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Local SEO

6 Reasons You Need Local SEO to Crush Your Competition – Updated

Local SEOUpdated April 19th, 2018 | Originally written October 10th, 2014

6 Reasons You Need Local SEO to Crush Your Competition Summary

  1. Branding
  2. Sales
  3. Traffic
  4. Cost Effective
  5. Competitiveness
  6. Return on Investment (ROI)

I wrote this post 3 1/2 years ago and saw that it is still getting a lot of attention according to Google Analytics.  I decided to update/refresh it for Spring 2018 for a couple of reasons.

First, I want to show my audience and clients how re-purposing can be used to drive qualified traffic to your blog and website.  It is a tried and true method of increasing traffic to your website.

Second, as with most blog posts over time, they need to be updated to provide timely and relevant information.  I am a person that not only preaches but practices.


Local SEO
has become one of the most indispensable components of every brand and business that desires long-term success across search engines. It has grown significantly over the past few decades, particularly given the upsurge of smartphone usage and better connectivity. As the name implies, local search engine optimization is about focusing on online searchers who are looking for particular services and goods that are available locally.

According to a recent study, over 80 percent of local consumers use search engines to find local businesses. People constantly request information while on the move via Android phones and iPhones or laptops. Gone are the days of dusting off the yellow pages from below the coffee table or cabinets. Consumers have now become savvier and require information on local businesses quicker than ever. If a local company cannot be found online, then it is already missing out on a plethora of opportunities to its competitors. Here are 6 reasons why businesses cannot afford not to use Local SEO.

Why Local SEO is Critical To Your Business Success

1. Branding

Local SEO will help establish your brand and business online, allowing potential clients and customers to find your website. Local SEO SignThis, in turn, will help to build your online presence. A professional business website that is simple to navigate and provides a positive user experience is extremely imperative as it is the first impression a potential client or customer will receive. Additionally, the combination of a user-friendly, high-quality website will automatically result in more phone calls, leads, sales, and revenue.

Update: While it is still a must that you have a website for your local business it’s also important to understand how the Google Search Engine, and to a lesser extent the Bing Search Engine, work.  Google Search Results will display several sections depending on the query.  In most cases, the results will include in order Ads, Google Local Pack, and Organic Results.  If the search is a very specific question or request for information then it may also include the specific answer or rich snippets.  There are multiple opportunities to show up on the first page of Google and you should try to occupy them all.

The Google Local Pack is set up through Google My Business and has had a lot of new features added in recent months.  I mention this because while your website can and should be connected to your Google Business listing people are less likely to click on your website from the Google Local Pack. If optimized correctly all the information they need will be included.  The first contact may be them sending a message or calling directly from Google Maps or the Google Local Pack.

2. Sales

The right SEO service will also boost your company sales. Wondering how? Well, imagine if more customers found your site, don’t you think that would lead to more sales? Of course, it would! Position your company in front of your potential clients and see for yourself. If more people view your site, it will translate into more sales. With the entire world connected through the internet, it makes it extremely imperative to be found online.

What’s even more valuable for businesses is that 18 percent of local searches lead to purchases within a day – more than double the rate of non-local searches (7 percent). This means that for every five times your web content shows up in a local search result, one person will likely make a purchase. 

Update: Your website should not be treated as an online brochure but let’s be realistic.  Today’s consumers and business operators are very savvy.  Chances are if they are contacting you they’ve already been to your website and have done the research.  This is the premise of inbound marketing.  A lot of the selling has already been done thus increasing your closing rate.  At this point in the buyer’s journey if the sale is lost it is likely due to the sales process, or the salesperson.

3. Traffic

With search engine optimization, your site will receive augmented traffic, which will be highly targeted based on relative search phrases and keywords. While creating an SEO strategy, we search and identify phrases and keywords that are highly searched terms related to your company and location. Wouldn’t it be great to have your site at the top of the search engines? Potential clients usually believe that the top results are the best results. This, in turn, will drive huge traffic which can later be converted into profits.

A client who is ready to purchase the products or services that you offer, who wouldn’t want that?

Update: Make sure the content that sits at the top of the Google Search results is relevant to the search query you intend it to be for.  Irrelevant content won’t last long at the top.  Your competition has hired me, or someone like me, to take that spot from you.  If the SEO that they hired is good at what they do then they’ve already done their research on you and devised an SEO plan to take that top spot from you.  That plan might include better content with more information.  Part of branding is setting yourself up as the expert.  If someone makes it look like you’re not the expert then your traffic will drop.

Also contributing to traffic decreases (and I have seen this numerous times) is a website that suddenly stops producing content.  I see this professionally from businesses who are not in it for the long game.  They want the quick sale for a few dollars of profit but are not considering tomorrow, next week or 5 years from now.  When they’re not seeing the bank account increase as fast as they had hoped (even though they were advised in clear terms what the expectations should be) they give up on the plan.  6 months to a year later their website traffic is non-existent.

4. Cost-Effective

Think about the thousands of dollars your business spends on other forms of sales promotion and advertisements.  For instance, print media is very expensive and does not provide great returns in most cases because you target the masses when using this form of advertising/marketing. The masses are not ready to buy from you. Most of them have not even considered your service or product. Instead, you should consider investing your print media budget into a digital campaign using highly targeted local SEO and marketing.

A recent campaign managed by my company averaged just under $20 per referral for a service that cost $197.  Taking one week of the campaign; the highly targeted ad spend and associated fees was a little over $600. The client sold 33 units at $197 each. This resulted in a net profit of about $5900. Not bad for one week, right?

That businesses competition was using billboards on a major highway in New Haven County, Connecticut.  I don’t know what the ROI was for the billboard but I can promise the investment was more than $600 and can almost guarantee that the ROI was not as good as the Google Ad campaign I ran for my client.

Update: Organic SEO and Local SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t plan to fund your retirement in 5 weeks and you shouldn’t expect to be rolling in money within 5 weeks of executing an SEO plan.  SEO takes time and has to be analyzed and adjusted constantly.  The long-term ROI of a well-executed SEO strategy cannot be beaten by any other form of marketing or advertising.  Combined with Social Media Marketing and Digital Advertising you can consume the bulk of your industry’s Local SEO and drive revenue while your competition continues to advertise in the local print newspaper that no one reads anymore.

5. Competitiveness

With a well thought out and executed local SEO plan, your business can easily outrank a competitor, thereby acquiring the online market share locally for your industry. Your companies online presence and the overall image it portrays online are extremely crucial. This is the first thing every potential customer will notice. Times are changing and if your business does not dominate online, then it is not taking full advantage of the opportunities that are available. Time is of the essence. If you want to win the local marketing war then get started on your local SEO now!

Update: One key component to dominating your local SEO is your Online Reputation.  Online Reputation Manage (ORM) includes reviews and review responses.  Responding to ALL reviews is one of your most important jobs with regards to Local SEO and ORM. 

I worked with two businesses who went against my advice regarding responding to negative reviews.  Both decided instead of responding to the reviews, trying to put a positive spin on a negative review, they would just delete the reviews.  I am not going to say that one ignored negative review caused this but the mindset behind it probably caused both businesses to eventually close, one of them was in operation for 35 years.

People want to know that you address concerns as well as you address adoration.  Don’t ignore the former to look like a local hero.

6. Return On Investment

Return On Investment on ChalkboardEvery business wants to know what their ROI is going to be. A professional SEO plan that utilizes all aspects of Search Engine Optimization and Marketing will provide your business with an excellent long-term return on investment. Radio and TV advertisement is extremely costly and there is no guarantee that the audiences are even remotely interested in your service or product. With Local SEO, the potential customers are landing on your website page after searching for related and relevant search terms and keywords related to your business. What do you think would achieve better results for your business? 2000 random people viewing your advertisement on TV or 2000 people visiting your site because they are interested and actively searching for your service or product? This is what makes Google Search Marketing so imperative. With SEO as a Solution, you can help grow your business consistently, increase revenue and profit over the course of the plan, and increase the longevity of your business.

I want to take a moment to point out that you should consider hiring a professional, experienced SEO.  I am not saying this just so you will hire me.  I am saying this because the SEO Industry changes very rapidly and it’s important that your SEO evolve with the changes.  The Google Search Algorithm averages 2 updates per day. What worked yesterday might be frowned upon by Google today.  You can do your business a huge disservice by cutting corners on SEO.

That being said, I hope you find this and all information on this site helpful.  As a thank you for checking out this blog post click here to get your Free Local SEO Audit.

 

Episode 12 | Optimize Your Business for the Google 3 Pack

SEO Tear DownEpisode 12 | Optimize Your Business for the Google 3 Pack

How do you get your business in the Google 3 Pack, also known as Google Maps?  When you do manage to get your business listed how do you dominate the Google 3 Pack section of the Google Search Engine Results Page?

This week I talked about that very topic.  Adding real estate to the Google SERP by dominating the Google 3 Pack helps you dominate Google.  Here’s what you need to know to succeed on the Google 3 Pack.

First, the Google 3 Pack is managed by going to google.com/mybusiness.

Once you’ve created an account here are the items to ensure your success on Google Maps:

  • Thorough & Detailed Description including relevant long tail keywords
  • Profile Image, Logo and Cover Photo
  • Website URL
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • Address
  • Hours of Operation
  • Have Clients Review Your Business
  • Connect to YouTube and Upload Videos

Frustrated at Google

Are You Making a Big Mistake With Google?

CT Social Media ExpertThe face of search is Google.  It still is today and it shows in the metrics.  Nearly 70% of all search queries take place on Google but you may be making a huge mistake by putting all your eggs in the Google basket?

Consider this.  You’re the passenger in a car.  The driver says I’m hungry and could go for some Chinese food.  You’re not in an area you’re familiar with when it comes to restaurant options.  What do you do?

Today many people ask Siri, Cortana or Google using a voice search.  Unless you’ve been under a rock you know that iPhones have a large share of the smartphone population.  This means that when an iPhone user uses Siri to perform a search they may not be using Google for their search results…a decrease in their search dominance.

With one example you can see that the face of search is evolving.  However, it goes so much further than that.  There are numerous ways to for things now.  Let’s cover a few.

Google Search Alternatives

Voice Search on Your Smart Phone-As a mentioned earlier many smart phone users will use Siri, Cortana or Google to perform a voice search from their phone.  Obviously if you’re using an Android then you’re still using Google to search but if you use Siri or Cortana you can change the default search engine.  Keep in mind that a large share of the smart phone market belongs to Apple so Siri is used often to perform a search.

siriYouTube-The second biggest search engine today is YouTube.  Yes, I know it’s owned by Google but it is still a different platform.  Many people use YouTube to find how to videos, DIY videos, entertainment and much more.

Facebook-Do I need to go into details?  Facebook is by far the largest social media platform on the planet.  That means people are searching for things.  They’re looking up people, businesses and asking questions and so much more.  Facebook has been developing their search functionality for years in an effort to be the face (pun intended) of the internet.

Pinterest-Pinterest has a very large audience of women.  That means that when it’s time to look for recipes, clothes, shoes, home décor and things often associated with women they may be using Pinterest before going to Google or Facebook.  I smell opportunity for blue collar businesses!

Bing, Yahoo, Ask-Some of the other search engines.  I say some because there are more.  These are the more popular ones.   Bing has been chipping away at Google for years but has gained very little ground.  Can you guess what the default search engine is for Cortana?

LinkedIn-It’s where the professionals go.  If I want to find information on a business owner, sales person or solopreneur LinkedIn is the default search engine.  If you’re a business owner not on LinkedIn there’s a good chance you’re hurting your business.  It’s not enough for you to be on LinkedIn though.  Your company should also have a presence on LinkedIn.

People also use LinkedIn for Job Search.

Reddit, Digg, Delicious-These are social bookmarking sites.  Essentially they’re another way to share content.  However many people on the internet use these to “discover” the web.

Twitter-Twitter as a platform has a large number of users but also may have the largest number of idle or abandoned accounts.  However that is changing as people who once ignored their Twitter accounts are suddenly seeing the value thanks to Periscope and Blab.  Twitter has also introduced moments in an attempt to keep people on the Twitter platform.  Searching hashtags (#) started on Twitter and it’s still a relevant search mechanism today..on most social media platforms.  Twitter search is used in large part to discover currently relevant conversations.

In fact Google recognized Twitter’s popularity and partnered with them.  Tweets are now indexed on Google…..again.

green-twitteriTunes-Speaking of conversations..iTunes is currently the most popular place for Podcasts.  If you’re seeking information on a particular topic and you think a podcast on the way to work or a meeting might be the perfect way to gain knowledge then you’re likely searching on iTunes.   Google is going to add podcasts to Google Play in 2016 but for now its iTunes or a plethora of 3rd party podcast submission sites.

About(.com)-says they are the largest source for expert content on the internet.  You can get questions answered, and find resolutions to some of your problems.  There is also Quora which is a social platform that basically does the same thing.

Yelp, YP, Angies List and others-These are local directories, and there are hundreds.  Generally speaking there are probably 5-10 high quality local directories.  The rest are largely ignored by marketers and most businesses.

Industry Specific Social Media Platforms-Just about every industry has their own platform to participate on.  For example Avvo is a platform for attorneys while Bigger Pockets is one for Real Estate Investors.  If you’re looking for a business or person in a specific industry there’s likely a resource for it.

There is a ton of other ways to search the internet for information.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.

The Madness

Frustrated at FacebookOne thing I do want to point out is Google does index most of these sites and directories as well.  That means if you take to Google to look for something then it may show up on the first page in one of the aforementioned sites.  However you won’t always find what you’re looking for that way.  If you’re like me then when you search on Google you probably ignore the directories and social sites in most cases.

You’re probably wondering why a Google Certified Partner would write a blog post to talk about other ways to search the internet.  Well, there is a method to my madness.  Yes it’s true I am a Google partner and some would even call me an expert.  However it’s important to understand the changing landscape of search for your business.

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up all the options as they exist today, and in the future.  I can compare this to the SEO companies that still practice link spamming and keyword stuffing.  These methods today will hurt you, but five years ago they worked.  It was wrong to do these things but it worked if you wanted to rank on Google.  Today your site probably doesn’t exist if you haven’t updated your methods.

I have always looked to the future to ensure that my clients and my business are prepared.  Clients are listed on local directories, all of the major search engines, relevant social media platforms and anywhere that will work for their business…even iTunes in some cases.

SEO is not just optimizing for Google.  It’s optimizing for the user.  Google recognized this about 5 or 6 years ago.  So should your marketer or SEO provider.