SEO for local businesses is a specialized kind of Search Engine Optimization.
In some ways, it’s easier because there is naturally less competition for keywords that are location specific. On the other hand, SEO for local businesses is a harder task because there are so many local areas to optimize for. You could optimize for the community you are in (“West Hills”, in my case), or the area (“San Fernando Valley”) or the City (“Los Angeles”) or the part of the state (“Southern California”) or even the state itself (“California”).
And on top of that, you’ve got all the adjacent areas you also want to draw business from.
So, as you can see, SEO for local businesses can be a very time consuming task.
A Local SEO Success Story
SEO success stories are fun, especially when you have a lot of them to tell. I’ve got lots, but I haven’t documented them at all. But when I got this very brief one-word email from my client Spencer at Evolutionate.com, I figured I had to write it down, just so you could see what is possible for you and your business, too.
First, a little background.
I developed the Evolutionate website this past summer, so about 6 months ago. I design all of my websites with search engine optimizations “built-in.” Almost from the start, Evolutionate.com ranked high for some very competetive keywords, in particular “convert your iphone app to android“, which is a big part of Evolutionate’s business. (They develop iPhone and Android apps, and rewriting them for one or the other platform is profitable for them.)
If you Googled that term starting in August, you would have seen Evolutionate.com at #7, and it stayed there for a long time. Today, they rank #1 for that term. But…that is NOT the topic of this message.
However, there is a more general part of their business that they also want traffic for, and that is simply to develop new iPhone apps. But there’s a twist. You see, Spencer doesn’t want to compete with overseas iPhone app development companies. He specifically wants people who are looking for people who want a US-based developer.
And more specifically, people who want to work with someone in California, Southern California, or even Los Angeles.
One other bit of background: I installed a piece of software on Spencer’s website that emails us whenever someone goes to Google, searches for a keyword, and ends up on Evolutionate.com as a result of that search. The email contains the search term, the page the user ended up on, and the rank on Google where that link was found.
So last night Spencer emails me and says “Stop it! I get too many emails for all the hits on my site!” Well, that’s a nice problem to have.
But before I had a chance to do what he asked and respond to his email, he wrote me again, with a single word email, that said: “Wow!!!”.
His email was actually a reply to one of the Rank Tracker emails that said that he now rankes #1 for “southern california iphine developer”. Okay, that’s a typo, so I checked it out. It’s true. He rankes #1 for that.
But what about the term without the mis-spellings? Turns out he’s #1 for that, too. AND #2. Take a look at the screen shot to see it (Todays date is 12/12/11).
And he’s #1 for the same term in the singular (“developer” instead of “developers”)
We’re still working on “Los Angeles iPhone App Developers, but we’re up to page 2 and still rising. Keep in mind, though, that Evolutionate still gets dozens of hits to their site every day for keywords that make them money. Most of them on page 1, some on page 2, and many which we didn’t even optimize for — let’s call these “bonus listings” rank high as well.
So what is the lesson in all of this?
SEO for local businesses is entirely possible for you regardless of your business. Spencer’s business is inherently nationwide, but by focusing on a specific area, he can get traffic that he would have otherwise missed.
A lot of people think of SEO as a black art. They’ve paid other people to help them rank high and never had any success, or they just are naturally suspicious of anyone who tells them a story. I don’t blame them. There are a lot of snake oil salesmen selling “automatic” methods for ranking that just don’t work. They’ll promise you high rankings, take your money, say Thank You, and never perform.
I meet a lot of small business owners like this. It takes some time to help them to trust someone — anyone — again. What I’ve found is that the easiest way to help someone understand what is possible with SEO for local businesses is proof.
And that’s why I’ve told you this story.
And that’s also why I’ll be telling you more SEO Success Stories over the coming weeks and months, both some that happened in the past, and others that are soon to come.
What You Can Do To Help Your Own Business
If you own a local business, YOUR WEBSITE can also rank high for keywords that make you money. Got questions about SEO for local businesses?
Call me. Or sign up now for my 7 Secrets For Local Website Success (top right corner of this page). In that series of emails, I pull back the curtain to tell you not only what to do, but how I do what I do to help small businesses like you get more business from the internet. And that includes how to rank high for keywords that make you money.
I think that understanding SEO for local businesses will help you use it more effectively in your own business.