Before you read....
Local SEO is one of the most important aspects for a local small business’s online marketing strategy.
A lot of people are weary of SEO services. Chances are, you have heard horror stories of a business pouring money into an SEO company and getting $0 return on their investment. I know I have. I have spoken with business owner after business owner who has been burnt by shoddy SEO work. That’s why we track everything we do. If it ain’t working we will let you know as soon as we know and we will tell you how we are going to fix it. However, if you aren’t ready to invest in SEO for your site here is a low-cost solution to help you begin getting local traffic. This won’t get you to a number one ranking on Google but it tackles one of the foundational areas of local SEO. First, let me explain what ‘local SEO’ is.
What is the difference between general SEO and local SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the science of increasing a site’s relevance for Google rankings. The end goal is to get a site to appear as the top result for particular key phrases. If you sell car parts on your site then you might want to appear first for people searching for ‘Chevy mufflers’. A search engine optimizer would work diligently to help the site increase it’s relevance for that phrase. This typically involves a number of things including:
- making sure the site is structured well
- the key phrase is in all the right spots
- the site has links inside itself that help search engines know which page is the best one for your key phrase
- making sure the content is valuable and worth reading
- garnering incoming links to your site
- managing social media accounts
- making sure your site is mobily optimized
- increasing the speed of your site
Google’s number one purpose is to serve the best results for any given search phrase. If it served bad results people would stop using it, they wouldn’t get money from their ads, and then life as we know it would end. So, Google scans all of these variables and many more and then determines which sites are the best. That is a general bird’s eye view of SEO. Local SEO is a little bit different. While more general search phrases return a list of links that look basically the same a local search will return a list of links but will pull out anywhere from 2-7 local listings that have the name, address, and phone number listed directly in the results. These usually appear when you search for a common type of local business, like hardware store. Google will use your IP address and/or cell phone GPS to determine where you are and give you local results. Or, you can get these results usually if you add your city and/or state to the search. The businesses that are listed in the local listings will have more phone calls and visits than sites that aren’t.
If you are trying to get traffic from all over the country for a general phrase like ‘Chevy mufflers’ then you have a lot work ahead of you. The reason is because you have 50 states worth of car parts dealers competing for the same exact thing. The people who are going to be number one on Google for such terms are paying a lot of money to keep themselves there and they are making a lot of money by being there. However, if you are like most local small businesses you aren’t competing with 50 other states. You are competing with a handful of local competitors and possibly some national businesses as well. So, how do you beat your competitors in your town out of the #1 spot? Like I said earlier, there are several factors that Google takes into consideration when determining search result ranking, however there is one thing that affects local search results more than any other one factor: consistency of your name, address, and phone number (or NAP) across the internet. Did you know that your business is listed on more than 100 sites across the internet? Did you know that there is a good chance that some of those sites have the wrong info about your business? This throws up red flags for Google. If Google sees that your business is inconsistent across the internet it looks like you don’t care about your business. It’s like wearing your lawn mowing clothes to an interview for a desk job. So, the more inconsistent your listings are the less Google thinks you are qualified to be in the #1 position.
A few years ago it was the search engine optimizer’s job to go through the endless list of sites and make sure your business was listed consistently. Today most of these sites have a signup process to edit business info, then possibly a verification process to ensure you own the business, and some require that you pay a fee to have access to your business info. If we had to do this manually it would take hours upon hours to setup and manage. Luckily we offer a service to control all your listings on all these sites easily. We can ensure that your vital information is uniform across the net so that Google sees you as a more credible business and your potential customers don’t wind up calling an old phone number! To learn more about our local SEO services give us a call us at 865-240-0297 or email us below.