When you’re running a small business, staying ahead of your competitors is one way to gain revenue and improve profit. You want customers to choose to bring their business to you rather than to other companies. This is why you invest in marketing strategies to make sure that people hear about you. One of the popular and cost efficient strategies that you can use is search engine optimization (SEO). But what is it and how does it work?
Search engine optimization according to Webconfs, an online resource for SEO, is a technique used to increase website traffic. The technique is about enhancing different elements on your website so that it gets a high ranking on SERP or search engine result page. This means that whenever people go online to look for a business, yours would be one of the first options given by search engines.
A more specific version of this marketing technique is local SEO. Regular SEO spreads awareness about your brand to a generic audience while local SEO marketing helps you target a specific market. Simply put, if you have a barber shop in Miami, utilizing local SEO will help you reach customers in your area. By doing so, you are able to increase the number of customers visiting your shop to get a haircut.
But how important is it to get noticed online? According to Business 2 Community, an online open community for business professionals, 75% of customers who do local searches end up visiting the business’ physical location. And like any other business owner, you certainly understand the importance of getting customers walk through the front door.
How Local SEO Works
Regular and local SEOs are able to promote your brand online by enhancing various elements on your site, so search engines will consider it as a relevant result. While the algorithms and processes involved may sound complicated, the basic concept is actually quite simple.
When customers go online to research and look for a product or service, they often use search engines such as Bing and Google. They type what they need and launch their query. Search engines then send out web crawlers or spiders to check listed websites to find relevant sites and pages. These crawlers analyze different elements and then come back with results listed on the SERP. The top ranking sites are the ones that were analyzed to be the most relevant.
The elements used in the search algorithms include but are not limited to the following:
When a customer launches a search for birthday cakes, he or she expects to get results that include bakeshops, cafes, recipes, or blog reviews. Websites of businesses that have nothing to do with the keywords used, such as cleaning services, are not supposed to be included in these results. This is why including the right keywords on your site is very important. The locations and word count are also necessary factors that need to be considered. Practices such as keyword stuffing are not recommended as search engines will consider your site as suspicious. Google defines keyword stuffing as the use of irrelevant terms or repetitive words to manipulate SERP ranking. This may have adverse results as your site may receive lower or no ranking at all.
To get maximum results on keywords, it is ideal to make sure that these appear in strategic locations such as titles and headings. Your site’s content also needs to be well written and utilizes keywords in a natural and relevant context.
Local SEO experts recommend the use of geo-targeted terms and consistent NAP to get better ranking. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number, details that most customers need. According to Business 2 Community, an open community online for business professionals, 46% of searches on Google are for local businesses. By including geo-targeted keywords, you ensure that you are more visible to customers who are more likely to visit your store.
According to Backlinko, an SEO consultant firm, link building is one of the most important elements in local business SEO. Links act like recommendations to do business with you. When web crawlers or spiders analyze a website, they check for links from other reputable and relevant sites. Your ranking is impacted by the number and quality of links that you have.
There are numerous ways to get links. Choosing which to use is important as there are black hat or shady techniques that may have a negative impact on your ranking. Affiliorama, a marketing firm with headquarters in Christchurch, cited evil back links as one of the most common tactics used to improve SERP ranking. Quality local SEO tools can help you avoid practices and techniques that may result in penalties of complete banning from search engine results.
The best links to have on your site are ones that come from businesses or organizations in a similar industry. Web crawlers recognize these as relevant links, and these can improve your ranking on SERP.
One other element that has an impact on how efficient your site can help improve revenue are customer reviews. While search engine crawlers do not use these in their algorithms, positive reviews influence consumer purchasing behaviors. According to Search Engine Land, an online publication in the search engine industry, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would trust recommendations from friends or family. This is why top local SEO companies optimize your site to have the capability to host customer reviews.
Recently, Google has beefed up its search algorithms by adding content to the elements used in the analysis. This is to ensure that consumers researching online receive website results that provide them the information they need. Sites that focus on other elements but have poor quality content are no longer ranked.
Risks of DIY SEO
Hiring local SEO companies cost money, and this is why some companies prefer to optimize their sites for organic searches on their own. However, while these come with some benefits such as lower costs and a more intimate knowledge of the business, it does have some cons as well. Below are some of the disadvantages of not working with a local SEO agency.
1. Lack of Focus and Attention in Local SEO
Running your own business means you need to be on top of every single aspect of the operations. In order to make sure that processes and tasks are done efficiently, you hire employees whose main roles are to get the job done.
By doing local SEO on your own, you risk not being able to maximize the benefits the strategy can bring. Since you will be adding SEO to your list of tasks, it will not receive the attention and focus it needs to be able to efficiently improve your ranking.
2. Lack of Experience
You hire experienced workforce to take care of specific jobs. For example, to amp sales, you hire sales professionals who can deliver results by having the necessary skills to get the tasks done efficiently. Simply put, you wouldn’t hire an electrician to fix the pipes, would you? While you know everything about your business, working with someone who has a more extensive knowledge of local SEO can help enhance your site for more effective and profitable results.
3. Work With Only One Data Point
When you choose to do local SEO on your own, you limit the data available to make the strategy more effective. These data are needed for analysis in order to come up with the best optimization techniques for your business. Local SEO agencies can help you monitor trends, so you can apply the right type of strategies to have a more visible and effective website.
4. Diverts Valuable Time
Your business is your baby, and you certainly want to make sure that you take very good care of it. Running day to day operations will come with challenges that you need to be able to address and manage. If you take care of your business’ own local SEO, this takes you away from other important tasks that need your attention.
5. Non-adherence to Policies
While the basic elements of local SEO are simple, application isn’t easy. There are search engine policies that you need to consider to ensure positive results. Search engines such as Google and Bing have strict policies such as keyword use and link building that you need to adhere to. By optimizing your site on your own, you increase the risks of violating these policies and may end up getting penalized and fined.
Working with a local SEO agency can help you maximize your marketing budget by turning website traffic into customers. But in order to do so, you need to find one that can deliver the needed results.
Local SEO company reviews can give you information on how effective these experts are. Check out the list of local SEO services on CrowdReviews.com and get started on finding the right people to optimize your site.
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