The purpose of this post is to clarify, evaluate, and compare the benefits of both Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) and Local Search Marketing (“LSM”) so business owners and webmasters alike can make an informed decision on what would be the best overall investment for successfully marketing their business on the Internet. My conclusions are not intended to diminish the effectiveness of SEO or negate the fact that sound SEO for websites is a very critical element. However, if you’re a local business owner and you want the best return for your investment, you may agree that SEO falls second to local search marketing.
SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization” is the process of attaining traffic to your website from free, organic, or natural listings on search engines. The major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing all provide these types of search results, which in essence are a combination of web pages (including news feeds), videos, and local listings. Essentially the results are displayed by their ranking, which is determined by what the search engine considers to be most relevant to users.
In other words, SEO is a technique in which an individual performs a service for a website owner so that their website will be deemed most relevant by search engines for specific words and phrases, and that site ultimately ranks high for those specific words and phrases.
LSM, or “Local Search Marketing” is similar to SEO in that it will help attain traffic, but the emphasis is geared more towards local businesses, even if the business doesn’t have a website. The primary objective of LSM is to rank your business listing profile high in the search engines’ local business listings that are always displayed on the first page of search results in the major search engines. Essentially, LSM is a form of SEO that is more constrained. Unlike SEO, local search marketing has a better return on investment because it is much more affordable. Additionally, statistics demonstrate that more people click on local listings than other organic search results.
The Glory of SEO
While most people have probably heard of SEO, you may or may not know that it can be a very expensive investment. I turned to SEOMOZ, a source that I personally believe provides credible information, for an overview of SEO price comparisons.
Although fees for SEO services differ by the services offered and many other business specific variables, SEOMOZ reported that in 2007 it was estimated that “mid range” costs for SEO can cost anywhere from $3000 to $10,000, and even as high as $25,000 per month. That is one hefty investment for any business to invest for online marketing, and I would tend to think that these estimates appear to be gleaned from high-end SEO firms. Nevertheless, for services in the Waukesha and Milwaukee metro area, I would imagine that a better figure would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 – $750 per month. In either case the investment is costly for any business. On the other hand local search marketing can cost less than $35 per month.
Local Search Marketing carries more Authority
As an internet marketing consultant it is imperative to stay on top of search engine trends and recent changes to algorithms. This year alone Google has implemented at least 11 substantial algorithm changes, with their latest “Fresh” update being reported on November 4th, and the latest Panda update being reported on November 21st.
The reason I am pointing these facts out is because although many internet marketers and other website owners have suffered through these updates from Google, the primary beneficiary to all of these changes have been for businesses — especially local businesses.
Good examples of these recent changes are evident when you perform a search. Try a search for “new car dealer” and watch as the local car dealers business listings are prominently displayed towards the top of the search results. Even when you perform a search and local listings do not prominently appear, the search results are strongly influenced by a local businesses prominence in the local area through their online business listings. Granted, SEO can some time have the same results, but you’re going to have to make a rather large investment. On the other hand, local search marketing focuses primarily on the authority and credibility of your local business and excels beyond the unpredictable results of typical SEO strategies.
Local Search Marketing from Business Review Boost
At Business Review Boost our services cost less than $35 per month for the beginner package. Other packages are available and may be necessary, but we recommend that all businesses start with the beginner package for a minimum of six months. Depending upon the nature of your business and the number of competitors in your local area, first page listing rankings for your business can take three months or less.
Of course, some times businesses may have suffered the blow from one or more bad reviews and things need to be cleaned up a bit. Business Review Boost can help through reputation management services that help polish the reputation and credibility of your business so potential customers don’t flee.
At Business Review Boost we take the complexity and unpredictability of SEO out of the equation and we boost your local business profile to the first page of search engine results where customers will see it. Our services are guaranteed and we offer a money back guarantee.