This is a guest post courtesy of Shawna on why you should pay attention to local SEO and it’s potential benefits to your business.
While paying attention to SEO strategies in general is always a good idea, focusing your efforts on local SEO can yield faster results with less effort.
Who doesn’t like less effort?
Please make Shawna feel welcome in the comments below and shout if you have any questions.
Make the most of your online marketing dollar!
If you’re a small business owner, SEO is no longer a luxury or a curiosity; with 7 out of 10 Americans shopping online, it should be an essential part of your marketing strategy.
If you’re a service-oriented, face-to-face business, local SEO provides the biggest return on investment than any other form of marketing. Here’s what you need to get started, and why it matters.
Some Local SEO is Free
Many of the tools you’ll use to start your local campaign will cost you nothing but time.
Get featured on a reputable local blog, encourage customers to post favorable reviews on Yelp and Google Maps, and build a social media presence, especially among locals—it’s worth the effort, and these free measures can be a powerful force-multiplier for the paid aspects of your SEO campaign.
Local SEO is Easier
SEO is extremely scalable.
Most of a massive corporation’s SEO tactics aren’t that different from those used by small-town businesses—they’re just bigger and more expensive. For that reason, it pays to make sure that you’re competing in a market that you can win.
Attempting to rank for generic keywords (i.e. competing with the biggest players in SEO) is a recipe for disaster; but it’s usually quite possible and affordable to outrank your immediate competitors using local SEO.
It’s Much More Effective
Particularly for small, service-oriented businesses, targeting your online marketing is essential to maximize your ROI.
Without a plan and a narrow focus, you might end up spending precious time and money winning friends in far-off corners of the globe while you remain relatively unknown with your local customer base.
It’s easy for low-rent SEO “experts” to keep themselves busy with tactics that aren’t focused on reaching the people who can actually benefit from your service, and then provide a host of excuses for the lack of results.
The truth is, if you’re not seeing a change in your traffic and sales from your SEO campaign, the prescription is focused, local SEO.
Your Web Design May Not Be Search-Friendly
This is another relatively easy fix that can make your local campaign more effective.
Web designers who don’t have SEO experience will build a site intended to impress you visually, but that doesn’t mean your site is an efficient lead-generating machine.
Effective web design will create both an appealing visual environment as well as a smooth conduit for customers to find your service and buy it, with as few clicks as possible.
If you already have a site, take a look at your analytics—determine whether the people who are using your site are the same people who are buying your products, and figure out what brings them to you.
You might want to have an SEO consultant take a look at your design, to ensure that motivated customers have the most direct, headache-free path to checkout.
If you accept mobile payments or cash in person, be sure you know exactly how the customer found your service.
Better Mobile Impact
More and more consumers will find your site and your business on their smartphones; targeted, local SEO is the best way to make sure they find you.
Especially when they’re in a rush, customers tend to go with the top-ranked option for their search terms; and if they’re looking for your service on Google Maps or a similar service, star reviews are usually the deciding factor in choosing you over a competitor. (One reason it’s important to learn how to foster a positive Internet reputation.)
Google’s location-tracking functionality pretty much insures the power of local SEO when it comes to reaching mobile devices. Take advantage of it.
More Precise Targeting
So far we’ve primarily compared local SEO to online marketing in general; but local SEO is also a better bang-for-buck than most forms of traditional marketing too, because you’re focused on the people who are looking to buy exactly what you’re selling.
Ad space on local TV or billboards provides for a broad audience and name recognition, but local SEO connects you directly with motivated, interested customers, instead of bored, frustrated commuters stuck in traffic.
Over to You
Are you using local SEO with your business? How’s it paying off for you in relation to other marketing methods you’ve used? Drop your thoughts in the comments and if you found this post useful, pass it along, will ya?