Other critical components are Page Authority (PA) and quality/authority of inbound links and structured & unstructured citations.
I mention how Semantic Mastery teaches ways to boost both Domain Authority and Page Authority very quickly and also reveal our approved source for building the highest quality citations, BrightLocal's Citation Burst service:
1. How does Local SEO differ from national or even international SEO?
Local SEO is optimizing for search queries and terms with local intent. Generally these types of searches are performed when someone is searching for a local business. For example, take out Chinese food, or plumbing contractor. Most people will also include the city name, known as the geographic modifier, to the query but that isn't always the case. And Google has gotten really good at determining where the search is being performed, either through your IP location or, in the case of mobile devices, where you're physically located at the time of the search. This is different than national or global SEO since the searches have a different intent.
2. What are some things you can do with Local SEO that you can't do or won't work in National SEO?
There are many sections to a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) depending on the search term. When it comes to local searches, there are 3 main sections: Ads, Organic, and Maps (with the occasional Carousel that appears at the top of the page commonly seen when searching for restaurants) The ads (A.K.A. AdWords) appear first, then usually 1 — 3 organic listings, and then the maps, followed by the remaining organic listings.
With local, you want to optimize to be placed in the maps listings. You know, the results with pins next to them, usually in a “7 Pack” and lettered A — G. Obviously you need a physical location to be ranked in the maps section.
Interestingly, when you search from a mobile device, the maps listings usually come up right after the ads with maybe an occasional single organic listing between them. This is important since more than 50% of searches are now done on mobile devices. This is why the best place to be is the maps section if you're a local business.
Something else that's unique to local SEO is citations. Citations are places where a business can list their NAP or Name, Address, & Phone Number. This includes local and national business directories as well as industry or niche specific directories. These citations are one of the primary ranking factors for maps listings. Some of the better known citation sources would be Yelp, Yellowpages, Angie's List, etc.
3. Would you say local SEO is somehow easier?
It's different. Similar, but still has its own challenges. In a way I would say yes, it can be easier but that truly depends on the market. Some industries are incredibly competitive even on a local level. For example, attorneys. They spend big bucks to be ranked at the top for their respective cities. But generally speaking, you can expect to see results from a local SEO campaign long before you'd see any for a national SEO campaign.
4. How can Semantic Mastery help SEO agents do local SEO better?
We provide training for all types of SEO including social and local optimization. Since I got my start in local and still much of my business is in the local realm, I stay on top of what works. We have methods that we use that can actually “blanket” a SERP with a client's listings. Not just their website, but also their citations, YT videos, Hangouts, web 2.0's, and social profiles like FB pages and LinkedIn company Pages. In our training, we show how to do this for clients for total market domination. It really is very powerful.
And with the new semantic web, there are ways to markup content using semantic markup such as Schema.org and RDFa that can really help a business to rank. These are some of the many things we cover in the member's training.
How To SEO: Social Signals as a Ranking Factor – Semantic Mastery
In this Hangout, we talk about social signals and their impact on SEO and search engine rankings. There has been a lot of debate about this topic and we want to add our two cents to the discussion.
Can social signals alone rank a site in Google search? Yes AND no…
In tests we have conducted, buying spam social signals (unrelated and/or from a non-interested crowd) to a well optimized post did not provide any SEO benefit.
But when we have targeted the proper audience with the same type of post and with the same level of optimization, we were able to rank the post. This is because it wasn't just social signals that the post accrued. It also gained social links. Organic social links.
There is most certainly a difference. And when you combine natural (organic) social links with corresponding social signals (likes, +1's, Retweets, etc), you also get targeted traffic to the post, which is also a positive ranking signal.
So the short answer is: IT DEPENDS. You can't rank with SPAM social signals alone. But with targeted social signals, you most certainly can, but this is due in large part because of the natural links that will be created as a result.
Another positive effect that this social signals can have is the transfer of Domain Authority. Since most social media platforms have perfect (100) or near perfect Domain Authority, DA for your target property will increase. We have seen brand new sites increase from DA of 1 to a DA of 20+ in 30 days from just social signals alone!
Quentin: So, Bradley, most of our listeners will have heard of siloing a website, but just to be clear what exactly is siloing?
Bradley: That's a question we get a lot. Siloing is a way to build a website by stacking keywords into a theme or silo. In other words, it's a way to organize data into a theme, also known as clustering. It works like this. You take the highest level keyword that you want to rank for, which is usually the most competitive and you make that the silo heading or the landing page or the top of the silo. Then you create content using related keywords, LSI keywords, generally more long tail, less competitive. And you place that content within the corresponding silo. The idea is to categorize the content to reinforce a specific theme which then helps all of the content to rank with the desired terms.
Quentin: Okay, well, I talked at the start about the fact that there are two basic types. These are called physical and virtual silos, but what's that mean exactly?
Bradley: The difference between a physical and a virtual silo is really in the URL structure. A physical silo can be seen in the actual structure to the URL fort to the page in the post on the site. You'll see the link set up as parent and child pages or it can also be done with categories if you're using posts instead of pages. So the supporting articles would be the child pages of the parent or the silo heading. A virtual silo is accomplished using internal links, but not within the actual physical URL structure. For example, from the silo heading you would link to the supporting articles and then from within the content of the supporting articles you would link back up to the silo heading. And if it makes sense, you can also link to other supporting articles within that silo. You just wouldn't see that in the silo structure in the actual URL to the content itself.
Quentin: Pretty good stuff, eh? So we know that Semantic mastery is all about testing real concepts, not theory and then seeing what happens. Can you let us know what you've discovered, especially how non siloed sites compared to siloed sites? And more importantly which types of silo actually win?
Bradley: What we have discovered is that siloed tend to rank much faster and easier than a non siloed. But it's more than that, it's also more visitor friendly. When you stack concepts or themes together in a very fluid manner, it makes it easier to understand for both human, or visitors, and machines, which would be search engines. Siloed sites when done correctly rank with only a fraction of inbound links than a non siloed site would require. What I've seen through my own testing of both physical and virtual siloed sites, tend to rank equally as well. I think for machine purposes, it a little bit stronger to have a physical silo method, but as far as for ranking purposed alone, I've seen both of them rank equally as well.
Quentin: Yes, yes. I mean information like this is priceless. So how exactly is Semantic Mastery going to deliver results like this to the world? And how are you going to demonstrate the things that we really need to know? The step by step processes involved in creating stuff like this?
Bradley: One of our major case studies of the year is going to be this exact topic here. Where we're going to basically create a case study using three different websites that we're going to start from scratch. All things being equal, we're going to try to keep all things equal as far as using a kind of a brand-able type domain name so that it's not an exact match to a name, not a keyword registered name. We are going to pick a specific niche and we're going to target that one niche. And we're going to build three sites around it. One which will be a traditional or old school type site, a non siloed site. And then we're going to have two siloed sites. One being a physical silo method and one being a virtual silo method. And we're going to try to keep all of the inbound links the same, relatively close anyways in social signals. All of the on page factors will be the same other than the silo structure itself. And we're going to track the results. And throughout the entire process from setting up the sites to the link building that we do and social signals and all that. We are going to record it all, document it via video and share our results.