When building your web presence, it can be tempting to cast the widest possible net in hopes of attracting as many customers as possible. Unfortunately, for the purposes of small business marketing, this can end up unfocused, not bringing in views likely to become your business’s customers. For the small business owner, a locally-focused search engine optimization strategy is more likely to bring in customers. Here, then, are three benefits to a local SEO strategy.
First, though, a definition is in order. Search engine optimization refers to the techniques used to increase traffic to a website by making it more visible to search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Optimizing your website via careful keyword and meta tag selection, cross-linking between pages, and designing your site for ease of navigation can result in a significant boost in web traffic. This article won’t get into the various techniques used; for now, we’re concentrating on why a local focus is best for small businesses.
1. Focus on the community
Most small businesses are oriented to serving the communities they were founded in, and very few of them receive business from outside that community. Therefore, concentrating your marketing on the group most likely to become your customers is the most effective way of marketing your business.
Take, for example, two general contractor businesses based in a town named Springfield. One of them chooses to go with generic keyword selection, like “construction building” and “contractor”, while the other deliberately includes their location in their website’s text. When the various search engines update their indexes with the two businesses’ websites, the second is far more likely to show up in searches for “springfield contractor”.
2. More bang for your marketing buck
Studies done by Google show that more than 80% of users look up information on local places with their devices, and 50% of smartphone users visit a store they looked up within a day of their search. Additionally, knowing that the business they intend to patronize is close by is a strong influence on whether a customer makes a purchase. Focusing your small business marketing locally can have a profound effect on your bottom line, relative to the amount of money spent.
3. Consumers prefer locally-oriented ads.
In the study linked above, Google found that customers prefer that the information they look at be customized to their location. 68% of smartphone users used the Get Directions or Call options when they were available, and fully two-thirds of smartphone users wanted content that was customized to their city or ZIP code. A local SEO strategy, covering both website design, map site locations, and web ads, can use these preferences to deliver customers to businesses and allow them to make purchases more easily.