So often I hear, “Why do I need search engine optimization for my business? I’m a local business, the brick-and-mortar type, not an internet company. I’m not even sure just what SEO is anyway.”

Local Business Owners Doing SEO

Local Business Owners Do SEO

Point blank, here’s why it’s important for you to optimize for the search engines.  With the billions of pages published on the World Wide Web, your own website, services and products can be buried under a mountain of webpages and never found by your prospects and customers without it.  And if you don’t optimize, just remember: Your competitors will!

Make no mistake about it.  This is not a flash in the pan, but an established and rapidly growing trend. Your prospects and customers ARE searching the internet.  In fact, according to a Nielson study,

81% of customers are going online first when seeking information about a local business.

And you want them to find YOU!  Otherwise, the shiny lures of your competitors will be dangling right in front of their faces.

Consider, too, that with over 2.6 billion local searches each month, the internet has long since passed newspaper advertising and print Yellow Pages for prospects seeking local consumer service information. And online search volume is growing by leaps and bounds. Forget advertising in print yellow pages; clearly the medium has changed. It’s now the internet, and what a massive directory it is!

So if you’re not there and positioned to dominate your competitors in the search engines, you won’t be found.  Period.  Then it won’t matter how excellent your products and services might be, how alluring your website, or how much knowledge and heart you pour out on your pages.  You won’t be seen!

Now put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You want to know about a particular subject or to find a specific product, so what do you do?  If you’re like most people, you type some words representing your question, like “cosmetic surgeon Gainesville FL” or “Nike running shoes” or “Italian restaurant Tampa Florida,” into your browser bar and look for the suggestions that display on the page.

But how does the computer know what sites and links to display?

It uses a special site with highly sophisticated search technology we call a “search engine” – such as Google, Bing, Yahoo or one of many others you may have set your computer up to use.  The engine searches the internet based on the words you type into your browser (known in the industry as “keywords”).  It keeps an index of words and phrases it finds on webpages across the internet and matches them to your query.

But what if there are thousands or millions of pages that have the words you or your prospects might be seeking? (There usually are.)  How does the search engine rank all these websites and webpages and select which ones to display, in what order, and who makes it to Page One?

Page One – That’s where YOU want to be!

The rules of the game on the internet are the same as for a walk-in local business:  it’s location, location, location!

Page One in the search engines IS the most prime internet real estate.  Page One listings appear to searchers (your prospects) to be the best and most reliable sources for what they want – like a vote of confidence.  And who doesn’t want to go for the best, the most trusted? So those listings get by far the most clicks – and that means the most website visitors -  AND the most potential customers through the front door.

Face it, though.  It’s time to roll!

Google is highly competitive, and it’s getting more so each day. There were only 10 business listings on Google’s first page, but now Google’s local maps and universal search take up three, leaving only seven spots in this untra-competitive environment. This competition will only intensify as all the businesses who don’t have a real clue today about these things start to wake up – and run hard trying to catch up.

So those businesses who establish their base now and consistently build upon it – like laying bricks, one by one – will create a wall that competitors will have difficulty matching or scaling down the road.  There’s a window of opportunity to get ahead of the pack, to cement your fortress position and continually reinforce it, making it almost unassailable.  But it’s a narrow window, and  it will soon get tougher.  Much tougher.

So how do you get ahead of your competition and stay there?  How do you convince Google and the other search engines to give your website a high ranking?  And better yet, how about multiple Page One Rankings?

Through Search Engine Optimization, or “SEO.”

Simply put, in order for your local business to survive and thrive in today’s evolving, competitive environment, your customers must be able to find you quickly, and your prospects must eye you at or near the top of the search engine listings.  So heed the American Express Card marketing slogan, which I paraphrase for SEO:  “Don’t leave your business home without it!”


1 Comment to “Why Does My Local Business Need Search Engine Optimization?”

  • This is a great article about why you need SEO for your site. The internet is a the new phone book. Most companies spend thousands on a phone book ad but nothing on internet marketing. Doesn’t make much sense to me. Thanks again for this article.

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Florida Local SEO
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