Small businesses are companies that generate less revenue than large companies and have fewer employees. They’re typically privately owned, sole proprietorships, or partnerships.

In the United States, approximately 50 percent of all small businesses shut down within the first five years of operation, and less than a third still operate after ten years. Small businesses face competition from large and small businesses. While the global marketplace makes it possible for some small businesses to expand their potential client base, other small businesses struggle to compete against national and international competitors. Small businesses can achieve multiple benefits with local search engine optimization (SEO) marketing strategies, helping them succeed in the current marketplace.

What is SEO?

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SEO refers to using specific strategies to raise your website’s domain rating (DR) score. Web search engines, such as Google, send out web crawlers to gather data to evaluate websites. Several factors are used to assign a site’s DR score, including the number of relevant inbound and outbound links the site has, the site’s bounce rate, and the keywords featured on the site. When a person types keywords into the search engine, the sites with the highest DR scores that feature those keywords will be listed first. Featuring relevant keywords on your website will ensure your site’s included with appropriate searches. Since the top five search results Google generates receive 70 percent of the web traffic generated from each search, raising your site’s DR score is crucial if you want to generate organic site traffic, boost your company’s profile, and generate sales.

SEO offers multiple benefits.

SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies for small businesses. Advertising campaigns are expensive, and SEO strategies have the benefit of generating organic website traffic while ensuring your website remains updated. SEO marketing also promotes reputation management, because your SEO marketing team will evaluate inbound links and can identify commentary about your business from external sources. SEO marketing experts can take steps to have irrelevant or harmful inbound links removed.

Effective SEO strategies also ensure your site receives relevant traffic. Your site’s bounce rate refers to the number of people who visit the site and leave immediately without engaging with the site’s content. Sites with high bounce rates have lower DR scores. Without guidance from SEO experts, small business sites with irrelevant keywords may increase their bounce rate and lower their DR score, which will prevent them from generating sales from organic, relevant site traffic.

How does a business use SEO?

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Businesses can hire SEO marketing companies to develop appropriate SEO marketing strategies for their businesses. These marketing experts identify relevant search terms that should be included on the company’s website and assess the website to ensure it’s easy to navigate and promotes engagement from visitors.

For example, a company that sells salon equipment should clearly identify the types of equipment sold. When potential customers search for manicure tables, barber chairs, facial beds, portable drawers, all purpose chairs, and shampoo chairs, your site will include appropriate keywords to ensure your business is listed in their search results. You can supplement your descriptions of each manicure table and other products and accessories with informative posts discussing the benefits of portable stations in a salon or reasons nail technicians should use comfortable pedi stools. Your company can also include keywords based on services offered, such as free shipping or free installation.

How does a business use local SEO?

Local SEO is designed to generate foot traffic to a brick and mortar business. Businesses accomplish this by increasing their site’s DR score and featuring location-based information to ensure their site’s listed in local searches. Sites can do this by emphasizing they offer the best salon seating and shampoo services in their city. They can highlight their professional stylists and nail technicians are the most experienced experts in their area. Businesses can also promote extras they offer clients, such as quality salon equipment selected for their comfort. Businesses can also establish their local reputation and ensure they’re listed on appropriate local searches by sponsoring sports teams, charities, or local facilities.

Local SEO refers to using SEO marketing strategies to raise the profile of a brick and mortar business. Small businesses can use standard SEO marketing strategies and include location-based keywords with business-appropriate keywords to effectively promote their business to potential customers.