Tired of settling for pages 3, 4, 5, or higher in Google’s search rankings?
Too many business owners don’t vie for top-shelf rankings because they’re intimidated by the competition. And let’s face it — small business owners can’t match the budgets and metrics of the Walmarts, Targets and Best Buys of the world. No matter which field you’re in, you probably have at least one insurmountable competitor that simply exists on a different playing field.
But here’s the thing…
According to DMR Stats, every month, Google registers more than 100 billion search queries and over 50% of those searches come from smartphones with people likely looking for local goods and services.
Many of these folks aren’t looking for big-box retailers; they’re looking for whatever is closest. And according to Google’s own research, half of all people who search for goods and services on their smartphones end up visiting stores on the same day. That’s an insanely good return on investment that’s on the table for any business.
Local SEO is one of the hottest trends in marketing because it evens the playing field between large and small businesses. It’s also just one of many examples of how your business could benefit from a good SEO strategy.
That said, the first step toward success is clearing up the reasons that keep people sidelined.
I’m going to address the top four reasons I hear small business owners give for not investing in SEO. And, I’m going to tell you why they’re no reason to be afraid of investing…
Reason #1: “I’m too late to the game.”
The first reason for not taking the plunge into SEO is simple: small business owners are reluctant to spend money against competitors who’ve been in the SEO game for years. They can’t imagine how they could ever overcome their competitors and capture worthwhile search rankings. Why even bother?
But, as I said above, local SEO is the great equalizer. If you change your investment strategy and focus locally, it can lead to great success!
Invest in strengthening your position in hyper-local searches by fleshing out your website and registering with online review sites. Generate content that is relevant to your city, your district, your neighborhood or your street.
It’s never too late to begin competing for local SEO rankings.
Reason #2: “SEO services cost too much.”
As is the case with most in-demand service providers, quality SEO professionals don’t work on the cheap.
Investing in SEO services can be extremely daunting for small business owners because they’re not guaranteed to get tangible results. They see hiring an SEO firm as more like hiring an attorney than hiring a roofing company. When you hire a roofer, you know you’ll get a sturdy roof that doesn’t leak in return. When hiring an attorney, there’s no guarantee of winning in the courtroom.
That said, SEO professionals don’t improve search rankings with magic wands and pixie dust. If you choose a quality SEO company, they’ll apply sound strategies that will help you see results.
SEO companies will build out your website and make sure it performs optimally for your target audience. They’ll create high-quality content. They’ll make sure you’re registered in all the major local directories, and they’ll research all the ways you might attract new customers online. And, as a result, you’re likely to see a rise in your Google search rankings.
If you absolutely can’t afford to hire an SEO professional, then there’s plenty you can do on your own to capitalize on local search traffic. Or you can hire someone for some short-term work. It’s better to do something to improve your SEO strategy than nothing at all.
Reason #3: “I won’t be able to keep up with all the changes.”
It’s definitely true that keeping up with the latest SEO trends requires a lot of work. However, the SEO game doesn’t really change as much as it evolves. In fact, some of the core building blocks of a good SEO strategy haven’t changed in years.
For example, there’s an old adage among SEO marketers that “content is king.” A good website that’s packed with relevant, valuable content — which could take the form of products, images, videos, blog posts and more — is absolutely essential for earning the best-possible page rankings. So is having a sensible website structure with pages that have unique and logical themes.
You must also make efforts to engage others online and encourage people to link to your site.
And, of course, making sure your site functions properly in all kinds of browsers – which now also includes mobile browsers – is extremely important.
An ongoing commitment to improving your SEO strategy doesn’t mean chasing your tail to an endless flurry of user data. Think more along the lines of gradual shifts over longer periods of time.
Reason #4: “I don’t even know where to begin.”
You want to strengthen your website’s SEO, but you don’t even know where to start. This is common. There’s no magic bullet that will beat out your competitors, and most SEO campaigns take time to deliver their desired results.
Like running a marathon, the best first step is the one right in front of you.
Focus on your website. Make sure it works on desktop and mobile devices.
Then, work on your content. Each priority page of your website should be uniquely themed with focused keywords.
Next, register your website with Google My Business and all the major online review sites and directories.
In addition, publish a blog on your website and update it regularly.
From there, you can broaden your efforts for even greater results, or you can hand the reins over to an SEO professional. Either way, enhancing the quality of your website is the best place to start.