Mastering Local SEO

Part of what I do is provide recommendations to site owners about how they should optimize their web sites for search engines and local search. Often this list of recommendations is quite long and made up of items some of which are relatively easy to implement and some of which will require quite a bit of work. As you can imagine, there is sometimes push back from the site owner regarding the high effort items. Usually this resistance is phrased like, “Do I really need to do item #43?”

In the past I’ve taken the approach of explaining each recommendation to make sure it is understood (some can be quite technical) along with the reason for it when it comes to search engine rankings. Obviously the person paying for my services has the final say and so once I’ve provided my explanation I leave it to them to give the thumbs up or thumbs down. Sometimes so many items are rejected that I’m fairly certain the client has guaranteed failure with their local SEO efforts.

What I believe I’ve failed to emphasize is that the only way to win the local SEO game is to be better than all of the other competing sites. This is obvious to me and probably to everyone doing SEO work, but I’m now convinced that people outside of the search industry don’t get this idea. I believe they think that the game is just with the search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

So if a web site happens to have very little competition because it focuses on a very niche area, then the amount of local SEO required is going to be small. In such cases it makes sense to look at a list of recommendations and reject the time consuming and expensive items. However, for web sites where competition is present, perhaps from web-savvy affiliate marketers that build their web sites from scratch with local SEO in mind, it simply doesn’t make sense to not do everything possible to improve rankings in the search engines.


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