Finding Customers Online - What Is Local SEO
In the last blog post we talked about what SEO means. If you have not read it, and especially if you are a little shaky on what SEO is, go back and read this post first. Now we are going to take a minute to talk about what local SEO is. There are a lot of similarities between SEO and Local SEO, the difference lies in where you show, as well as how you get to the top.
Local SEO come around as more and more people went online to find new local businesses. Many of you probably use local SEO on a daily basis, and don't even realize it. Traditionally Google shows 10 websites listed on the page when you search. They also show a few ads where you can pay to be listed. When you search for something local, it ads another layer.
Local SEO shows businesses, not websites, that fall in that category they are searching. But they only show if they are close to where they are searching, or searching from. And the results? There is a lot more that goes into being on Google for local SEO that traditional SEO does not take into consideration... like how far your business is from where they are searching. In this post we will go into the overview of what Local SEO looks at, and in later posts will dig into the execution of these factors. But the thing to remember is, you are not trying to rank your website with Google, you are trying to rank your business and your website is just one of the things it looks at to do that.
Google My Business
What is Google My Business? Think of it as a social media profile for your business that is shown on the search results. It is also the only way to get your business on the map (literally on Google Maps), by having a Google My Business listing. You see your listing on Google Maps when you search local businesses, as well as on the sidebar of the search engines.
Getting your balloon business a Google My Business listing is simple. You can simply go to www.google.com/business and sign your business up for an account. It will verify you are at the address you say you are, and once verified you will start showing.
With traditional SEO, one of the main factors that determine where you place is what 3rd party websites link to your website. It is like a referral for your website. That helps local SEO as well, which we will go into more details later in another post, but for local SEO it also looks at business citations. Business citations are similar to links, where it is a different website giving a good referral, however the difference is there is not necessary a link. If a local paper talks about your business opening, but just uses your name in their article and do not link back to you, that is considered a citation.
There are 2 types of citations for you balloon business. There are structured and unstructured citations. Structured citations are websites like Yelp where you are in a structured directory. Everyone in the list has their information formatted in similar way. The main types of structured citations are directories like Yelp, review websites and social media profiles. Unstructured citations would be blog posts, local media or social media posts. There is no format to how your business is listed, just a mention of your business online.
Another HUGE factor that goes into your balloon businesses placement on local SEO, is reviews of your business. There are a lot of places to get reviews and each area may have different websites that review their local businesses. The main review sites that every business should focus on is Google, Facebook and Yelp reviews. Google by far is the most important of any review website you can be on. It not only has the most effect on your websites ranking, but anyone that sees your Google My Business listing will see these rankings. Having bad Google reviews can make or break your business. We will go into more details on how to best get more reviews for your business later.
Having social media profiles for your business is an important part of your ranking on Google. While social media link do not actually count for links or citations for your business. Google likes to see an active profile. Regular posts and fan interaction are things that Google looks at with your social media profiles. They also look at how often people like or share your content/website. If everyone posts a link to your website on their profiles, it might not be a link, but Google for sure will consider it a sign that your business is legit.
Now, I do not want you thinking that traditional SEO is not important. You still want to be at the top of traditional SEO, but everything that Google looks at in traditional SEO, for the most part, will also effect your Local SEO listing. Consider this post another layer on top of traditional SEO for local businesses. I will go into a LOT more detail on all these things, but I needed this post to make sure you were aware of what local SEO is, and why it is important to your business..