As an online entrepreneur, you should be aware of the importance of SEO Local. This pertains to a set of factors, which are used to evaluate your local business as well as your specific niche and the services or products you provide. SEO Local is closely aligned with Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, and thus, there are some similarities between the two. However, there are also some differences, which are worth noting. This information is worth your while because it can help you decide whether you need SEO Local or not.

SEO Local is a subset of the larger SEO. Local search is similar to organic search in that it’s a method affecting the rankings of a site or a page within a search results’ unpaid results group, often called “organic”, “sparked” or “discovery”. Here are some points to consider so you can make an informed decision.

In SEO Local, a.i. Ranks are utilized. SEO uses a complex ranking system to evaluate the relevancy of different pages of a site. Each page is then assigned a different weight based on its relevance to the overall theme of the site. A site’s level of importance is determined by the relevancy of its content to the keywords used in searches conducted by different search engines.

One of the differences is that SEO Local focuses more on individual keywords than Organic Local does. For example, rather than concentrating on the total number of times the keyword appeared on a webpage, the relevancy is determined more by the quality of the content and how many times it was used as a whole phrase. In other words, it’s more about the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why”, and “how” of the situation. Since individual keywords can be very relevant (even indispensable) to visitors searching for specific information, SEO Local focuses on these keywords more, rather than overall volume. This results in better results for searches done by visitors. However, the focus on individual keywords within the content does not mean the information provided is irrelevant to visitors; rather, it is used to provide additional insight into what visitors are searching for.

In addition, SEO Local has different criteria for different areas of a site. While all areas are evaluated, the highest scores are awarded to those sites with the most unique content, most relevant pages, and fastest speeds to load the pages. So although overall performance is important, specific factors such as the relevance of pages to keywords, the quality of content, and the speed at which pages are rendered contribute to rankings.

In the past, SEO Pages and SERPs were set based upon overall results for a particular query. However, according to David Bailey, a former vice president of Yahoo!, “In practice, Google sets its own rankings and tends to ignore what other people are doing. We see a fair amount of regional variation in Google results, but when you get down to it, Google is not tied to any regional distinctions. So it makes sense for them to be a little more focused on your location and where you are doing business.” He went on to say that while Google’s results may diverge somewhat from their stated policies of providing relevant results, they do still take the initiative to investigate how it may affect rankings and make adjustments if necessary.

In addition, according to Bailey, Google’s recent updates have caused SEO Pages to become “redundant” in terms of the types of business they encompass. Google has recently introduced Business Portal, which provides a new ranking methodology. According to Bailey, “The new methodology enables business owners to target customers who are nearby, based on their IP address. That means that while someone in San Francisco would rank high for a Google search, someone in Texas would rank lower because his or her IP address was in another state.”

With these new changes to local SEO, what can webmasters do to stay ahead? According to Bailey, “webmasters should use local SEO to get in front of the competition. By improving the content on existing pages and developing new pages targeted at local keywords, business owners will find that their rankings will rise significantly. They should also look into how Google’s new rankings will affect search volume, which will impact both paid clicks and organic searches.” Google’s new Local Search program is set to launch later this year.