What is Local SEO?
When a potential customer use a geographic tag, such as a state, city, or zip code as part of the search phrase when performing a search it is known as Local SEO. Local SEO is an efficient way for a search engines to deliver relevant, results for businesses, products and services within a limited geographic area. An example of a Local SEO, would be entering “Chinese restaurant in NewYork” into the search box on Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Businesses with a physical location such as restaurants, repair businesses, contractors, dentists and plumbers, can derive significant benefits from optimizing their web presence for local SEO opportunities. There are a growing number of online directories and locations where local businesses can develop a presence.
Google, Bing and Yahoo all have services that allow local business owners to create a business listing online with the most accurate, up to date information about their business, products and services. These listing will generally include a link to the businesses website, their phone number and a map showing the business location.
What is Organic SEO?
Organic SEO is a marketing practice of optimizing your website to make it search engine friendly and get it ranked for relevant keywords. It might or not include a local element, but is usually not associated to a brick or mortar business. It essentially more or less, revolves around a website. The websites aiming at Organic SEO can therefore, be a full-fledged-internet-based-website which might or might not have a geographical location. Bloggers, Internet marketers, affiliate marketers, internet-based business and some brick and mortar business employ Organic SEO to work towards improving their rankings and increasing their traffic. Some examples of keywords that could be used in organic SEO campaigns include ‘beauty tips’, ‘solar panel installation procedure’ etc.
Only those websites rank in the organic results which have trusted content and can provide value to the users. So, you can say that in organic SEO, search engines rank and favor trusted and relevant content.
An example of organic search would be to search ‘Insurance Contractors’, the highlighted results are the organic ones. These websites which are ranking on this page, are considered to be legitimate by Google in terms of the content/services/information they offer.
What are the differences between Organic SEO and Local SEO?
The first difference is out there, shouting loud: Locations, locations and locations.
Organic SEO is employed by websites that might or might not have a geographic location. It can be influenced by the location, but is definitely not attached to a brick-or-a-mortar business.
Pure Organic results are a mix of businesses, articles, blogs, news, social media profiles etc. Organic search and results are totally independent of the locations.
On the other hand, local SEO is essentially tied and associated with a brick-and-mortar business and necessarily has a geographical component. For example, if someone searches for a ‘car service in Pasadena’, the search engines would get, that the user wants a local business in Pasadena, that can service their cars. Therefore, here the search engines are looking out for trusted and relevant business that do car service around the user’s locations.
Local SEO and Organic SEO do not necessarily target the same position on the SERPs.
While Organic SEO aims to rank as high as it can for a specific set of keywords, the main aim of Local SEO is to get into the local listing packs. Additionally, Local SEO is about being present or listed (with consistent citations) at every other place where the potential customer might look for including niche directories, forum etc.
Links of Organic SEO Vs Citations of Local SEO
Links (correction: quality links) are the votes in the world of SEO that could get you better rankings and increased traffic. In Organic SEO, high quality and relevant links help you increase the relevance and authenticity of your website in the eyes of Google. All factors remaining constant, the greater the number of quality links, the better is the ranking.Local SEO, on the other hand do not treat links in the traditional way, this role is played by Citations here. Citations are simply the mentions of your Business name, Physical address and Phone Numbers across the web. Being consistently cited at all the relevant and important places in your niche would increase the relevance and authority of your business in the eyes of Google. It would not count as a ‘vote’, but would definitely validate the existence of your business at a certain geographical location. This will increase the chances of your business to show up, if any query related to the similar business and locations comes up.
The approaches for doing Local SEO and Organic SEO is different as mentioned earlier, the aim of Organic SEO is to only reach at the top places on SERPs. To make this happen, a lot of On-page optimization and Off-page optimization is required to be done on the website including working on your title tags, meta-descriptions, heading tags, optimizing anchor texts, creating amazing content, building an effective link building strategy and lots more.
Local SEO, on the other hand aims to crack all places that displays local results. To make this happen, the strategy needs to be different. Apart from optimizing your title tags and keyword density, you need to first of all create a Google Listing. Going ahead, you should get listed at all the important directories in your niche and check for the consistency of NAP across the web, encourage the customers to write good reviews about you, write local content etc.
How long does it usually take to get effect of Local SEO Services on my website?
SEO is a on going process , not a sprint. The time frame for rankings to improve can vary significantly based on the site, and the competitive landscape. No one can guarantee definite results when it comes to SEO, but we try our best to get it up in the lowest amount of time.
I have a local business and most of my customers are within 10 miles of my business, do I need local SEO?
This is a very valid question for small businesses. Especially if budget is tight. One way to answer this question is to look at what your competitors are doing. In evaluating competitors be sure to look at both online and offline competitors(Physical Business entity) . If the products or services your business provides can be ordered or delivered via the Internet then your online competitors may be as important or even more important than your local offline competitors.
This is a good example of where, if your potential customers are not finding you, they are finding your competitors. Therefore, a good place to begin in answering this question is to determine how your customers and prospects are currently finding your business. If your business does not currently have a web presence then this could be an opportunity to reach many more potential customers and significantly expand your business. If your competitors have a web presence and you don’t, then you could be losing a lot of business to them now and in the future.
If you have additional questions or would like to discuss how Web Presence Solutions can help you with all your digital marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click and social media advertising, SEO and web presence management needs, please contact us today!
SEO for multiple locations – what now?
When businesses have multiple locations, the trick is to keep each office in a silo with it’s own citation data backing up that office. So, the Los Angeles office of a law firm would have it’s own set of listings, and the San Francisco office would have another, both with distinct address and phone number.
Managing multiple office locations becomes easier once you have a feel for how data flows through the local eco-system. Take a look at this chart.
This resource from Moz shows how a handful of “feeder” sites populate the rest of the web with local data. Especially for multiple location businesses, it’s crucial to organize the feeder data for each office. This way, information will flow more smoothly through the eco-system.
What if I don’t have any fixed location to receive verification code from Google?
Verification helps ensure the accuracy of your business information across Google. Verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users.
Verification also protects you from anyone who might otherwise pose as a representative of your business. Until you’ve completed verification, you won’t be able to edit the business information that appears on Google products.
For most businesses, verification means requesting, receiving, and reading a verification postcard from Google.Some businesses have other verification options, like verification via email, phone, or Search Console.You may see one or several types of verification depending on the type of business listing you manage:
Verify a business listing by postcard:
To verify your business listing by postcard, enter your business address in Google My Business. You’ll be sent a postcard with a verification code. Most postcards arrive within 14 days. Before you request to verify your listing by postcard, make sure that your business address complies with Google’s address entry guidelines.
Don’t edit your business name, address, or category, or request a new code while you’re waiting—this may delay the verification process.
Verify a business listing by phone (available for select businesses)
Some businesses listings are eligible to receive a verification code by phone. If your business listing is eligible, you’ll see the “Verify by phone” option when you request verification. If you don’t see this option, request to verify your listing by postcard instead.
Verify a business listing by email (available for select businesses)
Email verification isn’t available for all businesses. If you don’t see this option when you attempt to verify, try other verification method.
Before pursuing verification by email, make sure that you can access the email address shown in the verification screen.
Instantly verify a business listing (available for select businesses)
If you’ve already verified your business’s website with Google Search Console, your business listing may be eligible for instant verification.
To instantly verify your business listing, make sure that you’re signed in to Google My Business with the same account you used to verify your site with Search Console. Some business categories may not be eligible for instant verification.