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As a small business owner, having a digital marketing plan that includes SEO is not just a good idea – it’s essential for the health of your business. In past years, search engine optimization played an integral role largely for large and midsize businesses. Today, it is an indispensable and practical tool that will help any business, big or small, that looks to maintain and grow its customer base.

Studies have shown that over 90% of shoppers choose a business that appears on the first page of local search results. Likewise, over 70% of prospective customers who use local searches to find a particular commodity within five miles of their location actually visit the shop when they find it.

Moreover, 50% of mobile users visit a business within 24 hours of performing a local search. And two of the leading reasons small businesses fail – competition and lack of market need – can substantially be addressed by investing in sound SEO strategies.

With statistics like these, running a small business without paying attention to SEO, especially local SEO, can be a risky affair. Read on to find out more reasons why you should care about SEO and how you can implement for the benefit of your small business.

Click here to get your full, in-depth report displaying critical data on how your site performs, how it is impacting you and your business as well as what you can do about it.

What Is Local SEO?

Google favors local content as it promises more value to users. That’s where local SEO comes in handy.

Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website and web pages to gain traffic from location-based searching. It is an effective way to market your business on the web. It helps you promote your commodities to local customers at the exact time they are looking for them.

Local SEO is especially important today as most people browse the web using their mobile phone to search for particular products and services near them. At least 50% of those who perform such searches will actually visit the shop within one day.

This SEO method employs a variety of strategies, including:

  • Getting your website ranked on search engines like Google and Bing
  • Having your business listed on business directories like Foursquare, Yelp, Yellowbook, and Google My Business.
  • Publishing localized content on your site
  • Generating positive online reviews

Why Your Small Business Should Love SEO

SEO can help your small business to get customers, overcome competition, and avoid other challenges faced by small businesses with a weak online presence. Here are some ways that SEO can work for you.

  • Favor your small business in local search results.

    Customers are increasing their search for commodities near them. When customers are looking for an electrician, for example, they are not looking for a big-name brand that might or might not be nearby. They are looking for a brand that they can reach right now.

    If your business is optimized for the area the customer is searching, your business will be amongst the top in the search results, standing a better chance of being seen by the customer.

  • Improve customer experience.

    Did you know that you only have about seven seconds to capture your customer’s attention? Customers shun websites that take ages to load, require them to rummage for information, or provide mediocre content.

    These issues can be significantly resolved by employing good SEO practices. Otherwise, you will literally chase customers away from your business.

  • Keep track of your competition.

    SEO can help you understand your competitors better. It can help you find out crucial information such as the keywords you have in common and the trends you can capitalize on before your competitors do. With such information, you can create strategies that will help you stay ahead of competitors.

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How to Grow Your Business with Local SEO

Millions of customers use local searches daily to find various businesses in their locality. You can improve your chances of getting found by these potential customers by implementing these four effective local SEO strategies.

  1. Create location pages on your site.

    Location pages are micro-sites that contain optimized content for business locations linking back to your primary website. You should start by creating location pages if you haven’t done so yet.

    Be sure to choose simple URLs for the pages.

    Your business name, address, and contact info should be present on all the location pages. Also, consider embedding a Google map on your page. You want search engines and customers to locate your business easily.

  2. Get acquainted with Google My Business.

    Google My Business (GMB) listings that are up to date, claimed and verified, and have great ratings and reviews stand a better chance of being featured at the top of organic local search results. You can improve your local SEO significantly with a properly created and well-managed listing on Google My Business.

    Be sure to optimize your business GMB listing by claiming and verifying the business, deleting duplicates, and making sure the basic details are present. Don’t forget to include a high-resolution image of your storefront.

  3. Get consumer reviews

    Reviews are an integral component of local SEO. Get as many reviews as possible, adhering to Google’s policies for getting reviews. Focus on getting positive reviews, but don’t pay for them. Neither should you make up fake reviews.

    Everybody gets negative reviews sometimes. Fortunately, Google allows you to respond to the negative feedback. A timely response that reasonably addresses the concerns will promote your business’ online reputation. You want to show the world that you have your customers’ interests at heart.

  4. Populate your website with quality content.

    If your website has sparsely populated location pages, consider enhancing their performance with the help of valuable and engaging content that search engines will love. This will reward you with the best possible rankings in the SERPs.

Conclusion

As a small business owner, ignoring the power of SEO can be very risky and using it irresponsibly can be even worse. Besides losing out on potential customers, you could also end up on the wrong side of Google’s terms of service. Google can penalize your website whether you know that you are using bad SEO practices, such as keyword stuffing, or not.

We hope this article has taught you how to grow your small business with SEO and also evade some challenges that small businesses face for failing to embrace search engine optimization.

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David Cherry
David Cherry is Co-Owner of Visibly Connected which he started in 2010 because of his passion for small businesses. He loves learning the stories behind each business he works with and helping them reach their full growth potential. His passions are fitness, family, and reading, and during the weekends you usually find him out on the golf course!
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