Whether you intend to sell products online or are simply looking for ways to build your small business on the local level, small businesses today need to focus on local SEO now more than ever. The bottom line is this, making your presence felt online is the only way to get ahead of your competition and grow your small business.
Think about it, no one really uses the yellow pages anymore. Most people simply turn to Google or their favorite search engine, to help them find local businesses for their shopping needs. If you aren’t investing in local SEO, they are more likely to find your competition than they are to find you.
What is Local SEO?
Essentially, small business local SEO services help increase your visibility in the search engines for your small business and your community. In other words, you are targeting two key search terms to rank better in the search engines.
You might feel that it is counterintuitive to split your efforts to rank well in the search engines by doing engaging in local SEO tactics. However, it helps you rank better for those who are more likely to want your services or goods in your location. What it does, is give you a much smaller pond in which to be a much bigger fish.
Whether you’re hoping to target more local shoppers to come into your store or you’re interested in making your presence felt on the World Wide Web, beginning with local SEO is a great way to build up to bigger and better things in the future for your small business.
Just remember that a well-rounded local SEO strategy involves quite a bit of moving parts working together to build your brand online and within the local community, including things like:
- Social media.
- Content marketing.
- Link building.
- Encouraging reviews.
- Reputation management.
When all these moving parts work together, they can work for your small business, helping it grow while you take care of other aspects of operating your business.
What are the Benefits of Local SEO for Small Businesses?
While most small businesses focus solely on the benefit of building your ranking in various search engines, there are other benefits to consider when it comes to local SEO. The better you understand the benefits, the greater sense of urgency you will use when exploring your local SEO opportunities. The following are among some of the top benefits to consider for local SEO.
- Gives you an edge over your competitors. When it comes to building your business, you do not have to eliminate the competition. You just have to be bigger, better, and more – or at least look like you are. Investing in local SEO allows you to do exactly that by being the first name that appears in local search results time and time again.
- Helps you attract more customers. Few people read beyond the first two or three entries in the search engine results. In a best-case scenario, your small business will hold all three positions. However, holding one or two out of three is still beneficial to your business, especially if one of those is the number one spot. It will bring new customers and opportunities through your business doors.
- Allows you to target your advertising. Perhaps the most important benefit of local SEO marketing is that you are targeting likely buyers. You’ve eliminated people from far away cities who aren’t interested in what you’re selling. Every penny you spend on local SEO is money you’re investing in the people you’re most likely to serve.
- Increases your authority within the community. If you rank well in the search engines, it gives your business credibility and trustworthiness, or authority, it would otherwise lack. Local SEO allows you to rank well, faster, within your community, establishing greater credibility for your business.
The sooner you begin practicing local SEO the faster you can start reaping the rewards and benefits it has to offer.
Should I Do Local SEO In-House or Hire an Agency?
This is the age-old question many businesses face when it comes to SEO. The question doesn’t really change much when it comes to local SEO. It all comes down to two things:
Doing your own local SEO takes a lot of time. Time to acquire the knowledge and technical skills necessary to do it properly. Or money to pay someone who has the knowledge and technical skills to do it for your small business.
There are a few things to remember as you weigh the various pros and cons of doing your own local SEO. Perhaps they can help you make an informed decision about what is right for your business, right now.
- There are even costs when doing your own local SEO. Be prepared to pay for things like hosting, website maintenance, citation fees on the local level, SEO tracking tools, and review generation tools.
- Your time has value. It will be up to you to decide if that time is best spent engaging in local SEO or taking care of other matters of business. Be sure to include your time as a consideration when weighing your options.
- You can’t learn how it’s done by having someone else do it for you. This consideration is best for small business owners who would like to be able to do this for themselves once they have a solid local SEO footing established.
Of course, you can always amend your decision later if you are strapped for cash today by investing in “done for you” local SEO at a later date. Especially if you’re not getting the search engine ranking results you expect.
How Much do Local SEO Companies Charge?
This is one question that doesn’t have a simple question. Local SEO means different things to different small business owners and your costs will vary greatly according to the service you choose, the scale of your optimization efforts, and how much structure and framework is already in place for your online presence. You could expect to pay anywhere from $750 per month and up to $3,000 per month for an effective local SEO campaign for your small business.