Filed in: Internet Marketing
If you’re reading this article then you are probably already aware of the value of having your website show up on the first page of a search for the product or service that you offer. In order to show up on top, you need to have Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) done on your website.
There are literally hundreds of web companies offering SEO services, but very few know how to make SEO work for local businesses. In fact, traditional SEO services like virtually all SEO companies are offering are simply not good enough anymore.
In this short article, I’m going to explain 3 big reasons why traditional Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) does not work well for local companies. However, before I explain the 3 reasons, let’s talk for just a minute about what traditional SEO companies actually do.
What an SEO Company Actually Does
Typically, an SEO company will try to maximize your company’s position on a Search Engine’s results page, which is called a “SERP” in internet jargon. Now, the most popular and highly used search engine is Google and Google typically returns only 10 websites on page one of a search.
Now let’s say you’re a plumber in Philadelphia and you have a website. A search engine optimization company would typically try to optimize your website for certain keyword phrases that include your city name that your prospects would be likely to use to find your service. For example, an SEO company in this case would probably try to optimize your website for the keyword phrase, “Philadelphia plumber.”
They would accomplish this through a number of methods, but most would focus on optimizing the content of your website so that it includes your keyword phrase in all the right places and so that you have good internal linking, site header information, etc. Then they’ll work hard on creating backlinks to your website scattered all around the internet, and if they’re really good they’ll use some additional techniques to make Google think that your website is the most important one for your keyword phrase. Eventually, your website should end up somewhere near the top of the list on Google page one—remember, Google only has 10 websites displayed on page one*.
So that all sounds great right? I mean, what’s wrong with that? Don’t you want to be one of those 10 businesses on page one? Well, things change fast on the internet, and being on page one actually isn’t good enough anymore for the following 3 reasons.
3 Reasons Why SEO Isn’t Good Enough Anymore
Reason #1 — Google now gives priority to Google Places results over standard websites. Let me explain what I mean. Google introduced a new feature called Google Places where they basically created a mini information website for every business in America that they know about. They’ve probably already created it for your business. If you have a published phone number for your business, then Google has created a Google Places page for your business. (Click on the image to the right to see an example for the term “Philadelphia Plumber”).
And guess what, when you are doing a local search for any type of local product or service—basically anything that somebody would normally purchase locally (like at your business), then Google actually returns 7 business results from Google places in front of it’s typical 10 websites for any keyword phrase. Let me give you an example. The screenshot to the right is from a Google search for “boise plumber.” As you can see, the top listed websites are not actually website listings, but listings on Google Places. You can tell it’s a Google places page because of the red placemarker on the left side. And please note, these Google places pages all appear above the typical Google results (or “organic” results) which are on the bottom.
And guess what, the top 7 businesses that show up in Google places are not necessarily the same top 7 businesses that show up in a regular Google search for the same keyword phrase.
This means that in order for SEO to be effective for local businesses, an SEO company has to actually optimize your Google Places page and not your regular website only. Most SEO companies are not optimizing Google Places pages and many of them don’t even know how to do it because the rules are different than they are with typical SEO. This is the first reason why regular SEO is not good enough for local businesses.
Reason #2 — The second reason is that highly optimized local videos also appear above regular SERP listings. This means that if there is a video on YouTube that is optimized for the keyword phrase “Philadelphia plumber,” that video will probably appear above most of the business websites that appear on page one of a Google search. And guess what, people tend to click on videos before regular websites. Of course, this will only work if the video is highly optimized and a lot of work needs to be done to get a YouTube video to show up on page one—but it can be done (we do it for all of our clients—contact us for a few case studies and examples) and if your competitor optimizes some YouTube videos for their local business instead of spending thousands on typical SEO, then they’ll more than likely “beat you out” because studies show that a prospect is much more likely to click on a video link on YouTube than a typical website link on a Google results page. Click on the image above and to the right for an example of what this looks like in the real world.
Now it is true that people typically don’t search YouTube for local businesses. But, guess what happened in 2010—YouTube surpassed Yahoo and Bing to become the internet’s second largest search engine. That’s right, more people are searching for things on YouTube than on the other major search engines. And since Google now owns YouTube, Google has a financial incentive in promoting YouTube and the videos that are on YouTube. So the point here is this—as time goes on, Google is certain to put more emphasis on YouTube videos and therefore a highly optimized YouTube video for a local search term will more than likely beat out your company’s SEO work on your website even if your website is appearing on page one.
Reason #3 — The third reason why SEO isn’t good enough for local businesses is the most important reason of all—and the reason is this—even if you’re on page one of Google, there is no guarantee you are going to get the business, because there are still 10 to 17 other businesses on page one as well. Now this is a major problem that NO SEO company is addressing! Think about it, a search on Google for a local product or service is the online equivalent of a Yellow Pages heading. Let me explain. Let’s stick with the plumber example. If I look for a plumber in Philadelphia in the phone book, the phone book will show me a bunch of ads from plumbers who are all in competition for my business. It’s amazing—all of these competitors are all together in the same place with their ads all vying for my attention. Since none of the ads demonstrate any quantifiable value or superiority, I naturally assume that they are all basically the same and I just call them all up and ask “How much do you charge.” Then I go with the cheapest plumber, or the one who can get to my house fastest.
See, that exact same process repeats itself online. When I search for “philadelphia plumber” on Google, I get a bunch of competing businesses all together on one page without any one of them demonstrating to me that they offer a superior value. So, I just click on their links and start calling them up asking the same question, “How much do you charge?” Then, the business owner feels forced into a price-based competition. You see, everybody is dealing with this same problem and nobody knows how to fix it. That is nobody, except us.
At JWM Marketing Consultants, we specialize in the creation of strategic marketing messages—not just techniques like SEO. Our expertise is in creating a specific message using an advanced, scientifically executed marketing formula that causes your prospects and customers to come to this conclusion, “I’d have to be an absolute fool to do business with anybody else but you, regardless of price.”
Go ahead and call up as many SEO companies that you want and get quotes from them. Check out all their prices and ask them about their guarantees. In other words, do they guarantee first page placement on Google? But then ask them this killer question, “how can you help me ensure that prospects will choose my business instead of the other businesses on page one?” The answer is simple—they can’t. Then ask them this, “Can you create content for my website to help me ensure that my prospects do business with me and not with my competitors, or do you just get my business to show up the first page of Google?”
Feel free to check for yourself. What you will find is that no SEO company anywhere is offering true and effective creation of your strategic marketing content. JWM Marketing Consultants has pioneered this package offering and we’d be more than happy to offer it to you. But, just remember, like every other service we offer, we can only offer it for one company in any local market. So you don’t want to procrastinate. Go ahead and call us right now at (215) 205-2013 and we’ll discuss how we can begin a JWM Power Marketing based SEO program for your company today!