You’ve got your SEO all figured out, right?
Perhaps you’ve done a ton of research to find great keywords.
Maybe you’ve got terrific, engaging content.
You’ve optimized your links and tags.
If your business is local and you haven’t focused on local SEO, then the chances are good that you’re falling behind your competitors without realizing it.
All SEO is not created equal. National SEO – which focuses on non-location based keywords – is useful for big corporations. But for small businesses, local SEO is where it’s at.
What are the differences? What do you need to know to make the most of local SEO? Let’s talk about it.
The Big Picture Similarities
Local and national SEO have a lot in common.
For example, both types of SEO have the goal of improving a website’s ranking on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP.) The pages with the highest ranks get the lion’s share of traffic, which means they also get more conversions and more sales.
Some general techniques apply to all SEO, regardless of the target audience. I’m talking about:
These things are essential because they help Google and other search engines “crawl” your site and index it properly.
National Keywords vs. Local Keywords
The biggest difference between local and national SEO is the keywords you’ll use. National businesses can use general keywords because they’re big enough to benefit from doing so. When customers buy online or can find your business at their local mall, you don’t need to worry too much about locational keywords.
Local businesses do need to worry about locational keywords. They help local customers – the ones most likely to frequent your business – find you online.
Depending on your business, you may choose to use words that incorporate the name of your state, city, or neighborhood. Let’s look at a hypothetical business to see how this strategy might play out.
The business is a bakery located in the North End neighborhood in Boston. Here are a few local keywords that might be useful:
You get the idea. You can come up with variations that use the locations that are most likely to help your customers find you.
Choosing the right local keywords also helps you with Google. When someone in the area searches “best North end bakery,” Google will return results based on the GPS on the searcher’s phone or device.
In other words, local keywords help Google include your business in local searches, making it more likely that people in your area will learn about your business.
The Benefits of Local SEO
Local SEO offers some significant benefits to small and medium-sized companies. A small company is unlikely to be able to compete with a large national brand. They won’t have the budget or the reach to do so.
Here are some of the key benefits of local SEO as I see them:
For most small and medium-sized businesses, local SEO just makes sense. Why would you throw money away chasing general or national keywords when you can get better results by spending less money?
Tips to Perfect Your Local SEO
What’s the best way to perfect your local SEO? Fortunately, it’s not that hard to do. Here’s what I suggest:
Local SEO isn’t difficult, but you’ll need to be methodical and practical in how you approach it.
If you want to attract local customers, you need local SEO. It’s as simple as that. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to focus on identifying the local keywords and strategies that will have local customers flocking to your door.