Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing field that continually shapes how search engines assess website quality and determine which websites appear in their results.
A few years back, people made the claim that SEO was totally fake – you could get some small benefits by picking any topic and adding “seo” to the end of it, and then linking to a similar looking site. Some people still make this claim, but it is becoming less common.
It is important to note that SEO changes very quickly. A couple months ago, this would have been considered cheap or even spam SEO. It is now seen as part of good web marketing practice.
Something like 20 years ago, white hat link building was the way to go. These are links from high quality sites linked to yours or ones with rich content. This is no longer the case, however.
Link schemes such as paid links and low quality link farms are actually negative factors when trying to gain exposure through search engines. Even natural link sources can be detrimental if they are not relevant or if they look suspiciously unnatural.
Difference between national and local SEO
Finding new ways to reach your target audience is great, but only if they know you! If people are looking for your products or services, they will find you!
National search engine optimization (SEO) focuses on optimizing your website content and linking up so that you can gain prominence in general search engines like Google and Bing.
By doing this, you’ll get more traffic from all over the world, not just the countries where your competitors are located. This is what most small businesses use because it works!
But as business owners ourselves, we also want our company to be known in its own backyard first!
That means using local SEO strategies and tools to maximize exposure within their area, as well as the surrounding areas.
It’s important to do both types of SEO properly, but some things should have higher priority than others depending on the industry and scope of your business.
Read about: How to Learn SEO?
Important factors for local SEO
While most people associate search engine optimization (SEO) with having larger rankings on major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, it is actually much deeper than that.
Local SEO involves optimizing your website and marketing strategies to increase your online presence not only on major search engines but also through third-party sites and apps that cater to locals.
These include sites such as Yelp, GroupOn, Amazon, and YouTube, to name a few. By optimized we mean ensuring your content is relevant, well written, and contains keywords.
By investing in local SEO you are bringing more traffic to your business and giving yourself a leg up on competitors who may or may not have invested time into this area of the internet.
It’s important to remember that even if you aren’t looking to expand your audience beyond just those searching locally, improved local SEO can boost your web visibility and direct traffic to your site.
There are several ways to improve the effectiveness of your local SEO, from tweaking your profile information on various websites and services to using different keyword research tools.
In this article, we will go over some easy ways to test the strength of your current local SEO and what you can do to strengthen it. We will also talk about some free resources you can use to begin improving your local ranking.
Creating a website
When you create a new site, or edit an existing one, your first task is to make it visible to people looking for content of that genre! This is what SEO (search engine optimization) means — making your site show up in search results when someone looks for information related to it.
Mostly, this happens through two things: keyword research, and creating content targeted at those keywords. But there are other strategies like linking out to similar sites or changing how you display the content on your own domain.
There are even services that do some of the work for you by promoting your site’s appearance in search engines. All of these things help local seo, our special term here today.
Definition: helping your business’s online presence get found more easily via searches
Now let’s talk about why it matters.
Interactive maps have become very popular. They can be used as a tool to find businesses, see all the shops within walking distance, and/or get recommendations for food and entertainment.
But did you know that Google now includes location data in its search algorithms? That means if lots of people are searching around for places to eat, say, then it will consider your restaurant to be relevant and rank it higher.
The same goes for finding nearby hotels. If many people are using their phones to look up directions, check out menus, and so forth, then Google will reward you for providing such services.
Linking your business to local sites
When someone searches for information or products about your company, their search engine like Google will show these results with both sponsored links and organic (non-sponsored) links.
The difference is the color of the link and the fact that a sponsored link will pay to be listed higher up in the search result list, which gives it more exposure. This is called paid advertising.
By using SEO strategies, you can pick and choose what types of advertisements you want to use to promote your business. This is referred to as local seo.
You can choose to try out sponsored listings by putting up an advertisement on one of the many free listing websites.
Develop your brand
There is a popular misconception that SEO means only working with Google to rank higher in their search results. While optimizing your website for search engines like Bing, Yahoo!, and Google is important, it is not the only form of local seo.
Local seo includes things such as enhancing your business’s online presence through social media sites, creating solid content to promote your services and products, and improving your company’s image and credibility via various channels.
It also includes promoting your business locally by way of putting up signs and flyers, hosting events, writing press releases, and more. All of these activities help develop your business’s reputation in your area while simultaneously increasing visibility, which are both very valuable assets.
These types of marketing strategies can be done consistently over time to see positive results. However, they should not be used in place of traditional advertising methods because they lack the targeting power of advertising.
Instead, using local seo along side other forms of marketing gives you the best of both worlds.
Selling products locally
More and more businesses are realizing the value in being local. With the rise of online shopping, it is increasingly difficult to win business if you do not have a presence or full-fledged online store.
By offering your potential customers less expensive prices and better service, you will still get some sales. Plus, walking into a place that sells things can be very entertaining!
There are many ways to go about selling goods locally. You can start by taking pictures of and stocking your neighborhood stores.
This could mean organizing merchandise by color, organize them by departments, and take good photos of each item. The internet makes it easy to source out new inventory so there is no excuse for empty shelves.
Running an online shop is also a way to sell without having to invest in additional stock. Many sites offer you a free starter account which you can use to test the waters.
Monetizing your website
A more efficient way to market yourself is via local search engine optimization (Local SEO). This is focused around bringing up relevant listings for your business in Google, Bing and other major search engines’ mobile apps.
By optimizing your site locally, you are targeting searches that are geographically specific. For example, if someone searches ‘dinner stores near me’ or ‘restaurants within walking distance of my workplace,’ your restaurant can show them one of your restaurants as a match.
This is much better than showing it for general national searches where most people do not live and cannot find your business easily. By adding an additional layer of competition, this benefits your company and business!
There are several ways to optimize your site for local seo. The two main ones being free tools such as google.com/business and paid software like Xtreamwp – both of which have excellent user reviews.
Improving your website
SEO, or search engine optimization, is changing or improving the way that you optimize your website to make it show up in searches more frequently. It’s also changing how well your site does when it does get displayed in a search result!
SEO has three main components – on-site optimizations, off-site link building, and content production. On-site optimizations refer to things like making sure your website URL is visible and descriptive. Off-site links are those external references to your site that can help people determine if they want to visit yours. Content refers to the messages you put out to other websites and social media sites.
All of these components work together to create an online presence for your business via different channels and areas of the internet. Websites with good rankings are more likely to gain visibility, which helps them promote your business.
There are several ways to develop your local seo strategy, some free, and others cost effective. Some of the most common ones include: creating a strong company identity, optimizing your website and pages, investing in targeted keywords, responding to reviews, and linking from relevant sites. All of these contribute to having your business show up in Google and other major search engines where your target audience may look for information.