In the first three parts of Taking the Mystery Out of SEO our primary focus was on organic SEO. Organic SEO is the art of optimizing a website around keywords. To further define what keywords are, these are the words and phrases that are associated with your products, services, and brand. Organic SEO is most important to businesses that do not rely on selling from a physical location, instead, offers are available to anyone in the world through a website.
For example, if you sell email marketing services you probably don’t want to write blogs optimized around the keyword phrase “best Eggs Benedict”. Instead, “ConvertKit vs. MailChimp” is a much better choice.
Although keyword SEO can play a factor (sometimes a major factor) in the rank of a local business’s website, the owner of a breakfast cafe doesn’t have to work nearly as hard on their content game as a global SaaS. A menu and a nice looking site with photos and a map will do very well for the cafe. The chef doesn’t need to blog twice a week.
That they are a brick-and-mortar business in close proximity to the searcher will allow the cafe to rank at the top a SERP for a great place to have breakfast. Why? Because local SEO returns the businesses that are nearest to the searcher and that have good reviews. Yes, if you haven’t noticed yet, Google knows exactly were you are.
For local businesses, citations are more important than inbound links from high authority sites. Again, this makes perfect sense. A citation is when your business is mentioned online. How many people are raving about the deliciousness of your Eggs Benedict and your charming outdoor seating is what Google cares about for a local business. Although, there is always crossover between local and organic SEO. For example, an organic link from Bon Appétit’s travel section might be an even better indicator of the caliber of your eggs.
If you are a local business, and extensive content creation is not necessary, you might wonder how you can improve your discoverability and rank. The simple answer is directories. These include straight-up business listings like Google My Business, Yellow Pages, and MapQuest; review directories like Yelp and TripAdvisor; and social media business pages. Again, social is its own category, but business pages on Facebook and LinkedIn count as directory listings in the local SEO game.
Learning the difference between these two types of SEO practices can protect you from disreputable SEO companies. If you are a global software provider and someone is trying to sell you citations and directory listings, beware. Likewise, if you are a local brick-and-mortar, don’t be railroaded into creating weekly blogs or spending a big budget on Twitter. Knowledge is power so educate yourself. With a little thought, all the SEO pieces fall into place.