Local search engine optimization (SEO) is somewhat different from regular search engine optimization. It is usually characterized by a particular type of search engine marketing used to increase the potential visitors to a local web site. Local search engine marketing can be defined as a set of marketing techniques geared at attracting new, targeted traffic to a site. In this way, SEO plays a critical role in local businesses’ development and success. Local SEO is also similar to organic SEO in that it’s also a chore affecting the visible ranking of a particular site or a page in the unpaid results of a major search engine called “Google”.
The two major search engines use different methods for determining which results are shown in the organic results and which are shown in the paid results. Organic SEO is based on keywords, whereas paid marketing mostly relies on pay-per-click campaigns. As with all other aspects of online marketing, organic SEO takes time to show results, and may not produce noticeable organic rankings for a site until several months, if not years, have passed since the last organic SEO effort. On the other hand, paid SEM is quite effective because of its ability to deliver instant results, especially when done on a massive scale. However, although paid SEM offers immediate results, it does so at the expense of the marketer’s credibility. Organic SEO, on the other hand, builds credibility by showing rankings in the natural or unpaid listings of major search engines like Google and Yahoo.
In SEO parlance, local SEO efforts focus on search terms that specifically comprise the location of the business, as well as a few localized terms related to the business. For instance, a company located in San Francisco, California, may focus on searches that include the city name, the phrase “san Francisco” and/or “California” as the key words. A New York based business, on the other hand, would most likely focus on a local phrase such as “nyc” or “nyc deli.”
As search engines have become more specific over time, it has become important for businesses to understand how to target their local SEO efforts appropriately. The most common form of local SEO involves building link popularity to high traffic websites in order to rank highly in Google and other major search engines. Incoming links can come from other high ranking sites that also have local appeal, or from social media outlets, blogs, and other forms of online interaction. Social media engagement, which includes social bookmarking and sharing of content, is becoming an integral part of any SEO campaign, and can greatly impact the success of your marketing efforts.
Aside from building link popularity, another way to optimize your local SEO strategy is to ensure good search engine placement. Google, for instance, places more emphasis on link popularity in local search results, which is one reason why many companies chose to do their optimization in-house. Local SEO services include everything from paid to free tools that analyze search engines, to analyzing your current keywords and working to make them more effective. While it’s not always possible to completely automate your optimization process, most companies find that it can be quite cost-effective and beneficial to outsource their local SEO needs.
Optimizing for local SEO makes perfect sense for businesses that want to benefit from a diverse customer base and a higher level of brand awareness. Getting ahead of the competition by optimizing your pages for local results shows potential customers that you care about their well-being. You also have a better chance at competing with the rest of your competitors when you can show customers that you know how to get the best deals around. Finally, optimizing for local searches can lead to higher conversion rates, which is another benefit that many consumers look for. These benefits are enough to make hiring an SEO consultant worth the time and effort.