What Is SEO For Local Businesses?

Having a website alone isn't enough to grow your business

Getting Started

So you’ve got an amazing website, and you’re excited to show it to the world?

However, how do you get people to visit your website?

Just because you’ve created an awesome website doesn’t mean that people are instantly going to know about it.

There are millions of websites on the internet, so discoverability is key to getting your website noticed.

How do you get your website discovered, though?

There are various ways to go about doing it.

First of all, you can tell your friends and family members. Email everyone on your email lists, and invite all your social media friends to check out and share the news about your new website as well. However, this doesn’t ensure that you’ll be getting visits from your target audience.

Most web traffic comes from organic search results.

Think about it.

When you’re going to look up something on the internet, what’s the first thing that you do?

You pull up a search bar and input your search question or phrase into the search box. Then you look through the results that pull up and select the one that stands out to you the most.

What does this mean?

It means that websites that rank higher in search engines tend to get noticed more because when people are looking for websites like theirs, their websites will pop up right in front of their target audience.

In turn, this means that you would definitely do well to optimize your website for search engines, which is more commonly referred to as SEO (search engine optimization).

What is SEO marketing?

We’ve already established that SEO stands for search engine optimization, but what does it mean to optimize your website for search engines?

SEO is really all about increasing both the quality and quantity of traffic that comes to your website from search engines.

Quality of Traffic

Part of effective SEO marketing consists of focusing on the quality of the traffic you receive. You can receive all the traffic in the world, but if the people landing on your website aren’t genuinely interested in the content they see on it, they likely won’t be returning.

Therefore, you want to have quality traffic of visitors who truly care about what your website has to offer, whether that is information, products, services or something else.

Quantity of Traffic

This isn’t to say that the amount of traffic you get isn’t important. You do want to increase the quantity of your website’s traffic, but you want it to increase with people who are interested in your website and what you have to offer.

Organic Results

You might wonder what we mean when we refer to organic search results.

Organic search results are simply those ones that you don’t have to pay for through search engine ads.

They’re the ones that come from people naturally clicking your website from the search engine results they get, and they’re the best kinds of referrals to get.

How does SEO work?

You already know that you input your keywords, keyword phrases or questions into a search engine’s search bar and then the search engine will present you with the top search results relating to what you searched for. However, have you ever wondered just how this all comes about?

Contrary to what it might seem like, it doesn’t all happen by magic. Instead, Google has these tiny little things called crawlers that go out and collect information about websites. The crawlers use all that information that they gather to build an index that then gets fed through an algorithm that will try to match the most relevant websites with whatever search you queried.

What is Google's search algorithm?

The algorithm determines how your website is ranked in the search engines. So in order for you to know what you need to focus on to get your website to show up in the top of the search listings, you’ll need to know what all goes into the algorithm.

A lot of factors affect the algorithm, some of which include the following:

Domain level keyword agnostic features: These are the keywords associated with your domain name, the length of your domain name, your HTTP response time and more.

Domain level keyword usage: This refers to exact-match keywords being used in your domain name. These are the same words or phrases that people are searching for in the search engines. This can also be partial-match keywords in the domain name.

Domain level link authority features: This is simply the number of links linking to your domain. It’s more than just quantity, though. The algorithm also takes into consideration the quality of the links coming into your website. Are they from trusted websites, random website or spammy site?

As Adam Riemer of SearchEngineJournal.com stated, “Focusing on quality (backlinks) over quantity is what can help to protect your site as Google updates.

Domain level brand features: This refers to other uses of your brand or domain name, such as how it’s mentioned in the media and used offline.

Page level link features: How your anchor text is distributed throughout your website, the quality of your link sources, how trusted your page is and other such factors.

Page level keywords and content features: This refers to the content on your website and how reliable it scores. As Brian Sutter of Forbes.com wisely stated, “…So forget the ‘more is better’ approach to content if you want links. Go with quality instead…”

Page level keyword agnostic features: This refers to the length and readability of the content on your website, how unique it is and the pages’ load time. Duplicate or plagiarized content can severely harm your website.

Traffic query data: This refers to all the data concerning how much your website is being used by other users how, much traffic it receives and so on.

Social metrics: The social metrics, of course, refers to how much your website or web pages have been shared on social media sites. The more your content gets tweeted and shared, generally, the better it will perform in this area in the algorithms.

While it’s difficult to define a specific formula for how much each one of these things affects search engine algorithms, it’s agreed that these are the elements that do affect them.

It's critical to acquire first place

According to SearchEngineWatch.com, a little more than 95% of all searches don’t go beyond the first page of search results.


Who knows?

Perhaps because in today’s rush, rush, rush economy, people want what they want fast.

The simple fact of the matter is few people are willing to go deep and dig for your website, especially when they’re searching for answers and they want them right away.

So what you need to focus on doing is getting on the front page of the search results, preferably as close to the top of the page as you can get.

How do you get to the first page of Google?

Build an SEO-friendly website

Regardless of whether you already have a website or you’re thinking about making one, you’ll want to make sure that your site is SEO-friendly.

There are various things that go into making an SEO-friendly site, some of which include filling out all metadata and making sure that all pages link together and are easily navigable.

Create quality content

The more quality content your website has, generally, the more useful the public will find it, which in turn, will make it start to rank higher in the search engines.

A lot goes into creating quality content.

You’ll not only want to write relevant content that is helpful to your readers, but you’ll also want to do some keyword research and incorporate relevant keywords into your copy as well.

Simon Ensor of SearchEngineWatch.com put it this way: “First: Focus on searcher intent. This should underpin all of your activities—research, creation, and distribution. What is the searcher really trying to achieve and how is your content helping them reach this goal?”

Use strong inbound & internal linking

Links coming into your site are important, but so are links within your site.

Linking one article to another relevant one is a great way to keep visitors on your site as they keep delving deeper on your website.

As Luisito Batongbakal of MonitorBacklinks.com stated, “For people to discover your website, you need to build pathways and big, flashing signs that lead them there. In digital marketing terms, this means you need links, links and more links.”

So the key here is to bring people in and keep them as long as possible.  By linking to another part of your website, you make a suggestion to your visitor that they should click on that link and also check out this other page.

Sam with out San Antonio branch does a great job deep diving through content to find associated articles. He’s been able to increase website retention simply by positioning related articles within other articles.  This create interest loops that keeps the website visitor engaged and clicking.

Stay up-to-date

Part of keeping your site ranking at the top of the search engines involves staying up-to-date.

SEO tactics are constantly evolving, just as technology does in general. The more informed you stay of the new tactics, the sooner you can get a jump on the competition by implementing them into your own website’s SEO marketing plan.

Ryan Biddulph of BloggingFromParadise.com said, “Good SEO is paying attention to all the details that most bloggers ignore.”

How long will it take to rank my website on Google?

So you now know how important it is to optimize your website for search engines, and you’ve done that. Naturally, you now want to know how long it will be before you start seeing results.

There’s not a definite answer because so much goes into play, but generally, you can expect to see some sort of ranking within 4 to 6 months.

SEO can provide some types of immediate results. For some less competitive keywords and search phrases, your website could potentially rank in the top positions within a couple of weeks.

After performing the onsite optimizations you’ll also have fresh, concise content and better organization, both of which help contribute to having what it takes to rank higher in the search engines.

Some of the other factors that come into play include

  • The age of your domain
  • Your meta descriptions
  • Your website design
  • What your baseline traffic was before you implemented SEO changes
  • Your geographic location
  • Your competition
  • Who your target audience is

SEO is a gradual and continuous process, but generally, you should start seeing more and more results the longer your site is up and the longer you continue to adhere to sound SEO marketing strategies.

Other factors that affect your ranking timeline

Of course, there are a few other factors that can affect how quickly you see SEO results, one of which is the kind of SEO results you’re looking for.

For instance, are you looking for

  • Local SEO results
  • National ones
  • Global ones

The results for a global company that has millions of web pages will likely happen much more quickly than the results for a local website that has a hundred pages or less.

Success doesn’t come easy

As with everything else, perseverance pays off.

Success won’t necessarily come easily or immediately with SEO implementation unless you just happen to have a very popular niche site that lucks into booming.

If you continue to employ good SEO tactics steadily for months, then you should begin to notice a gradual increase in traffic and page ranking over time.

How much does it cost to hire an SEO agency?

There’s no set amount on what you will spend when you hire an SEO agency. Various factors go into what determines the pricing including the pricing model you agree to, as well as the types of service you get.

Types of Payments

Monthly retainers: In this type of payment, you’ll pay a monthly fee for a certain set of agreed-upon services.

The types of services you can expect to receive in most monthly retainer agreements include standard analytics reporting, link building, keyword research, on-site content building and so on.

Generally, this is the model that most people use because it offers the greatest return on your investment.

You can expect legit monthly retainer services to cost anywhere from $750-$5,000 per month.

Contract services: Contract services are fixed price ones. Most SEO agencies offer some contract services, as in they’ll perform a certain service for a one-time flat fee. For instance, you could contract a competitive analysis for a flat fee.

The prices for contract services vary.

Examples include a site content audit for anywhere from $500-$3,000 or SEO copywriting services for $0.15-$0.50 cents per word.

Project-based services: Project-based services are similar to contract ones. However, with project-based ones, the service is usually customized specifically to you. For instance, you might want help with your local online SEO.

Project-based services vary in price as well, but you can generally expect them to be from $1,000 all the way up to as much as $30,000, depending on the project and size of your website or company.

Hourly consulting: In hourly consulting, the SEO agency gets paid an hourly fee in exchange for services or advice.

Most SEO consultants charge anywhere from $100-$300 per hour.

It’s not uncommon for people to use more than one of the above types of services and payment models.

However, if people choose only one, it’s usually suggested to choose the monthly installment simply because you’ll get more bang for your buck this way.

How much you can and are willing to spend will depend upon what you’re wanting to accomplish with your business and whether you’ll see a good ROI on the money invested in SEO marketing.

Red flags to watch out for when purchasing SEO services

You should definitely exercise caution when shopping for SEO marketing services or SEO agencies to contract with.

Generally, if something sounds too good to be true, then it is.

SEO agencies can’t offer you any guarantees, especially if they guarantee that you’ll rank #1 on Google.

While it’d be great to rank #1 on Google instantly, SEO results usually aren’t very instant. If they are, the SEO company might be using unsavory tactics to trick the systems, and search engines are always evolving and becoming wiser to such tactics.

Search engines will penalize the websites they catch using objectionable SEO techniques.

Therefore, you certainly don’t want to use such tactics on your website.

Also, you should generally expect to pay at least $750 per month for legitimate SEO services.

If a company is charging less than that, their services could be suspicious.

For instance, they might be using darker link building practices and so on.

The bottom line

It’s unarguable that SEO marketing is beneficial for a business. Regardless of whether you have an online or offline business, you can experience advantages by increasing your site’s SEO.

Consider investing in monthly SEO services, or if you don’t have the budget for that, you can learn how to improve your site’s SEO yourself.

The following YouTube video makes for an excellent resource on learning some basic strategies to optimize your website yourself:

SEO marketing can help polish your website. It can help it become more search engine-friendly.

Will you see results overnight from SEO implementation?

Probably not.

However, by making good SEO marketing a habit, you should begin to see a steady, gradual increase in the amount of quality web traffic your site receives.

From that, you should experience an increase in online or offline customers. If nothing else, you’ll at least be expanding upon your brand awareness, making it so that more and more people know about you.

The bottom line: Every business needs a bit of SEO marketing.

SEO isn’t going away, and smart business owners know it and try to take advantage of it.

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