What Is SEO & Why Is It Important?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is incredibly important for local businesses & professional service firms of all types — veterinary clinics, carpenters, restaurants, photography studios, attorneys, plumbers, antique stores. . .the list goes on.
It's not enough just to have a website. Your site must be optimized for the Internet search engines (such as Google) in order to be effective.
Why? Well, if your site is not optimized, it won't be found in the search engines — meaning, you're missing out on prospective clients.
I know, I know. . .you're thinking, "Really? Isn't my Facebook Business Page good enough? Why do I have to bother with SEO on my website?" Well, it's great you have a Facebook page, for sure!
But the reality is, the majority of people who are searching for a local service use the Internet (usually Google) to find the information they’re looking for.
SEO helps to position your practice or business as high up in those search results as possible.
And the higher you rank, the more likely you'll get new leads that you can convert into customers. (Think about it: How many times have you looked past the second or third page of Google when looking for a local business? Just sayin'.)
Still not convinced of the importance of an up-to-date website optimized for local SEO?
Here are 2 ways that SEO can attract more local customers to your business or professional service firm:
1. SEO Ensures That Local Prospects Are Finding Your Business
Most businesses or practices are competing for business within a certain mile radius.
Local SEO helps to ensure that when prospective customers search for services in your geographical area, your business is the one that will show up nearer the top of that list.
This is why it’s so important to include the proper geographical keywords and your business address throughout your website content, as well as in your URLs, tags, site titles, and descriptions.
Local citations are also critical to capture local customers. For example, an optimized Google Maps page makes it easy for prospective customers to find you (obviously). . .but, having an optimized map page on your site also helps you rank higher in local search results.
2. Online Reviews: Your Friend (With Benefits)
A powerful component of local SEO is online reviews.
Without getting into too many technical details, Google's search algorithms are now placing heavy importance on online reviews of businesses.
In fact, Google explicitly stated that "[m]ore reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business's local ranking."*
And aside from being good for SEO, reviews have an added side benefit: They greatly improve the "trust" factor. (We've all heard of KLT -- the "know, like, and trust" factor that causes people to do business with us.)
In fact, fully 72% of consumers today say that they trust online reviews from strangers as much as they do recommendations from their friends. Seventy-two percent!
Not only that, but 54% of people will visit a business's website after reading positive reviews, and 58% of people say that they consider the star rating of a business to be very important.
So -- use this to your advantage!
Don't be afraid to ask your happy clients/customers if they would be willing to share their positive experiences online.
Make it easy for them to give you a great review by including links to your review pages (Google, Yelp, Yahoo, etc.) so they can just click and leave a comment.
These positive reviews will not only convince prospective clients that you are the best choice, they will also float you up higher in the search results. (Score!)
Ok, so let's address the elephant in the room: Inevitably, most businesses will get a negative review from time to time.
It's important to stay aware of what is being said about your practice or business online, and to respond promptly, professionally, and positively.
In Summary. . .
If You’re A Professional Service Firm Or Business That Depends On Local Customers, You Must Have A Website Optimized For Search Engines.
The easier it is for prospects in your area to find your business when they conduct a search on Google or Bing, the more leads your website will bring in — and the more opportunities you'll have to convert those leads into paying customers.
Focus on optimizing your website and content for local searches, and be sure your business or service firm is listed on all local review sites.
Include detailed, accurate contact information in multiple places on your website and in online directory pages and social media platforms.
And remember, search engine optimization isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time — as well as strategic research of keywords and key phrases — to realize consistent, positive results.
Need help optimizing your website? Click the link below to schedule a complimentary call with me today; I'd love to help!
*Source: How Online Reviews Affect Local SEO
I'm Jenny, and I help solopreneurs, small businesses, and professional service firms attract new customers, optimize their marketing dollars, and become more efficient in running their businesses.
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