If you own a small business, then you know the importance of having an online presence. After all, nearly every buying decision today seems to start with an online search. Yet, online marketing remains a mystery to many small business owners. And, how to market a business locally online can seem even more confusing.
As overwhelming as it might be, many small business owners, just like you, are often lead to believe that they can conduct their local marketing SEO the same way as big national brands. But what works for national brands will not work for your local small business if you are trying to beat out local competitors.
Most business owners are too busy running their businesses to invest time learning the ins-and-outs of online marketing. Plus, there's a ton of information out there, and most of it is unclear and inconsistent. Let's take a look at some of the most common myths behind successful local business search engine optimization.
MYTH: You don't need to build backlinks to your website anymore. That doesn't work anymore.
This myth can be found everywhere today, and primarily stems from Google's attempt to stop unnatural links. Matt Cutts made a recent comment that people trying to build SEO should stop guest posting. However, there is nothing wrong with posting valuable content in the form of guest posts. In fact, there are specific directories that every business should be in and is safe in Google's eyes.
MYTH: Claiming business listings on online directory will boost your SEO
It has been thought by many local businesses, that if they claim their business listings online, it will boost their SEO. Yes, it is beneficial to claim your business, but it is not the sole reason for boosting SEO. There are many other factors that are involved in SEO marketing.
MYTH: Social Media doesn't help get me found on Google
Social media or social search is the rave today. Businesses that have embraced social media are experiencing enhanced SEO marketing. Social media creates natural backlinks when users on sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, share your site and information with others. The key is to post consistently, post value driven content and stay active in conversations.
MYTH: All I need to do is register a domain name filled with commonly searched keywords
It's best to keep your domain name focused on your company name or brand name. Adding keywords to your domain name does not typically provide any SEO support, not anymore anyway. It is the other SEO marketing activities that will promote you and help in achieving higher search rankings.
MYTH: There's no different between mobile and desktop when it comes to search engines
Mobile searching is key for local SEO marketing. The majority of searches completed on a mobile device, are performed for local services and products. Making sure that your website is ideal for mobile devices can impact your rankings. If you have not considered a mobile platform for your business, you should.
MYTH: Blogging and content creation is a waste of time
It was once thought that link building was the only way to build successful SEO, however, with the changes in Google's algorithms, writing compelling content is becoming the preferred method in SEO marketing. As discussed above, link building is still relevant, however, investing in value-driven content for webpages, blog posts and more, will bring more quality links and leads to you and your website.
MYTH: You don't need to have local pages on your website
At the very least you definitely need to have your city and state listed on your website to be included in local searches. Title tags, on-page citations and links should all clearly state where you are located. However, if you really want to boost your local SEO searches, create a separate local landing page for each niche of your business. These local landing pages will place you higher in local searches.
MYTH: I've got SEO basics covered with onsite keywords and some relevant content
You should know your local competition. If your industry is saturated with businesses such as yours, you may find it difficult to rank near the top of local searches, though not impossible. You will need to invest a great deal in multiple SEO approaches, consistently, to promote your business to new customers and increase your local search ranking.
MYTH: There's no reason to go overboard with photos or videos
Multimedia can be beneficial in increasing your local search ranking. Images and videos often show in Google searches as blended displays, therefore, these multimedia pieces can provide additional opportunities to get your business found. If you feel that there is no way to implement photos or videos into your business marketing, think again. Use your imagination – videos of processes, photos of company events or other local events related to your service or product, all make great marketing pieces.
MYTH: I've built several microsites and other domains to help my SEO
There is no real value in spreading your SEO thin. Search engines today are smart enough to know who a domain name is registered to and setting up multiple domains and sites does not build your primary domain, but dilutes it. Furthermore, many businesses have been penalized by Google for having microsites that have duplicate content. Concentrate on building your primary website!
There are many SEO marketing strategies, some that were once considered mainstream. It's difficult for a business owner to keep up with constantly evolving SEO strategies and practices. However, knowing which are the myths and which are not can help you to make more effective decisions with your SEO marketing campaigns.
Whether you hire a professional to help you with your SEO marketing or you do it yourself, you should understand that SEO is about the overall experience for the user or searcher. Take that into consideration, and you'll generate more leads and sales online.