Why does a Local Business need a Website and SEO?

by nub
37 replies
Hello Warrior Forum,

I am a local business owner that does pretty well without a website. My clients are all recommendations and referrals. I check into the forum every now and again simply because the idea of being an affiliate marketer excites me but I lack the proper writing and communication skills. What can I say I am a worker not a talker, we all have our place.

I got a call the other day from an SEO company, and for a minute he had me intrigued and I really almost decided to buy into it. But then towards the end when he tried to tell me how a local business benefits not only from website(cause thats really all I wanted and I already have the usual MSN,ezlocal,GooglePlaces etc) he lost me in trying to explain how local seo could benefit me.

Could anyone explain to me How a local business could benefit from a website and link building. I don't want to sell my service to the world, just my area.

Ty in advance
#business #local #seo #website
  • Profile picture of the author cherry_b
    First of all, what type of business and area do you serve?

    The benefits are simple. Rather than using a phonebook, when some people in your area are in need of what you are offering they will turn to the internet and a search engine to find what they need. Having your business appear prominently for these searches will send highly qualified prospects to your site and you will gain new customers.

    This is a very desirable group to be in front of because they are BUYERS who are in need of what you are offering.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinDupre
    To put your business out there -find potential customers/engage with existing customer, increase more volume and profits and keep the biz growing.
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesReynolds
    Google can be even more effective for local businesses than it is for global. Why? because it is laser targeted.

    If you are an accountant in Chichester. A prospect searching for "Accounting service Chichester" that lands up on your website is super high qualified.
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  • Sounds to me my like a salesman who is saying to you 'look wear my glasses, they have worked for me for years!'

    Before you can decide if your business needs a website and SEO you need to ask yourself some fundamental questions:

    1. What capacity does your business currently run at? Do I actually need more customers? If its above 90% you probably don't need a website unless you want to expand.
    2. What is my core clientèle and are they the sort of people that search online?
    3. What is the value of each new customer both in single transaction and lifetime terms? If its low am I likely to get a good ROI?
    4. What other forms of advertising do I currently do and are they providing me with a good ROI?

    Having asked yourself these questions you are then in a position to know whether there is a gap in your marketing that requires filling. If the answer is yes then a website could well be the answer. If the marketer picks the right keywords a website will put you in front of prospects 24/7 when they are looking to buy. This is the big difference between marketing yourself on-line as opposed to advertising in papers. People do not buy a paper for the adverts but they do search on-line when they are looking to buy.

    Hope this helps.

    Neil
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  • Profile picture of the author redlegrich
    If you and your business is in the position where you do not need or want more business then all I can say is good for you! Having said that if you are looking to grow your business by whatever means then a well optimized website may well be the hot ticket.

    SEO will get you the exposure to the searchers who in turn (hopefully) click and you get more business. I would say to you do the keyword research and pick nice targeted niches where you can easily rank. As other posters have said here for local searches this is relatively doable (unless in a really big city with a popular niche).

    Lastly, and most importantly, it's not the ranking that is most important. It's the conversion of visitors to buyers! If you are going to do this make conversion a key aspect of the effort. Most business sites are horrible at conversion, no visible phone number, a non-responsive email option, no call to action, no reason to do anything but leave.

    You combine a well optimized site with a well converting visitor experience and you'll be on your way to less free time in weeks ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Taruru
    if you are looking to growing your business, a website will give you that new pathway. seo will then make the site rank favorably with search engines. and the more discoverable the site is to the target customer, the more the potential clientele.
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  • Profile picture of the author ADukes81
    Why Have a Website?

    More For Less - Increase your visibility of your company to potential clients. Having your own website is like having full page advertisements running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Even better than print advertising, a business website allows you to make quick, necessary changes at any time and adjust to market conditions as needed.

    Market Expansion - A business website allows existing clients as well as potential clients access your business from anywhere in the World.

    Increased Customer Service and Increased Customer Retention - A business website allows your business to communicate with your customers, as well as conduct business 24 hours. 7 days a week. 365 days a year. You're always open. Thereby increasing customer service and customer retention.

    Educate Your Customers - In this era of information, potential clients are more knowledgeable than ever. Your business website allows potential customers to familiarize themselves about your business from their office or from the comfort of their own home.

    Instant Feedback - Customers can ask, comment and voice their concerns on a website forum. Custumer feedback increases client retention by building trust with your customers, and as you know; People tend the do business with people they "know" and trust.

    Business Newsletters - With a company newsletter you can inform your customers of any future sales, deals and/or promotions going on. Email is MUCH cheaper than postal mail.

    Answer Questions - Increase customer service while decreasing the time spent answering those repetitive questions that are a majority of the questions asked.

    Instant Information - Credibility Indicators help establish your good name. Guarantees and Return policies, to Phone numbers, email addresses and business hours; are all simple tools for building your professional credibility.

    A Website is Inexpensive - Compared to other means of advertising such as radio, TV and/or print, a website is a fraction of the cost, while allowing you to target market potential customers.

    Improve Credibility - Have articles with tips, tricks, advice and general information on your site to inform the reader.
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    Just ask do you really think they might be people searching on the S.E's for your kind of biz. Despite what many say i do not think SEO/Online suits all busiensses.

    If so then go for it..if not leave it.

    What kind of biz is it? Services, product?
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  • Profile picture of the author Russell Hall
    Originally Posted by nub View Post

    Hello Warrior Forum,

    I got a call the other day from an SEO company, and for a minute he had me intrigued and I really almost decided to buy into it. But then towards the end when he tried to tell me how a local business benefits not only from website(cause thats really all I wanted and I already have the usual MSN,ezlocal,GooglePlaces etc) he lost me in trying to explain how local seo could benefit me.

    Could anyone explain to me How a local business could benefit from a website and link building. I don't want to sell my service to the world, just my area.

    Ty in advance
    There's a lesson in this in that SEO "consultants" shouldn't get too embroiled in details. It can be and usually is confusing to local business people.
    So you we're interested (even mildly) in having a website! But what's the point unless you're going to drive traffic to it,... as in NEW customers (not existing)?
    Sure you can set up a nice site and use it as an online calling card or e-brochure and that may be a positive thing in itself and a service to existing clientele.
    However, the real goal and huge opportunity here is generating lots more traffic to your site that you would not have previously enjoyed.
    These are people who are online looking to buy the products or services that you're already selling.
    And that's the point of SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) because its those activities that can drive huge volumes of your market customers right to your site.
    Now how you greet them, capture interest and convert them to leads and sales once there is another thing,... but it's the SEO that will get them there.... NOT the website itself.
    My advice,... keep your SEO & SEM efforts simple and targeted. If you're going with a consultant wait until you find one that speaks your language (i.e. can make it all make sense for you and your business),.. and show everyone else the door!

    Best regards,
    Russell Hall
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  • Profile picture of the author Xebekn
    Originally Posted by nub View Post

    Hello Warrior Forum,

    I am a local business owner that does pretty well without a website. My clients are all recommendations and referrals. I check into the forum every now and again simply because the idea of being an affiliate marketer excites me but I lack the proper writing and communication skills. What can I say I am a worker not a talker, we all have our place.

    I got a call the other day from an SEO company, and for a minute he had me intrigued and I really almost decided to buy into it. But then towards the end when he tried to tell me how a local business benefits not only from website(cause thats really all I wanted and I already have the usual MSN,ezlocal,GooglePlaces etc) he lost me in trying to explain how local seo could benefit me.

    Could anyone explain to me How a local business could benefit from a website and link building. I don't want to sell my service to the world, just my area.

    Ty in advance
    First of all, excellent forum handle.

    Second, without being too long winded, local SEO is king. No one is using the phone book anymore and research shows traditional advertising is losing ground as well. People are using the internet to find local businesses. If you want customers to find you, you need to be at the top of those local searches.

    If you want, we can talk about it. I'm actually very interested in what this caller had to say and where he lost you. In turn, I'll provide more insight into what local SEO can do for you. PM me your email (I can't send PM's) and if you have any, some questions and I'll email you back.
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    • Profile picture of the author AUKev
      Here is another great reason. I know from personal experience that ranking for local keywords generate traffic. Sales copy, customer service and all those other pieces will determine closing rate...

      But something to seriously consider is the real estate at the top of the search engines for your keywords. SOMEONE will be in those extremely valuable top 3 positions. If you are not occupying a spot in the top 3, your competition is. For every position you can occupy on page 1 with the likes of your main page, Facebook fanpage, videos, google places... that is one less spot occupied by your competition.

      Like others have said, if you do NOT need additional customers, then why spend the time and money. Some advertising has additional value, just knowing that you are taking away visibility from your competitors.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Phone books are old hat. Anyone with a computer looks for products and services, including local products and services on their computer. I hate to open a phone book. Just look at the type and amount of information that you can put in a phonebook compared to the amount of info you can serve to visitors on a website. SEO works whether you're a local company or national or international. As an example, I'm looking for restaurants in my area, I'm going to type in restaurants charlottesville va. If you aren't there, you lose.
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  • Profile picture of the author danielkanuck
    Due to the low cost of internet marketing, you can go about getting new customers and clients for a smaller investment. This means you'll profit more for doing less work. And the more you can automate everything, the more you can get constant sales and new customers on autopilot.
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    • Profile picture of the author High Horsepower
      Don't believe everything you read here

      You don't necessarily need SEO if you are a local business. I'm an expert at offline marketing, own my own brick and mortar businesses, and do very well promoting offline businesses for others.

      SEO is not the end all, but most here will tell you it's everything "because they have never owned a real retail business". SEO and getting ranked page one Google works good for some businesses but not all. Most people when talking about SEO are only concerned about getting your URL ranked page one (your business website).

      For my own businesses (have 2 offline) I prefer to leverage the use of 2.0 sites, directories, etc... and get 4-6 listing on average page one. I also use social sites, one soc site alone brings me on average over $20,000 a month in business. With that in mind I will say this, my business site (URL) is ranked #1 or #2 for many keywords in my categories. However, most of my calls come from 2.0 sites, leveraged sites, directories, etc... and most are FREE.

      Too many members here have never owned a business and are new to offline marketing. I've owned businesses for many years and do anything that gives me a return on my time or investment.

      SEO is a constant battle, so is Google Places. I prefer more consistent types of traffic. I have employees to support, rent, insurance, and I can't afford to mess around. I need consistently.

      Promising a business owner more sales when they hit #1 on Google can be very embarrassing to an offliner. Here they are moving up to page one thinking the phones going to ring like crazy, then when it hits, nothing happens. I know from experience how embarrassing that can be, that's why I do much more than SEO my own site.

      In most categories, except a few, I can rake in more sales leveraging 2.0 sites than any Page #1 listing on Google. Does that help?
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  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    High Horsepower... love your response.

    You can definitely do a little homework and see if local business owners are searching for keywords in your area that relate to your business. That's one way to verify and see if your local market is on the web.

    I've had clients, as other have stated, that were near capacity and didn't want anymore business (absurd, but it happens) and so we had to shut off the online marketing.

    More often then not, you want to grow your business. A website is going to be your brochure: yea, you don't need them, but when a business wants to learn a little bit more about you, it's nice to already "have ready".
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  • Profile picture of the author Johny Inside
    Almost every person surf the internet daily. So, you have to make your business available for them online. This way you can earn more customers
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    what times are you open?
    what times do you answer the phone and communicate with your customers and prospects?

    If someone wondered something about your company or what you offer and it was 23:30 would you have them ring your home to talk with you?

    Your website, if done well, would work for you 24/7 365 , never have a bad day , never feel under the weather, never respond differently to one client .

    Seo , your clients know where you are, location and phone number, and people they refer get advised how to contact you , if thats as big as you want to get (and theres nowt wrong if thats the case) then fine providing you keep your clients happy so they keep referring and we all know it doesnt take too much going wrong to have them soon complaining.
    SEO would send prospects to you without your clients needing to interact, no matter if people were happy with you or not (keeping it simple for now) , its up to you and what you want from your business as to whether SEO is needed , there are plenty of other ways to send targetted people to your website .

    well done for asking, great question and getting many excellent responses, and its helping us define things more too
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    • Profile picture of the author BigDaddys101
      Just popped in to say thanks to nub for asking such a great question, and thought I would thank the people that actually "Answered" the question. Sorry guys but some of the posts here sound like the phone call he/she was describing....
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      • Profile picture of the author Tess D
        Originally Posted by BigDaddys101 View Post

        Just popped in to say thanks to nub for asking such a great question, and thought I would thank the people that actually "Answered" the question. Sorry guys but some of the posts here sound like the phone call he/she was describing....

        Same thoughts here - But, given the benefit of the shared information here, its a good discussion.
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  • Profile picture of the author ashleysmith12
    Hi there,

    If anyone else want to purchase for something else it will search for something( keywords) and if your site is on first it will come on your site and your bussines is automatically increase and your site will come on first by SEO.

    Thanks!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author krzysiek
    Haha, cool username!

    You need a website because right now your online presence is probably very poor if not non- existent!

    People look online (among other places) for services, without a website that looks good and that gives them what they are looking for, you are missing out on their potential business.

    At the very least, you should have a nice looking site online. Then you might consider SEO. I would first recommend a short video of your business/services and upload the video to many sites.it will probably end up on page one for local search terms if you do it right.
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  • Profile picture of the author igre123
    Having website and seo can do online promotion for your website.
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  • Profile picture of the author BobbyTn
    when people are in need of a service n this day and age they go online, as a local business owner you have greater chance to be on the first page of Google if you target your keywords correctly and implement proper SEO,
    in your case people target long tail keywords which is much more targeted and focused, for example if your have a laser clinic in a city A or town A, people are going to be searching for “ Laser clinic in City A” so this makes their results narrowed down to just
    City or Town A and thereofre your chances of being found that much higher, now if you do your homework correctly you can imagine the results

    Cheers

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  • Profile picture of the author Web Junkie
    Nub,

    I just started a thread a few seconds ago and just came across your post. Here is how important a local campaign could be for you -->

    $75k & a few hundred NEW clients that you didn't have access to before.
    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ase-study.html

    While you may be getting most of your leads from referrals, without an online presence, you're leaving a ton of money on the table. You can easily market yourself using local keywords that will attract customers in your area.

    However, don't just hire someone that will "Get You To #1 On Google" unless you have a strategy in place. You must have some sort of DIRECT RESPONSE to make use of the leads that hit your page. As High Horsepower stated, being on the top of Google doesn't guarantee sales. You need to offer something enticing, capture the leads, and get them in the door...THEN UPSELL THEM until they become paying customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Danielm
    Speaking from experience, my wife has a local service business. We talk to the other people that have the same business in other towns, some of them get a most of their business from referrals. They spend A LOT of time, money and effort on their referral sources. My wife gets maybe 25% from the same type of referrals and all the rest are straight internet leads. We don't have nearly as many referral sources in our area as those other people and without the website, facebook, etc., her business couldn't survive.
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    • Profile picture of the author High Horsepower
      Originally Posted by Danielm View Post

      Speaking from experience, my wife has a local service business. We talk to the other people that have the same business in other towns, some of them get a most of their business from referrals. They spend A LOT of time, money and effort on their referral sources. My wife gets maybe 25% from the same type of referrals and all the rest are straight internet leads. We don't have nearly as many referral sources in our area as those other people and without the website, facebook, etc., her business couldn't survive.
      Repeat business and Referrals are mandatory for any business to survive. Ask Apple, Starbucks, McDonalds what would happen if they lost all their repeat and referral business?

      Referrals can not be your only source of leads, there is not enough consistency. Every business needs to implement as many types of traffic programs possible that give a return on investment.
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      Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School

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      • Profile picture of the author Foster8641
        Tough marketing is now being the lifeblood of any kind of business so everyone now understands the role of marketing in business and more than 50% to 60% of consumers start their quest for product and services using SEO, so every business should need SEO and website.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin01736
    why a local business needs a web site?

    1. I have a local business, and literally every day new local customers come in to my shop saying "we saw your web site...." We are in a very prominent corner position, with a lot of local foot and vehicle traffic, yet people still "find" us on the internet.
    2. I also sell products from my web site. It is like having a second shop without the overheads. If you don't have a web site, you are missing out on a free shop window for your products. My web sites now sell far more than my shop counter, so it is like running two businesses from one premises.
    3. People here (UK) seem to use google (or search) instead of the yellow pages. If you haven't got a web site, those people won't find you.
    4. It is simple to set up a low cost or even free web site, and you have nothing to lose!
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  • Profile picture of the author RKCastillo
    Nub, I mean if you got business coming in through referrals and recommendations means that you have a good business. I think a website and SEO has one purpose for you. It is to get more people into the door so that you can provide a great servicing and get more referrals and more recommendations. Now, I think a website is important and SEO go with it because people will go online and neither type in whatever you do in your city to find somebody and where you going to going and type in your business name to get reviews and to read reviews. That local SEO is all about citations, reviews and social media and understanding what people say about because a friend's recommendations are more than trusting others recommendations.
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  • Profile picture of the author pepes4329
    Great discussion here today..........I wish I can find an SEO company here in Chicago that can help me OUT with my "SERVICE BUSINESS" but everyone I contact is a FREAKING BEAST.....I rank #1 on google (ORGANIC) but that DONT mean $#!T I rank#1 on Google Places and DONT dont mean $#!T.............
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    • Profile picture of the author High Horsepower
      Originally Posted by pepes4329 View Post

      Great discussion here today..........I wish I can find an SEO company here in Chicago that can help me OUT with my "SERVICE BUSINESS" but everyone I contact is a FREAKING BEAST.....I rank #1 on google (ORGANIC) but that DONT mean $#!T I rank#1 on Google Places and DONT dont mean $#!T.............
      Why do you need an SEO company in your city? There are plenty of WF members for hire who do SEO.

      What do you mean by "Freaking Beast"? Are you saying that you currently rank #1 organic and places, or want those positions?
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  • Profile picture of the author matthewhell
    Hello there,

    The hell brothers here! Great question! You see there are now to worlds in marketing now. Interent and offline. Offline is a great way and you seem to have maximized that already with the referrals and recommendations. If you are seeing great results off that, you may be a great marketer, so congrats.

    All the other comments are right on. But I wanted to address another important element of business you will always need. and thats relationships and your own voice for your business. I don't know what you unique selling proposition is for your business but a website or BLOG can dramatically increase business. People like doing business with people not businesses. So by creating a blog or website you get to show who you are and provide the customer or prospect with a "bonding" experience.

    You know as well as I do that creating relationships with people is vital to your business. I will not go into detail saying what others have already posted here but I just wanted to add my opinion.

    Also, SEO is just helping your website get noticed to your target market. This is vital also becasue once you build a website, nobody knows about it until you market it. So good SEO is so important and not hard to take on yourself. I have came across many firms and consultants trying to get me to buy there services, but I do it all myself and now I know exactly what I am doing. But this also depends on your time. And you know time is money now days.

    The affiliate thing is a great idea because you can promote products that your customer base would be interested in and if they buy through your link you provide on your website, you can earn commissions. Its a huge opportunity for you. I would to that. You can promote them to your list of customers as well.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author BigDaddys101
    Is panda slapping local seo?
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  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    I personally do not believe in the value of SEO to a business as an initial service. $400 a month is much better spent on testing until you have your campaign down. However, saying that, once I have a local biz message, offer, etc. down pat and know it works then I suggest SEO as an upsell to a client. It is EXTREMELY hard to show the value to them though in terms of more revenue/customers from a result.

    In other words, it's a hard sell to someone that does not already have a strong online presence.

    Again, saying all this I do recommend ALL businesses have a stable website with a strong offer, headline and call to action on each page as well as a way to build customer relations and a strong list of future customers. All the business' ads, flyers, adwords, everything is sent to that window to the business and it better be there or most people with just go to the next.
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    I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
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  • Profile picture of the author raul kate
    Nice post ADukes81,
    I agree with you...
    These things should keep in mind...
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  • Profile picture of the author Maketso
    Great responses so far. Some food for thought...Google tells us that something like 97% of consumers use the Internet when looking for information on products, services, and local businesses. Roger D shared a statistic today that over half of all local searches are performed on a mobile device. If you're full up and don't really need/want more customers, you may not need a website. Odds are that consumers in your local area are searching for what you offer. If you are not appearing where they are searching, they are probably finding your competitors.
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  • Profile picture of the author abubakar89
    ask yourself

    dont you need
    more traffic >> more leads >> more clients >> more money

    I hope that helps
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