If you’ve done any research into promoting your business, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that search engine optimization makes the business world go round.
And unless you spent a decade in digital marketing, you might not have any idea how to use that information and actually improve your small business’ marketing strategy.
The good news is that you don’t have to worry about the technical complexities of SEO. There are hundreds of tools out there that will handle the details for you, and some of them specialize in small or local business marketing. A good SEO service will handle the details so you can focus on running your business and creating web content to attract new customers.
But before we look at how your local business can leverage an SEO service, let’s take a minute to break down search engine optimization and what it does as a marketing tool.
A Brief Introduction To SEO
At its most basic level, search engine optimization is all about keywords. If you run a local hardware store, you might assume that your ideal customer is interested in a few specific topics like DIY projects, home renovations, tools for rent, etc.
SEO tools help you see which of those topics that customers search for online. You might discover that “DIY bathroom remodel” is getting 10,000 searches a month, which means you should probably write a blog post or create a tutorial about that topic.
And the more of this research you do, the more relevant your content becomes. Which means you’ll start showing up higher in Google search results, which means more people will see your company and head to your website or social media pages.
Yes, an SEO strategy takes a lot of work in the beginning. But it helps you streamline the process to make things easier moving forward. If you use SEO correctly, you’ll be able to focus your time and money on the keywords that matter most to your business.
And to help you get started, here are 4 ways your local businesses will benefit from SEO (and why an SEO service can help you reach your goals).
#1. Tap Into Existing Traffic
Okay, so this one is fairly straightforward. But here are a few shocking statistics from SocialMediaToday:
- 46% of Google searches are people looking up local information
- 72% of people who search for local businesses visit a store within 5 miles
- 78% of local mobile searches resulted in an in-store purchase
Large numbers of people in your area are looking for local businesses. Whether you live in Burlington, Iowa or Brooklyn, N.Y., there is web traffic that you are missing right now.
An SEO service won’t guarantee that every one of those Google searches leads to a purchase from your business. But it does mean that you will suddenly have an “inside man,” someone who is finding the trends and helping you market to people in a way that leads to more brand awareness for your company.
#2. Target The Right Customers
The greatest strength of SEO is that it lets you segment your marketing. Instead of creating a bunch of generalized content, you’re able to build content clusters that specifically meet the needs of the different segments of your target audience.
For local businesses, that can make all the difference. People instinctively want to support businesses that align with their values, represent their hometown, or represent something they care about. But if you aren’t using SEO strategies, you won’t know which keywords will get your brand in front of those potential customers.
An SEO service won’t just take care of that for you — the good ones will work with you directly to make sure that your marketing strategy is as fine-tuned as is possible.
#3. Keep Up With Local Competitors
As a local business, it’s easy to think that your biggest competition is the national brands. You know, the ones with the billion-dollar ad campaigns that seem to haunt your dreams.
But the truth is that those brands aren’t using SEO strategies that target your local community. These mega-companies are going after keywords around their niche, which can make it competitive. But if you run a local bookstore, the best competition to focus on is the one against other local bookstores, both in your city and the greater region.
Let’s stick with the bookstore example. Customers already know what to expect from the nearest Barnes & Noble. But what if that customer wants used books, or fiction from local authors, or regional travel guides? They’ll search for “bookstores near [your town here]” and that’s the kind of keyword you want to focus on.
Targeting a keyword like “bookstores near [your town here]” might pull up a Barnes & Noble location, but if you create enough content that focuses on that keyword, soon enough you’ll start to climb higher and higher up the search results.
#4. Optimize Your Online Presence
SEO isn’t just a way to help your content rank for certain keywords — it’s also a way to build authority around your company’s web presence. (That’s actually at the core of search engine optimization, but in terms of local SEO, it’s more of a side benefit than the main focal point.)
A strong content strategy might get some of your blog posts, tutorials, and marketing materials to rank as a local business on Google. But if you use the same SEO principles on your home page, search engines will start to see your site as an authoritative voice in your community and industry.
Additional SEO Resources
As a reminder, there are dozens of high-quality SEO services out there. (Here’s a comprehensive list of SEO service companies.) Some specialize in local business, while others focus on domain authority. The point is, you can find a service to help you in a specific area or improve your overall web presence and keyword targeting.
If you’re new to SEO, you may want some tips on how to write SEO articles. And it might help to read a huge collection of statistics and facts to support the value of local business SEO. Or maybe you want to start somewhere small and try to get some of that “[enter business type] near me” Google traffic.
No matter where your business is or how you approach advertising, local SEO can help you maximize the time and money you invest in marketing. And an SEO service will take care of all the nitty, gritty details so you can focus on running — and growing — your business.
Drew Gula is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a company that produces royalty free epic music and sound effects to help businesses improve their video content.