Putting Together the Pieces of the Local Search Puzzle
When it all comes together, a successful local SEO strategy is one that results in high visibility online, more traffic offline, and increased revenue at each location. Where traditional SEO is centered around optimizing web pages to drive traffic to websites, local SEO is aimed at building reliable and relevant signals around specific geographic locations.
In order to drive people to their physical locations, businesses must cater their strategy not only to the customers searching for them, but to the search engines where their customers are looking. Ultimately, this means establishing “trust” with both.
Search engines want to deliver the most relevant and reliable solutions to searchers, and in the case of local search that means the most trustworthy businesses. The question is, how does a business build trust with search engines and succeed in local search?
Building credibility and optimizing brick-and-mortar locations for local search is different than optimizing a web page for organic searches. Where websites primarily depend on the quality and quantity of links pointing towards their pages, brick-and-mortar businesses rely on the quality, accuracy and consistency of their citations (Name, Address, Phone, Hours) listed around the web.
When citations are both accurate and consistent, it adds a layer of credibility which shows that a business is actually located where it says it exists offline. This is important because when the results are delivered to searchers, the search engine knows that it is giving customers the correct information and sending them to the right location (happy searchers make search engines money).
By having accurate citations on all of the high quality online directories, businesses are also showing search engines that they are a prominent business and have a greater authority than businesses with fewer quality citations or more inaccuracies. In addition to citations, search engines also determine credibility and authority by comparing a business’ ratings, reviews, responses, and local social media pages against its local competitors.
Along with authority and trust, search engines are also concerned with delivering highly relevant results to searchers. Relevance refers to how well a business matches what someone is searching for. Google and other search engines are able to determine relevance and match your business to relevant searches by the information it finds about your business as it crawls the web. Location and convenience are also factored into determining relevance due to the fact that nearby businesses will be more accessible and desirable to customers.