What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is About Bringing Customers Through Your Doors
In business, you want to be first. You want your company’s name to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue; to be the “Kleenex” or “Jacuzzi” of your industry. These brand names are synonymous with their products, so much so, that people refer to them by their brand names, not the actual product. Someone will ask you for a Kleenex, and you know immediately that they mean a tissue; this name recognition is what has kept Kleenex at the forefront of their industry. So just how do you get to be number one? Nowadays, it is all about marketing—specifically, internet marketing. If you are not familiar with SEO, your business is certainly feeling the loss.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and SEO is the hub of internet advertising. Your company’s goal is to be on the first page of any type of search that features your type of business in your area. For example, if you are a dental specialist that offers dental implants in Miami, when someone searches “dental implants” in your area, you want to pop up as the very first dentist on the search page. The likelihood that someone searching for dental implants will click on your name, just because it’s on the first page! You may not believe that first page placement has a great impact—until you do the math. If just one person in Miami clicks on your name because it is on the first page, and that person pays for dental implants, you have just paid for your SEO advertising! The words “dental implants”, embedded in your website and landing page can guide people to your website, and that is truly the goal of internet advertising. While the Yellow Pages once ruled the advertising game, the web has not only replaced it, but surpassed it. Be honest; when you are searching for a Thai food restaurant in your town, how likely are you to go beyond page one or two to find a place to try? The answer: not very likely.
Understanding the intricacies of internet advertising is a never-ending quest, so you will need some assistance to navigate the course. How do you find an agency that specializes in SEO and how do you know if they are any good at what they do? When searching for a company to market your business on the internet, make sure you do your homework first. First of all, the biggest agencies are not always the best, especially if they are not acutely aware of what your business entails. A SEO company that specializes in “everything” may not be best, especially if you have a small business. You want the senior team working on your account and if you are at the bottom of the totem pole at a large SEO company, you may not get the attention you deserve—or pay for! A smaller SEO company that specializes in dentistry, as the former example, has the knowledge of the industry, the connections and data to determine what will be effective and what will not. A larger company will undoubtedly have access to this information, as well, but they may not give the attention to your particular company, especially if you are not one of their highest paying clients.
When considering an SEO company, ask them for client recommendations. You will want to be able to track how the SEO has worked for the company, and if they are a company in your field, all the better to help determine exactly what they can offer you. You can also ask for a trial period instead of entering into a long term contract. Let them prove they can help your business before you invest additional time and money into an unproven entity. Don’t be fooled by a pretty website; you are not looking for someone to build your website, you are looking for someone to lead people to your website. You may also believe that a company that ranks on the first page of an internet search is going to be the best in your SEO quest, but consider if their SEO is so great, they must be spending time and effort getting that rank; time and effort that could be spent working on their clients’ SEO!
It is important to know just what you are looking for, as well. You may come across an internet marketing company that offers all the bells and whistles, but if you don’t need all the extras, then they aren’t doing you any good. Have tangible goals so you can see if the process is working for you, and gives the marketing company a clear idea of what you are attempting to achieve. Communication with your SEO representative is an essential part of your company’s success. Collect case studies from several different SEO companies to see if they have had success with companies similar to yours or ask for recommendations from knowledgeable colleagues. Once you have narrowed down your selection to a few companies, you will want to know how they track the conversion of leads, because that is truly the bottom line. You want to see more phone calls, more leads converted into sales or service calls, and the SEO company can provide you with key performance indicators (KPI) that they can track on your behalf. You want to also work with a company that doesn’t speak in jargons; you need clear, concise communication about what they can do for your business and how they plan to achieve your desired results. You’ll need to know how often you can expect to hear from them, as well, via reports and regular communication.
Internet marketing is the wave of the future; there is no getting around it. It is imperative to use the internet to your business’ advantage, because your website and online presence are your most effective tools to generating new customers.