The Most Powerful SEO Strategy “SEO Experts” Don’t Know About: The Geo-Grid

Pro-level SEO is indistinguishable from pro-level PR, social media, and content marketing.


They build relationships with others in similar verticals to the industry they operate in.

Everyone at a certain level of business knows everyone else.

What Does This Have to Do with SEO?

The mechanics of ranking on search engines is having high quality content that gets linked to by other sites that have juice (and viewers).

SEO in General Is a Fancy Way of Saying “Are You Googleable?”

The key to getting Googleable is by producing content that we can repurpose on different platforms. The goal is that users engage with it and find the content helpful.

Because the more users engage with it, the higher the relevance and ability for us to get these rankings. It’s all a trickle down effect of having good content.

For example, in 2021 I was featured on Forbes. Forbes has a DR score of 94 with 175.5 million links.

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Forbes Website Domain Rating

A backlink from a site like Forbes holds tremendous power when it’s linked to you. Simply being mentioned on a site with that high of a DR score is massive for your website.

Think about this in terms of social media.

If someone with 2 million followers tags your account, what are the chances that you’ll gain followers if the info was useful?

Very high.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to be linked by some DR 94 site to show visible improvement immediately. Just like growing on social media, it takes time and networking with others in a similar niche.

If you’re reading this, chances are you already have most of the tools you need.

Most local service businesses already operate off relationships. They’re called referrals.

But why stop there?

We want Google itself to be our referral network.

Enter: the Geo-category grid.

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A Geo-Grid With Different Businesses In Different Areas

​​The Geo-Category Grid is a concept used in local service business advertising, particularly in the context of social media and digital marketing.

It’s a strategy that combines geographical targeting (Geo) with category-specific targeting (Category) to create a grid that helps businesses reach their target audience more effectively.

Here’s How It Works

  • Geographical Targeting (Geo): The business divides its service area into smaller geographic zones, similar to the GeoGrid concept. This can be done using zip codes, neighborhoods, or other relevant geographic divisions.
  • Category-Specific Targeting (Category): Within each geographic zone, the business identifies different categories of services it offers or different customer segments it wants to target. For example, a local service business like an HVAC company might have categories like “air conditioning repair,” “heating installation,” or “emergency services.”
  • Creating the Grid: The business then creates a grid where each cell represents a combination of a geographic zone and a service category. This allows the business to tailor its advertising messages and offers to specific needs and interests of potential customers in each area.
  • Targeted Advertising: Using this grid, the business can create highly targeted advertising campaigns. For example, if the business knows that a particular neighborhood has a high demand for air conditioning repair services, it can direct its advertising efforts for that service specifically to that area.
  • Performance Tracking and Optimization: By monitoring the performance of advertising efforts in each cell of the grid (i.e., each geo-category combination), the business can identify which areas and services are generating the most leads and conversions. This allows for ongoing optimization of advertising spend and messaging.

Overall, the Geo-Category Grid helps local service businesses to be more strategic and efficient in their advertising efforts, leading to better targeting, higher engagement, and ultimately, more customers.

Let’s look at an example.

A business that does IV Therapy in Tampa like Oasis Mobile IV Therapy should partner with businesses also in Tampa or IV Therapy businesses outside of their local service area.

Example of a Geo Grid Cross
Example of a Geo-Grid “Cross”

This leads to a “cross” in the sense that Oasis IV Therapy now knows the types of businesses they should collaborate with and link to and vice-versa.

Either IV Therapy clinics outside of Tampa or other local businesses in Tampa.

They’d have little in common with an HVAC business in New York or a Plumbing business in Boston. But they’d have much in common with an HVAC company in Tampa (GEO) or an IV Therapy Clinic in Phoenix.

By sharing link juice between these businesses they can grow together ethically.

How Is This Different Than Buying Links?

The companies would be sharing relevant information in a way which isn’t spamming.

For example, if I own Oasis IV Therapy and there’s another IV Therapy clinic in Boston, I could link to a blog post the Boston business published on the safest way to conduct IV Therapy.

The Boston IV Therapy clinic could do the same, improving the trust of both companies at the same time.

Using a geo-grid for local SEO does not violate Google’s policies because it is essentially a tool for analyzing and visualizing data. It does not involve any manipulative practices that would go against Google’s guidelines.

The geo-grid itself is simply a way to map and understand how a business appears in local search results across different geographic areas.

It helps businesses identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance their local SEO efforts.

On the other hand, a link farm is a group of websites that all hyperlink to every other site in the group, with the primary purpose of increasing the number of inbound links to each site.

Link farms are considered a black hat SEO tactic and are explicitly against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They attempt to manipulate search engine rankings by artificially inflating the link popularity of the websites involved instead of E-E-A-T guidelines.

The key difference between using a geo-grid and participating in a link farm is that the former is a legitimate analytical tool for improving local SEO, while the latter is a deceptive practice aimed at gaming the search engine ranking system.

Geo-grids do not involve any manipulation of search results or link schemes; they simply provide insights based on existing search data.

There’s a Common Practice in SEO Called Local Service Pages

Essentially, if you have lots of local service pages based on the communities you serve.

The ideal being that Google will crawl your site, find location specific keywords, and amplify your presence based off of them.

There’s a catch.

​​It’s not the geo-tagging that shows Google someone is local to their community – it’s local content and local relationships corroborated across many channels

Geo-Tagging Only Works With Proof of Real Relationships

My friends at Isacc and Isacc, a law firm in Kentucky, used to practice an insane amount of geo-tagging by having local service pages in every town they serviced.

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Isaacs and Isaacs Website

It’s not that having LSPs doesn’t help.

It’s that each page is the same, just with different text.

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Different Text For Different LSPs

So whether it’s Crawfordsville, Louisville, or anywhere else – the only thing that’s different is the text.

Why would Google not want to promote this?

You guessed it.

There’s No Evidence of Real Relationships

In other words – Google can’t confirm that you do what you claim to do in the area you do service.

How do you fix that?

You document these relationships and make each page unique for those you’ve serviced.

An actionable step in their case would be to reach out to past clients they’ve served and ask for a video from them mentioning their location.

In the local service world, that would mean documenting service workers based off location and posting images.

Did You Know That Every Photo You Take On Your Phone Is Location Tagged?

Let’s say you’re a plumber in Tampa, FL.

Have local service pages of the surrounding communities like Brandon, St Pete, Temple Terrace, etc.

In each of these LSPs, take photos of work you or your team has done.

Post to the accurate pages.

Let your work speak for itself.

Google Has One Goal: To Promote Reputable Companies to Solve Issues

The good news is that if you’re good at what you do, the marketing part is surprisingly easy.

You just have to give Google what they want.

Which is proof of relationships and good work done in the place you claim it was done in.

That’s it.

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.