A well-known political adage states: “All politics are local.” Well, you could say the same thing about business. All business is local…at least for most businesses it is. If you are Amazon or Apple, this may not apply. But if you are a small business, you should take heed of this adage, especially when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).
According to 2011 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 5.68 million employer firms in the United States; companies with less than 500 workers accounted for 99.7% of those firms. Companies with less than 20 workers accounted for 89.8%. Add in all the companies which are non-employer firms (sole proprietors), and firms with less than 20 workers make up 98% of businesses in the U.S.
The majority of these smaller firms are not worried about their global share of the market; they are worried about how they will perform in their local area. For any of these firms with a web presence (and they all should have one), they should be concerned with local SEO.
Why Worry About Local SEO?
Though consumers are concerned with price, many of them are also willing to support local businesses. However, for consumers to support your local business, they need to find you. On the street, you can use advertising and signs to help consumers locate your brick and mortar store, but on the web, you need to use local SEO to get them to find your corner of the Internet.
The power of the Internet allows you to reach customers all over the world, but ignoring your local market is a mistake that will cut into your profit and undermine your long-term success.
6 Reasons to Focus on Local SEO
- Give them what they want. Consumers like to support neighborhood and local businesses. Many of them will even pay more to shop locally. Give them what they want by letting them find your business on the web. Bring them to your website by using targeted local keywords.
- You can use SEO and local SEO together – they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they compliment each other. Not using local SEO as part of your SEO tools is like making a music video without the music…or the video.
- Local SEO increases your competitive advantage. Let’s say you have a business in San Diego and you are selling non-toxic cleaning products. On a global level, it is most likely a very competitive market. However, if you use keywords such as “non-toxic cleaning products San Diego” or “best environmentally friendly cleaning products in San Diego” you may gain an advantage over other companies selling the similar products from a different location.
- Online and on the street together. If you have a brick and mortar location, using local SEO will connect your website with your brick and mortar store. You want potential customers to know who you are by both your online presence and your brand in the community.
- More keywords. By using your geographic location in the keyword phrases, you are able to write with greater variation. This allows you to stay away from keyword stuffing (too many similar sounding keywords in the same article, web page, or blog)…and Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing at all!
- More people using the Internet to find businesses. As more and more people turn to the Internet to find products and services, the importance of local SEO will continue to grow. Traditional forms of advertising will probably always be around, but online advertising (and SEO is a form of advertising) will continue to demand more attention. Join the global marketplace and get online, but make sure to never lose your local focus.