Local SEO is a world unto itself, and paradoxically, a rather large one. Thousands of local ranking factors exist, some easy to execute and others that are quite complex. Should entrepreneurs invest in local SEO? Whether your business serves a local, national or global market, the answer could well be yes. Here’s why:
When you compete in SEO, you’re competing against everyone in the world. When you compete in local SEO, you’re only competing against everyone targeting the particular local area. By cutting your number of competitors by about 95 percent, you improve your chances of getting higher rankings and more exposure. In other words, you stand to get a much higher ROI on your SEO investment.
For local companies like restaurants, engaging in local SEO is a no-brainer. Though for businesses marketing nationally or globally, local SEO is also an appealing option, largely for the reason stated above. Rather than compete against the world for the world, a winning strategy for entrepreneurs instead could be targeting a few important local markets — especially if there are local markets where the company has a competitive advantage or the demographics suggest a higher potential conversion rate.
2. Branding Value
A lot of local SEO involves securing favorable user reviews and being cited on local websites such as chambers of commerce, community organizations and community online news publications. These types of brand mentions not only improve rankings, they strongly contribute to a positive brand image. Furthermore, these mentions extend your brand’s reach by exposing your company to local audiences.
Entrepreneurial businesses can never have enough brand recognition and credibility. User reviews and positive PR may have a value exceeding the raw SEO performance of a local SEO campaign, especially in the early stages. In short, a local SEO performance allows you to double-dip, getting a PR campaign and an SEO campaign for the price of one.
3. Ride the Mobile SEO Train
More and more, Google’s organic search algorithm is being oriented to favor mobile search. This is no surprise, since mobile Internet usage now exceeds desktop usage, and the gap will only widen.
One aspect of Google’s shift toward mobile is a greater likelihood of Google serving results to users based on his/her geographic location. Because there are so many mobile users, and because many of their searches are for local-based information, Google naturally wants to give users what they want: local Web content.
You may have noticed even on a desktop search that Google has a “Local Pack” that shows featured local results far more prominently than standard search results. The Local Pack has gone through several design iterations, but the intended outcome is the same: to make standout local content hit search engine users over their heads.
Thus, a successful local SEO campaign could make a company’s organic visibility on Google far surpass that of huge competitors with no local campaign. Again, not only does this prominent visibility generate leads and e-commerce revenue, it also strengthens branding and reach. All in all, a very good reason to pursue a local SEO strategy.
Start Small and Scale
Fittingly, a smart approach to local SEO is to start small and scale the campaign systematically. This not only helps the budget, but mistakes learned in the initial campaign to a single local market can inform future campaigns to new markets, making them more efficient out of the gate. For almost any business, local SEO is an option not only worth considering, but also testing.
Brad Shorr is Straight North’s B2B Marketing Director. Straight North is an Internet marketing firm headquartered in the Chicagoland area that specializes in SEO, PPC and web design. Brad’s articles have been featured on renown sites, such as: Smashing Magazine, Forbes and Moz.