SEO for Local Businesses:
Expertise from a Local SEO Specialist
My Search Engine Marketing Services for Small Businesses
I'll review whatever components of your search engine marketing that you'd like me to review, for however much time you'd like me to review them. Anything from your Google Place Page to your website architecture, keyword research to user-generated content ideas—or, if you don't actually know what you need help with, I'll take a quick look and provide a more comprehensive strategy as part of a complete audit of your online presence (see below).
“Our small firm was quickly receiving client contact which related into bottom line revenue that easily exceeded 10X the original web site investment. I recommend David 100 percent to any firm considering web site optimization and enhancement.”
--Scott Stone, AEGIS Realty Partners
Complete Website Audits
Most small business owners who come to me for help don't actually realize that their website is literally just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to success in online marketing. It's an important foundation, but in this era of Local results for so many fantastic keywords, if you really want to rank well long-term, you've got to look at so many factors beyond what you control.
So although this offering is titled a "website audit," it's more of an "online presence audit." I'll take a look at ALL of the important factors for ranking small businesses in search results, including:
- Keyword research to bring in the largest number of customers as opposed to just visitors
- Comprehensive site architecture review, including page hierarchy and internal linking strategies
- 1:1 Title Tag/Meta Description keyword targeting for your most critical pages
- Specific advice for optimizing contact / location pages
- Optimization of Google Place Page and Bing Local Profile including category selection
- Comprehensive review of the major citation players in your niche
- Data management across several key aggregators and Internet Yellow Pages Sites
- Additional organic optimization to maximize location "scent"
- Recommendations for linkbuilding, especially with authoritative and/or local sources
- Recommendations for a strategic customer review campaign
- Proper structuring of Google Analytics account for most relevant location-related insights
Although my rates are pretty pricey ($300/hr), you typically get what you pay for when it comes to SEO.
- I personally complete all consultations–not a junior employee or a new trainee
- I'm one of only a handful of experts who truly understand Google's Local algorithm
- I do not believe in retainers because most valuable work in small business SEO can be done up front
- I consult for true small businesses and understand their time and budget constraints
But don't take my word for it.
Hear from just a few of my past and current clients below:
A Search Engine Marketing Primer
For small businesses with brick-and-mortar locations, there are three main elements to Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Local Search Engine Optimization, and Paid Search (often referred to as Pay-Per-Click or PPC).
Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization involves a number of content management techniques that make your website as easy as possible for search engines to find and filter. These techniques include proper keyword targeting, title tag and meta description specificity, consistent site architecture, and a number of linking strategies both within your site and between your site and others like it.
Google and a number of other search engines publish suggestions that will help give your site higher rankings, but typically it takes an experienced consultant to propel your site into the top five results, where approximately 80% of all clicks come from. Search Engine Optimization involves a relatively high initial investment but can reap an enormous number of "free" clicks if done well.
A Quick Word about the Importance of Local SEO...
These are the default #1 search results for businesses that depend on geo-targeted search traffic.
As of January 2008 all of the major search engines, including Google, began to display a separate interface at the top of their search result pages for locally-targeted keywords and keyphrases (like "Pizza in Portland, OR"). This new interface typically features a map and a combination of either three or seven text listings (known colloquially in the search marketing industry as a "Local 3-pack" or "Local 7-pack"). They also show these listings for selected product & service-based searches without any geographic modifiers.
In fact, over 20% of all searches are performed by people looking for a Local product, service, news item, or event. That is over 2.5 Billion searches every month from United States desktop computers–not even considering mobile searches, which themselves are approaching 20%. Simply put, Local is the hottest segment in an already very hot industry.
As the creator of the authoritative Local Search Ranking Factors document, I am one of literally a handful of consultants in the world with specialized expertise in Local SEO. If your business gets a significant amount of traffic from geo-targeted searches, even a brief strategy review or hourly consultation with me will bring you significant ROI.
Ever wonder where those funny little haiku text ads come from when you type a search into Google or another search engine? Each ad is created by the companies advertising and served to you through a program called Adwords (Google) or AdCenter (Bing). Which company appears in which slot is determined by an semi-transparent, auction-style bidding process, with some adjustments based on the quality of the ad and the particular keyword being searched.
Approximately 10-12% of all clicks on search engine results pages are directed towards these paid advertisements. This is not huge, but it is a significant number, particularly when you consider this is targeted marketing at its best: the user is actively seeking out companies from which to purchase.
Pay-per-click campaigns can be tremendously effective when done creatively and effectively, and I can help you get up and running with a campaign of your own. A number of my clients' campaigns are self-propelling (generating enough immediate revenue to pay for continued spending), even ignoring repeat business. And perhaps the best part about pay-per-click: if it's not working, you can switch the keywords on which you're advertising, or turn it off altogether, with no up-front investment to worry about.
Additional SEO Resources for Small Businesses
I fully realize that my hourly rates are pretty steep. If you're a small business without the budget for a high-priced consultant like myself, I'd still like to help you succeed online. Here are a few of my favorite resources I've put together, or done by my peers, to help you rank better (or at least better understand how the search engines work).
Tools and Guides from Around the Internet
Start taking control of your online presence with this free resource co-developed by yours truly. Claim your major Local Search listings efficiently and effectively with GetListed.
The SEOmoz Beginner's Guide to SEO
The Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an in depth tutorial on how search engines work, covering the fundamental strategies that make websites search engine friendly.
The GetListed.org Local Search Glossary
Learn all (or at least most!) of the key jargon related to the field of search engine marketing. A great reference if you really want to start diving into this space for yourself.
Mike Blumenthal's Google Places Category Tool
This easy-to-use tool shows you which categories at Google Places match keywords that your business is interested in ranking for.
Don Campbell's Expand2Web Wordpress Theme
Build a professional, optimized website in minutes with Don's WordPress Theme specifically designed to save you time building your small business website and ranking it highly in the search results.
A Few Articles to Help You Get a Handle on Local SEO
+ Local vs Traditional SEO: Why Citation Is the New Link
+ A Framework for Thinking about Local Search Campaigns
+ The Ten Commandments of Online Marketing for Small & Local Businesses
+ The REAL Problem with Local Search (or, Why Google REALLY Introduced Universal)
+ What Google's ZIP Code Targeting Means for Local Businesses
+ The REAL Value of the Yellow Pages for Small Businesses
+ The "BCS" for Local Search Engine Optimization