Considering the fact that most people find their products online, getting their attention is of great importance. It is of even greater importance for smaller businesses, especially those that offer similar products as a major competitor in the industry.
But, how do you do it? How do you make yourself more visible online and attract more customers? Well, one of the best ways is to invest in SEO. Optimizing so that the search engine recognizes your site and pushes it on the first page is pretty much the best marketing you can get besides word-of-mouth.
That being said, if this piques your interest, stick around! This little article will analyze what benefits this kind of SEO can bring to a small business and tell you what practices work the best. So let’s crack straight into it!
What Is Local SEO?
So, right before we start, let’s take a quick second and answer what SEO is. As you may or may not know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In short, it is a series of practices that allow a website to assume a higher rank in Google search.
Therefore, the better your practices, the better the chances your website will be the first link that appears when a user types in the keywords. Many web design agencies offer unlimited web development services, helping clients fix SEO technical issues as well as optimize their content.
How does this relate to local SEO? Well, let’s start with a statistic: 46% of Google searches start with a keyword pertaining to a location. This means a good portion of people prefer checking products and services within their immediate area or the confines of their town. An example is cost of SEO in Edmonton.
Now, this is highly important for local businesses. If you know people will start searching locally, why not let Google lead them to you. Then, use this fact to your advantage, plan for it, and have a strategy in place that will help your business grow.
What Are the Benefits of Local SEO?
As we said, having good SEO practices pushes your website to the forefront of Google search. This means you’re getting a good amount of exposure right off the bat. And being so prominent means more people will check you out, and your website will see increased traffic.
From there, we can surmise that increased traffic will also positively impact your conversion rates. Indeed, having good SEO practices doesn’t mean you’ll have a lot of customers – you also need to have a good website, too – but the more people visit your site, the greater chance you’ll retain some of them.
From there, we can assume that higher conversion rates will boost your revenue. More customers – more purchases – more money; this is how this type of SEO essentially pays for itself. After all, SEO has one of the best returns of investment for eCommerce – only 16 months to break even and an ROI of 317% within 3 years.
Another significant benefit of SEO is exposure to mobile users. Mobile is becoming more and more popular each year, as people tend to refer to their smartphones first when searching for something. Having a website optimized for SEO allows mobile users to find you quickly, which, again, drives your traffic and boosts your conversions.
Finally, having good local search engine optimization practices allows you to be picked up by Google Maps and other navigation applications. Again, this is very important as a small business because it enables potential customers to find you and meet you in person if you’re a brick-and-mortar establishment.
What Are the Best SEO Practices?
Now that we’ve gone over some of the benefits of SEO, let’s see some of the ways you can achieve those benefits.
First and foremost, developing good citations is one of the best things you can do to optimize your websites. Developing good citations involves getting high-quality websites and well-known businesses to reference your business, usually with links leading to you. Getting a link reference is, essentially, like getting a reference letter from your job when applying for another, and Google web crawlers are certain to pick up on these and rank you higher.
When it comes to links, you should build up your own, too! Web crawlers are more likely to index a custom URL, so avoid generic ones to boost your visibility. With that said, make sure all the web pages on your site have their unique URL because that will help Google recommend you.
We already mentioned that even if you’ve got all that local search engine optimization sorted out, you can still fail to convert due to bad website design. So, following that, one of the best SEO strategies is website optimization. Whether you transform your site into an app or simply optimize it for PC users, having a good website will certainly get you noticed by both web crawlers and visitors.
Optimizing websites for mobile is an even better idea! We already said a word or two about the benefits of mobile when it comes to eCommerce. People like to surf on their phones, so visitors will leave if your website is slow to load or unwieldy for a phone screen. Make sure your website passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, and if you have the funds and time, consider making it into an app.
Lastly, consider the benefits of blogging or creating some form of local content. Having even one or two small articles with solid local SEO optimization or a simple About Us page will go a long way toward you being recognized and discovered in your community.
The reason blogs are so helpful is that you can optimize them with keywords and links leading to other reputable sites. This will cause Google to show your article to a person first when they put in the specific keywords. It also helps you explain your mission and your business practices, and it helps the visitor get to know you better.
Should You Hire a Professional Agency?
Now, that’s a good question, isn’t it?
Technically, you can enact many of these local SEO practices yourself. However, SEO optimization requires a lot of time and effort, and you and your team might not have that luxury.
SEO optimization also requires thorough keyword research and keeping up with the latest updates Google puts out. But, again, you might not be able to do this yourself, either due to time constraints or a lack of expertise.
So, to answer the question – no, you don’t have to, but it’s highly advised. For example, if you run a plumbing business, you would rather like people to hire you than fix their plumbing yourself. We would also advise you to hire pros to help you with this kind of optimization for your business.
In the end, when you consider hiring an agency, you probably include the cost. However, remember what we said about SEO optimization ROI and how fast you’ll get your money back.
All in all, investing in local search engine optimization is a brilliant move for a small business. You might not have the workforce, the cash, or the inventory to go toe to toe with more prominent players in your industry.
However, locally-driven economies are still a powerful contender. And SEO allows you to stand on even ground with them. Besides, they’re using it too, so why should you get a piece of that pie as well!
This article was originally published at Digital Strategy One.