Value of Local SEO for Small Businesses

SEO can be challenging for small businesses. They must compete for the same market share against larger brands that often have more prestige, brand recognition, and consumer affinity.

That doesn’t mean that organic search is out of reach for small businesses as a powerful inbound marketing channel with high potential for return. In order to compete with large brands, small business owners must have an SEO strategy that offsets the often large difference in marketing budget. Because small businesses will not be able to outspend their larger counterparts on media acquisition, they must take a much more targeted and refined approach.

When it comes to short-tail SEO—general phrases with a high amount of search volume—the search engine results pages are dominated by big brands. There is little that a small business marketer with limited budget can do to change these results.

Despite various limitations, small businesses can gain meaningful search engine result real estate with a focus on areas of lowered competition. When geography is taken into account, there is often a much smaller big-brand presence in search results. That opens a window of opportunity for small businesses to gain useful organic search visibility.

Focusing on consumers looking for products and services in specific locales is a great way to limit the competition and give small businesses the ability to gain valuable real estate on search engine results pages. If the business also has an offline presence in a specific locale, there is even more opportunity in targeting these consumers. Consumers trust of a business they can visit in person, which will lead to higher conversion rates.

Geo-Modified Keyword Targeting

Part of the opportunity of location-based SEO for small businesses is to utilize geo-modified search queries. Better yet, in order to benefit from this method, the business does not necessarily have to be location-based. Geo-targeted search phrases are typically very low in competition and are often searched at the purchase stage of the buying cycle, which means they carry high-conversion rates.

Let’s use “home security” as an example. There are 22,200 Google searches for “home security” each month in the U.S.m according to Adwords. However, a small business typically would not have enough budget allocated to SEO to rank on page 1 for that query. When the geo-modifier “miami” is added to the query the monthly search volume drops to 210. This is still a decent amount of search volume and can certainly lead to home security sales.

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The interesting part of this example comes when we look at competition. Examining the number of online pages that have each of these phrases in both the title tag of the page and the anchor text of an inbound link (this metric is known as In Anchor and Title) offers a picture of the relative competition for each phrase. This data can be pulled from MajesticSEO’sKeyword Checker tool.

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The In Anchor and Title data show that the business will only be competing with approximately 51 other pages for the phrase “home security miami” as opposed to 248,328 competing pages for the more generic “home security.”

A business likely will not  be able to rest on the 210 monthly searches for “home security miami.” This strategy, however, can be implemented at scale. Building geo-targeted content on the site for multiple geographic areas that the business can service provides the opportunity for several page 1 rankings within a specific budget.

Marketers should start by optimizing for the geographic areas that have the highest demand for the specific product or service that is being sold and working down from there. This can be identified by looking at the location report in Google Analytics to see where the majority of existing customers are coming from. You can also use keyword suggestion tools, such asGoogle’s Keyword Tool or Wordtracker, to see the search demand of various geo-modified phrases.

Local Search

If the small business has physical locations that consumers can visit, local search is an absolute must. Local search campaigns are ideal for capturing consumers searching on mobile devices because they can get directions and call the business with a simple click. There is no excuse for any local business to not have an optimized presence in local search engines, particularly within the major ones (Google +, Yahoo Local, Bing Local).

By creating and optimizing listings in local search engines, small business can get a great deal of search engine presence with a limited budget while increasing their rankings within aspecific region.

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WittyCookie is an award-winning digital agency that specializes in affordable web design, graphic design, and SEO solutions to help small businesses grow.

Service plans start at just $19/month, all-inclusive with web design, web hosting, email setup, ongoing maintenance, and unlimited updates. We charge no setup fee, no cancellation fee, and no term contracts with a full money back guarantee.

Visit wittycookie.com to get started.

How to Decode Website Metrics to Pump Up Online Marketing

Internet Marketing

To understand how your online marketing efforts are performing and how you can improve them, you’ll need to regularly track and analyze the metrics from those campaigns. These metrics highlight the areas on your website, blog or in your online marketing program where you’re doing well, what needs additional tweaking and processes that need to be scrapped.

Understanding metrics can help enable you to identify big problems such as poor timing, inconsistent search phrases, incorrect prospect definitions and flawed audiences. Most importantly, it can help avoid wasting time and money due to poorly-executed websites or marketing campaigns.

The tricky part is knowing the different types of metrics and how they affect your business. Here, I’ve assembled a glossary of terms you’ll need to know to successfully track, analyze and improve your online and email marketing campaigns.

Google AdWords Metrics
If you are using Google AdWords — which offers pay-per-click advertising and site-targeted advertising for text, banner, and rich-media ads — then you should get familiar with the following terms:

  • Click thru rate (CTR). This is the percentage of people who clicked on your advertisement. For example, a 5 percent CTR means five out of every 100 people who saw a particular ad clicked on it. An average CTR for e-commerce sites is 1 percent to 3 percent.
  • Average position. This tells you the placement of your ad in search results. Most retailers find positions three through five have the best results.
  • Impression share. Want to know how many times your ad displays per number of searches made on a particular search phrase? Then this is the metric you’ll want to check. For instance, if your impression share was 50 percent, that would tell you that your ad was displayed half the time. A strong impression share generally is about 80 percent.
  • Bounce rate. This tells you the percentage of people who clicked on your ad and went to your landing page, but did not visit a second page. A bounce rate of 30 percent means three out of 10 people clicked on your ad and left after visiting your landing page. The lower your bounce rate the better, but a good rate is 40 percent.
  • Conversion rate. This tells you the rate at which visitors are converted into buyers. Typically, 1.25 percent is the low end for e-commerce sites.

Email Metrics
For email campaigns, many of the metric names are different but track some of the same things. It’s useful to uncover what your industry’s standard numbers are so that you can compare your own success rate. The terms you’ll need to know include:

  • Opens. This tells you how many recipients opened your email.
  • Clicks. Check this to know how many recipients clicked on your offers.
  • Bounces. An email usually gets “bounced” when it’s sent to an incorrect email address. If you’re receiving a high number of bounces then you’ll to verify the emails on your list.
  • Non responders. This tells you who did not open your email.
  • Forwards. This notifies you of how many people passed your email along to someone else.

Website and Blog Metrics
You can also track visitor activity on a website, blog or landing page. Google Analytics supplies much of this information at no cost. Some of the metrics it follows are:

  • Total visits. This is the number of first-time and return visitors to your site. “Unique visits” tracks the number of first-time visitors and “return visits” refers to the number of visitors who return to your site.
  • Leads. The number of prospects who filled out a form or downloaded an offer.
  • Popular pages. Want to know which pages are resonating best with your visitors? This tells you which ones get the most visits.
  • Search engine key phrases. These are the top phrases people used to reach your site or landing page.
  • Geographic locations. This tracks the parts of the country and world your visitors are from.
  • Referring websites. This refers to other websites — other than search engines — that referred people to your site.
  • Page rank. A criteria created by Google and one of the determining factors of a web page’s strength in search.
  • Number of inbound links. These are links from other sites that point to your site or specific pages.

Deciding which of these metrics you wish to analyze will depend on the campaign you are undertaking. Once you determine your methods and metrics, download a sample metrics report and begin analyzing them monthly. This can help you identify how your efforts are improving and where additional effort might be needed.

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WittyCookie is an award-winning digital agency that specializes in affordable web design, graphic design, and SEO solutions to help small businesses grow.

Service plans start at just $19/month, all-inclusive with web design, web hosting, email setup, ongoing maintenance, and unlimited updates. We charge no setup fee, no cancellation fee, and no term contracts with a full money back guarantee.

Visit wittycookie.com to get started.