Recently, Google announced that they have integrated their main search algorithm into their local search algorithm, combining the two so that local search results now show up within the regular results page. This makes sense when you think about the way mobile devices have changed how we use search engines. More and more people – about 20% of all searches, according to Google – are using search engines for location-based results. That means more people are heading to their laptops or smartphones to find and get directions to restaurants, bars, clothing stores, and more. But what does this shift towards locality mean for your SEO campaign? More importantly, what does it mean for your business? Read on to find out.
Local SEO is very important for any business that operates out of a physical, brick-and-mortar location. However, many SEOs – especially ones that put emphasis on paid placement over content-based strategies – are rushing to pitch local-specific SEO in place of global SEO. This is a reactionary attempt to appear ahead of the curve. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when pursuing local SEO.
1. You’re probably already doing it.
Even if your company doesn’t do any business online, you shouldn’t abandon global SEO for local. Why? Because when you look at it, local SEO is global SEO. Location-based keywords are merely variations of the keywords for which you are already optimizing.
For instance, if you are trying to rank for “SEO company” and you are based in Portland, Oregon, chances are you have used the phrase Portland SEO company a few times on your site or blog. Additionally, if your company has a physical location you probably have your address on many, if not all, of your site’s pages. In these instances, the web and SEO content you’ve created is already location-based.
2. Starting local SEO isn’t rocket science.
There are a few specific tricks to local SEO, but it doesn’t differ much from global. There are a couple of local directories and local search engine pages you will need to be a part of (Google Places, for instance) but the majority of local SEO work is simply including more location-based content on your website and blog.
3. If people like your business, they’ll do the work for you.
A small but increasingly important part of local SEO is customer reviews. This marketing technique allows customers to share their experiences with your company and increases the number of backlinks and attention your site gets. Be careful, though; not all press is good press, and a negative viral campaign can happen if you provide a shoddy product or service.
Yes, local SEO is exciting, but you shouldn’t drop your traditional global SEO campaign merely to hop on the local bandwagon. Include some more location-based SEO content on your site and blog, create profiles on local directories, and provide a quality customer experience and your local SEO campaign will fall into place.