Following is a scenario that highlights why Local SEO is important to your business. Let’s say your business offers local plumbing services, and a potential customer walks into her kitchen and discovers a geyser of a leak coming from under the sink. She tries to shut off the water supply, but the valve is old and rusty and she can’t manage to turn it, even with a big old wrench. In the meantime, the pool of water in the kitchen is getting bigger and deeper, and she knows she better either call a plumber or put on her bathing suit. She tries to remember where the phone book is, but then recalls she threw it out after her hulk of a husband did the old “tear a phone book in half” routine. Actually, he was pretty impressive. Anyway, it’s too bad, because you sprung for a nice half page listing in that phone book, but it won’t do you any good now.
Our maiden in distress grabs her cell phone, and starts searching the internet for a local plumber. She needs someone really local, because if a plumber doesn’t get to her house within the next 15 minutes, well, the fish tank is in for a major expansion. Fortunately, your shop is just 5 minutes away from her house, and a plumber happens to be available that can leave ASAP. But when she Googles “Rockford Plumbers” your business doesn’t show up on the first page. Or the second. Heck, it doesn’t show up until the fourth page, which she never gets to. She calls a plumber from a first page listing who is twice as far from her house as your shop because she never sees your listing. But you don’t know that. You are just sitting in your office wondering why business is so slow today…again. See why Local SEO is important? Here are 5 reasons that drive the point home.
Local SEO Tells Customers You Exist Locally
If someone lives in Rockford, and they are looking for a plumber, or a baker or an Italian Restaurant, they probably are not interested in finding one in New York or San Diego. Maybe if they are jet-setters, but probably not even then. They want to be able to find what they want locally, and will use location specific keywords to Google your type of business. That is where Local SEO comes in. Your business website needs to show up on the first page results when someone is looking for a local business like yours. In fact, almost 92% of Google searches end on the first page. If you are on the second page or later, well, you end up getting the scraps, if anything at all. Without a strong Local SEO program in place, your business may as well not even exist locally as far as Google searchers are concerned.
Local Customers Search Online
If you think having a nice big add in the phone book is going to put you on the map locally, well, think again. Yes, some dinosaurs still use the good old printed phone book (yes, even me once in a while), but more and more people rely on the internet to find businesses and services that they need locally. In fact,more than 2.6 billion local searches are conducted each month! That’s a lot of customers. And if you are spending your marketing dollars primarily or exclusively on phone book advertising, newspaper advertising, direct mail advertising, etc., well, those billions of customers may never find you. Plus, think of all the trees you’ll save if you start investing in a solid Local SEO program!
Local Online Search Is Targeted
When a searcher (or if you prefer surfer) is looking for something specific on line, they will use a phrase or group of words that will “target” specifically what they are looking for. These are called “long-tail keywords”. An example might be the keyword phrase “Rockford Casual Outdoor Italian Restaurant”. See how this group of words narrows down or targets the results, compared to just “Italian Restaurant”? Intrinsic to Local SEO is keyword research followed by keyword optimization. You need to find the keyword phrases that local searchers are using on the internet to find your type of business. You also need to compare the volume of searches using these keywords with the competition for each. Ideally you want to optimize your site for keywords that have a significant amount of search volume and low to moderate competition. Finding keywords that fall within that “sweet spot” can be accomplished through the use of a myriad of paid tools, or the free tool available through Google Adwords Keyword Planner. By doing the research and optimizing your site using Local SEO techniques, you will make sure that your business receives its share of local traffic generated through the use of targeted keywords.
Mobile Search Is Huge and Growing
More and more people are accessing the internet via their mobile phones and tablets. In fact, nearly 86 million people access local business info via their mobile phones. I really don’t want to beat the “internet vs phone book” example to death, but let me make this brief point and then I will go on to the next one. If someone is out and about and wants to find a local business such as yours, what do you think they are most likely to have with them: their cell phone or a phone book? And in that scenario, what will give you the highest ROI: a great big old phone book ad, or, a kick-butt Local SEO program? ‘Nuff said.
Local SEO Makes Your Business Stand Out
Nothing is sweeter than to have your Local SEO efforts pay off with a top listing in the Google search results. What if your plumbing business in our opening story had invested some of its marketing budget on building a local online presence? What if our frazzled lady found your website on Page 1 of the search results, as well as your Google + Local listing and reviews from Angie’s List? Maybe she would have also seen your blog site that offers plumbing tips for homeowners, with a free e-book titled “How To Perform A 24 Step Preventive Maintenance Check To Avoid Leaking Pipes And Fixtures”? Who do you think she would have called? The other plumber twice as far from her house with a crappy website, or the Local Plumbing Powerhouse that is all over the net (YOU!). Stand out with Local SEO, and you will never have to worry about whether or not someone is walking their fingers to your Phone book listing.
What About the “How” of Local SEO?
We just covered 5 reasons why your business needs to get crackin’ with Local SEO, unless you are already on it, which in that case good for you. But just how do you create a local online presence using good White Hat Local SEO? Ah grasshopper, that is a tale for another article. We will cover just how you can optimize your site and go after reviews and citations to establish your business credibility in the local market in a future blog post. But if you would like to see how your business stacks up now on the local scene, or would like help in creating a solid Local SEO marketing program, please call Moore Marketing Systems today.