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local seo is beneficial for businesses hoping to attract local clients

What is Local SEO? (A Primer for Small Business Owners)

Do you have a local business? Are you trying to attract, keep, or sell to local customers? If you are, great! This post is for you. Read and weep (tears of joy) because you’ll have just discovered a powerful secret. Herein lies an antidote, a panacea, a remedy for all your marketing goals and woes. Because if you really are a local business – meaning you operate in a place, and not the cloud – Local SEO can be an absolute game-changer for how you do marketing and win business.

Just what is it? Get excited. You’re about to find out.

Local SEO Explained

As we previously covered in our 7 Benefits of SEO Services post, SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s how people find content online—websites, articles, videos, products—using their searching engine of choice (i.e. Google). By taking steps to optimize your website and the content you put on it, you can increase its “organic visibility”—its rank in the search engine results pages (or SERP’s, for short), which can increase both the quantity and the quality of your search traffic (people coming to your site).

local seo can target customers geographically

This can not only increase the number of people who visit your site and learn about your business, but ensure that the people who pay a visit are people who actually want or need the products or services you offer. This is how—through SEO—you can both win customers and achieve your marketing and sales goals. By creating content that your customers are sure to find, use, and share, you can create a content ecosystem that nurtures itself—driving more online traffic, improving your search engine rankings, and shuffling more customers through your sales funnel than you ever thought possible.

Local SEO is SEO with one extra step. Instead of targeting only the products and services you offer, Local SEO allows you to target those products or services in a specific geographical area (such as a local city or town). And, not just on Google either, but on various local-search engines and platforms, like Google, Bing, Yelp, Foursquare, Apple Maps, and more. Any search tool that factors in location can be leveraged using Local SEO, enabling your customers and potential customers to more easily find your business where they are, effectively putting your business on the map.

The Benefits of Local SEO for Small Businesses

What’s this mean for you? How can Local SEO benefit your small and local business?

Two ways: more traffic and less competition.

Say you’re a dentist in Cleveland who wants to market your pediatric dental services (or your overbite correction surgery) to Cleveland locals who need those services. By creating content (typically product & service pages and blog posts) that target ‘pediatric dental services in Cleveland,’ you can target search traffic (again, people coming to your site) that are searching the web for those exact services, in that exact location. This is what drives more traffic.

content marketing can improve your local seo

By creating content about the services you offer, and places you offer them, you can make it possible for local, would-be customers to more easily find your business online. And again, not just in the search engine results pages of Google. But, on a host of different platforms, including web-mapping platforms like Google and Apple Maps, search-and-discovery service mobile apps like Yelp and Foursquare, even in local business citations—found when someone mentions your business online in a blog post, article, or forum.

Furthermore, because you’re targeting a specific group of people (“Cleveland locals in need of pediatric dental services,” for example), there’s less business to compete for your traffic. In other words, by creating content for your customers – based on the services they need, and where they are – as opposed to targeting everyone online who needs those services, you can more effortlessly gain the estimated 46% of search traffic that is local. This means more traffic for less effort, without the difficulty of competing with more established brands who have the ability (and budget) to compete for global keywords.

How To Get Started Implementing Local SEO

Local SEO is simple enough. The first step is to create content that ranks for keywords and key phrases related to your business and the services you offer (regular SEO). The second step is to optimize it for local SEO – so that it ranks not only for ‘service words’ but also ‘geographic words’ related to where your business operates, or where your customers are. This is how you can create content that your local customers will search for – making it easier for them to find your business and your services.

You can also take steps to improve how your business shows up online (so that search engines and other platforms use accurate contact and location information when referencing you). You can do this by claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing, your Business Page on various review sites (like Yelp or Foursquare), and performing a ‘Citation Audit’ for all those aforementioned Local Citations. Taking steps to improve your website design and functionality, can also improve your local search engine results.

Keep in mind, setting up and configuring many of these services tends to trip people up (particularly if they don’t have a technical background). After all, it’s one thing to know what to do, entirely another to make it happen. If you’re stuck implementing any of the aforementioned tips or unsure where or how to even start, don’t hesitate to call a professional marketing agency to help.

Hercules SEO is an SEO and Content Marketing Agency that helps small businesses enhance their online presence and attract customers organically, through both local and global SEO. Our team of qualified SEO professionals can help set you up for local SEO success, jumpstarting your organic traffic, and winning you customers and clients. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation!

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