A Broad Overview of Local Search Engine Optimization | Edge Digital

Local Search Rankings for Your Business

You’ve probably heard the term “local SEO” many times now, so what is it all about? It is sort of self-explanatory, but there are small differences in every single different SEO job that we do, no two businesses are the same and thus are going to require different things to excel. Local search optimization focuses completely on getting your website found for either your service or your product and is tied down to your physical location. This could be anything from “painters Clayon, NC” to “Pizza Shop New York, NY”, but more often than not you’re going to get the most out of local SEO that really boosts your website in your area for the service(s) that you offer.

If your company is what is referred to as a “brick and mortar” business, you probably rely on those walk-in customers that live within a certain range of your business, plus word of mouth to bring most people into your storefront. Well, that is just the circumstance that local SEO thrives in, it could make a world of difference for your business. While there are exceptions to this rule, most service companies fall into the category of needing or being able to benefit from local SEO. Local rankings are going to mean so much more to these businesses than anything national or broader will, you just don’t get the same quality of return.

National Players

A lot of websites focus on a national or even international audience. These types of websites/companies can sell their product anywhere and don’t need to be tied down to one physical location. They are either providing information, online sales platforms, or something along those lines that require a more broad area of ranking. Thinking about it in terms of a trul local business, it doesn’t make good sense to target an audience in Los Angeles for a plumbing repair company in Raleigh. While you may get traffic to your website, the odds of someone from Los Angeles searching for, or truly needing, a Raleigh plumber will be completely limited and you won’t see any real traffic, which is the end goal always.

Targeting Local Searches

seoFor that reason, local SEO has slightly different parameters – and common methods when compared to broad national rankings. Because we are targeting people in a specific geographic area, generally that means that we are not competing against the rest of the nation, or the world for that matter, to get to that top spot. We just have to have a better/stronger website than other websites competing in this geographic area, which does make it that much easier for you. That’s not to say all local SEO is easy because other companies are always looking to increase their rankings just as you are, but it’s certainly a more limited and less diverse field.

If you’re competing for one of the major cities in the RTP Triangle – such as Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, or even Cary – getting to the top will be more difficult than fighting over a smaller location such as Garner, Clayton, Knightdale, or one of the other outlying city/town areas. Success in a more populous location will require more links, more time, and overall, more effort. Accordingly, it will usually be more expensive to get hold of and subsequently hold onto the top rankings in these areas.

Local Ranking Strategies

When we’re trying to rank you locally in your area, we first focus on ranking you well for the smaller cities around your area. This will allow your company to build up a base of solid page one rankings, getting the phone to ring, making you more money, and boosting your strength so it’ll be easier to rank for those big cities. Look at it as going after a series of smaller wins in preparation for the larger wins later. Some niches can actually be dominated, even in the larger cities, fairly quickly, it just really depends on what your business is, current domain strength, and current competition. As we’ve said before, it’s different every time and we work specifically on a case by case basis.

National Sites in Local Markets

off-site seoOne thing that does crop up, that can occasionally make it more difficult to achieve a top spot, is the presence of numerous service directories taking over all of the top rankings that you’re looking for. These can include sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, Home Advisor, Service Advisor, YellowPages, etc. We are sure you have seen many of them in your searches. While we personally feel that most people would rather connect with a single local company in each listing, and not be provided a link to yet another group of links, that is the way it is currently so we have to work around it.

One other risk is national brands with a wide expanse of service area pages that may encroach into your area. Generally, they aren’t pumping tons of resources into these and are happy with them just ranking on the front page, but it is just one more strong site for you to compete against in the grand scheme of things.

Specific Local Listings

Google is forever altering the way in which they present local listings. In the past, these listings have been referred to as a 3-pack, a 4-pack, and most often, a 7-pack. At the end of August 2015, Google shifted towards the new format we know now. This format has been affectionately dubbed, the snack pack, and hasn’t changed in a long time so we assume it’s going to stick around. The thing with this snack pack, it only has space for three listings. Obviously, if your company is one of those three and appears on the top of that page, that is wonderful news for you. We also feel it’s good news for all other organic listings on the page. Why? With as many as seven local listings and as many as 10 to 15 organic listings on a front page, there was a lot of competition for your click so you want your business to be on there as many times as possible.

Do I Really Need BOTH On-site SEO, Off-site SEO, and Social Media?

Developer working to improve off-siteSEOWe can’t stress enough – Yes you do – ALL of the factors come into play with local search optimization like they do with any national other SEO campaigns. Even the snack pack rankings are controlled mostly by your citation listings on third party sites, so we have a lot of different things that need to be working together to ensure good results. We’ve seen very few cases where sites that are completely lacking in organic rankings do well but rank well in the map listings. More often than not if you’re finding a listing in the snack pack, the main listings will be ranking well organically too as long as everything is in order with it.

Not sure how to get your company listed in the snack pack? It may take some time, intense clean up of existing citations, and more, but Edge Digital is dedicated to increasing your map pack rankings across the board no matter what. Some are as easy as sending out one simple set of citations, while others struggle to break into the top 3 with every single little factor optimized. It all just depends on your area and business.

Hunter writes content for websites and can write great content like nobody’s business. Once he gets started writing, it is hard to stop him and he has been duly crowned “The Content King.” He also does light web design work and ultimately, just about anything that is asked of him in the website world.

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