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A Short Course on Local Business SEO

Just because you have a local business does not mean that you should ignore the possibilities of how search engine optimization (SEO) for your site can increase your customer base and profitability. The reason is that according to a study by Lawyernomics, about one-third of potential clients use the Internet to search for a lawyer. This percentage is roughly the same for other local industries such as chiropractors and dentists. That means that your Internet presence, particularly among the top three search engines – Google, Yahoo!, and Bing – is critical for new business to discover you.

a short course on local business seo

The problem is that for a smaller, local business to spend the     time learning how to improve their SEO presence requires a   significant amount of time best spent taking care of existing customers. Each search engine has a set of rules called an algorithm which determines the rank where each web site appears when a search is performed. The lower the ranking, the less likely it is for a potential client to find your business. Ask yourself how many pages of search results you read before you either choose one or move on to a different search. Your customers act in the same manner, for the most part.

 What this leaves the local business owner is a choice between  leaving SEO an unmanaged function of the business or to hire in  a professional to regularly update and maintain your web site,  especially in the area of SEO. Because SEO is a booming industry, primarily because the need for it in businesses of all sizes, it continues to grow with both competent and no-so-competent people in the mix. Knowing this should have you exercising caution when dealing with advertised local SEO consultants or experts. There is a degree of safety in choosing locally as you likely will have the opportunity to get local, reliable references for your candidate companies.

In order to have a constructive conversation during the interview of potential SEO consultants, it is essential that you should know the basics of SEO. They are not difficult to learn or understand, and will help you assess the competency of your candidates. If you are assaulted with technical terms or buzz words, it is likely that the inability to communicate effectively during the interview process will cause communication problems down the road. Remember that consultants are hired to help and communicate effectively, not to work in a black box environment where the processes are hidden to you.

For the purposes of maximizing local results, you should focus on two key concepts: semantic searching and getting results locally. Semantic searching is using words in their proper context to communicate information to the reader. When a search engine such as Google scan a web page, it looks for how words are used on a page to determine its semantics ranking. Local results are a matter of honing in on a specific geographical region and returning a result that ranks your business highly on the results listing.

There are three basic sub-components to learn. The first is ensuring your page content is of the highest quality. This means not just conveying information, but doing it such a way that is concise, direct, and useful to the reader. The second component is making sure you have links to key social media web sites. Not only does this increase your page rank score, but it also opens up multiple possibilities of local business finding you. The third and final component is a concept you are likely familiar with – keywords. Keywords have in some cases expanded to key phrases, but still play an important role in SEO. They are the industry and product-specific words that potential customers will likely use as search terms and make your web site more likely to be discovered.

Finally, you do not have to go through the SEO consultant search process alone. Use your business and professional networks to find out what others are using, and how satisfied they are with their choices. You can remain locally competitive as you begin refining and improving your web site’s SEO. For local businesses, expanding locally is the first and most important step to long term growth and success.

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