The way in which potential customers find businesses has evolved dramatically with advances in technology over the last few decades. Search engines have replaced standard word of mouth, forcing companies to re-evaluate their marketing strategies. If you’re a local business owner looking to rank high on SERPs, you first need to know the difference between organic and local SEO.
Organic SEO is about optimizing your website/pages and its content by establishing trust for search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) in order to get on page 1 for keywords that drive traffic and conversions on your site. Often times your business’ reputation may be buried by other pages in the search results.
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Local SEO is about optimizing your business listings by establishing trust around your individual locations across local/map sites (Google Maps, Yelp, Dealerrater, etc.). Trust is established by creating consistency in your business listings so the search engines feel you have accurate information. Trust is also established by customer feedback via online reviews. These reviews put your business’ reputation front and center with local search. Finally, Local Search is even more difficult as local businesses now need to be in the top 3 positions to show up in the listing pack, due in part to the increase of mobile searches.
For both Organic and Local SEO, Google uses algorithms to naturally decide what order to display the search results. This artificial intelligence is programmed to display the most applicable and valuable information to the person searching. At its most basic level, this is determined by relevance and trust.
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- Relevance is essentially how well content from the webpage matches the search query given.
- Trust is a much more complex criteria with many different deciding factors and primarily established by external references, called citations, to that web page and the domain.
- The quality of citations is very important. A good example of differences in quality is a mother’s blog compared to New York Times; New York Times has a higher quality value because it appears much more trustworthy to the artificial intelligence.
- The quantity of citations to a web page is also important in establishing trust, but keep in mind, all citations should be from a quality source.
While the concepts of relevance and trust are still imperative to local SEO, the greatest distinction is its geographical component.
- To qualify for a local business listing, the company must have a business name or DBA, a physical location with legitimate street address, local phone number that matches the city of location, and make face-to-face contact with its customers.
- Citations within Local SEO are built around the consistency of your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone). This allows the engine to trust the data coming based on this consistent information.
How do you improve relevance and trust in Local Search?
- Claim and optimize your business listings for every location across all local search sites
- Have a separate listing page for every storefront, with custom information and pictures
- Make sure NAP is consistent across all listings for the same storefront
- Delete duplicate listings
- Attract high quality and quantity of customer reviews
- Continue to produce fresh content- the world is always changing; answers for a search query from 5 years ago can be very different from today. This also reflects that a business/website is still in business and providing valuable content to its customers.
For more tips on local search optimization, check out our post “6 Ways To Speed Up Your Local SEO Success in 2014”!
With so many different locations, it can be difficult for a business to track their individual activity. Our unique dashboard allows you to easily monitor all your store pages and participate in the conversation, all on one convenient platform. You can even add filters to monitor specific brands or areas of concern. Simply fill out this form today and we can help you track location-based chatter about your company from across the entire social web!