Search engine optimization, known in short as SEO is perhaps one of the most powerful tools in the hands of every e-commerce and generally any business with an online presence. Although the concept of SEO is not too difficult to comprehend for any entrepreneur, the existence of various SEO strategies does tend to make matters seem more complicated. However, the potential and benefit to be had is so huge, that every online business owner should strive to reap them. More specifically in the case of a small national market, such as Cyprus, where most businesses are small or medium sized, understanding the gravity and importance of implementing local SEO practices and thus achieving high rankings in search rankings for your business could do wonders in terms of attracting new clientele and could make all the difference between a smashing success and a disappointing failure for your business venture.
To benefit from local SEO the first requirement is a basic understanding of certain key issues and factors, so here is a brief overview, courtesy of our all-star in-house team of experts:
Contrary to organic SEO, which is not necessarily attached to any physical location, although it can in theory incorporate a geographical element, at the core of local SEO is the fact that it incorporates a geographical component. Due to this characteristic, the main aim of local SEO is not to boost the relevance of site based on its content alone, but primarily based on its location, or better the actual location of the business behind the site!
Thus, understanding the core difference between organic and local SEO holds the key to grasping how and why local SEO can help your own business. If your e-commerce venture aims at a clientele from across the entire country, in our case Cyprus, or even if the aim is to reach potential consumers on a global basis, then you are going to get better results by using organic SEO strategies. However, and this is the majority of the cases with businesses in Cyprus, especially if we consider that a large number of them still operate solely offline, if you are a small business, based on an actual physical location and you aim for customers in your immediate vicinity, i.e. if you are a restaurant in Pafos, a hair-dressing salon in Limassol or a plumbing services provider in Ayia Napa, then your best bet is local SEO.
However, you need to bear in mind that organic and local SEO differ in more than geography alone. The way in which you improve your ranking and your results under each strategy is also different. While in organic SEO, improving your position depends on how many links you have to your site from other reputable sites which in turns enhances both your visibility and credibility, in the case of local SEO what matters the most are citations. These are simply the mention of your business’ name and contact details in local business’ directories. And yes…you guessed correctly, the more citations you achieve the more trustworthy, credible and reliable your own business will appear in the eyes of potential customers, and this counts as success in terms of local SEO.
If you are still uncertain about the effectiveness of local SEO for your own small business in Cyprus, do consider that utilizing this technique guarantees that you will be able to specifically reach out to consumers in your own local area searching for goods or services exactly like those you are offering. This kind of targeting is truly invaluable especially when we take into account the rapid growth of local searching, especially from the dynamic consumer groups and particularly using smart, mobile devices. Incredible as it may sound it has been recorded that almost a third of all web searches performed pertain to some form of local aspect.
An effective local SEO strategy should also take into account the way most searches are conducted in today’s fast pacing world, via smartphones and tablets, usually on the go, largely using conversational phrases, such as “where can I get this product” or “restaurants open now” and even performed via voice search.
Within this context, perhaps the greatest advantage that local SEO gives any business, especially a small business in a small market, such as the Cypriot market, is the chance to connect to potential clients who have shown through their search that they are ready to buy your product or service. Becoming known and visible to such clients in an immediate and direct way greatly increases the possibility of them ending up becoming an actual client at your “brick and mortar” location.
Another factor that indicates the promising potential of implementing local SEO practices is the definite growth in the use of mobile and wearable devices, a trend which will surely continue, thus leading to more mobile searches being performed on the go, most of them seeking answers for immediate needs and many even going beyond a mere regional basis but be based on ultra-specific locations, rendering the element of geographical relevance even more crucial.
However, in any entrepreneur’s mind the truly crucial question pertains to the relationship between local SEO and ROI, i.e. the actual return on the investment of time, funds and other resources that you invest on local SEO. In other words, an answer to the question whether local SEO is truly worth your while and will result in attracting new customers for your business. The odds are in favor of the effectiveness of local SEO, especially considering the demise in other more traditional ways to search, such as phonebooks and paper directories, coupled with the fact that the majority of customers in any locality now resort to online searches and online directories in order to find a local business offering the product or service they wish to obtain.
Since local SEO enables businesses to achieve a connection with prospective clients in a very fast, timely and directly targeted manner, it is of great value since popular search engines like Google strive to give each user what he/she wants. Achieving this matching of need and search result translates into high ROI and conversion rates. Indeed the numbers are impressive and reveal the full potential of implementing such strategies because it has been found that 78% of local searches from mobile devices result in offline purchases. Another solid proof that local SEO actually works in tangible manners is the fact that it boasts a 50% higher conversion rate than other more traditional methods, such as offline directories.
Although these are not in great abundance in Cyprus, registering on local directory sites is an essential element for implementing an effective local SEO technique. Besides earning direct business referrals through the citation, the relevant link will also add value and credibility to your site in terms of organic SEO. Just remember to make sure the right contact details for your business are listed on the directory sites, as any inaccuracies in the data will cause more problems rather than resolve any.
Since, according to relevant studies nearly 90% of smartphone users utilize a search engine at least once a day, this makes the potential effectiveness of local SEO even more crucial and relevant for the present and future. Moreover, another point that cannot be stressed enough is the importance of mobile optimization of your site when we are talking in terms of local SEO. Thus, besides giving emphasis to keywords relevant to local searches, such as the town you are located in, you also need to ensure you are using and targeting the type of keywords which are most likely being used by mobile phone users.
Ranking high on a search engine will drive prospective customers your way but converting them to actual clients requires that you keep them engaged with your content. And since many will be viewing your site on their mobile you should ensure it looks nice and fits well on a small mobile phone screen, while being straightforward in its navigation and easy for the eye of the reader. Also remember that the features that add mobile-friendliness to your site and are bound to attract more mobile traffic are photos, reviews and videos. Videos in particular drastically help increase the ranking position of a site, while videos pertaining on local keywords are sure to add an extra punch.
The online business environment in Cyprus is still at its early development stage, but instead of being an impediment, this is actually a factor that makes the necessity of utilizing local SEO strategies even more dire. Most experts agree that in the years to come local SEO will not only not lose its importance, but it will gain even more in terms of impact and usefulness for the expansion of online businesses.
One explanation for this is the preferential treatment that search engines such as Google show towards local businesses in their attempt to provide each person with what they want and thus showcasing popular local brands with less authority over more well known global ones. At the same time, Google puts at the disposal of small local businesses an array of free tools that help them increase their online exposure and visibility and thus fare better on rankings.
Another explanation is the growing demand for more individualized search results coupled with the enhanced sophistication of search engines in order to be able to deliver such results. Already able to generate results according to who performs the search, incorporating geographic location and taking into account the search history accentuates further the significance of local SEO.
The online business world is fiercely competitive and competition keeps increasing as is the number of business entering the field. One way of trying to survive the fierce competition and stand out is for entrepreneurs to identify smaller niches to target and thus gain increased visibility within the specific target group. Since one of the most effective ways to achieve this is through local optimization, local SEO will only grow in importance as competition also continues to increase.
In a nutshell, the benefits of local SEO for local-based businesses, especially in the case of Cyprus where the online landscape is still relatively under-developed, are more than evident. So if you are convinced that local SEO marketing techniques are the way forward for your own business then come to us and let us help your own business succeed online by unlocking the power, impact and potential of local SEO.
Our highly experienced and motivated team of in-house resident experts carry an array of skills and expertise that have been tried, tested and proven to deliver amazing tangible results for over a decade! At the heart of your mission and aspiration is to help you make your vision reality, and part of this is done through helping each and every small business that comes to us be found by customers who are looking exactly for what each business has to offer, thus creating a perfect match! Happy businesses and happy clients!
Besides making it possible for you to reach out to the target client demographic in your own line of business and potential market, we also help drive your website right on top of search engine results, while achieving higher ranking in local search results is done through regularly checking the traffic source, website and reviews.
Don’t hesitate to contact the team at start-business-online for a completely free consultation and a website analysis report, which will serve as a guide for the way forward. Trust us to help, do the job well, get you better rankings, increased visibility, enhanced credibility, more clicks, more leads, more customers, more sales and ultimately more profits!
Give us the opportunity to create profiles for your business on popular social media platforms, directories and thus provide useful information to customers and allow us to showcase, through our advanced SEO services that combining organic SEO and local SEO techniques will do wonders for your sales, reputation and overall success and impact in your local community and overall market niche.
If you have a vision, then here at start-business-online we vow not to allow it to remain a mere dream, and not to allow it to turn into a dreadful nightmare. Instead, we shall walk beside you and work with you until your vision becomes reality!!!
SEO Expert, Marketer
Natalie is a prolific part of the global SEO community worldwide and she regularly contributes to e-marketing and promotion publications on and offline as well as best practice guides and round tables.
A good looking website is useless if it doesn’t have the content or optimised website design to make sure it can be found on Google. You Need Someone Who Knows What They Are Doing.