As a small business that aims to serve to customers locally, search engine optimization is a must-have strategy in your marketing plan. Advertising on billboards, TV, or radio drastically dilutes the audience you are targeting. Why not just cater to the people that are hungry for what you have to offer them? It is much more cost-effective and helps to build a positive image of your brand.
If you do not rank at the top of the search engines for your main keywords, you are losing well over 70% of your customers to your competition. This may seem like a bloated or false statistic, but if you really think about it, it makes complete sense.
When you are in need of an emergency plumber, what do you do first? You don’t pick up the phone book anymore, right? You go straight to your computer or smartphone, and Google “emergency plumber” or “emergency plumber <city/area>”. How about when you need a locksmith, dentist, lawyer, etc?
If you own your own business, you can begin to see the power of ranking number in search for your targeted keywords. Let’s say you are the owner of a local sushi restaurant in Atlanta. Sure, location is everything and helps you attract customers that see you when walking or driving by, but wouldn’t you want others to know about you as well?
Imagine if you ranked #1 for “sushi Atlanta” or “best sushi Atlanta” or “Japanese restaurant in Atlanta”. The thing is, most people do not click beyond the first 3 search results. This is especially true when it comes to local searches. What if you competitor ranks above you?
You can begin to see the important of hiring a local SEO expert. This is very different from advertising on TV or even on yp.com. No one uses the Yellow Pages anymore – not even online. The only people that use the Yellow Pages are business owners. You aren’t going to attract new customers or clients this way, and to be quite frank, it is very expensive. You can spend as much as $5000 per year for a premium business listing in the Yellow Pages and never see any return on your investment. It’s completely outdated.
You want your business to show up first where everyone is looking: Google. This applies even if you are a brand new business. You want to start off right. Let’s take a look at how to optimize your online marketing strategy for your brand new business: