7 Benefits of Local SEO for Small Businesses in St. Louis

Small business marketing feature

If you’re a small business owner, you probably already know the value of search engine optimization (SEO). It helps you get found on the search engines, drives traffic to your website, and, simply put, makes it easier for your business to sell more.

Understanding its necessity has become marketing 101. That being said, many small businesses these days are focusing on the wrong type of SEO.  And while there’s value to be had from ranking high on Google, many companies would benefit more from local SEO than general SEO services.

That’s why in this article, we’re going to be looking at the top 7 benefits of local SEO for small businesses.

What’s so great about local SEO?

How can this type of campaign lead to more significant ROI than general SEO? And, oh yeah, what the heck is local SEO anyway? We tackle all those questions and more below. But before we dive into the top 7 benefits of local SEO for small businesses, we first need to answer a few foundational questions.

Table of Contents

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is essentially similar to SEO, in that you rank on Google or Bing, however on a local level.  The tactics used in Local SEO will affect the visibility of your website in Google’s local map pack.  If you have a physical location or serve a geographic area, you can benefit greatly from Local SEO.

Now, most people know what general SEO is, search engine optimization.

Simply put, SEO involves ongoing onsite and offsite optimizations and tactics to get your site to rank higher on search engines, organically. Those changes can be as in-the-weeds as minimizing the render-blocking JavaScript and CSS on your pages and as user-friendly as starting a blog or adding header tags to your content. And as you likely already know, ranking higher on search engines is directly correlated with a higher click-through rate and greater website traffic.

In fact, the CTR between the second position on Google and the first is more than 7%.  That can be significant if the keyword volume of that ranking is high.

Google Organic CTR Breakdown by Position

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Local SEO does the same thing as generalized SEO, just on a much more local level.

For a lot of small businesses, the majority of their customers are going to be in person. They’re going to be people who actually live in their community. And these days, more and more people are searching for local businesses on the web. Most search engines have gotten so sophisticated that they can use the searcher’s geographical information to pinpoint the businesses closest to them that offer the service or product they’re after.

For instance, if you were to Google “Coffee shops near me,” you’d be directed to the coffee shops located right down the street, not ones that are 6 states away. So the easier you make it for those search engines to find your business for local searchers, the more likely they’ll be to show up at your door.

And that, in a nutshell, is local SEO for small businesses.

Easy enough, right?

How Much Does Local SEO Cost?

SEO services can actually be surprisingly affordable. That being said, it also depends on the extent of the work being done.

A local SEO campaign, for example, is going to be much less expensive than a national or international campaign.

For example, a small business can expect to spend at least $500 per month working on a local SEO campaign with a top-level SEO service.

For larger, more generalized campaigns, you can easily spend closer to $2,500-$5,000 per month with ad campaign budgets included.

As such, the most cost-effective option will be local SEO for small businesses in most cases.

Last but certainly not least, higher spending on local search engine marketing services is actually correlated with greater satisfaction with the results.

Specifically, businesses that spent over $500 per month were 53.3% more likely to be “extremely satisfied” compared to those that spent less than $500.

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The takeaway here is simple: you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to SEO services.

Does SEO Work for Small Businesses?

Absolutely!

In fact, SEO is one of the best ways for small businesses to compete with national brands.

Consider this…

One of the most common ways businesses bring in leads through paid search. You pay for an ad, that ad appears on search engine results, and leads click those ads to find your company. Simple enough.

But when you’re competing with a national brand, your budget is likely going to be just a fraction of what that brand spends on PPC.

And in all likelihood, they’re going to have the funds and the systems needed to attract more leads and even draw some away from you and towards them.

With SEO, your business can outperform those national brands by ranking higher in the search engines.

 

Does Local SEO Work for Small Businesses?

Now, local SEO helps you stay even more competitive.

When people are looking for businesses that sell what they’re looking for, they will try to find the closest place selling that product or service.

Typically, customers are going to land on your business’ website through what’s called a “discovery search.”

If, for instance, you were looking for an SEO agency in your town, you’d type into Google “local SEO services near me.”

From there, Google would determine where you are and display local SEO services near your current location.

“Near me” searches have exploded in the past several years. As Google reports, the prevalence of these search types rose by 500%+ from 2015 to 2017.

Google Stats

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Beyond that, a whopping 84% of small business website traffic from search engines comes from discovery searches.

People are looking for local products and services to solve their problems. And that means the more you focus on optimizing your business to show up in discovery searches using local SEO, the better.

How Do Local Businesses Do SEO?

The first step to beefing up your local SEO is to provide all the information search engines need to know where you’re located.

Only then will they be able to point purchase-focused customers to your doorstep.

The question is, what do you need to do to improve your business’s local SEO?

As it turns out, there are several steps you can take to improve your local SEO. These include:

  • Adding your NAP (name, address, phone number) to your website footer
  • Completing your Google My Business profile
  •  Keep your pages mobile-optimized
  • Create quality content like blog posts (businesses that blog gathered 68% more leads than those who don’t)
  • Share content on your social media channels
  • Manage your reputation
  • Optimize your images
  • Optimize your URLs, titles, and descriptions

This, of course, looks like a lot to do. And truth be told, it can be.

That’s why many businesses use local search engine marketing services to handle it all for them. Taking this massive workload off your plate is one of the many benefits of hiring an SEO company.

But more than that, it’s a way to ensure you’re getting found by customers who are looking for what you’re selling.

A Quick Word on Google My Business

If you only have time Google My Business to work on just one of the tips above, focus on filling out your Google My Business profile (and finding a St. Louis local SEO service near you to take care of the rest). This is, to put it lightly, a local SEO powerhouse.

This free tool lets you directly tell Google everything there is to know about your business, including:

  • Operation hours
  • Location
  • Phone number
  • Services
  • Business information
  • Website
  • Products you offer
  • Business attributes
  • Health and safety details
  • Photos
  • And more

On top of all that, setting up your Google My Business profile lets potential customers message you directly through the Google platform.

On the one hand, that’s fantastic news for ease of use for customers finding you.

But another added benefit of filling out your Google My Business profile is that it makes it easier to show up on the holy grail of local SEO: the Google Snack Pack.

The Google Snack Pack is a unique window that displays the top 3 local results for the product your customers are looking for. These results show up above paid advertisements and regular search results. They’re also accompanied by a map showing the three businesses’ locations.

Here’s an example of what it looks like.

GMB snack pack screenshot for "coffee shops near me"

Ranking in the snack pack provides all the benefits of paid advertisements (i.e., showing up at the top of search engine results) with all the benefits of organic SEO (i.e., providing value-based content that searchers actually want to see).

Also known as “map pack” or “local pack, or “Google 3-pack”, “snack pack” is the box that appears at the top of a local Google search. It typically contains three local businesses that are seen as most relevant to the search query entered by the searcher.

Google My Business allows you to take the first step towards seeing some massive benefits hitting your business.

What Kinds of Businesses Need SEO?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a type of business that wouldn’t benefit from investing in SEO.

After all, 70-80% of customers end up researching a business before visiting it in person.

But businesses that have a local target market definitely stand the most to gain, especially from local SEO efforts.

For instance, if you’re operating one of the following types of businesses, you should look into working with a local SEO service in St. Louis (or wherever you’re located):

  • Niche retail (mattress stores, clothing boutiques, etc.)
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Medical or dental services
  • Law offices
  • Trade contractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.)
  • Pet services
  • Real estate

Top 7 Benefits of Local SEO for Small Businesses

Now that we’ve covered a bit about what local SEO is and who it’s great for, it’s time to jump into the top 7 benefits of local SEO for small businesses.

When you engage in a strategic, well-executed local SEO campaign, you’re likely to experience the following benefits (provided you’re working with the right local search engine marketing services, that is).

Benefit #1: Get Your Business in Front of More Qualified Leads/Customers

The best thing about boosting your local SEO efforts is, of course, it’s going to bring in more leads simply because you’re getting found more easily.

In fact, nearly half of all Google searches are looking for a local provider.

46% of all searches in Google have "local intent"

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But even more importantly, local SEO drives more qualified leads to your business too.

When people search for a business nearby, 76% of them are likely to visit that business within a day.

The easier you make it for them to find you, and the higher you’re ranking in local results, the more likely those qualified leads will be to show up at your door.

Benefit #2: Reduce Your Advertising Costs

Focusing on SEO is a great way to reduce your advertising costs without reducing your lead generation results.

In fact, SEO is one of the most reliable ways to generate leads for below-average costs.

Inbound strategies graph that shows positive cost per lead vs effort

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It’s also worth noting here that:

  • SEO takes less time than social media marketing
  • Provides more below-average cost leads than PPC
  • Has the greatest low-cost lead generation to work ratio out of the 4 top marketing channels

The results are even more impressive for local SEO, too. And for you, that means more leads for less investment.

Benefit #3: Boost Your Non-Local SEO & Get Found by Non-Locals

A well-constructed local SEO campaign typically involves quite a few efforts that boost your general search engine rankings as well as your local ones.

For instance, most local SEO campaigns include the following:

  • Creating valuable content on your blog
  • Optimizing your pages for mobile
  • Getting listed on online business directories
  • Generating high-quality backlinks
  • Attaching reviews to your business

Each of these can actually work towards increasing your non-location-specific rankings. And that means in addition to bringing in local customers, you’re also boosting the odds that you’ll be found by non-locals too.

Benefit #4: Build Up Your Local Fan Base

Since your target market is local customers, you should be looking for as many ways as possible to get repeat customers coming back to your business.

Why?

Because repeat customers are far more profitable than new ones.

Take the following statistics below, for example:

  • It costs 5X as much to attract a new customer vs. keeping an existing one.
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while selling to a new one is 5-20%.
  • Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than new customers.
  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

Local SEO helps you target local customers (the ones likely to come back) and keep your business at the top of their minds when they’re looking for products or services in your industry.

Benefit #5: Reach Customers on a Variety of Platforms

While many people used to do most of their searching on their computers, we’ve indisputably entered the age of mobile.

The number of unique mobile internet users stood at 4.28 billion in 2020, showing that more than 90% of the global internet population use a mobile device to go online.

Added to that, mobile internet traffic accounts for more than 55% of total web traffic.

Plus, mobile users searching for something nearby is extremely likely to visit a business and make a purchase.

How likely, you ask?

Have a look.

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Local SEO helps you target mobile searchers and gives them the information they need to see that your business is exactly what you’re looking for.

Benefit #6: Give Your Business the Upper Hand Over Your Competition

Physical presence and traditional advertising used to be the only ways to get attention for your business.

And consequently, bigger local businesses with larger ad budgets dominated the market.

But these days, the vast majority of shoppers are looking for businesses online. And if your competition’s digital presence is lacking, it can really give your business the upper hand.

For example, according to Hubspot:

  • 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load
  • 51% of people think “thorough contact information” (e.g., NAP on your pages) is the most important element missing from many company websites.
  • 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive.
  • 44% of website visitors will leave a company’s website if there’s no contact information or phone number.

These are all basics of local search engine marketing services.

And if you find the right local SEO services in St. Louis or your own location, you can be sure your business will be able to go toe-to-toe with less digitally savvy competitors.

 Benefit #7: Generate More Trust with Customer Reviews

Last but certainly not least, local SEO services will help you improve your online visibility by bringing in and displaying more customer reviews.

Online reviews are incredibly important for people making a purchase decision.

In fact, about 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. And the same goes for deciding on local businesses.

With better local SEO, you can build trust with potential customers by putting your business reviews at the front and center of the search engine results.

For instance, if you make it into the Google Snack Pack, your star review rating pops up right below your name.

See?

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With those reviews so easy to find, your potential customers will be able to see that your business has a great reputation.

And that means they’ll be all the more likely to give you a call.

Want to Help Your Business Start Getting Found?

Local SEO is a vital part of any effective marketing strategy. And if you set up a strategic, well-executed local SEO campaign, you’re bound to start seeing the 7 benefits talked about in this article. The only trick is finding the St. Louis local SEO service for your business. And that’s where Studio C5 comes in. Our local SEO specialists have the experience, talent, and industry expertise you need to start getting found by your local market.

Just schedule your free consultation with us right now to get started.

If you want to grow your business, you need to boost your local SEO. And at Studio C5, we can help.

We offer a 100% free local SEO Health Audit Report here.