Guest Blog by Randy Aimone, Aimone Marketing

The overlooked and undervalued importance of local search engine optimization for small businesses:

The fact that most small business owners under-invest, with either their time or money, in local search engine optimization (local SEO) is a tragedy of near Shakespearian proportions. And it’s playing out on the Main streets of towns and cities all across this great land.

The calamity of the situation can be seen clearly in the light of cold, hard facts. 

 Here is a fact for you to shine on it. 

A typical small business should expect that good local Search Optimization would account for 20-40% of its total revenue goals from local SEO. 

This is a tremendous opportunity for easy revenue that many business owners are missing.

To further illustrate this point, let’s take a look at the following sample case study:

 Charlie M. owns a sub shop with an annual revenue of one million. He wants to increase his revenue from one million to 1.5 million in the next fiscal year. To accomplish this goal, he decides to hire a business consultant, one with online-marketing savvy. The business consultant recommends a local SEO strategy, among other things. 

In the following quarter, Charlie’s improved business strategy netted him a return of $118,000, which was an impressive 94 percent of his overall goal. 

Wow, that business consultant must have been amazing!

 The analytics from his local search revealed that approximately 32 percent of his new sales were the result of customers searching for him on their mobile phones and tablets. 

It makes one think;

These customers were probably looking for his business all along, but his new local SEO strategy made it easy for them to find him and see his great reviews, his menu and a coupon. All of which worked together to prompt them to come to his store.

Charlie’s Sub Shop:

  • $118,000 in new revenue for one quarter
  • $37,760 likely came from online search results that converted into new customers
  • $750 Investment @ $250 per month for local SEO services
  • Charlie’s ROI = 37,110  

If Local SEO is so valuable, why don’t more small businesses invest in it?

There are a few reasons for this, as you will see below:  
Reason 1. Failure to recognize the potential of local SEO

Many business owners are simply not aware of the power of local SEO for growing their businesses, or worse, are not even aware that they should be doing any form of SEO at all, let alone local SEO.

Reason 2. SEO is hard to learn

Even when a small business owner is aware of the need for local SEO, there are some serious obstacles that stand between the average business owner and the successful implementation of a local SEO strategy. One serious obstacle is the mass of confusion and misinformation about the subject. Even among SEO experts, there is a lack of understanding of the importance of local SEO.  Marketing agencies that don’t keep up with the constant change in their field often fail to distinguish the difference between global and local SEO, for example. 
If the experts have trouble keeping this straight, what chance does a busy, local business owner have? 

This lack of understanding among lay people and professionals alike is due, in part, to the fact that local SEO is a relatively new facet of a relatively new marketing tool. 
Search engine optimization became important sometime between 1997 and 2000, so the field itself is less than 20 years old. 

And local SEO is even younger. 

Google began changing its algorithm to include local search metrics within the last three years, so local SEO has existed for less than five years.   And many search optimization companies are oblivious to the significant differences in how local search must be done. 

Reason 3: The growing importance of mobile search

As smartphones become more and more ubiquitous, more people use their mobile devices to find goods, services and entertainment.  If your business isn’t locally optimized, then it is unlikely to show up in that coveted first-page position on those local searches. As more and more people use mobile phones, businesses who don’t make local optimization a priority are likely to lose an increasing portion of their fair share of their markets.

So who should be locally optimizing?

•    First are companies that get 80% or more of their business within 45 miles or less.  This includes most retail, professional services such as doctors and lawyers, and construction services such as remodeling firms, electricians, plumbers and similar.

•    Second are companies in competitive niches: If your website can't or shouldn't rank nationally- such as a law firm website - you have a much better shot of being found locally by someone who prefers to support a local business.  A divorce lawyer could easily compete for a difficult global search term by adding a local modifier. For instance, the term ‘divorce lawyer’ is extremely competitive at the global level, but adding the local modifier, ‘Charlotte’ to ‘divorce lawyer’ makes the search term both more specific, and easier to compete for in the context of local search.

Should you consider local search optimization?

Yes, if you find yourself in at least one of the above-mentioned categories. It's a good idea to have your web presence evaluated to see if local search optimization could drive a significant amount of traffic to you.  

My agency is one of the rare companies with local SEO experts who fully understand the importance of local SEO and are able to devise and implement solid and up-to-date local SEO strategies. In addition, everyone who works for the agency is committed to staying on top of search trends and continuing to learn and embrace new skills.

We offer a free web-presence evaluation, and a 15-minute personal overview to see how, and if, local search optimization may help you grow your revenue.  And even if you don't choose to use my agency’s marketing services, during the analysis, you’ll receive free, personalized tips that will help you to optimize your own local presence. 
Request your free evaluation here: