How Local Businesses Can Benefit From SEO

How do I know if SEO is going to bring in an ROI for my business?

Sometimes local businesses are under the false impression that Search Engine Optimisation is not for their type of business.   However, this is far from being the truth!

Usually focused on serving a local market, local businesses do not thrive on requests or orders from outside of their locality. In fact, many times requests from people outside their location cannot actually be served. For example it useless for a restaurant in Dublin to get a booking request from someone who is in Tipperary and who is not traveling to Dublin in the near future.   This kind of idea, can lead some businesses to focus solely on the customers they are already serving, customers who are already aware and know about the business!

This is a rather limited way of viewing the market.  Apart from the local market, a chunk of the business activity can arise from those who are traveling through the location or are temporarily residing in that location. This kind of customers might not be aware of the local business and the services that it provides. This is where Search Engine Optimisation firms can help!

Local search on mobile devices

Such potential customers will be using their mobile devices to conduct searches for services or products they require or need in the specific location where they are currently located.   It is also very important to note that Google has often indicated that a large chunk of searches is actually local searches.

For example, a popular hair salon located in the area is already flourishing and doing well from its established clientele.  Its website is not kept up-to-date and has never been optimized for search engines.  Whilst it is understandable that the salon is focused solely on its local customers,  the salon would definitely get requests and bookings from new customers if it had to embark on search engine optimisation of its site with the aim of capturing searchers that are looking for ‘hair styling’ and ‘hair services’ in the region.

How does this happen?  When the user searches for a service that will be consumed locally, the search engine results will display those organizations that geographically speaking in the same area as the device from which the search is being made.  Thus someone in Manchester, making a search for ‘Manchester salon’ will be presented with a series of results of hair salons in Manchester.

This kind of location-based search results is also useful in the case of those customers who do not have the full details of the business in question and are looking for specific info like for example ‘opening hours salon high street’.  In this case, the customer does not remember the salon’s name but remembers its location in High Street.  If the website of the salon has been through an SEO exercise, there is a bigger possibility that the website of the salon that is located on High Street will be displayed when the user makes the search.

How to optimize your website correctly for search engines

There are several things that are important when optimizing a website for localized search traffic.  One can start by ensuring that the company is listed accurately in Google listings. Precise details related to address and telephone numbers are very important. A full listing, i.e. a listing which includes full business details along with photos, and reviews is vital.  Likewise one needs to understand which are the essential keywords under which you want your firm to be listed.  Similarly, the website needs to have correct addresses and provide content which is focused on the local scene as this makes it more relevant.   Being present on the relevant directories and websites related to your market also helps. You also want to make sure that you taking full advantage of email marketing to capture leads, then send them mail shots. It is advisable to not only send promotional emails BUT information that will benefit your subscribers. Remember, building a relationship with your prospects makes selling so much easier.

Search Engine Optimisation for the local business is an area which cannot be overlooked.  With Google giving more and more importance to the local aspect and with the ever increasing rise of mobile devices, your competition is bound to be already there.

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