Local search engine optimization strategies have become more important to the success of small businesses in recent years. If your business isn’t using local SEO, then these 4 reasons might convince you that now is the best time to start.

It Helps People Find Your Business Online

local seo for small business

Image via Flickr by plindberg

39 percent of Internet users say that they frequently have problems finding local businesses online. They know that the businesses exist, but they can’t find anything about them on the Internet.

That seems strange until you realize that many of those small businesses don’t use local SEO tactics. If you own a pizza restaurant in St. Louis, then it makes sense to include a keyword phrase like “St. Louis pizza” in your Web content. By doing so, you let search engines understand that people in St. Louis are more likely to want your website than people in New York City. Same thing for trade show displays Seattle. If your business provides a product or service locally and/or regionally, your site needs to be optimized to show up in the search engine results.

It helps locals find the sites that they want. And that helps your business thrive.

People Primarily Use the Internet When Searching for Local Businesses

Once upon a time, small businesses didn’t need to worry about SEO at all. Today, 83 percent of consumers use search engines to find local businesses. They don’t use the phone book and they don’t call 411. They look for the information online.

It’s important to change your advertising strategies to match the way people search for information. If you’re not using local SEO practices, but your competitor is, then he will get their business instead of you. It’s that simple.

It Usually Costs Less

If you decide to advertise your business through Google AdWords, then you have to pay for the keywords you use. The more popular the keywords are, the more money you pay.

Choosing local keywords means you face less competition for the words. And that means you spend less on your keywords.

Let’s say you own a plumbing supply company in Kansas City. If you want to purchase “plumbing supply” for AdWords, you’ll spend a lot of money. If you choose “Kansas City plumbing supply,” you’ll spend a lot less.

If you were a national chain, you might want to spend more on the keyword that reaches a bigger audience. Since you’re a small business that primarily caters to locals, you only need to worry about searches for your plumbing supplies in your area.

It Takes Advantage of Enhanced Google Features

A lot of people don’t realize it, but Google+ has already changed the way people use the Internet. When you include local SEO keywords on your website and social media pages, you make it easier for Google to offer users enhanced services such as:

  • A map showing your location
  • Pictures of your business
  • Reviews posted by other users

Without local SEO, Google+ doesn’t necessarily know these things about your business. That means it can’t provide more information that improves your site’s authenticity and helps people find your business.

Have you already started using local SEO? What advantages have you seen so far?