You hear it all the time: Keywords and links, keywords and links, keywords and links. Is that really what it’s all about?
Well, let’s just say that managing your keywords is just a part of the territory. Building and managing links, too, is a part of running an online business, but there are some links that you have no control over. You can’t always manage the anchor text people use to link to you, or what page they link to either. But you can guide your link building efforts in some ways.
For local small businesses, the game is a little different than it is Internet-only businesses. If you sell widgets online then you need to show up in the SERPs for widget as much as you can and try to capture those long-term phrases as well. Locally, it may not be as important to rank well for the generic and long-term keyword phrases. You just need to rank well for them along with your geographic place names and search terms. And that’s easier to do.
Let’s say that “widget” returns 1 million results. Most of those results will be for website that represent businesses based all over the world. But if you narrow your search to “widget Minnesota” then you’ll cut down on the number of results. Let’s say it comes to 350,000. Narrow it further still to “widget st. paul minnesota” and you could narrow those results to less than 100,000. But what do you do with that.
In most cases, you not only should pay attention to the keyword phrases you use, but try to capture each phrase for all the relevant variations of your geographic search terms (i.e. st. paul minnesota, st. paul minn, etc.). You even want to try to capture zip codes, counties, townships, and even individual neighborhoods if possible.
So you can see how local SEO is a bit different than typical SEO. The principles are the same, but going about how to achieve them a little different.