On the Search: Driving Small Businesses Forward Through Local SEO

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The continuous evolution of technology and the internet has made business landscapes leveled for all. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in particular, have the most to gain from these new developments that are constantly being churned out. As they adopt more sophisticated tools, it significantly elevates their capabilities despite their size compared to larger corporations.

In reality, entering into a business has become more inclusive and accessible. Over the past few years, SMEs have slowly incorporated automation into their operations through artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technologies. This is evident in various areas, from email marketing to partnerships with collaborative robot manufacturers.

Alongside automation, another essential tool that provides a huge impact for SMEs is the advent of digital marketing. While this might not be an entirely new concept for businesses, its relevance has skyrocketed due to the sudden outbreak of the global pandemic.

The Importance of SEO

Transitioning into the digital landscape became necessary for almost all businesses when the health crisis struck the world. The shift to digitalization was accelerated. Moreover, consumer habits also underwent drastic changes as they turned to online transactions for goods and services. Digital marketing, which was once neglected by countless businesses, now dominates daily business operations.

Of course, given the sheer volume of businesses that have transitioned — and continues to transition — over the past year, the realm of digital marketing has also turned into a very competitive landscape. One particular way of gaining an edge over competitors is by investing in search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is essentially the process of the quality of a particular business website to increase online traffic and brand recognition. SMEs that can incorporate the correct SEO strategies into their business models will definitely see multiple benefits.

Profitable Returns

Entering into SEO is one of the most profitable types of marketing that businesses can utilize. However, it’s important to note that high-quality SEO strategies can take time to manifest. More often than not, proper SEO is considered a long-term process.

SMEs can choose to perform SEO actions in-house, which can be cost-effective but time-consuming. On the other hand, there are also options to outsource through professional online agencies, but it can prove quite expensive. Regardless of which approach an SME decides to take, performing a successful SEO will take a lot of upfront investment. Rest assured, the returns will surely be worth it.

Recognition and Conversion

The internet has undoubtedly become the best advertising platform for businesses. In fact, it’s been observed that Google searches have become the first step in the buying process of consumers. A majority of internet users conduct product and service research online.

Having the appropriate SEO strategy can help to attract more potential customers and even stimulate word-of-mouth marketing. This will significantly improve brand visibility and recognition. Moreover, the conversion rate of internet searches shouldn’t be ignored. Approximately 80% of all searches conducted through mobile phones result in a transaction, which is remarkable.

Proper SEO Practices

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It’s already been established that SEO matters a great deal, especially for SMEs. Yet, the competition within the digital landscape is only getting tougher each day. Moreover, navigating through the learning curve for digital marketing can be extremely difficult within the context of the pandemic.

To be more efficient, SMEs should consider focusing their efforts on local SEO in the meantime. Local SEO essentially aims to improve visibility in search results within a particular geographical area. This perfect for small businesses since it’s highly likely that they only have business operations in a specific city or state.

There are plenty of comprehensive guides on how to prevail in local SEO, but here are some of the most important steps to note.

Keyword Research

Incorporating the correct keywords into a business website is one of the most vital elements in high-quality SEO. This will help any SME land on the first page of local search engine results pages (SERPs), which is extremely important for visibility. To accomplish this, conducting proper keyword research is equally crucial.

Actively researching for keywords over and over is a necessary SEO practice. Businesses can also consider using third-party tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to aid in keyword research. Nonetheless, finding keywords that are relevant to a specific business’ industry can prove to be difficult. It’s important to note that keywords are constantly evolving based on trends, news, and events.

Content Production

When it comes to digital marketing, local SEO isn’t necessarily the one-stop tool that can help a small business thrive. At the end of the day, it will still boil down to the kind of content that’s present on an SME’s website. It’s essential to strike a balance between integrating proper SEO strategies and creating high-quality content.

The key to developing good content is through proper communication. SME’s should consider how their goods or services can impact the lives of their consumers. Keep content relevant to building a connection between a small business’ industry and current events. Always aim to either educate or influence consumers.

Future-proof

Digital marketing is a great equalizer for business landscapes, especially in the time of a global pandemic. However, it has also become highly competitive over the past year due to the accelerated shift towards digitalization. Small businesses should invest heavily in local SEO tools to help them rise above the competition and even pave a successful path towards the future.

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