Want to find the best leather bag store in your neighborhood? Or maybe hire a pest control agency? If you’re like most people, you’ll probably make your way to Google and type in something like “best leather bags near me” or “top pest control agencies near me.”  

That’s what people do these days. 

Did you know that more than 68% of online experiences start with Google? And with Google’s global search engine market share standing at 85.55%, it’s safe to assume that your customers are using the search engine to get answers to their queries. 

No matter what industry you’re in, your existing and potential customers are trying to find you online. And if they can’t find you online, you risk losing their business to competitors. This is why it is so important for you to rank on Google.

This brings us to the big question: How do you rank at the top of the search results?

The answer is simple—SEO. 

By focusing on your SEO efforts, you can drive high-quality traffic to your website. But if you want to ensure a smooth flow of high-quality traffic to your website, you need to do it right.

To help you navigate the realm of SEO and make things clearer, we’ve put together this blog post, where we’ll be discussing the basics of SEO, how it improves brand recognition, and why it’s so crucial for local businesses to have a solid SEO game plan. 

Let’s touch down on each of these points one by one.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the strategic process of implementing different tactics and adhering to certain best practices to help a website rank higher in the eyes of search engines. 

From conducting thorough keyword research to rolling out high-quality content pieces to link building, SEO is not a one or two-step strategy that businesses can implement to rank higher on search engines.

It’s a never-ending process. 

For instance, if you run a restaurant in California, then you can’t just randomly publish two-three blog posts on your website and expect them to rank on search engines for the keywords like “best restaurants in California” or “top California restaurants.” 

The internet is simply too competitive for that to work. If you really want your website to rank at the top, then you’ll have to identify keyword gaps and opportunities, build content around these keywords, continuously optimize your content, work on your Google Business Profile, and build high-quality backlinks.

This may seem like a lot of effort—but there is a good reason for it (other than the competitive online landscape). Google wants to present the most relevant information to their users—they want users to find content that matches their search intent. And working on your website’s SEO is your way of showing Google that you’re trustworthy, reliable, and authoritative.

That being said, let’s learn why is SEO so important for small businesses.

SEO team

Why is SEO So Important for Local Businesses?

Still confused about whether you should invest in SEO or not? Let’s learn why SEO is a valuable investment for small businesses.

→SEO Helps Build Trust & Credibility

Whether you run a leather bag store or a pest control agency, your target audience has dozens of options right in front of them. And your competitors are trying to win their attention.

If you have recently launched your store and/or don’t have a strong online presence, your audience may find it too hard to trust you. 

It makes sense—In the initial stages, you probably won’t have dozens of five-star reviews just like some of your competitors. This leaves your audience with little reason to trust your business. Your job is to show them why they should give you a chance and choose your business over your competitors.

By focusing on your SEO efforts, you can build that trust and credibility. 

For instance, if you run a leather bag store in California, then your audience is likely to look up a keyword like “best leather bag store California.” And when they find your web pages ranking at the top for this keyword, there’s a higher chance they’ll head over to your website. 

But their journey doesn’t end there. Focusing on your SEO efforts isn’t just about rolling out high-quality content that helps you rank at the top of search engines. It’s about creating a stellar online experience from the moment someone searches for your business to the moment they make a purchase. 

Google and other search engines take several search engine ranking signals into consideration like website speed, user experience, content quality, reviews, and more. All of these factors are crucial ingredients in a stellar customer experience recipe—and coincidentally enough, they are all things that build trust.  

When you work on your website’s SEO, remember that you’re not just building a content machine, you’re building an online presence that helps you position your business as reliable and trustworthy. 

→SEO Helps Drive High-Quality Traffic to Your Website 

As you focus on your SEO efforts, you’ll see your web pages ranking higher on Google. And as your pages rank higher, you’ll see more and more traffic come to your website. 

But traffic alone isn’t enough.

You need to make sure that the people you’re attracting to your website are likely to purchase your products or services. After all, there’s no point in attracting 1,000 people each day to your website if this traffic doesn’t result in purchases or the completion of other desired actions. 

But when your SEO is done right, you’ll drive quality traffic to your website—potential customers who are highly likely to purchase your products or services. 

While there is no one-size-fits-all SEO plan, your checklist should include things like:

SEO Checklist

All of the above tasks will help you drive high-quality traffic to your website. It will take some time and effort, but the results will be worth it. 

→SEO Helps Increase Revenue

The higher your conversion rate, the more revenue your company will generate each year. However, as we’ve mentioned, even though you may be driving thousands of potential buyers to your website every single month you may still struggle with converting a maximum number of them into paying customers.

Remember: low conversion rates aren’t always directly tied to your SEO efforts. Maybe your copy isn’t up to mark or your website design isn’t appealing. Maybe your content is interesting, but it doesn’t necessarily tell users what your products or services can do for them.

Basically what we’re saying is that your work isn’t over when people find your website. It’s important to meet your customers at each stage of their buyer’s journey so that you can effectively lead them from the top of the funnel (when they first find you online) to the bottom of the funnel (when they decide to do business with you). 

When you focus on catering to your customers and making sure they have easy access to the information they’re looking for, your conversion rates will improve.

How Does SEO Improve Brand Recognition?

Another major benefit of SEO for small businesses is that it helps companies increase their brand recognition. Let’s have a look at how

As a brand, your goal is to be adored by your customers, and you want that pool of customers to be significant. But if not many people know about your business, how can you increase brand recognition and get to as many of your customers as possible?

You guessed it. The answer is with branding and SEO. 

If you want to win the hearts of thousands of customers, you need to knock your branding efforts out of the park, which means building memorable visual elements, coming up with an impressive tagline, mission, vision statements, and then practicing what you preach.  

Once your brand is rock solid, your aim is to put it in front of as many of your current and potential customers as possible. Through SEO, you can increase your brand’s visibility by building more and more positive online touch points. 

Allow us to explain: 

When you rank higher on Google, you’ll drive more traffic to your website. If your website looks great and is full of helpful content, your customers will start to trust you. And when your audience sees all those five-star reviews on Google and other review sites, they’ll begin to form a positive opinion about your business.

You see, SEO helps you paint a positive picture of your business to your target audience. Just be sure to put your money where your mouth is. Always remember that successful branding is not just associated with a brand’s visual elements but also with superior customer service. 

If you’re consistent with your efforts, you’ll begin to build an online presence that your target audience can’t get enough of. And soon enough, your target audience will become loyal customers. And if you focus on building relationships with those loyal customers, they will become a part of your efforts to build your online presence by talking about your business on social media or referring your products and services to their loved ones. 

That’s how SEO helps you improve brand recognition.

Your Online Presence is Everything

Google processes more than 90,000 search queries every single second; your customers are already looking for you online.

google statistic

And your competitors are already laser-focusing on their SEO efforts to put themselves in front of the people you’re looking forward to targeting. Don’t let them steal your customers.

It’s never too late to get started. Get started building a strong online presence by prioritizing your SEO efforts today.

Jono Andrews
Jono Andrews Group Manager of Product Marketing
Jono is a Group Manager of Product Marketing at Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform that connects local businesses with their customers.  He loves to help local businesses see success in creating the best customer experience.

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