Due to changes in the way we interact with technology and the rising of stronger online competitors, every business out there is trying to solidify their digital foothold. After all, the success of a business lies in appearing atop the search engine results page.
The same logic applies to website ads, social media promoted posts, and even emails, all in their own way.
Whoever is seen first has more of a chance for conversion than those that are not.
Enter Search Engine Optimization or SEO
Note: for startups we recommend trying the viability of your offerings using pay-per-click (PPC) strategies – this will allow you to see if customers are responding positively before pursuing a SEO strategy (which depending on your industry can take more time for results to pay off), although the effort is worth it in the long-run.
In the most basic terms, Search Engine Optimization is a series of steps you take to make your business website or online store more attractive for search engines.
This enables search engines such as Google to prioritize your offerings above others when interested individuals search for your products or services using target terms (or keywords) that match your content.
There are several important steps to reaching success when it comes to SEO:
- You need to ensure your website has the proper technical structure (meaning that your website needs to be coded using best practices and needs to be error free).
- Additionally, one of the most important factors out there is consistency. Ensuring your business name, your address, your phone number and website are accurate across the web will send the proper signals to Google letting them know that you are an active operational business with a strong online presence (this will ensure you focus on building brand trust with Google).
- There is also the process of optimizing your content –meaning the process of reviewing your existing website content and making meaningful adjustments that will allow you to really target your content to help customers easily find what they need (the keywords used during this stage of the process make all the difference).
- Finally, there is the process of building links – (local citations for local businesses), and in-content links for those businesses focusing on organic growth.
The successful execution of these activities will allow you to generate more online exposure and to begin attracting regular visitors to your website or online store. Getting new or returning customers means your efforts are being successful. It will also mean more potential for sales, customer loyalty, and business growth. Always aim at answering common questions from your customers and at providing better value than your competitors.
Local SEO VS Organic SEO:
In this blog post, we discuss the two ways you can go about SEO,depending on your business needs.
1. Locally-Focused Search Engine Optimization Strategy
As the name suggests, a locally-focused SEO strategy is meant for smaller businesses or local contractors. A not too old research initiative revealed that about 35% of search traffic is local. This means your local audience is the perfect setting for you to get noticed, maintain a constant equilibrium of searches and website/page visits, and have search engines reprioritize you.
- As opposed to regional or organic, a locally-focused SEO strategy will help you connect with local customers that are actively searching for your offerings and that are ready to buy.
- Creating a Google My Business Account is one of the most effective ways of reaching local customers and at the same time increasing visibility in the Google 3-local-pack.
- For starters, having a new GMB profile helps you rank higher on Google Maps. This entails higher visibility on the search engine results page, higher results in the areas you serve, and higher visibility for the target keywords you are using. Make sure the information you add is correct and up to date, such as your branding (logo), your hours, methods of payment, a well-written description of what your business is and what you sell, and high-quality images that help you showcase your work.
- People are moving towards voice search nowadays so you will have to optimize your Google my business for voice searches as well. Also, optimize your website for mobile visits, too, as those are becoming the norm.
- Finally, and most importantly, using a local-based approach to increase your rankings and visibility allows you to grow using a more affordable budget (this is particularly good for those businesses just starting out) or for contractors that serve a specific area and have a smaller marketing budget.
Using a local approach works extremely well for contracting businesses. It’s a small investment that creates massive exposure (we have some contracting businesses that get 70 to 80% of their sales from the local-pack), and depending on the company you work with they may share their strategy with you so you can continue to maintain your rankings on your own (we give you the option, you can manage your GMB using our methods, or we manage it for you for a small management fee).
2. Organic Search Engine Optimization
The goal here is the same: to increase visibility for your business and to increase traffic and sales.
The main difference between local SEO and organic SEO: local SEO is perfect for businesses that serve a specific area/city/state. Organic SEO is better for national companies able to serve the entire country.
With local SEO you want to reach local customers – think of a residential cleaning company in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania – this company wants to reach customers in Wilkes-Barre and its surrounding areas.
Now think of a national logistics company – this company accepts work from Texas, and Pennsylvania, and New York – for this type of company is better if they are found across the nation (if they rank higher on the organic SERP) because they can handle work across the entire country.
Search Engine Optimization is a slow process. It requires time and commitment—consistency more so than the rest—be it local SEO or organic:
- It typically takes between 3 to 6 months to see any SEO efforts pay off (for local SEO it can produce results as soon as 3 weeks – if you have the expertise).
- Ensure you have the proper foundation first (an error free website, good quality images with alt attributes, good quality content that answers common questions for your customers, and that you are using the best keywords for your niche).
- Conduct proper keyword research – find keywords that are easy to rank for and that have a good traffic count.
- Get backlinks from quality sources – build trust and website authority by getting links from reputable sources within your industry – get meaningful links, don’t get links just because – get links from industry sources that will send real traffic your way.
- Monitor performance – you can use com (a free set of tools for SEO that provide meaningful data), or you can find a complete suite of tools such as SEMRush.com – although if you hire a SEO specialist they will usually offer monitoring for the duration of the project.
The most important thing to determine before you decide to pursue a SEO strategy is deciding which SEO approach is best for your business: a local SEO approach, or an organic SEO approach.
Understanding this serves 2 purposes:
(1) it helps you to define the scope of your project and to define clear goals such as ‘I want to reach the Google 3 local-pack’ or ‘I want to reach the top 10 results on Google for the term ‘commercial cleaning services’.
(2) If you decide to hire a professional SEO company you can shift the focus in the direction you want instead of getting a complex strategy that ends up being more expensive.
Whether you decide to do SEO on your own or to hire a search engine optimization company, the best thing you can do for your business is to inform yourself.
The purpose of this article was to give you a basic understanding of what search engine optimization is and the 2 main focuses out there.
Keep in mind that SEO is extremely complex and its constantly changing, there are endless strategies out there and several ways to accomplish the final goal of reaching search engine visibility.
As stated before, whether you decide to try on your own or to hire a professional, the best you can do is to learn as much as you can.
Interested in pursuing Search Engine Optimization ( SEO) for your business?
We have expertise with local and organic SEO, let us put together a full picture of your website including costs for your project: