Does local SEO replace the Yellow Pages?
by Andrew Millar
Or Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more
Back in the day, the yellow pages were the hot ticket for local businesses. Not having a listing was like forgetting to unlock your door. Getting your name in the big book was vital to your business’ success. But, times they are a changing. Print has taken a backseat to the Internet. Customers and prospects are now more likely to Google their needs than skim pages of print.
Why? Because Google searches are faster. They put more information at a customer or prospect’s fingertips than ever before. As a business owner, the question is: How do I get myself at the top of those results?
The answer is simple: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
More specifically, local SEO optimization. Why SEO? Because SEO is one of the main factors search engines like Google use to determine if your site (aka your business) is relevant to users. While SEO optimization is not an exact science, local SEO services can help you optimize your website’s content to improve results and attract customers.
How Local SEO Services Work
You think New York City is crowded. Just step take a step into the digital world. It’ll make the Big Apple seem like a hideaway. Internet traffic is mind bogglingly crowded. Your business’ website is constantly fighting for prime Internet real estate.
While Google’s exact algorithm is a closely guarded secret, we do know it considers the region of each searcher and website. Yes, this may sound a little “big brother,” but reality is – the closer your business physically is to the person searching, the more relevant Google considers your website.
One of the main jobs of any local SEO service provider is to optimize your business’ local map listings. It is how you link your digital space to your physical one.
On their own, Google and other search engines do link websites to specific physical locations. But, they can only do so much and they sometimes get things wrong. (You would not want to have your cupcake shop located in Seattle, Washington and have Google think you were baking up your goodies in Mobile, Alabama.)
Local SEO services help your business update their online local directory listings.
Local SEO Services Include Organic SEO Optimization
Additionally, a local SEO service provider will help your business improve its organic search results by optimizing your content. This increases your website’s search engine rank.
Typically, discussions about optimizing content are surrounded by specific keywords related to the products and services you provide. This kind of keyword optimization is definitely important. But local SEO services will partner this industry specific keyword optimization with a focus on local keyword optimization. For example, if you are a plumber in Orinda, California your local SEO service provider might optimize your content to not only include the words plumber clogged drains, but also Orinda.
Even if your business has a larger footprint than just one town or region, chances are pretty good that most of your clients are located within a specific zone. This kind of local SEO optimization targets your audience, attracts viable prospects and develops real leads.
Should you drop your Yellow Page listing and only use a local SEO service provider? Maybe. That is dependant on your clientele, their age demographic, their Internet use and their non-Internet use. One thing is certain; turning a blind eye to local SEO optimization means turning your back on a whole slew of prospects.