A good discussion on local search is going on at Screenwerk. It caught my eye when Marty Himmelstein made this statement:
I remarked that when local search is working as it should, the role of search engine optimization will be diminished. Andrew Shotland responded to my statement that in local search “being found trumps search engine optimization” with a pithy comment to the effect that being found requires search engine optimization.
What on earth could this mean? SEO is the process of building a website so that it has increased chances of achieving high rankings for specific keywords related to the business. It’s true that the 10 plumbers with the highest search engine rankings in your local area may not be in actuality the area’s 10 best plumbers. But if you’re the plumber with the No. 1 position the search engines you don’t really care. If your the customer who needs a plumber, you will certainly care.
But isn’t that the way it is with search engine optimization in general. The highest ranking doesn’t necessarily mean the best consumer experience or the best product. It just means you know your SEO. Or it might mean you’ve got enough money to pay for good search engine optimization.
With local search, however, you don’t have nearly as much competition for the keywords that are important to your business. Less competition usually means easier to rank. And with that regard there is a little bit of difference between local search engine optimization and global SEO. Your search engine optimization doesn’t have to be as pristine. Still, geo-targeting is difficult because there’s no perfect way to do it.