Your Friendly Neighborhood SEO

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Spider-Man seems to get a lot of negative press.  I recently picked up a copy of the Daily Bugle that featured the front-page headline: “Masked Menace Weaves Web of Lies!”  People fear the man in the mask.  Between J. Jonah Jameson’s threats and the police’s constant surveillance, Spidey seems like the bad guy more often than not.  Yet, in person, Spider-Man is quite the opposite of what the tabloids make him out to be.  He cares about New York, values his education, and goes out of his way to help complete strangers.

If you’ve ever run into him on the streets of New York or witnessed his heroic deeds, you probably got to hear his famous catchphrase: “Just another service provided by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!”  To ease the raging tabloid tempest, Spidey wants to deliver a comforting, personable message to every person he meets.  He’s not a villain--he’s simply misunderstood.

In much the same way, local SEO seems to be misunderstood.  With evildoers like SinSEO in our midst, it’s easy to see why; you hear more about black hat techniques and Google’s subsequent punishments than you do about the benefits of a well-structured SEO plan.  But a number of business owners are missing out on the fantastic opportunities that a local SEO campaign can present.  When it comes down to it, any company that earns business from local clients should have a game plan in effect.  Here are just a few of the ways local SEO can benefit your business:

  1. Make a Name for Yourself.  You can have the flashiest neon sign and a man in a chicken suit dancing in front of your store, but that won’t make most people walking or driving by take notice of who you are and what you do.  Creating a local online presence for your company helps ensure you’re there when your customers really need you.
  2. Be Found.  When you need to find an auto repair shop, do you drive (or walk) around until you find one, or do you search for a nearby location with the best reviews?  Statistics have demonstrated that local search has increased by about 58% in the last few years.  With positive reviews from your customer base, potential clients are sure to see you as their knight in shining armor.
  3. Stand Out.  It seems like everyone’s online these days, but in truth, this isn’t the case.  Only about 10% of business owners have claimed their Google Places pages, which is Google’s local directory.  Claiming your listing is simple, and since it is a Google-based service, Google pays special attention to its users within search rankings.  Claiming your listing alone will put you ahead of the other 90%.
  4. Go Mobile.  You probably already know it by now, but users across the world are increasingly relying on their mobile devices for internet searches.  Take out your phone right now and do a web search for “Chinese food.” See that convenient map of nearby locations? You could be near the top with a solid SEO strategy.

So, it turns out that local SEO isn’t so scary.  By finding relevant local directories, claiming your Google Places listing, and managing customer review sites, you should be well on your way to establishing a firm footing in your local online market.  Instead of shying away, just remember all the great services provided by your friendly neighborhood SEO.