Why Local SEO Could Make or Break a Small Business

Search engine optimization strategies

If there’s one big way that smartphones and mobile tablets have changed the world of online marketing, that one thing is the increased attention given to local search optimization. It’s estimated that searches conducted on desktop computers are focused on local businesses about 20% of the time, while mobile phone users tend to search for local results about 50% of the time.

Considering that smartphones — all easily able to access the internet, of course — are becoming more popular by the millions, it’s no surprise that mobile-optimized websites are preferred among search engine users, and that local SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the most effective ways that a small business can market itself.

But what exactly is local SEO anyway?

As the term suggests, this type of internet search is focused on a specific region. When someone living in Los Angelos is looking for a nearby website consulting service, for example, that person will probably type in something like “website consulting services Los Angelos CA.” Google will provide a list of regional businesses, with an online map and even the direct contact information for each business, as part of the search results.

Local SEO isn’t a huge concern for national businesses with recognizable names, but this type of marketing optimization is essential for small businesses. It promotes the business’ name via a reputable source (i.e., Google) and a highly-optimized business website is more likely to be placed higher up on a search result list (usually leading to more customers and more sales).

Like other search engine optimization strategies, local SEO can be tough to master because it requires constant work; Google search result rankings are very fluid, and webpages can shift spots (or even whole pages) if a particular is well optimized, according to Google’s standards, and if it sees an increase in online traffic.

The process of optimizing a website for local SEO searches is primarily the inclusion of certain keywords into onsite content, as well as providing consistent contact information and having customer reviews.

Many businesses find local SEO to be a hassle because Google constantly changes the algorithm used for ranking webpages — meaning that certain techniques could earn a high ranking one day, but a low ranking the next day. Nevertheless, this industry is expected to keep expanding in future as businesses realize that paid advertisements are largely unsuccessful (about 70% to 80% of internet users ignore them completely). Online marketing may be unpredictable and quick to change, but understanding local SEO is certain to be a wise investment.