Local SEO vs. Organic SEO
There is a huge difference when it comes to Organic Search results and Local SEO. Organic SEO is improving your website rankings in organic search. Without question, your website’s strength does affect and influence your Google Map Pack rankings (Google Map Pack, Google My Business, and Google Business Profile may all be synonymous with each other). However, Local SEO is a specific focus to improve your rankings and visibility in local search results specifically in the Google Map Pack.
Roughly 10% of search traffic goes to paid ads – and they are expensive! These ads do not provide any SEO value and the second you are done paying for them your sales will dry up. Organic SEO is competing against very large entities with huge budgets for content, link building, blogs, press releases, etc. We often look at a competitor’s website when we talk to a client and show them the large competitor has 300, 500, or even 1000 pages of content. So, if you want to compete against them you may need to create the same amount of content (very hard to do on a $2-5,000 per month budget). But, when we look at Local SEO the little guys can compete and even dominate the larger players and take their business. In fact, roughly 50% of searches are for a local company, and of those 60% of the clicks go to the Map Pack. So, if you want sales this is where to focus your efforts.
Both Local SEO and Organic Search require unique strategies to optimize for results. In this blog, we are only going to focus on Local SEO – specifically, getting you ranked higher and appearing more often in response to a large number of searches – in marketing this is often called Top of Funnel. Gathering as many “loosely’ qualified potential customers as possible and funneling them down the process as Marketing Qualified Leads, Sales Qualified Leads, and eventually customers.
It's All About The Algorithm
Google has become more and more popular as its algorithms delivered searches to local businesses – in fact, based on keywords Google knows you have an immediate and local need. An algorithm is essentially a math problem (X + Y + Z) = Result. If you know what XYZ is you can manipulate the results.
The algorithm includes many factors the simple ones are: name, address, phone number, website, photos, videos, reviews, and ratings. More complex factors may include citations, blogs, posts, links, domain authority, page authority (including landing page), services, products, attributes, hours, and more. It is a must to adhere to Google Webmaster Guidelines to create a user experience based on best practices. Google also has Business Profile policies and guidelines, which include how to represent your business, post content, messaging, photos, videos, gift cards, API, and third-party policies.
Why Local SEO and Local Search Are Important
Google began updating Google My Business because they found:
- 76% of people who conduct a local search on their mobile device visit a business within 24 hours and 28% of those visits turn into a purchase.
- 61% of consumers search for a local business each day.
- 86% of people rely on Google Maps to find a local business.
How Google Determines Local Search Rankings
- Relevance (utilizing more than 20 factors in their algorithm)
- Distance (from the searcher)
- Prominence (how well a local business profile matches what the searcher is looking for)
Top-Ranking Factors Include:
- Business Name
- Primary Category (some categories are actually stronger than others)
- Keywords in the Business Title (very tricky to do correctly – The business name should be found inside the H1 tag or title tag on your website
- Physical location
- Additional Google Business Profile categories (we recommend no more than 3 total categories)
- Cumulative Star Ratings and Overall Score
- Completeness of the listing
- Backlink quality and authority for your website
- Use of keywords within the reviews themselves – i.e. if you are a “Yoga Studio” and want to rank for this you should have reviews that say you are a Yoga Studio.
- Blog posts and content within Google (not just on your website)
About Local Search Partners
Local Search Partners has spent years reverse engineering Google’s algorithm to know exactly what buttons and levers to push and pull when it comes to Local SEO. We take the time to completely optimize your Google Business Profile both on-site and off-site, we also help develop a protocol to help you generate more reviews. In particular, Steven Lockhart (Co-Founder) is widely regarded as one of the top digital marketing experts in the country. Knowing what to do is one thing, knowing how to do it is completely different and makes all the difference in going from a good response to a great response.