What is Local SEO & SEM? How Can It Help My Business?

Local SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Learning how to market your business using search engines is called Search Engine Marketing. In this article, you’ll learn about SEO & SEM and how to apply them to your business.

Do you have a local business and find yourself struggling to get foot traffic that converts into sales? Are you feeling like the best-kept secret that only a handful of customers know about?

You’re getting by but you need more sales to cover the increased costs of doing business. Do you find yourself having to raise prices to keep the bills paid and notice that you’re seeing the regular customers shy away from the new pricing and it’s costing your business?

By applying Search Engine Marketing & Search Engine Optimization tactics to your business. You can increase foot traffic and sales for your business. Allowing you to keep your prices at a reasonable rate and still pay your bills. Addressing the cost of doing business increases by getting more sales.

Implementing these best practices and solutions can help you compete in your market and increase your brand recognition. The marketing solutions can not only help you stay afloat but grow your business.

What do I need to implement SEO & SEM strategies?

Ideally, you’re going to need a business website. However, there are ways to work around the website requirement. It may take longer to see the results but it is not an absolute requirement.

If you don’t have a website of your own. Then similar to a barber or hairstylist renting a chair in a barbershop or salon. You will need to rent some space that you can use to build up your brand. This can be accomplished through business directories and business profiles. An example of this would be establishing your Google My Business profile.

Next, you’ll need to have a clear idea of who your target audience is and a way to reach them. Continuing to look at this from an I’m on a limited budget perspective. You can work on this part through social media profiles. It is a saturated option because it has become almost mandatory to build your business and brand.

A differentiator. Do your research look at your competitors and what they offer. Identify where there’s an overlap in products/services and where there are gaps. Those gaps are going to be your opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition.

What is the difference between SEO & SEM?

To properly implement strategies you should first understand what your marketing options are for your business. This will help you make more educated decisions on what approach works best for where you are now and how you can add to your marketing plans in the future.

Search Engine Optimization is a free way to optimize your online presence to drive organic traffic to your business. Organic traffic is people you don’t have to pay for promoting your business to. These are people who find about your business by using search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

Search Engine Marketing is a more high-level view of using search engines to promote your business through marketing efforts. SEM is a digital marketing strategy used to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results.

The goal of SEO & SEM is to have your business featured on high-ranking pages when people search for questions and solutions. A high-ranking page is going to be the first few pages of that search. What you’re aiming for is to be on the first or second page of a specific search.

As a brick & mortar business with a physical location, you’ll want to rank well with Google Maps. Ensuring that when people search for businesses in the area that you are one of the first options. This is where having your Google My Business profile becomes important.

What Marketing Strategies & Best Practices should I be implementing to increase foot traffic to my business?

First and foremost you should make sure to establish your Google My Business profile. As well as additional business profiles use platforms like Yelp and business directories.

Ensure that the information that you use when creating the business profiles is the same across the board. This is important for establishing your online presence. When the search engines scan/crawl the internet they will find your profiles.

When putting a concentration on driving in foot traffic to locations it is important to list the location(s). Be sure to include FAQs frequently asked questions that you get about your business. Include testimonials/reviews when possible. By adding these questions you are cutting down on aspects of the customer journey.

The customer journey consists of the “know, like, trust” sequence. First, they need to get to know who you are as a business and then find reasons to like you enough to want to find out more.  Trust is needed by a potential customer to feel comfortable enough to make a purchase.

Those that have a business website can take this process further by continuing the customer journey through their website. Again include the FAQs and testimonials. However, with your website, you have room to tell your story and a way to resonate with your target audience.

By mirroring your business profiles with the information on your website you are creating a seamless path of information. Successful marketing strategies are providing information and access to it through multiple channels. Quick and easy way to provide answers to questions.

Provide incentives for people who visit your website and more importantly your store location. A sound strategy would be to share links to coupons on your website through your business profiles. Driving people to the website where you can gather more information and gauge genuine interest in becoming a customer.

The link that drives potential leads to your website should be bringing them to a landing page that is very specific to the product/service for that coupon. A common mistake is sending people to the home page. They’ve already expressed interest don’t add obstacles in front of the conversion.

For those with a business website if you’re set up to process orders that will work in your favor. Ease of use and the ability to make a purchase is a strong selling point for potential customers. For example, Starbucks allows people to order online and pick up in the store.

You can take it a step further and provide in-store coupons for a larger discount or coupon that covers multiple purchases. Think Bed Bath & Beyond and their 20% off the entire purchase or $20 off one item.

While there are business owners who prefer not to provide coupons or discounts on products/services. They are battling against those competitors who are using it as a way to drive in more traffic and increase their numbers.

The more opportunities that you have at a sale the more you learn about your target audience and the more you can apply it to your marketing strategy. This is a more sound way of using your money to make you more money.

By implementing these options into your business you increase not only sales but the potential foot traffic needed to help cover the cost of operating a brick & mortar location. In addition to potential referrals based on the purchases.

How do these insights and helpful tips tie into SEM &  Local SEO?

The short answer is by using content marketing on your website and the space that you are renting to promote your business. Search engines are looking for the best option and solution to a person’s inquiry.

You’re not just driving people to a landing page where they can download the coupon. You’re providing information on the product/service. Adding relevance and showing search engines that you are worth presenting as an option.

By mirroring the business profiles and including FAQs and testimonials. You are establishing credibility not just with visitors but the search engines. When someone searches for a topic or solution. If your FAQs are deemed the best answer to the question that helps your search engine rankings. Without the need to pay for marketing.

The amount of time that the visitor spends on your website is also relevant. If Google sends someone to your website and they only spend a few seconds on it. This is going to tell Google that you weren’t the right recommendation.

Creating landing pages that are relevant and provide helpful information can help alleviate time on the website concerns and high bounce rates.

Now when you add in paid advertising and PPC campaigns you’re opening the door for more targeted leads going to your website. These are people who saw your ad and clicked the links in your advertisement to learn more about your offering.

Not only are you getting a potential customer. You’re gaining analytical insights that will help you make better decisions. This will be helpful when it comes to retargeting marketing. As well as your Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimizations strategy.

Allowing you to make more educated decisions based on statistics and analytics. Identify and implement more keywords and targeting to reach more of your audience throughout the internet. Organic and paid traffic that you can convert on your website or drive into your business location.


If you struggle with being able to get foot traffic into your store. A sound solution can be to extend your reach online. People can only come into your store if they know that you exist and how to get to it.

They need to know what differentiates your business from your competition. Why they should make the trip to your location. What’s in it for them and the results that they can expect by investing their time and money.

You can answer these questions and more using content marketing to drive better results and it will increase your search engine rankings and drive more business opportunities for you to convert.

Local SEO is an ongoing process so this will be an ongoing series of articles that cover ways that you can improve your SEO. Take a shot at implementing these tactics. I provide helpful tips and insights in my weekly newsletter if you’re more of a DIY’er. You can subscribe to The Entrepreneurs Newsletter here.

Majority Media also provides a service that can take the work off of your plate and allow you to focus on the day-to-day of your business. Learn more about my SEO & SEM services can help your business by reviewing my SEO service page.

You can also learn more about a variety of best practices and helpful tips for free by visiting my resource library. Where you’ll find free eBooks on topics like “How to stand out from the crowd” a local SEO guide that continues this conversation. Click here for The Resource Library.

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