SEO for local business: Expectations vs. reality
This day and age, most business owners have heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For those who haven’t, our article on breaking down SEO and what it means for growing a business is a great place to start! Put simply, SEO is the process of generating web traffic by increasing the visibility of a website within Google’s search engine results page (SERP). This process is essential to the growth of a business considering 92% of web searchers will choose a business listed on the first page of local search results. Of those web searchers, 70% of them will visit a physical store within 24 hours!
However, without a thorough understanding of SEO, it’s common for local business owners to have misconceptions or unrealistic expectations of how it will generate traffic to their website. We’re here to debunk the myths and misconceptions of local SEO and provide you with the realities of them. This, in turn, will help you understand how to build an effective SEO strategy and how to put aside those unrealistic expectations.
Expectation: SEO is mainly about filling your content with keywords
Reality: Google’s search algorithms are constantly changing! This is to ensure that high-quality content and trustworthy websites are what determine the rank of their search results. While there is no set ratio of keywords to content, an ideal keyword density is around 1-3%. Use them too much and you run the risk of Google thinking your content is spam. Use them too little and you could lose ranking for that keyword.
Expectation: Your service area affects how high you rank
Reality: The locations you rank in are typically based on the location of your current address, along with the city the user is searching from. This means that your rank will likely be based on your proximity to the user rather than the size of your service area. An article by Hubspot suggests that consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles. In fact, “near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years!
Expectation: Your website doesn’t need to be mobile-friendly
Reality: According to HubSpot, 61% of mobile searchers are also more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site. Even more important to note, 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours! With that being said, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly; you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers!
Expectation: Consumers and potential clients don’t pay attention to reviews
Reality: According to Forbes, 88% of consumers trust online reviews over personal recommendations. This means that not only do they care about reviews, but they also base their decisions to make purchases on them. Google has also recently revealed that reviews are a ranking factor in local SERPs. The more positive reviews a business has, the more visibility they will receive and the higher they will rank.
Received a negative review or comment? Try not to stress too much about it! Rather than disregard or delete the review (on the few applications that allow you to), use it as an opportunity to apologize for a negative experience, or set the record straight on an internal error or miscommunication.
Expectation: My business doesn’t need “Google My Business”
Reality: This is, without a doubt, one of the most detrimental misconceptions about SEO! Google My Business is effectively one of the most fundamental parts of local SEO considering it’s where Google gets the information they show on local “maps” within a specific area. Complete and accurate Google My Business listings get 7x more clicks than those missing information and are 70% more likely to attract location visits.
Expectation: SEO won’t take long to generate traffic
Reality: Effective SEO campaigns typically take anywhere between 4 – 6 months to implement and see positive results. Poor SEO knowledge and experience can lead to clients giving “less than the necessary time” for agencies to achieve top search rankings for their desired keywords.
SEO is a fantastic tool to help your business grow! As a local business owner, you must understand that SEO is far from simple. It is not an exact science where doing a particular action will have a specific, predictable reaction! That is why it is important to consider SEO a long-term investment rather than a one-time simple solution!
Does your business need more local web traffic?
At Webworks, we have a burning passion for helping local businesses grow! With our team of SEO experts, we can take your business to the next level! If you are interested in growing your business using SEO, please feel free to contact us! We offer SEO, social media management, branding, and web design services!