There are a lot of elements to search engine optimization — and no one has the time and resources to put them all into play at once. Particularly when you’re looking at doing small business SEO — helping a mom and pop store establish a web presence for itself — you have to pick and choose carefully which kinds of activities will have the best benefit on their business.
To that end, you have to choose at the outset what kind of strategy you’re going to use. Will you concentrate on driving traffic to their website and trying to make sales online? Or will you concentrate on driving traffic through their doors and trying to make sales face to face? The difference between those options is the difference between internet marketing and local internet marketing.
When you engage in internet marketing, you’re trying to make money online. When you engage in local internet marketing, you’re performing many of the same kinds of activities, but you’re attaching location-based keywords to the entire process. So you might still be building backlinks by creating web 2.0 properties and social bookmarks and whatnot, but instead of using “inexpensive board games” as your anchor text, you’ll use “board games Olympia WA”.
The location specificity immediately guarantees that you cut out 99.9% of competing pages, especially if you’re in a rural area or a small town. (If you’re in New York, you might need to get more specific, like “Gramercy Park board games” for example.) But more than just ranking easily due to lack of competition, local internet marketing has different-looking results in Google.
That’s because Google understands location names and immediately returns results specific to that location. If your business is listed in Google’s business directory, it’ll show up in the location-specific SERPs. If it’s got more backlinks/authority/juice than the other businesses in your area, it’ll show up on the top of the list and get more clicks.
More importantly, however, it will also show up on the top of the MAP results, showing people how to get to your front door and walk inside. That’s how you drive flesh and blood traffic from the internet, and it’s invaluable.