Search Engine Optimization as a whole has certain methods and measurements that are understood to measure success. For years, it’s been PageRank. PageRank was a measure of a website’s importance by way of how many authoritative sites linked to it. But what about its importance in Local SEO?
This rank created whole employment positions of “link builders” and sites called “link farms.” Exploitations were found. Site bannings commenced. PageRank became this precious commodity like spices of the East Indies. If your site garnered more PageRank, it was bumped up in the ranks and, therefore, more susceptible to being clicked. This practice started making link builders salivate with opportunities and more people hoped for a “reciprocal link” from a prominent site.
If you think that this sounds sort of clique-ish, well, you’re not far off. Once people started discovering the “no-follow” tag, all link-heck broke loose. A no-follow tag would not share any PageRank authority to the linked page. Dubbed “link juice,” site owners could link to other sites choosing who to spill PageRank authority to and snub others. Newspapers, magazines and other featured media did this to curb the websites that would benefit from being featured in a story.
As you can see this whole PageRank business becomes a popularity contest whether or not the website was of any use to anybody. Even though there are current changes about Page Rank, one thing I like about Local SEO is that it doesn’t really matter.
Yes. I wrote that out. I am saying that Local SEO can do without PageRank. Why? Well, quite frankly, you can rank well in Local Search Results without having a website at all. Surprised? Well, you should be! What this is showing us is that as far as Local Search is concerned, there is something mighty different going on in the Local Ranking Algorithm.
So what is going on?
Well, unless you work at Google, you have to guess. What I like to do is to step back and look at where technology is going and what is being promoted and see how everything fits together. The Big Picture. Once, we use to be a nation of desktop users reading brochure sites. Next, we moved to laptops with bloggers blogging everything. Now, we are on mobile devices texting, twittering and doing more than the desktop could ever do – linking the user to his/her environment with local search and GPS connectivity.
Local SEO is about where you are
The relevance of a website is not about Page Rank, it’s about where you are physically to your desired need. A website having a Page Rank of 5 but whose store is several miles away from the searcher will not be number 1 over the store that is around the block. Now there are many factors that play into local search results, and I am simplifying it a tad, but the important thing to realize is that in the world of local SEO, the virtual world is being torn away to bring in reality.
And that’s a good thing for all of us. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Accept your store front’s proximity.
The old real estate saying “location, location, location” is just as true today as it was when the idea of a “main” street was conceived. Be where the people will be.
2. Focus on the keywords that people might type for.
Talk in the language of your consumer, not in the language of your trade
3. Encourage people to review your business online.
Provide a link on your main page, setup a kiosk-type computer in the store or mention it in your ads. Reviews, good and bad, can make you more visible.