Local SEO or Organic? – Choosing an SEO Strategy
Local SEO and Organic SEO are two strategies commonly employed to grow online audiences. When Managing your company’s online presence, it is important to explore the different strategies available to help achieve your customer reach goals. Having a basic understanding of SEO is the first step to increasing your website’s traffic and reputation. When these techniques are used correctly, they can increase your website traffic – and your business.
Local SEO vs Organic SEO
The goal of Local SEO is to get your company listed at the top of the search results related to your business in your area. For example, if you own a shoe repair shop in Rocky River, Ohio and you chose to use Local SEO to promote your website, your goal would be to appear in Google’s Local Listing Pack for searches including “shoe repair” and “Rocky River”. The Google Local Listing Pack is the top 3 results that appear when you are searching for something in a location. These results are ranked according to the reputation of your business according to the search engine. Though the Local Listing Pack is unique to Google, any search engine your customers use gets to decide how relevant your website is to their search by scanning the site’s content, citations, internal links, and so on.
Organic SEO uses on and off-site optimization to get your page listed towards the top of the search engine results page or SERP. This strategy increases the search engine’s assessment of your website by meeting their requirements for a reliable website. This goal is like that of Local SEO strategies, but an Organic strategy aims to increase website traffic, not foot traffic.
Which is right for you?
Once you have grasped the differences between Local SEO and Organic SEO, it is time to decide which strategy would work best for your organization. There is no substitute for good research when it comes to website optimization, so make sure to read up on what has worked for businesses like yours. Usually, the deciding factor for choosing an SEO technique is your organization’s location. For businesses that operate mostly or solely online, a Local SEO strategy would be a poor choice and could possibly limit their audience reach by targeting the market geographically instead of by content relevancy. Organic SEO works best for online-based companies because it promotes your website based on content rather than location. But if you have a business that requires foot traffic and loyalty from local shoppers, Local SEO is most definitely the way to go.
5 tips for using Local SEO to promote your business
Google My Business – Google allows you to maintain a profile for your business so potential customers can get a quick overview when searching. It is crucial for Local SEO that you keep the information on this platform updated. When setting up your Google My Business profile be sure to list your company’s location, hours and contact info. Here you can also post photos, coupons and events so be sure to update these frequently as this is what the customer sees before visiting your website.
Keywords – Identifying a list of keywords you can use to describe a product or service that your company provides can help improve your website traffic. Using these words in title tags, meta-descriptions, anchor text, and heading tags increases the likelihood that your website will be listed in the results for searches containing them. With Local SEO approaches it is important to include geographic terms in your keywords, like the city you operate in and any other identifiers that apply to your location, like ‘west side’, ‘downtown’ or ‘Little Korea’.
Encourage reviews – Customer reviews help increase your reputation in the eyes of Google. The more people talk about your business, the more apparent it is that it’s a popular and therefore reliable local establishment. Your Google My Business profile shows reviews and your company’s overall rating but partnering with third-party review hosts can increase the attention your website gets from Google.
Reach out to local media – This off-line approach can help your local audience reach more than you might think. Contacting local media outlets creates a promotion opportunity for both of you. If you can get coverage from a local newsgroup, they are introducing you to their readers by presenting your story. But the media organization is benefiting as well when you circulate the piece they wrote about you, which makes them more likely to include your business in their news coverage. Be sure to request that they link to your website and social media in any online material they may write.
Citations – Mentioning information about your business online might sound like common sense, but don’t pass up this seemingly simple idea. Citations in the right places can help increase your audience and website traffic. Creating a business profile on Yelp, Facebook, or Yellowpages creates a citation by listing your company’s NAP – name, address and phone number – somewhere other than your website. These are called structured citations, whereas unstructured citations come from platforms that are not used as business directories, like getting mentioned on Twitter or in an online article.
5 tips for promoting your organization with Organic SEO
Keywords – Keywords are as useful in an Organic SEO strategy as they are in a Local SEO strategy. But with Organic SEO, it is important that you not overload your website with keywords. This is known as keyword-stuffing and Google watches out for this, so it can hurt your listing. This is especially important in blog posts and other informational content. It should be your priority to provide relevant information to your customer, not to be redundant for the sake of keyword matching.
Internal links – If most of your information is on the homepage of your website, you could be missing out on an opportunity to improve your listing. Separate content sub-categories into their own individual pages and create internal links to navigate through them. By clicking these links, customers are generating more activity on your website. Google and other search engines see this activity as a sign that your website is a trusted source of relevant information, and this helps improve your listing. But don’t make your customers run through a maze of internal links to get to the desired information, make sure your site is still user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Monitor citation – Once you have your citations covered, you can begin the citations made by others. Your website is likely not the only one providing information about your business, and it is important to keep track of what people are saying about your company online and how often. Since you can’t always control these sources, you can monitor them. This is a constant maintenance task that can take up a lot of time for a small business owner. Luckily there are citation-tracking software and subscription services that can help with this.
Cornerstone content – Compiling relevant content from multiple pages of your website into somewhat of a summary can help search engines learn the important features of your business. Creating what is called cornerstone content gives users and search engine bots a piece of comprehensive reference material they can access and scan quickly. This can take the form of an infographic image or video, a blog post, or an online publication. Including links to pages of your website where more information can be found on certain topics can help increase website traffic, but cornerstone content works just as well without them.
These few tactics are just a few of many used by industry professionals, and researching these methods further is highly encouraged. For more information, visit the sources listed below and check out our article “10 Signs You Need A New Website“!
- Difference between Local SEO vs Organic SEO? (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2019, from https://www.rankwatch.com/learning/content/17-difference-between-local-seo-vs-organic-seo
- Panchal, A. (n.d.). 5 SEO Tips That are Worthwhile for Small Businesses | RankWatch Blog. Retrieved April 5, 2019, from https://blog.rankwatch.com/5-seo-tips-that-are-worthwhile-for-small-businesses/
- (2019, March 21). 10 Tips to Increase Your Organic Page Ranking. Retrieved from https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-us/blog/2017-4-20-10-tips-to-increase-your-organic-page-ranking
- Patel, V. (2016, March 24). 5 Local SEO lessons from local business case studies. Retrieved April 9, 2019, from https://www.brightlocal.com/blog/5-local-seo-lessons-from-local-business-case-studies/
- Shaw, D. (2017, May 24). What is a Local Citation? Retrieved April 9, 2019, from https://whitespark.ca/blog/what-is-a-local-citation-for-local-seo/