Local SEO & Small Businesses: A Dynamic Duo

  • Google and other search engines look at every site in its entirety to figure out how to rank them and deliver results to consumers
  • There are multiple different types of SEO to best optimize different businesses and their SEO
  • For small businesses, local SEO tends to be best to help boost rankings and gain visibility as well as many other benefits

Getting the best SEO for your business

For small businesses, marketing budgets can be tight. That’s why it’s important to make sure you get the most out of what you’re investing. Digital marketing has come to dominate much of that cost for a number of reasons such as the large amount of time people spend online, how important pre-purchase research is in the sales funnel, and the in-depth metrics that allow you to pinpoint how your marketing is working for your business. 

Digital marketing can be a confusing place with seemingly infinite terms and acronyms thrown around by marketers. One that continually crops up is SEO, or search engine optimization, which is basically structuring your content and website so that prospective customers searching for your products and services will be directed to your website when they search Google (or any other search engines). 

Within SEO, there are a number of further categorizations and here we’ll take a closer look at the main ones and what they mean for your business.

The different types of SEO 

As mentioned, SEO is about helping your website get to the right people. However, the ‘right people’ will change depending on your business’ goals and target markets. Google also wants its users to find what they’re looking for and doesn’t appreciate businesses targeting things they don’t have expertise in. 

For example, a multinational soft drink company will most likely show up if you just search for the word “cola”, but a local store will show up if you type “cola near me.” On the other hand, if a local bar, which happens to sell cola under certain conditions, gears all its SEO towards “cola,” Google won’t display them in the results since it’s most likely not the answer its users are looking for. Easy, right? Never fear for we are here to explain the major types of SEO and what they do for your website.

SEO: As mentioned, search engine optimization sets up your web presence so it can be easily navigated by Google’s search robots and presented to your target audience.

Organic SEO: Organic SEO optimizes your website for the content you have on it. This will mostly be the products and services your business provides but can also include related content that displays thought leadership or helpful guides for subjects in your field, like this blog. Google appreciates the authenticity of a page built around a set theme and the traffic generated will have high relevance for your business. Organic search results are named as such in contrast to paid search, where you pay to appear in relevant search results, agreeing to a fee for every click on to your website.

Local SEO: Local SEO optimizes your website for the location you are in. This has become increasingly important with the rise of mobile usage and on-the-go searches for immediate and ‘near me’ results. The last time Google revealed figures around local search they said that 46% of searches had a local intent. Local SEO for small businesses can be particularly effective as most trade will be coming from a reasonable proximity to the business anyway.

National SEO: National SEO gears your site to display national relevance. This is mostly used for large national brands, such as auto manufacturers, cell providers or national restaurant chains. National SEO is a trade-off in wanting to appear in searches anywhere in the country at the expense of any local SEO. Carrying out SEO at the scale required to establish yourself as a nationally relevant website also takes quite a considerable budget. 

Technical SEO: Technical SEO refers to how elements of your website, such as how it is navigated, indexed and rendered, impact SEO. Unlike the other SEO terms, there is no ‘either-or’ choice necessary for technical SEO as all the necessary tweaks and changes to improve your technical SEO can be performed without affecting the content or direction your site is taking.

Why local SEO for small business works so well

So, assuming that you’re not going for national SEO, and knowing that technical SEO is applied anyway, the choice comes down to organic or local SEO for small businesses. Choosing one doesn’t mean the other won’t work, it just means you have a clearer idea of what you’re targeting with your efforts and your budget. Here we’ll take a look at why we think local SEO for small businesses can be such a winning combination.

  • Immediate Buyers: One of the biggest differences between organic and local search is where they happen and in what situation. Organic searchers are mostly using a desktop, conducting long-term research about a purchase, whereas local searchers predominantly use their smart device and are looking to make a purchase soon. Google’s own data on local search found that 76% visited a related premises within 24-hours and 28% of those searches ended in a sale. Local searchers are more likely to want to buy soon so being there when that search happens delivers better conversions.
  • Google’s 3-Pack/Local Pack: The 3-pack or local pack is a feature that appears on the search results page when making any search with a local intent. You can see it for yourself if you type something like ‘electronics store near me’, after the paid-for ad listings is a Google maps inset and three local businesses that match your search. This is the ‘holy grail’ of local SEO for small businesses, getting in this 3-pack immediately places you in a 1/3 choice for customers that are likely to have a buy-now intent. 
  • High Return on Investment: Local SEO for small businesses is more short-term and sales-focused than organic SEO, which is more about establishing brand awareness, thought leadership and long-term loyalty. Both types of SEO are key for a successful and long-lasting enterprise but the difference that local SEO for small businesses makes and how it delivers better ROI quicker makes it an attractive option for companies.
  • Local Credibility: Another element of local SEO for small businesses is how the listings, including the 3-pack and its expanded version on Google maps, emphasize reviews and customer experience. This is great for building credibility among your likely customer-base. For example, if you think of a national pizza chain with reviews from locations all across the country, it won’t hit home as much as the reviews you can see from people just in your neighborhood for your local pizza place.
  • Route Planning: Google’s integration of Google maps with local searches means that not only are purchase-ready customers shown the place where they can get a good or service but they also get exact directions to the premises. This means that local SEO for small businesses can raise awareness, get you seen, and deliver customers straight to your door.

Local SEO for small business: what we can do

As a boutique digital marketing agency that is proud to work with both multinational and local businesses, we know what it takes to deliver the best results for your budget, whatever it is. The choice between organic and local SEO for small businesses isn’t one or the other but putting a strong focus on getting good local search rankings can have a big impact on your sales and ROI. 

Getting your site to rank high in local search, especially in Google’s ‘local pack’ box will get you seen by customers in your area who are ready to make a purchase. Even if you don’t have a physical business storefront, we can help you take advantage of local SEO advantages through a virtual business address. To find out more about how RMG can help you make the most of local SEO for small businesses, feel free to get in contact with us here.

Author avatar
Jason Martinez
Jason is a Cal Poly Pomona Alum, extreme fan of marketing, and social media advocate. As a Brand Marketing Manager at Redefine Marketing Group, he is responsible for the development and execution of strategy for reputation management, link building, and social media marketing for both the agency and its clients.
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