each of our 30 offices has its own page, and we want people to find them so they can apply for the jobs that are available in those regions.” There was another problem as well: The blog wasn't doing what it was designed to do, which was to connect candidates with Yoh's local offices so they could be placed into open positions. The biggest problem, Capperella said, was that prior to the first quarter of this year, Yoh's blog content was focused on general topics related to staffing and employment. To facilitate a change, Yoh's marketing team started producing blog assets that were more specific to what was happening in a particular region. One recent blog post, for instance, focused on a new Philadelphia tax levied on people who are making money from blogs. “The local community was up in arms about that, so we took that macro story and blogged about it to boost our visibility for local Philadelphia employment and staffing search terms,” Capperella said. The local focus is made possible by segmentation. Yoh's marketing staff of four, which includes Capperella, have broken the country down into five segments, and each team member focuses on bringing local content. “Everyone on the team monitors [news feeds] for trends at the local and regional level, and writes content to support those news and trend elements,” he said. Blog posts contain both industry-level keywords and phrases, as well as those that will help the content do well on local searches. The strategy seems to be working. The blog is averaging about 5,000 unique visitors each month—a double-digit increase from the beginning of the year. In addition, 40% of the people who click through to the blog download or click on an asset, Capperella said. “They click on an e-book and download it in exchange for their information,” he explained. “Conversion rates from those clicking on offerings are 35%-40%.” Going forward, Capperella and his team are hoping to boost those rates even more by adding local paid search to the mix, pushing searchers directly to the local blog posts. In addition, Yoh's marketing team is planning to roll out local Facebook pages for each of the 30 local company offices, which will also help to improve local rankings, Capperella said. “Philosophically, local search should be important to everyone since it's the first place people turn when they are looking for something in their own neighborhood, whether that's a job or a sandwich,” he said. “Now that our local-search foundation is in place, we can expand our work and improve it even more.”
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