- Written by Erik Kritter
If you are like most of my customers. You know that regular SEO is not for you because you are not trying to compete with SONY, IBM, or any other huge company. Heck, you are not even regional. Your business is local. Your customers all live within 30, 50 or 100 miles of your office and frankly, you may not want the ones that are further away.
But you do have local competitors. So what can be done on the internet for LOCAL marketing?
The answer is ..... a great deal.
Sometimes help comes from your potential customers themselves. Some people search for "muffler shop" but many search for "muffler shop Roanoke VA". This helps but doesn't really matter anymore. Here is why.
When people want to buy a product or service, they are most likely using Google to search for it. Google has almost 70% of the national search market
Now Google does some interesting things.
- Google geolocates every search that hits their system. They know where searches originate from via the IP address of the computer or GPS coordinates from the mobile device that you sent the search request to them from.
- Google then automatically localizes the results because they know that someone searching for "muffler shop" does not care about one in California, Florida, or even Blacksburg if they are in Lynchburg, VA.
- So if a person searches only for "muffler shop" is physically in Lynchburg, VA. They will see only local results for Lynchburg, Virginia.
Bing (#2 in the search market with an 18% share) recently started doing the same thing because Google was so successful with it.
So, the question is how do you target your location?
This is done in much the same way as regular SEO. Links are valuable but here citations are far more important.
It is also much less competitive because how many dentists competing for business live within 30 miles of each other. Maybe quite a few if they are in the city of Richmond. But this is still far fewer than say in the entire english speaking world.
Lower competition means lower costs.
Costs for doing local search are still so variable that it is impossible to say without knowing about your business and the locality you want to target. I charge $75 per hour plus expenses for Local SEO work.
To give you an idea of what local SEO is like read the following true stories.
I have spent as little as one hour fixing citations for a customer with an existing website and he jumped from page two to the second spot on Google. Now about 18% of the search traffic for his specific key-phrase (locality keyword) stops by his website. He converts about 25% of new visitors. So in real terms he has had a real increase in visitors of about 12 to 15 per month and 3 to 5 of them buy from him. Needless to say the guy was thrilled. This was a big win for my client. But please, keep in mind that he did not have a competitive key-phrase targeted.
For another client I spent about ten hours doing local SEO work and they launched from the bottom (#10) of page three to the #1 spot on page one. It took about four weeks for the climb to reach it's apex after I did the initial ten hours of work. They didn't want to do anymore because they thought that their #1 position on page one of Google would last a long time. So we shook hands and parted ways. About 6 months later they called me. They had lost the coveted #1 on page one spot. The competitor they had bumped down had moved back up. So, they asked me to do some more work. I did another 4 hours of stuff and they jumped back to #1, everyone was happy. So again, we shook hands and parted company. Then a few months later they called again because guess what happened...... This cycle has repeated over and over for a couple of years.
I have also spent about 3 hours a month on local search for another client. They have seen a slow but steady climb in their rankings. They have risen over about 18 months from listing number 4 on page seven to listing number 8 on page two. They are slowly making progress. I am confident that they will eventually reach page one and hopefully will have the top spot there. Unfortunately for them they are competing in a rough and ready marketplace. Some of their competitors have their own SEO's. Since everyone uses the same techniques it has boiled down to a battle of budgets.
There are also a few clients I have been unable to help.
The following list were people who after our initial conversation I said "Sorry, I can't help you."
- One guy was in a very small niche market and there simply was no one searching for his specific niche terms. I mean no one.
- Another guy wanted me to employ "Black Hat" techniques which I would not do. (Black Hat techniques are unethical)
- A guy who was completely unrealistic in his expectations. High on the results side and very low on the fee side.
- Several others simply didn't have the budget.
- Several others had some search traffic but the traffic volume wasn't worth the effort.
- One, I simply gave them a referral to another firm. They needed an SEO Team, not an SEO guy. I wasn't prepared to handle their needs because it would have required devoting all of my time to their account at the expense of my other clients.
So, if you want to take the top spot for "mental health counselor roanoke va", "air conditioning repair lynchburg va", or whatever local search terms you want give me a call at (540) 420 - 5998. I will do my best to get you there.