Local SEO vs. Organic SEO
Every time you think about SEO, two things come to mind, organic SEO and local SEO — two confusing elements of the same coin.
By now, you must be wondering how the two differ from each other and what their connection is.
The difference is pretty simple: while local SEO has a geographical connotation to it, organic SEO has none. Local SEO also demands that you have a physical, brick and mortar business that you’ll be focusing on by building signals of local relevance around.
Organic SEO, on the other hand, spins around a website. You don’t necessarily need a physical store or brick and mortar business. Your business can be strictly internet-based, where you run a full-fledged internet-based business that’s not restrained to a particular geographical location.
Also, while local SEO focuses on building signals of relevance so you can get more people to contact you or come to your brick and mortar business, organic SEO is more focused on improving your ranking in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP), so you can increase your site traffic and get more people to take action.
Organic SEO or basic SEO can be affected or influenced by location, but it doesn’t have to be necessarily attached to a brick-and-mortar business.
Search Engines Look for Two Entirely Different Things in Organic SEO and Local SEO
Search engines sit at the top of both local and organic SEO, but they aren’t looking for the same things.
For local SEO, search engines are only interested in relevant and trusted locations, whereas for organic SEO, search engines will be looking for the most relevant and trusted content to rank high.
Here’s a list of Singapore businesses that should be investing heavily in local SEO:
- A plumber or plumbing company in Yishun
- A coffee shop or restaurant in Tengah
- A law firm in Pasir Ris
- A property firm in Novena
And the list goes on. You get the gist.
These companies can still work on their organic SEO. But it makes more sense for them to work on their local SEO first before thinking about organic SEO.
Links vs. Citations
Links are highly valued in the world of SEO. They’re the SEO equivalence of currency, a mean to driving more traffic to your website and improving your search engine ranking.
Link building is the equivalent of politics, where the links you attract are counted as votes in the eyes of search engines.
It’s the same case with local SEO. Links don’t apply in the traditional sense, but they have their own version of it.
In comes citations.
Citations aren’t links, per see. But they play an almost similar role.
Citations refer to the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) references for your business. These references can be found on business citation platforms such as Yahoo, Yelp, SuperPages, and so on, and the more you’re found on these sites, the more Google can establish the validity of your business in a specific region or city.
It’s to be, however, noted that the algorithm for local SEO doesn’t operate the same way as the algorithm for organic SEO. These citations don’t necessarily count as a vote, but as a validity mark that confirms the existence of a business at a particular geographical location.
It’s what makes a business more relevant and trustworthy for a particular search that relates to that business.
For instance, assuming you have a pet store in Serangoon. Having a strong citation profile will, of course, increase your chances of being featured in the local search results for a search query in the lines of “a pet in Serangoon.”
That’s what you should be aiming at with local SEO.
Local SEO and Organic SEO Don’t Target the Same Positions
The common misconception in the online community is that Local SEO and organic SEO target the same things in the SERPs.
With organic SEO, your goal is to propel your site up the search engine ranks for as many relevant keywords as you possibly can. Your modus operandi involves working around a series of onsite SEO practises, clubbed with various link building and attracting technique. Citations are of no use here.
With local SEO, things are a little different, though. You still have to rank your site high for relevant local search terms, but the primary focus should be on cracking into the local search results. People searching for your services and products within a particular locality should be able to find you.
To understand how this works, try searching for ‘a plumber in Singapore.’ You’ll notice that there are two types of search engine results that show up.
The first one (where the plumbers and plumbing companies are listed) is what we refer to as the ‘local pack result’ or the ‘3 pack listings.’ This is where you’ll be purposing to be featured when you decide to work on your local SEO.
Your ultimate goal should be to break into the top 3 listings to be featured in the 3 pack listing.
3 Pack Listing Embedded
Now try clicking on more businesses, and you’ll be presented with more plumbing companies in Singapore and their locations on Google Map. That’s what citations do for you. You want to get your business listed with as many citations as you possibly can to increase your chances of appearing in the top 3 pack.
In other words, your local SEO strategy should be one that helps you create many citations using acceptable local SEO practises. Just to remind you – you do not want to scam search engines on this one. They’ll soon catch up, and the last thing you want is to be slapped with a penalty.
Local Citation Stats
- 90% of web owners and web experts believe that citations play a critical role in how search engine rank sites.
- 50% think citations lost their effectiveness, and they’re no longer as effective as they were about a year ago or so.
- The most important ranking factors in local pack results are local relevance and industry relevance.
- Listing your site with a niche citation site is more effective than registering it with a general site.
- Your Phone numbers, ZIP, URL, and city need to match across all citations sites. Suite numbers don’t carry much weight when it comes to this.
As far as local SEO goes, citations have proven to be much of a necessity. Any business that wants to propel its ranks in the local search engine result pages should (among other things) focus on optimising their site for local citations.
What Good Does Singapore Business Listings do to Your Business?
They’re Good for Ranking Your Site on Local Search
However you choose to look at it, citations sit at the centre of local SEO. It’s for this reason that any local SEO expert worth their salt would recommend that you work on maintaining accurate and more consistent local citations of your business.
Google and other search engines try to reference local listings and directories to understand local businesses and rank them appropriately.
Google bots scour the internet for critical business information. As a marketer working on local SEO, your goal should be to have more of this information listed accurately and more consistently across the web.
The ultimate goal should be to break in the 3 pack local listing and continue working on making more of these citations to retain the position.
Local Relevance Plays a Key Role
As a local business owner in Singapore, you should take advantage of every genuine local citation site that you come across online.
Getting listed on these sites not only increases your ranking on local search, it also increases your domain authority.
Glean the internet for event sites, hyper-local directories, niche sites, and event sites, and make sure you’re listed on every single one of them.
Local Citation Sites in Singapore
We tried searching the internet for a list of local citations sites that you can begin with. The list can run to a count of a thousand if we were to pick all of them.
Meaning, you have to continue searching the internet for more of these sites to beat your competition if your plan is to make it to the top-three list.
How do Local and Organic SEO Connect?
Certain SEO practises cut both ways. These practises affect both organic and local search rankings.
For example, when you claim your business page on a local listing directory such as Bing, Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor, you’ll also be generating a backlink for your website, which can boost your SEO score and ranking.
Local listing citations (Name, Address, and Phone) help search engines to understand your business better and crack its location. These citations also link back to your website, which doubles as a link building strategy that will be helping you rise through the ranks in the SERPs.
On-site local SEO strategy, where you focus on creating locally focused blog posts, also intertwine with organic SEO. Search engines have a soft spot for fresh content. So every time you sit down to work on your local SEO strategy, just remember the effort has a direct impact on local SEO, as well.
Both local and organic SEO will help boost your search engine ranking when done correctly. The same goes for any attempt made to manipulate search engines or scam them into ranking your site high. The detrimental effect can be felt on both sides of the divide.
Organic SEO mostly focuses on increasing your online visibility. At the same time, it exposes you to a local client base, which increases the number of local sales you make.
Remember, you’re not just optimising your business and website for search engines. If anything, search engines are nothing more than the moderators in this. But the biggest players ought to be the customers you’re targeting.
The more search engines understand your business or website, the more they’ll be able to link it with a relevant audience or client base. You need both local and organic SEO to achieve this.
You’re not just optimising your site to be in good graces with Google and other search engines. You want your searchers to learn more about your business and how you operate. You want to supply them with the information they need to understand your business and learn more about what you do (organic SEO).
At the same time, you want them to know your business location, operation hours, and the products you sell, and so on (local or business SEO).
The 7 Different Types of Google Search Results
Perhaps you didn’t know about this, but Google has 7 different search results. Every time an online users runs a search query, they’re presented with more than one different search results unless otherwise.
You have to understand these search results to figure out how to effectively optimise your site for each.
In this section of the post, we’ll try to look at the different search results, and even offer some solid pointers on how to optimise your site for each.
Featured snippets are the dedicated blocks of questions that start with who, what, when, why, and so on. These blogs appear immediately at the top of organic search results, with links to articles that respond to different questions.
Generally, featured snippets contain a summary, either as a list or a paragraph, responding to a search query. Featured alongside it will be the page title with a link to read the rest of the post from which the summary was sniped.
Using the search query “a plumber in Singapore” as an example, here’s how a featured snippet looks like:
There’s no standard form for displaying featured snippets. Google displays them in different forms.
- Paragraph featured snippet
This is the most common type of featured snippet. As the name suggests, everything in the snippet is presented as a summarised paragraph.
Google simply extracts a paragraph from your article and presents it to a user as an answer to their question, with a link to read the rest of the article.
Paragraph snippets are usually served for questions that begin with a ‘who,’ ‘what,’ and ‘why.’
For instance, try searching for “who was the first president of Singapore, and you’ll be provided with a paragraph snippet.
Here’s how a paragraph snippet looks like:
- Table featured snippet
According to the latest stats, more than 29% of the snippets that Google generates come in the form of a table. That goes on to confirm that adding a table to your content increases the odds of your posts appearing in a snippet.
You, however, might want to note that Google never displays an entire table, but only a snippet of the table with a link directing them to your page, where they can view the rest of it.
Google has their own way of truncating your tables so they can display only a portion of it in the SERPs.
Examples: Try search for “internet penetration rate in Singapore”
- Numbered list featured snippet
Google serves users with a numbered list whenever they search for a step by step guide on anything, including recipes.
Google will display the guide in a brief note, getting the user more curious to click on the link provided and read the rest of the guide.
Try running the following search query “how to upload a video on YouTube”, and you’ll be served with a numbered list snippet.
- Bulleted-list featured snippet
A bulleted list snippet is almost similar to a numbered list snippet, only that it’s bulleted and not numbered.
Google displays a bulleted list whenever an online user searches for a listicle. Again, the content they display will be truncated and served with a link directing to its corresponding webpage where the rest of the article can be read.
For instance, try searching for top SEO companies in Singapore, and Google will display the following bullet list featured snippet.
- YouTube Featured snippet
Google can also pull a video from YouTube and display it as a snippet in their result pages.
This allows you to optimise your YouTube channel so it can be displayed as a snippet.
Try running the following search query, “how to upload a video on youtube ‘youtube video.”
How to Optimise Your Site for Featured Snippet
To optimise your website for featured snippets you have to target question-based keywords, particularly long-tailed ones.
Come up with a list of keywords and figure out how to optimise them accordingly. Remember to use proper HTML tags, adding dedicated h1, h2, h3… dedicated heading tags, and so on.
It’s also important that you maintain a proper content hierarchy, which makes it easier for search engines to crawl your website and relate your posts with specific search queries.
Google Ads Results
Google displays Google ads results at the top and bottom of its results pages. These results looks a lot like organic results, save for the coloured ad icon.
For your site to appear in the Google ad results, you have to run Google AdWords. This process entails coming up with a list of keywords that you’ll be bidding on, and which you’ll be charged every time a user clicks on the ad to visit your website.
You need a huge budget to rank your site at the top of SERPs for Google Ads, especially here in Singapore. Plus, these ads are served temporarily or until your budget runs dry. Once you terminate the ad campaign, the ads stop to show.
Local Knowledge Graph Panel
Google displays this type of search results when an online user runs a query for branded keywords. Try searching for a well-known brand or any of its keyword variations, and Google will display a box at the top right corner of its result page.
This box will be containing all the information that you need to know about the underlying brand, including the brand name, website, and address.
Making your business appear in the knowledge graph isn’t complicated. All you have to do is create a Google My Business Account and fill it up with all the relevant information.
Making your business appear in the local knowledge graph panel is also a good way to inspire trust and build brand authority.
Local Pack Results
‘Local Pack’ results are also referred to as the ‘3 pack’ results. Google displays these results whenever a user searches for a local service provider.
Google usually displays these results accompanied by a map that identifies their specific location.
If you have a physical, brick and mortar business targeting local customers in Singapore, then appearing in the local pack results will help you get more clients to visit your physical store or contact you.
Organic Search Results
This is the most common search result. It refers to the search results that appear below Google and local ad results. These results are meant to inform or educate online users on various things.
They’re not sponsored but displayed on the basis of value and how they’re optimised for search engines.
Securing a top slot on organic search results is the ultimate goal of every website owner. Ranking high translates to more traffic, and if your site is optimised well enough for conversion that translates to more money for you.
Rich answers are the instant answers that Google generates. They resolve common user queries, without necessarily giving credits to any website.
Rich answers are generated by Google and are not connected to businesses or websites. Meaning, you don’t have to optimise your website for rich answers.
Knowledge Graph and Carousel
These results appear at the top-right corner of the SERPs. Google fetches them from a trusted source (mostly Wikipedia), and are usually displayed whenever a user runs a navigational search query.
They can also be displayed when you search for someone famous or a popular figure in society.
They’ll also appear when you search for a popular movie, music album, and so on.
Top Citation Sources for Local SEO in Singapore
Here are a few examples of citation sources for local SEO in Singapore. Remember, this list is in no way exhaustive as it only covers a few of these sources.
Before you think of any other citation source, you must consider listing your business on your own website first (assuming you have one).
In fact, you should consistently list a NAP across every page, and not just on the home page or contact page as many people love to do.
You need a verified Google My Business Account to appear on local listing and Google Maps.
Go ahead and set the account first and make sure it’s verified before you can proceed with any other thing.
Remember to sign up with Bing Places as well (even though it’s currently not open to Singapore addresses).
Your next project should be listed up with the different social media sites in Singapore. We want to assume that you’ve already created a profile on the various social media profiles. Now what’s left is for you to add your N.A.P and boost your signals of local relevance.
Here’s a list of top social media sites in Singapore and their corresponding list:
Local Business Review Sites
There are sites in Singapore that serve as local directories and review sites, clubbed with social aspects. These sites include:
The Smart Local
Third-Party Review Sites
There are so many niche-specific review sites in Singapore, but we only managed to single out a few.
Niche-specific review sites have more weight on local SEO compared to general review sites.
We suggest that you do some little bit of digging to find more of these sites, but here are a few suggestions to get you started on the right foot.
Local Business Directories
Business directories are not as popular as they used to be. They, however, offer enough value to increase your local SEO score.
Here’re a few examples of local business directories in Singapore to list your business.
Health Hub Directory
Ace Startup Directory
Business directories tend to be too general. So why not search for the directories in your niche and consider listing your business with them instead (we suggest you list on both).
Just search for your niche, followed by the term directories and Singapore.
For instance, if you’re in the beauty industry, your search query can be something like this.
“Beauty directories Singapore.”
The Wedding Scoop
Town Council Websites
Perhaps you didn’t know, but town councils have some of the best websites to list your business for local citations. Just search for the “handyman services” section, and you’ll see that they have a slot for you to list your business and get local residents to request your services.
We’ve provided a few examples. Now it’s your time to get creative and scour the internet for more of these sites.
Ang Mo Kio
Area Specific Websites
Some citations sites have been specifically designed to cater to residents of specific areas. There exist so many such sites in Singapore, but you have to search deeper to find them. Starting by searching for them on Google and then proceed to social media and finally forums to find them.
Find as many of these sites as you possibly can and remember to list on every single one of them and you’d have increased your chances of appearing in the local 3 pack.
Mall Specific Directories
Is your shop situated next to a mall? Find out if the mall has a business website and consider adding your N.A.P in their directory. Remember to display all the relevant pieces of information together with the URL to your site.
Frasers Centrepoint Mall
We want to assume that you’re already using local classifieds to promote your business. So why not go the extra mile and use them to display your NAP and increase your local search ranking.
Starts with the free ones, and make sure you’ve exhausted them as you weigh on the possibility of investing in paid ones.
Local forums are a cheaper way to promote your business online. They also offer you a chance to drive targeted traffic.
Here’s the trick: start a new thread that promotes your products, services, or business. Remember to add NAP in the signature section.
You’re, however, warned against spam as this has high chances of backfiring on you.
Singapore Motherhood Forum
Local Events Guide and Directories
Look for events and comment on them after adding your NAP in the signature. Also consider holding your own events for training, open houses, sales promotions, grand openings, meetups, and so on.
Make good use of your job hiring opportunities. They’re an excellent opportunity to secure one more link and citation.
Every time you have to hire someone, make a job posting, and make sure you’ve included your NAP and site URL.
Local Chambers of Commerce and Trade Associations
Find out more about eCommerce chambers in Singapore. Most of them offer the opportunity to list your business. Just find out about their criteria for joining, and sign up with as many of them as you possibly can.
Here are a few to get you started:
Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industries
Singapore International Chamber of Commerce
List of Trade Associations and Chambers of Commerce
Local Coupon and Group Buying Sites
Use a group coupon to gain more exposure and snap one more citation for local SEO. Their craze might have settled, but they still offer an opportunity that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Local Expat Network Sites
These sites tend to target ex-pats. They, however, offer a worthwhile opportunity for listing your NAP and increasing your local SEO score.