dinersGuy Fieri is changing the world. But not in ways that will garner a Nobel Prize or an Emmy Award. Yet, this host of the wildly popular Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” is changing the underbelly of America as it relates to esoteric cuisines and establishments around the country. Now, we are no longer content to rely solely upon the tried and true popular franchises that line our roadways. We know there is more to life. And with Guy at the helm of our culinary taste buds and our curiosity piqued, we lie awake wondering if delicacies such as hot dogs deep fried and wrapped in bacon could really be among us; perhaps just a few miles away. Foods once hidden and known only to locals have now been brought out “into the light” and we are forever changed.

In like fashion, Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has brought businesses once hidden and known only to locals to a broader population looking for their unique services. Whether you realize it or not, or believe in its relevancy, SEO is here to stay. And, it’s impacting the way your local business is found in search results among the dizzying array of options now available on the web.

So what’s the difference between finding a web-based marketing provider versus a local business providing marketing services? There’s no punch line; it’s simply local SEO!

When using a search engine, such as Google or Bing, your search results essentially depend on the keywords and information your business provides on the internet. The links which appear in your search engine results page (SERP) are organic, paid, and local results. Let’s get to know two of our contestants today: organic and local SEO.

Organic SEO

Organic SEO is led by optimizing your webpage content to match keywords used in search engines. Search engines create an algorithm to rank websites based on their quality, importance and relevance to their keywords. The websites presented after local results are the ones found to be most useful and relevant to your keyword search. Through link building and social signals, traffic generated is counted towards the popularity of the page and, therefore, the trust and authority of your business. Organic results are not a neutral entity. They can help or hurt local results in a major way.

Local SEO

SeoLocal SEO requires a uniquely different approach. Link building becomes almost irrelevant, and consistency becomes key. SEO becomes driven by the name, address and phone number (NAP) for your business. In taking this step, you are optimizing your local business listings to create trust and popularity. Citations are created of the NAP in local pages like Google+, Yahoo! Local or Yelp; almost like a watermark. The most important step here: make sure all citations match everywhere you use them. For example, if you use “Main St.” for your address in one site, use it exactly like that on all the sites you are listed on. Don’t change it to “Main Street.” Similarly, if you list your phone number as (XXX)-XXX-XXXX, keep that format. Don’t change it to XXX.XXX.XXXX. In local SEO, customer reviews also become extremely vital to your reputation, both online and in the search engines.

Making it Work Together

So, what is the best strategy to use when approaching search engine optimization for SMB? Engage both Organic SEO and local SEO as often as possible. Both have the same grand objectives for your business: generating traffic, finding customers and, ultimately, creating more profit! Organic SEO is all keywords and rank. Local SEO is to be represented in the local section of the SERP. Local small to medium businesses (SMB) benefit the most from this combination of SEO practice. Relying on one alone will not produce the results you need to get your business thriving. Equally as important, make sure the content and information you provide on your site is consistent, compelling, and well written. It’s not easy, but it’s easier than you might think. Your business may not necessarily end up on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” But, chances are someone is traveling “off road” looking for the unique services you offer. Make it easier for them to find you. Your bottom line will reward you in the end. If you want to learn more about how to integrate SEO for your business, contact us today at 888.552.7475.

Written by Raymond Turner