The Search Engine Journal discusses reasons why a physical business needs local SEO, or search engine optimization, what it is, and how it is different from national SEO.
If you are a local business, you need to do more than consider SEO if you are looking to gain new business and have a presence online.
1.What kind of businesses should have local SEO?
Any business that gets some or all of its customers locally.
2.How is local SEO different from national SEO?
While there is some overlap between the two, there are some tips that apply to local businesses in a way that will put smaller brands on the map, figuratively and literally.
First things first, it is important to create and claim a page on Google. This way when someone searches for your kind of service or product near them, it will show up.
People will be able to write reviews about your business. This is the second step—reviews, reviews, reviews. This is what will boost your rankings and trump citations (mentioned below). Ask customers for reviews any way you can, but never, ever buy reviews. Keep in mind, though, that a negative review can have a great impact on your appeal. An agency may be able to monitor and troubleshoot instances like these more swiftly.
The next step would be to get a citation that would give the name, address and phone number or NAP so customers can contact you more easily, say from their smartphone.
3. What does the location of a business to the city center have to do with anything?
Sam McRoberts, CEO of Vudu Marketing, said Google uses something commonly called “centroid bias,” which means that if someone searches for,”Seattle Dentist,” there will be a bias towards the dentist locations that are closest to the center of the city. While it is possible for a business in a neighboring city to rank for a metro keyword (i.e. a business in Cambridge trying to rank for a Boston keyword), if you’re on the outskirts of a city, or in a city neighboring a major metropolitan area, you’re going to be at a disadvantage.
4. Do you recommend small, local companies do local SEO in-house or hire an agency?
McRoberts said it depends entirely on your budget. There are plenty of guides out there that will walk you through local SEO, and you could put an intern in charge. Of course, if they mess things up, neither you nor they may realize it until it’s far too late. An agency will almost certainly be able to do the same things much, much faster, and while an agency may cost more upfront it might end up being worth it for the speed and accuracy.