As a small and local business owner, how do you attract your customers? Many well-established small businesses get most of their revenue from repeat customers, local ads, and word-of-mouth. They might have websites because, well, who doesn’t? But their websites probably aren’t generating the lion’s share of their business. If you’re a small, local business owner, does your website even need to be search engine optimized? Absolutely. Here’s why.
Internet marketing, when compared to other types of advertising, is basically free. You’ll only pay a nominal fee for your domain name and web hosting. Since you don’t have a fortune to spend on advertising, you can’t afford not to take advantage of such a powerful marketing tool like the Internet. By increasing the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website, you can drive significantly more traffic to your website, and more traffic equals more customers.
More and more people are performing localized searches every day. The Internet has become the go-to method of choice for consumer research, and SEO will help you profit from it. Localized search means that people restrict their search for products and services to their specific, local area. Search engines and smartphones automatically detect an individual’s location and return the most relevant, nearby results. When someone is searching for your business’ product or service, you need your website to be recommended first, not a competitor’s. SEO will help bump you to the top of local search results.
Local Directories: The Importance of Citations
Location-based searching is rising in popularity, and more search engines, apps, and tools like Siri for the iPhone and iPad are pulling the information they pass on from local directories like Yelp. It is essential that your SEO efforts include citation building, which includes adding your business listing to local directories, such as Google+ Local, Yelp, Bing Local, White Pages, and dozens or even hundreds more high value citation niche directories. Inclusion on these sites will help your small business become even more visible in local search. Because people will be directed straight to your listing first instead of your website, your listing needs to be optimized to make your business more attractive to potential customers.
If you make an effort to improve your SEO, it is very likely that you’ll see an increase in customers to your business. The reliance of most people on the Internet and location-based searching makes SEO for small business not only a smart business decision, but an absolutely essential one.