The search engine optimization landscape seems to be littered with a variety of terms including local SEO and organic SEO. If you own and operate a local business, understanding these concepts can go a long way in improving your online presence and driving traffic to not only your website but your local business or service. So what are local SEO packages and how do they differ from organic SEO offerings?
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is search engine optimization plus location. It is used to promote physical businesses that have in-person interaction with customers, whether through a storefront or a local service. Local SEO is used by all types of physical businesses including small businesses, medium businesses, large-scale brands, and chain stores. Another term for Local SEO is Local Search Marketing and it involves a unique set of tasks to utilize it effectively.
One of the most important tasks for local businesses is to get their name, address, and phone number, as well as references to their website, correctly portrayed on the net. Since Google has a huge corner of the local search market, business owners will want to create a business profile on Google My Business. In fact, according to Ahrefs, 56% of businesses haven’t claimed their GMB listing. This is a grave mistake as this listing and any listings on the net that include your NAP+W (W=website URL) significantly affect your rank in the search engine results page, as well as your validity as a real business.
When building a profile on GMB, Yelp, Facebook, Apple Maps, Bing, and others you’ll want to make sure your NAP+W always matches. In fact, anywhere your business is referenced on the net should have identical information. Failure to do so will lower your credibility with search engines and potential customers alike. As well, you will want to build profiles through a number of business listing sites to increase the reach of your business.
Establish Your Authority and Quality
Authority can be established through the age of your business as well as earning quality inbound links from reputable sources. Your site quality is affected by your
- Use of SEO
- The quality of your content
- The appropriate quantity of content
- Ease of navigation
- Load speed
- Visual attractiveness
- The proper use of headlines, subheadings, descriptions, tags, and other page elements
Gain an Array of Positive Reviews
According to MOZ, 92% of people searching for goods or services read reviews, and an overwhelming majority rely on those reviews to influence how they spend their money. Businesses will want to protract a variety of reviews, especially leaning heavily on positive reviews. One mistake entrepreneurs make is to try to eliminate negative reviews, especially on their site as they have full control. This actually is not a wise choice as it may make visitors question the credibility of the reviews that are there. It’s okay to have some negative reviews as long as over time, positive reviews outweigh the negative and truly convey the quality of your business.
Create a Local SEO Content Strategy and Competitive Edge
Smart business owners will want to create a local SEO content strategy through research into the demographic of their end-user, to know how to effectively use SEO to promote their brand. Local SEO includes geographical references to the location of your business such as Phoenix, AZ. It also includes ideas for what to publish when such as blog posts, information pages, images, whitepapers, press releases, podcasts, videos, interactive elements, free downloads, contact forms, and the like. In addition, a presence on various media platforms is vital such as:
Finally, wherever you can create a competitive edge, you have the ability to set your business apart from the competition. By doing something others are not that attracts a unique set of customers or caters further to the needs of your clientele, you can boost your visibility and credibility as a local business.
What is Organic SEO?
Organic SEO is traffic that comes to your site through your ranking on the SERP, inbound links from your own business pages or profiles on social media sites, and quality inbound links from other reputable sites. Basically it is any form of traffic that isn’t paid for. In addition, it is traffic brought to your site by the use of proper SEO techniques, not black hat tactics such as keyword stuffing, paying for inbound links, and the like. Businesses will want to research what their end-user is entering into the search boxes and match that in their online presence with quality content.
According to Search Engine Land, business owners would do well to vary where their traffic comes from in case one or more platforms decide to change the rules. This is especially likely with social media sites as the playing field can change on a whim. Even if search engines change their algorithms and things go south temporarily, the traffic can be regained. And a bit of smart advertising can help sway the tide in the meantime.
Organic SEO is the most fool-proof way to turn visitors into leads into customers and repeat customers.
How are Organic and Local SEO Related?
Organic and local SEO both use the same types of optimization techniques, research, analysis, and rules. However local SEO adds a geographical component to the mix due to operating out of a physical location. Organic SEO is a foundation for all businesses and sites, and is more based on content, whereas local SEO is based more on “relevant and trusted locations” as seen on Business2Community.
Whereas organic SEO gains authority from quality content and visitor interaction with pages, as well as quality inbound links, local SEO can gain validity simply through NAP+W citations and profiles. These business listings serve to prove that a business indeed does exist. In addition, local SEO is more influenced by positive reviews and creating a competitive edge than solely on the factors that affect organic SEO.
In effect, business owners would do well to combine organic SEO with local SEO for their brick and mortar business, as a combination of the two will greatly improve their credibility in the eyes of visitors and search engines alike.