A large part of the misunderstanding of search engine optimization (SEO) with small and local business owners is their target market. Many business owners believe that they have to be ranked number 1 in order to be seen for their specific business, which may be true. What they do not realize is that they do not have to do it nationally (in most cases).
If you are a local business and primarily or only sell to the local community, you do not need to try and optimize your site to get ranked nationally for your targeted keywords. Not only is it very difficult to get ranked nationally, but it would be a waste of time when you can spend probably 20% of the time you would to get ranked nationally, to in fact get ranked locally.
Many business owners don’t even know that local optimization is even an option. For example, if you are in Sacramento, CA instead of trying to get ranked nationally for HVAC or Heating and Air Maintenance where you may be competing with some of the largest HVAC companies throughout the world, you can target your keywords to something like HVAC in Sacramento, or HVAC Maintenance in Sacramento. With these terms you are specifically targeting your area, therefore driving people to your area to your site, because who wants someone looking for HVAC maintenance in New York if your business is in Sacramento?
Just remember, when creating the content for your site, target your audience not only by your service or product, but by location of audience as well.
From a recent tweet by Google’s very own Matt Cutts. Seen Here:
It is clear that we will be seeing some shifting in the seats of many black hat SEOers. For those that are unaware, the Penguin update came out last year and was highly focused on getting rid of excessive back linking from poor article submission sites. It also focused on how high of a percentage your back link anchor text was the same. For example, if I sat on an article submission site all day putting in anchor text to our website for “Web Design” Google would see a high percentage of links with the anchor text of web design from an article submission site and black list me for poor SEO. I learned first hand from this experience, as well as trying to launch thousands of pages relating to cities within the United States for web design with very similar content, they did not seem to like that concept either.
A work around to the backlinking has recently been to go to multiple high quality page ranked article submission websites and use different anchor text when submitting links. I don’t know how long this trend will last, or if it even will with the potential Penguin 2.0 coming out soon.
Ultimately the best thing to do when making a website is to be sure you have quality content on the site for starters. Make sure it is something the reader is going to be attracted to read. Also make sure that you are publishing it out to the community in which will be interested in reading it. When you get reputable back links for simple things such as an article such as this for SEO (and by reputable I mean a well known website) then you site will begin to jump in the search engines.
Until people begin to take this approach however, Google will remain sending out updates to their algorithm for the search queries and continue to blacklist people who do not follow proper SEO rules.