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Not All SEO is Created Equal: An Intro to Local SEO

As a small business owner, your ability to make a profit depends on getting clients consistently and effectively. New leads are the lifeblood of your business; without them, your business would keel over. Every small business wants new leads. The trick is how to go about getting them. There are a myriad of ways to catch new clients and customers, and one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways of doing so is search engine optimization.

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Not All SEO Is Created Equal

Whether you’re an older, seasoned florist or you’re a fresh, new kid block on the block, you’ve likely heard of the many virtues of SEO. You’ve might heard that hoisting your website atop of Google’s search engine is the key to getting new leads to visit your website. It could have been word of mouth from a friend who is also a business owner — perhaps declaring that a search engine optimizer helped his website climb on top of Google’s Mount Olympus. Or maybe you heard an aggressive sales pitch from a whiz kid that promises the world and more, proclaiming to unleash countless leads and to have new clients bursting through your doors.

All of this is achievable. And what you’ve heard from that friend, search engine optimizer, or whoever, may very well be true. But what many people won’t tell you, or will just forget to mention, is that what worked for them may not work very well for your business. Sometimes the shoe doesn’t fit.

To put it simply, let’s use an example. Let’s clarify the difference between:

  1. A nationwide florist
  2. A statewide florist
  3. A local florist

The difference is clear. The first one is presumably a big market, big business florist. The second, though not nearly a large as the first, is bigger than the third. The third (local) florist may have just a few locations in the immediate area.

Now let’s say a search engine optimization company takes on three new clients, which are the three florists listed above. That SEO team, if they know what they are doing, will have several distinctly different strategies for each florists. Let’s identify these strategies as general SEO and Local SEO.

Here’s what the SEO company might do:

  1. Nationwide florist. This florist is the largest of the three and will have the biggest budget. Since it’s nationwide, it’ll be targeting most of America’s most populated cities. With its budget, it can capably pursue more general keywords that have high search volume. For example, “where to buy flowers”, “florists USA”, “how to buy flowers,” etc, etc. This florist should also pursue local SEO. For instance, lets say the florists have a location in Manhattan, New York. For example, “florists manhattan” “where to find a florist manhattan” “buy flowers in manhattan” etc, etc. A nationwide florist should use combination of both strategies to fully realize its marketing potential.
  2. Statewide florist. While they could target general keywords relevant to the florist market, they are better off focusing on local keywords. If, for example, they’re located throughout the state of New York, they would do well by plugging in the cities they’re located in as search terms. For instance, “buy flowers in buffalo new york”, “florists in albany ny”, “where to buy flowers in syracuse.” You get the idea.
  3. Local florists. Same deal as the statewide florist. A targeted, localized SEO strategy is the way to go. Which leads us to the next section.

Why Local SEO is the Most Powerful SEO Strategy for Small Local Businesses

Let’s look at the difference between local and general keywords.

General: General keywords can have higher search volume, meaning that more people search for these keywords. Keywords like “buy flowers” or “send flowers” could be considered general keywords. A plethora of people search for them, and if you reach the first page of Google, you will have a steady stream of visitors to your website. But that doesn’t mean that you will have a steady stream of clients.

Local: Local keywords are geo-targeted. Search terms like “buy flowers in buffalo new york” and “florists in albany ny” are targeted geographically to reach a certain demographic of people that live in that area. Local keywords are often buyer keywords. General keywords are good because of their high search volume, but the visitors that you get can literally be anywhere. They might very well be interested in a florist, but if they are across the country and you only serve customers in your immediate area, they are of no use to you. Local keywords are golden because they are within your immediate area. If a person types in “florists in los angeles” they are most likely looking for a florist in that area. If that person visits your website that is potentially a very hot lead.

Let’s talk about three good reasons you should take advantage of local SEO:

It simplifies your SEO strategy. The person or company in charge of your SEO should have a clear-headed goal to achieve. Get on the first page of Google for local search terms.

Many of the leads will be looking to buy. This should be a no-brainer.

Local SEO keywords are much easier to rank than generic search terms. General keywords will have a high search volume, so the competition will be fierce. Local keywords, though there are some exceptions, have very little competition.

Local SEO could very well be the strategy you need to take as a small business owner. Don’t waste time and money on ineffective marketing strategies that don’t fit your business. Using local SEO can be the difference between useless, cold traffic and targeted, fire-hot leads.

7 thoughts on “Not All SEO is Created Equal: An Intro to Local SEO”

  1. As a small business owner myself, I’ve always struggled with finding people in my area who are interested in buying within my niche. Maybe local SEO will help drive the right people from my county to my website! Thanks for the helpful post. : )

  2. Thanks so much for this article. I work for a local service provider, and have had a challenge determining different kinds of terms to target for local traffic. Your examples gave me some good ideas.

    Thank you!

  3. Interesting separation of SEO scope here. Up until this point I seem to have mistakenly focused on statewide keywords instead of the local ones. It made sense to me to promote like that but I now understand why advertising locally is better business practice. And much simpler too!

    I just had a look at a keyword tool and jugging by the volume of results, you’re right! Local searches on Google do have a higher chance of delivering hits to my florist site that statewide ones which are more competitive.

  4. LOCAL is everything. Unless you’re a cookie cutter floral shop affiliated with a nation-wide company and your staff is paid by the hour to fill orders they don’t really know that much about, you have to attack your local markets above all others. Someone who just wants flowers once a year might look for a nationally recognized name, but those REPEAT customers (who will make purchases throughout the year) are looking for a business they can trust. More often than not, that means local.

  5. You are right. While we are talking global, we must first reach locally before going global. Definitely without reaching locally, you may not be able to reach the global arena.

  6. Local to nationwide owners take notice! This article really put the icing on the cake about the importance of marketing, the aspects of budgeting and why SEO on all levels is important. I think nationwide owners are a bit more lax about the way they market because they have the expense to remedy any issues they may have with customers or getting the word out there.

  7. This is a great idea! I still haven’t gotten around to SEO yet (hence very little traffic on my site….) but although I am a global freelancer, perhaps local SEO would be easier and get me more customers. Plus that would be great for my local reputation! I will have to try this, thanks for the tip!

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