Yesterday I attended the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce meeting and met a lot of bright people. A couple of weeks ago, Amber Johnson (VP at Pixo) spoke at a Heber Tourism meeting, speaking about social media and search engine optimization for local tourism businesses. What I recognized from both meetings is how small town businesses have some great opportunities with digital marking to increase their exposure and business in simple ways online.
In an interesting conversation with one local business owner in Midway, Utah (and who also understood this space in many ways) said something interesting that is very true. "What these people don't understand is that they need to be online because local people are going to Amazon to buy products rather than coming to their store." Another way of saying it is an internet world is a world market. Of course people want to buy local, but sometimes in a small town it is hard to find what they want/need. It is way to convenient to jump online and make a purchase than it is to try to drive to town and hope that one of the stores carry the specific product they want. Time is too valuable to the online consumer to spend time going from store to store, even if it means that with shipping it may cost them a little more to get what they want online.
If I was a small town business owner I would make sure that my website is friendly, easy to navigate and has search engine optimization done on it for the specific products / services that I'm offering. That business owner may be able to intercept online shoppers on the search engines while they are searching for a specific product/service that they intended to buy online but then found locally because in the search results their local business came up with Amazon, ebay and all the other pure play retailers. I think many people would prefer to buy local if it was convenient, so make it convenient for them.
So how does a small town business owner do search engine optimization to grab traffic to their website for local products and services? There isn't any one answer for that, but building pages on their website that are specific to each product and/or service that they offer is a start. Those "landing pages" can be optimize for the keywords that users are searching for and Google loves pages that are laser specific and concise, so it makes it easier for them to rank. Local SEO goes a long way in getting small town businesses in front of local shoppers online.
In some ways, small town business owners have an advantage with local search. For example, if you type in 'pizza' into Google it doesn't exactly know what your intent (i.e. do you want local pizza restaurants, national pizza restaurants, pizza recipes, pizza ingredients, etc) so it has to bring back a number of different types of results. Typically it will bring back some local results, in the proximity of where the user is located. This is big for the local business owner because it means they can compete with huge websites and get on page #1 of Google much easier than they would for some searches. So if you know what you are doing and understand how Google works, then you can leverage those opportunities to drive new revenues.
Need help with your local search engine optimization or with your online marketing? Give us a call for a free consultation.