Thursday, April 14, 2011

Optimizing For Your Local Area

When I talk to people about their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requirements, I frequently hear business owners talking about how they want to be at the top of the Google rankings for a variety of competitive search terms. I'm always quick to explain that just about anything is possible, if you have the time and budget available to you. Most small business owners are unable to make the marketing budget available that would be needed in order to hire an SEO consultant with the appropriate skills to really help them to dominate a significant, competitive market. Rather than finding this frustrating, it's better to concentrate on the opportunities that are open to you. It may not be possible to get to the top of Google for a highly competitive term, but this doesn't mean that search engine optimization can't be cost-effective for your business. It's simply a matter of taking advantage of your own positioning. That often means thinking more about the area in which you operate. If you are in a competitive industry then you may not be in a great position to achieve better rankings that larger rivals on a national scale. But you may well be in a far better position to compete within the local area. Ignoring the possibilities and opportunities that this opens up for you would be a big mistake. There's real value in dominating the search engine results within a particular town, city or region. One of the main reasons for doing so is because it's often easier to rise to the top. This can quickly enable you to establish an online presence. But there are many other advantages, including the fact that many individuals and small business owners like to deal with local people. By paying attention to where you stand in the local search engine results, you can put yourself in a great position. It may be the case that you can generate so many leads or sales locally that you won't even have to worry about broadening your presence. Alternatively, success at a local level could be seen as a springboard to success. There's also another great reason for putting the focus on very specific search terms. I've noticed that they tend to be associated with higher conversion rates. That's because you'll often be in the position of offering people exactly what they're looking for. That's a nice position to be in. I'm amazed by how few small businesses have thought about optimizing for search terms that are specific to their local area. It's a niche that is wide open. Those who take advantage of it can expect to receive rich rewards. Take a look at the search engine results for your own location. You'll soon get a pretty good idea about who really understands the world of optimization!

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