Regardless of what you may have read SEO and local SEO are two different animals.
Moreover, there are clear distinctions between generic SEO and Local SEO strategies. Take link building as an example. What works on a national or international level will not necessarily be relevant in a local context. It’s much easier to build links for SEO purposes on a national level through practices like guest blogging so long as those links are relevant, (though in fairness guest blogging has received something of a body blow following the latest Google algorithm updates. Many businesses are now wary of accepting guest blogs for fear of falling foul of Panda.) It’s much more difficult to build these links locally when you are tied to a specific location. So how can businesses optimise their web presence and build links locally?
Here are a few suggestions:
Share or do something locally that’s worthy of note.
If you’ve got a great new product for the local market, or are planning on doing something that will benefit the local community, then make sure you spread the word. Local newspapers often feature articles on local companies who are making a difference in their community. If you are planning an event or launching a new product, then issue a press release and contact the local paper to get coverage. Many local newspapers now have an online edition, so news of your exploits will go online and this will bring you a permanent backlink.
Build relationships with the local blogging community.
Many local businesses can get a little too sniffy about the local blogging community. They are often seen as tittle-tattlers who simply write about their own lives and circumstances. Therefore businesses fail to see what relevance they might have. However, some local bloggers write about local events and the local community: this is relevant to your business and these could prove to be a valuable source of links. Get in touch with these bloggers. Offer them an interview with your company, or offer to write a guest blog for their site if you have content that you consider to be relevant.
Enter local business contests.
Many communities have local business contests that are often sponsored by local papers or radio stations. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a customer service contest, or a community challenge contest. What’s important is the taking part. These contests are often covered by the local media and this could result in links for your business.
Sponsor a local team.
This tactic is a sure-fire winner and won’t. necessarily mean you have to shell out money you haven’t got. Most local teams need sponsorship: it doesn’t matter whether it’s a sport’s team or a community action group. If you sponsor a local group you will be credited for your donation on the team’s website or in their publicity, and that will lead to a back link. If you’re short on cash and can’t afford a financial donation, offer your products to the local team if you think it might find a use for them.