Ready to boost your local business’s online visibility through search?  Awesome.  First then, you’ll need to narrow down the search terms you plan to use across your Web marketing campaigns.

By “search terms,” I mean the keywords clients type into Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. that will make your site pop up in search engine results.  To truly maximize exposure, narrow search terms down to local terms first.  This will allow your business to be found much faster and easier online.  (<–tweet this) Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be “easy” to be found using local terms, as ranking level of difficulty depends on many factors.  It is easier, however, to rank for local terms than to rank for global keywords — especially when just starting your search marketing campaign. (<–tweet this)

That important point is where most new online businesses get it wrong.

Costly Common SEO Myth #1:  “The More People I Target, the More Traffic I’ll Get!” (<–tweet this)

True… but not when you target them all at once. 

Most local business owners new to search marketing make the mistake of thinking that broader is better… which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes, the term “weight loss” is being searched exponentially more than “weight loss Raleigh,” for instance.  But by trying to appear in search engine results for an overly broad term like “weight loss,” you’re forced to compete with all the:

- health clinics
– book authors
– personal trainers
– gym owners
– workout clothing designers
– diet pill manufacturers…

…that exist in places like…

- Denver
– New York City
– Nantucket
– the UK
– Canada
– Alaska
– Timbuctoo…

…and a lot of those companies will have much bigger advertising budgets than you!

Your new online business will therefore be easily creamed in a search engine results competition trying to go up against multi-million dollar NYC ad giants.  (And that’s truly what search marketing comes down to — a search engine results “competition” to see who has the sharpest SEO guy/gal with the most expansive budget allowance.)

So while E. Vil MegaCorp is raking in the cash from their overly broad search campaign (because they can do that), you’ll be out of cash… wondering why you still haven’t profited from bringing your local business online.

Don’t be “that guy.”

Or gal.

Even though E. Vil MegaCorp is a multi-million dollar company, they have much better things to do than tinker with local search terms irrelevant to their business.  So gain an advantage, then, and focus exclusively on local search terms, to start.

Got it?

Costly Common SEO Myth #2:  “But Since Online Visibility is Higher Using ‘High-Traffic’ Terms… I’ll Have More Money to Throw At the Campaign!”   (<–tweet this)


On initial consideration, yes, expected online visibility from local terms does “seem” like it wouldn’t be as high as for a global term.  But we’re not thinking logically if we’re looking at numbers only.

Traffic from a local search term is typically lower in quantity, but…:

  1. The traffic is vastly more qualified.  People respond best to marketing that is personally relevant.  (<–tweet this)  Meaning they’re more likely to click on search engine results that shout, “Hey, I’m in the same state as you — or even the same city!” than they are on generic results.

    Good marketing […] appears at the right time, to the right people, and is likely to influence actions.
    ~Rohit Bhargava

    How much more likely do you think it would be that YOUR listing influences the action (click) from a client actively searching for what you’re offering… when it has the added benefit of being geographically relevant?

  2. It’s cheaper to get results.  (<–tweet this)  While it’s “possible” for any business to rank for a highly competitive and overly broad term… again, many small businesses don’t have the budget.  It’s not unheard of for a local business to run out of ad dollars before they’ve achieved high enough placement in search engine results to get any substantial traffic.
  3. It’s faster to get results.  (<–tweet this It typically takes much less work, time, and money to rank for search terms that are less competitive and less broad. Depending on the term, a well-written piece of content can rank for a reasonably competitive keyword in a matter of days.  And for certain terms, if the timing and other conditions are right, it could happen in under 24 hours.  But it often takes months to be ranked for something highly competitive, and during that time, you’re waiting for traffic and outlying money while seeing little, if any, returns.

Do you see?

To Boost Online Visibility for Your Business More Quickly Then, Focus First on Local Search.  (<–tweet this)

If you really want to increase online visibility for your local business more rapidly and with a minimum of difficulty, start with local search terms of reasonable competitiveness.   You’ll see results much faster, and hopefully have those results begin to pay off while waiting for your more competitive terms to rank.

Last point — and it’s somewhat of a doozy:

How Do You Know Which Keywords to Start With?

If you’re just converting/expanding your business to the Web, we can include keyword research with any new website at Excellent Presence.  We’re still setting up marketing packages, so they’re not listed yet.  But just drop me a line here or Start a Consult over at the main site so we can chat.

Also, check out Do You Make These 13 Common Keyword Research Mistakes? by full-time marketer, Tom Ewer.  It’s a great, fun post that’s not too heavy, which provides a great and palatable basis for understanding how good keyword phrases are chosen.

Improve Online Visibility with Maximum Demand & Minimum Competition: Focus Local.

M. Lawrence Light, former Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s, phrased it perfectly:

It no longer makes economic sense to send an advertising message to the many in the hope of persuading the few.  (<–tweet this)

And that will usually only happen by starting with local business keywords that will give you a chance at ranking in a visible way without being drowned out by your global competition.

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