Local SEO maximizes your online content to target web browsers in your immediate physical vicinity. By including geographically specific keywords and phrases throughout your web pages, you increase the chances of coming up on the first page of your neighbors’search results.
This simple yet effective SEO strategy is often misunderstood. Let’s examine some of the most popular beliefs about local SEO that might not be completely based on truth.
What is Local SEO?
Search engines are the librarians of the internet world. Their algorithms, crawlers, and bots examine and catalog billions of pages of text, images, and videos every day. Like a library patron, internet users depend on the search engine’s depth of knowledge to guide them through the mounds of data to the right solution for their particular problem.
SEO is a set of techniques that helps businesses connect to web users that may be interested in their products or services. Unlike other internet marketing efforts like paid ads, SEO is a long-term strategy. A one-time investment yields continuous results with minimal maintenance.
Local SEO adapts general SEO strategies to appeal to specific geographical demographics. If a customer is searching for a plumber in New York, it won’t do any good if their search engine only displays results in California. Local SEO strategies help internet searchers and local businesses find each other.
A good local SEO strategy includes these elements:
- Local keyword research. Some regions have unique terminology that might not be known in other places.
- Geographically focused. Focusing in on a specific city or even neighborhood is a great way to boost in-store traffic or connect to those within your service area.
- Integration with online maps. Snag on-the-go mobile users by showing up on their navigation app’s search results pages.
- Strategic link building. Get your business in front of the right eyeballs by partnering with sites that appeal to customers similar to your target demographic.
Local SEO is a great tool for small, locally-based commercial operations. However, it needs to be used correctly to be its most effective.
Now that we understand what good local SEO practices are, let’s look at some of the things that you should avoid in your internet marketing strategy.
Endless Lists of Cities, Neighborhoods, or Streets
To point their potential customers in the right direction, businesses use the names of specific towns, neighborhoods, and even streets in their content. This is an excellent way to help customers find stores that are close to them.
However, some content writers can go overboard. To appeal to the broadest customer base, they fill their pages with references to different areas. This isn’t the best practice for a few important reasons:
- Search engines are designed to automatically weed out spam pages by calculating keyword density. Too many mentions of the same thing in a short space can get your content kicked out of their ranks.
- Good content is the best way to lure in new customers. When you’re too focused on fitting in the right words, the readability of your content suffers. Instead of attracting customers, you could be damaging your company’s reputation.
- While words are important, there are other aspects of SEO that increase the effect of the words you use. Programs like Google My Business makes geo-targeting easier than ever without the need for excessive mentions of physical locations.
It’s All About the Words
SEO is a content strategy. That means it depends on words to work. However, there are so many other elements that go into a successful SEO campaign. These include:
- High-quality content that is useful, relevant, and accurate.
- Focused keyword strategy.
- A network of influencers and partner sites for building credible backlinks.
- An understanding of search engine algorithms.
- Optimized URLs to facilitate indexing.
In local SEO campaigns, these factors become even more important. Since your target demographic is naturally limited by geographical restrictions, you need to take every available advantage to get your pages seen.
If online marketing were a chess game, content would be king while a comprehensive SEO strategy would be queen. While local SEO is mostly about words, it’s the strategy of using them that allows the content to be most effective.
Fancy Tricks Don’t Yield Positive Results
Just like any other part of life, there are those who cheat at local SEO. These “Black Hatters” use a set of nefarious tactics to artificially drive up their search engine rankings and give their sites the appearance of success. Some of these tactics include:
- Inserting a list of random keywords on pages in an invisible font. This allows the page to be picked up by the search engines, even if the actual content isn’t related to the search phrase.
- Using paid link programs. Some SEO providers offer paid link building to their clients. However, these low-quality links are usually buried in comment sections, on empty forum posts, and other places that simply won’t draw traffic.
- Posting duplicate content. Plagiarism is serious business. Posted content that does not give the proper credit might lure in a few visitors. However, it could also land you in legal trouble.
In local SEO, filling your content with random references to locations is keyword stuffing and might get you excluded from internet search engine rankings.
The Value of Having an SEO Expert Work on Your Local SEO Campaign
Working with a professional SEO firm is the best way to ensure your online content is maximized for local traffic. In our company, we employ a set of proven strategies to help businesses meet their goals:
- Optimized Google My Business page to improve map pack position.
- Location information like phone numbers, addresses, and business names are prominently featured to enhance brand recognition and encourage interaction.
- Our content gets your business found without violating search engine rules and regulations.
Local SEO is a great way to use the power of the internet to connect to new customers. However, the right strategy can be complicated. Contact us to find out how we can maximize your content strategy and increase your profitability.