Simple Math To Show Potential Clients Why Local SEO Is Important
Local businesses sometimes have trouble understanding how they'd benefit from SEO. Columnist Greg Gifford shows how you can boil it down to the basics.
If you provide Local SEO to small businesses, many times you’ll find yourself trying to explain exactly why your services are important.
Many small business owners don’t understand why their website doesn’t show up at the top of Google search results, and as soon as you start explaining algorithms, keywords and links, their eyes glaze over.
We work exclusively with car dealers, and we always talk to dealers that are frustrated their sites don’t rank higher. They think that they’re the obvious choice for the #1 slot for [used cars cityname] and can’t understand why they’ve got to pay for SEO to get there.
After Pigeon rolled out at the end of July, ranking on page one became even harder — especially in metro areas.
According to research that Adam Dorfman shared in the Deconstructing Pigeon panel at SMX East, SMBs that are further than 20 miles from the city center experienced a sharp drop in rankings for searches in that metro area.
Over the past few months, we’ve started using simple back-of-the-napkin math to help show potential clients the importance of Local SEO.
We had seen so much success with simplifying our reports and tying them into the business’ bottom line (see my last post for more details) that we thought we’d try a simpler approach to showing the value of our services to potential clients.
Suddenly, a long conversation about the theories and concepts of SEO could be boiled down into just a few minutes, and even computer novices could immediately grasp the necessity of Local SEO.
Obviously, the numbers used below are just an example — they’ll be different for the businesses you’ll be pitching — but the concept works as a simple demonstration. Take the idea of the equation and tweak it to fit the metro area or vertical that you’re pitching.
Important Note: The auto industry wasn’t hit as hard by Pigeon, so most cities still show a 7-pack for [used car] and [car dealer] related searches. Make sure you adjust your numbers if your vertical doesn’t show a 7-pack.
This is how we’d explain the SEO equation to a car dealer in the suburb of a larger metro area:
Let’s assume that there are 20 used car dealers and 2 new car dealers actually in your suburb. There are 17 spots on page one of Google if you count the organic results and the map pack… but after the recent Pigeon update, there are a lot of directories showing up. After we remove the directory spots, that leaves 11 or 12 possible spots.
22 dealers – 12 spots = 10 dealers that won’t be on page one, just in your suburb…
But, you obviously want to target the larger metro area to bring in more search traffic. There are 8 suburbs in your metro, so let’s adjust the math:
22 dealers x 8 cities = 176 dealers
But, we also need to account for the dealers that are in the main city in your metro area. Since it’s a much bigger city, let’s conservatively say that there are three times as many dealerships there. Now, our equation looks like this:
22 dealers x 11 cities = 242 dealers
That’s 242 dealers fighting for the 12 spots on the first page of Google search results — which means 230 dealers won’t make it to page one.
Thanks to the recent Pigeon update, it’s extremely hard, if not impossible, for businesses not located in the main city of a metro area to show up in the map pack for queries targeting that metro area.
If you want your site to beat out the hundreds of other dealers fighting for the top spots, you’ve got to send the right signals to Google so that you can outrank competitors. That means you simply must have great content, you must have an awesome user experience, you must optimize your content for local searches, you must be active on social media, and you must be getting great reviews.
The simple equation quickly demonstrates to dealers that they’re not going to rank high simply because they have a website.
Instead of trying to explain keywords, links, citations, social interaction, reviews and everything else, you can prove the value of your services with simple math that makes sense to any business owner.
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