To understand the issues connected to LOCAL SEO we need to put a few things into perspective.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation should be defined as the collective effort of your entire marketing team in their efforts to ensure that your online information is found by your intended target market when they search for your information, products or services online.
SEO or Search engine optimisation is the collective online effort of your entire marketing team to ensure that your pages are indexed in search engines in a manner that ensures that you get qualified visitors who are looking for your products, services or related information.
So SEO is thus not just the sneaky coded stuff that the technical guys add to your page, but includes, though is not limited to
- In page SEO through a variety of coding techniques within the HTML.as well as context applicable content that is target market orientated and well written by a good copy writer.
- SMO (Social Media Optimisation) where the social signals and related links to your online information is worked on to maximize the SEOVI that are associated with social media
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing) where search engine results pages or SERP's are the primary concern, and your online content is focused for search engines and not the end users of your content
- SMM (Social Media Marketing) similar to SMO but focused on your social networks and not their social interactions with your content.
- Content marketing where the content appreciation by your target market is the focal area and not the search engines or social media platforms.
- Link building and related tactics to generate inbound links
There have been many statements saying that SEO is dead, but these are just smoke screens to get you to follow some new approach to SEO in disguised and minimized format.
The fact that SEO is not dead, but rather very active and growing is discussed on the 4u brand blog here
These tactics and many others are discussed in our blog page discussing SEO
So what is GEO LOCATION, #geolocation and #geolocationmarketing
First thing we need to establish about local SEO is that it is GEO based and thus has a local Geographically exclusive targeted audience. GEO based means that it is based on Geographical co-ordinates which are based on latitude and longitude readings, as in map reading, with a two figure reading reflecting the exact geographical location of your brick and mortar shop, office, restaurant or business premisses by latitude and longitude
So for local SEO to be implemented the first steps are to establish some means for Google and other search engines to know the GEO Based information about your Brick and mortar location or physical location as in street address. This is best done by having a Google Local page where your business is indicated by a pin, or other marker, that you place on the map yourself, and backed up by doing similar on BING and Yahoo's platforms, as well as any other that you deem necessary.
You also need to ensure that you are consistent with your NAP info... (Name Address Phone = NAP) across all platforms and in all online marketing strategies. This is vitally important especially since Google Humming Bird has flown into the picture where the semantics of all your online efforts are examined and utalised to determine your semantic mapping issues and related SEOVI (Search Engine Optimisation Value Indicators)
Google now places great emphasis on your GEO LOCATION for the context of an end users search, and if searching for a restaurant will return the closest listed restaurants in the SERP's, using your geo location, because of the semantic associations of your content to the context of the search. see this INFOGRAPHIC for a better understanding
Geo Location Based Marketing ( #geolocationmarketing ) is thus marketing that takes your latitude and longitude into account, and focuses primarily on local SEO marketing tactics. This is also very useful when people search for things near known landmarks and such as schools, hospitals, hotels and tourism based attractions which might be near your business. an example for a search of this nature this might be "closest restaurant to sunrise point" or "nearest petrol station to M 25 East and M 22 North intersection"
Next issue to consider is what all is taken into consideration when a user performs an online search.
It is thus important that you have taken the time to consider the many issues connected to local search, and done the necessary research about you location and surrounding areas to be able to make use of local vocabulary, local land marks and local businesses so that you may include these in your online content in ways that will make meaningful contributions to your local SEO efforts, which will then be better matched to a local search query for your business, organisation or the products and services that you offer.
Local landmarks of any significance should be mentioned and any connections that these may have to your business should be exploited in your copy, in such a manner that search engines will be able to connect these to your business in the correct context. An example here would be if your business is within the hospitality arena you would discuss any historical landmarks from a tourism perspective, and how your business caters for visitors to the area, as well as how far you are from the specific land mark. Things like parking and access to your business are also of extreme importance here. If you business is in a shopping mall, then you should discuss the mall as a general attraction and mention other shops as well as related businesses within the mall by name within your content in ways that a search engine would be able to connect these businesses to your physical location as well. The new semantic search criteria are at stake here, and the connection between your business and the rest of the businesses within the mall as being part of a shopping complex is the issue that you need to have enforced through your content and related social media marketing strategies.
During your local SEO efforts you should try to mention your street name, your suburb name, your district name, your local municipality name, your post code (ZIP CODE), your phone number and area dialing codes, the closest railway station, local bus terminal names and any other local names that are used by your intended target market in their day to day conversations that may refer to your area or your specific location.
Local SEO is an awful lot easier in small towns than it is in the city, as there are many fewer competing businesses for the same street name, the same suburb name, the same town name and similar names, but this dies not mean that those in small towns should skimp here, but rather that they will do better if all the issues are addressed as completely as possible.
Local SEO favors small business over big brands, and is the small guys window to display their stuff near the top of the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) purely because big brands do not have a local presence of any significance. This means that small business has an added advantage if they make use of the LOCAL issue in a manner that Google can interpret and attach local contextual meaning to their content.
Now from reading the above you will realise the true power of the local search issue when you take into consideration that Google uses the exact GPS (Global Positioning System) location of the searcher, and has means of determining the physical distance in meters between the searcher and your brick and mortar location which you have so meticulously crafted and entered into all those sneaky locations on Google Local and other online forums.
Local SEO is thus a very powerful sub set of your total SEO package that you should not ignore, but rather enhance through a FUFISM based approach to your online marketing strategy.
Pages used for research during this post... in no particular order. Each of these links is a post in its own rights and will add value to your understanding of LOCAL SEO.