Regardless of your type of business, search engine optimization (SEO) will determine where your website falls in the Google ranks. Your rank on Google plays a huge factor in how much traffic will be directed to your website. In fact, a staggering 87% of all website clicks come from the top five search result placements. After all, how often do you find the website you were looking for anywhere other than the first page of a Google search?
With this in mind, a question that plagues business owners, entrepreneurs, and bloggers alike is “How do I get a higher rank on Google?” Should you focus on local SEO or organic SEO for your website? What makes these terms different, anyway? It turns out that these answers can differ depending on what you want to rank for. Here, we will cover the basics of local and organic SEO to help you determine where to focus your efforts in order to yield the best results for your business.
LOCAL SEO 101
- What is Local SEO?: Local SEO is an optimization strategy focused on generating relevant search results based on the user’s geographical location
- Who Needs Local SEO?: Businesses with a physical storefront, especially, will benefit from optimizing for local search. That way, customers in their area will be able to find their website which will, in turn, drive business to their offline business.
- How Does Local SEO Work?: Let’s say you’re looking for a cup of coffee in your area. You Google “coffee near me,” and Google lists the top three shops in your area that sell coffee. This is because these shops are optimized for local search – Google has enough information about these shops to deduce that they are both relevant to your search and within a reasonably close distance from your location.
LOCAL SEO TIPS
- Ensure Your NAP is Accurate: One of the most impactful ways to rank for local search is simply to make sure that your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are the same on every website and directory it is listed on. If your business moves and your storefront is listed with both the new and old address, both the Google algorithm and potential customers will be confused and your rank will likely suffer as a result.
- Fill Out All of Your Information on Local Listings: The more data a search engine has on your business, the better they know how to list it in a local search. Along with the standard NAP, Google My Business also allows you to set hours of operation, the category of work you do, regularly upload photos, manage reviews, and so on. Google’s algorithm likes to see that your business profile is maintained regularly, and accounts that are frequently updated with more information will likely be rewarded with a better ranking.
- Use Relevant Focus Keywords: If you own a pizza shop in Manhattan, odds are your business will not be found very easily if your focus keyword is just “pizza.” Instead, “pizza NYC” or “Manhattan pizza” would without a doubt yield better results in both visibility and ranking. Including your location in your focus keyword will allow searchers in your area to find your business and see exactly how far away it is from them at their given location.
- Encourage Customer Reviews: One of the biggest differentiating strategies between local and organic SEO is asking for reviews. Businesses with a large number of positive reviews will shoot right to the top of a Google search, occupying one of the highly-coveted top three listing slots. For a more in-depth look at the importance of reviews for SEO, check out our blog titled The Power of Online Reviews for Small Businesses.
ORGANIC SEO 101
- What is Organic SEO?: Organic SEO is the process by which a website receives its placement in a search engine based on the authority and the relevance of its content.
- Who Needs Organic SEO?: Businesses without a physical storefront or who are not looking to appeal to an audience in their geographical location would most want to optimize for organic searches. This could be a blogger looking to establish credibility or a business with an e-commerce format.
- How Does Organic SEO Work?: Using the coffee example from before, let’s say we’re searching for new blends to try the next time you visit that coffee shop. You type in “best coffee blends,” and Google gives you online retailers and web pages that they think best fit your search query. Google decided to show you these results first because they contain your search term, are relevant to what you were searching for, and come from high-authority websites.
ORGANIC SEO TIPS
- Optimize Your Keywords: In order to rank well, you need to know the keywords that your target audience is searching for in order to ensure that your website will be found. Utilize websites such as SEMrush to find which relevant keywords generate the most monthly searches. It will take the guesswork out of finding the right terms, and you might find some surprising new keywords that will drive more traffic to your website.
- Refine On-Page Optimization: Your on-page optimization could be the difference between ranking on page one and page five, yet so many businesses don’t make it a priority. This includes making an SEO-friendly URL (short and sweet and includes your focus keyword), a relevant page title, alt text, image text, and so on. Each of these modifications factors into how the Google algorithm determines the relevance of your content.
- Write with Your Focus Keyword in Mind: Decide on a focus keyword before you start writing content for your blog or website. Your writing will flow better if your keyword is written in naturally, and Google will reward you for not keyword stuffing at the end.
- Gather Inbound Links: Inbound links (or backlinks) are links on a third-party website that follow back to a page on your website. Businesses can use social media to create inbound links; every retweet or share makes a new, unique link back to your website. Additionally, strategize ways to receive quality inbound links from high-authority websites with relevance to your business. Guest blogging on other websites and sharing premium content are great ways to attract high-quality links.
Ready to Up Your SEO Strategy?
Creative Click Media specializes in helping businesses get their websites optimized for organic and local SEO. Check out our Ultimate SEO Pricing Guide or contact us to see how we can help your website climb the Google ranks.