Arguably, one of the most important things that any small business owner works towards growth for their business. The length of time this growth will take, the route that will be taken to achieve this growth, and perhaps even the very definition of ‘growth’ will vary from business to business.
However, the one thing that is certain is that any business that wishes to grow that strategically, tactfully and consistently employs and engages several internet marketing components like Search Engine Optimization and Marketing (SEO & SEM,) content marketing, social media marketing (SMM) and a few others are almost certain to achieve their objective.
Having said that, for some business owners simply growing their small business is not enough. There are those who would prefer not only to dominate their local market and industry, but to rather expand their reach nationally and even internationally. It is these businesses that are the target audience of this article.
Once a business owner has taken care of some of the basics of their business like creating an LLC or any other organizational structure, having a great product or service, putting in place a system to provide good customer support, getting business insurance to mitigate against some of the risks the business will face, among others; they will in all likelihood begin to work towards growing their business.
To be clear, it is not impossible to grow a small local business to become a player on the national and international stage. But such a feat will usually require a lot of resources in time, money, personnel, and other things. Sadly, these things are usually in short supply for most small businesses. However, the one resource that can make up for and compensate for the lack of these resources is digital marketing in general, but SEO in particular.
What and Why is SEO Key to Helping a Small Business Grow Nationally?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a subset of digital marketing that involves optimizing and improving the visibility and position of a website in a search engine’s organic (or local) results page. This almost always invariably leads to increased traffic to your website and/or calls and emails to your business. And consequently, an increase in the sale of your product or service.
Various research findings tell us that the vast majority of people who are looking to find any kind of information, product, or service will first turn to a search engine like Google, Bing, or Duckduckgo for details. The role, significance, and importance of a search engine to the growth of your business should be seen and understood from this context
Whatever product or service your business provides, as long as people want or need it, they are likely going to use a search engine to find someone who provides it.
This is where SEO comes in…
By engaging in SEO, you’re ensuring that your business website shows up in front of these searchers. SEO helps to optimize your site to it rises to the top when people search for the products and services you provide.
When these people land on your website or call or email your business, then you have an opportunity to sell them your product or service. This is how your business can grow.
First Dominate Your Local Market
Once you understand and begin to work towards taking advantage of the immense opportunities that SEO provides your business, one of the first things you should look to do in your bid to take your business from a local player to a national or international one is to dominate your local market and industry.
There are several reasons and advantages to doing this. For one, you are likely to have less competition at a local level than you would at a national and international level. So to this end, you should take this advantage of a smaller competition to work on growing a brand name.
Secondly, building a strong brand name has long been considered to be one of the pillars that can contribute to a successful business. You should, therefore, work on using every available resource at your disposal to do this.
The importance that your local market and industry can play in the growth of your business should not be underestimated. For one, available research informs us that as much as 46% of all searches on Google are for local information, products, or services.
To this end, engaging in local SEO, which is somewhat like traditional or organic SEO, will go a long way in helping to put your business in front of many locals who might need the product or service you provide.
If done properly, strategically and consistently, the combination of local and organic SEO, offline brand building activities, great customer care, being an active member of the community, and any other activities you can think of will go a long way. These actions will solidify your business’s position in the local community. And over time, chances are that yours is likely to be a well-known brand and business to the locals.
Using SEO to Go from a Local to a National Business
Making your business and/or products a force to be reckoned with on the local scene can often give you an advantage when you start working to take it onto the national stage.
One reason for this is because of the likelihood that the time, energy, resources, existing customers and positive customer reviews, the social media activity, the online brand, and press mentions, and any other things you might have done while trying to dominate your local market, will likely go a long way in establishing your business or product as worthy of consideration by anyone who might need such a product, irrespective of their location.
Although it takes a lot of work, continued SEO efforts to expand beyond a local level an happen. Especially with Google and Bing, once that reach has expanded far enough and a website achieves a certain rank, it can show up at that spot no matter where the search originates.
For example, someone in New York state could type in a specific search phrase into Google and sees your website in position 5. The chances are high that someone else performing the same search in California or Texas will also see your website plus or minus at about the same position.
In some cases, the (organic) results of a SERP will largely be the same even at an international level. Especially in places close to borders. This leads to the ability and possibility of a local business to grow nationally and even internationally with the help of both local and organic SEO.
When you combine the reach that a small business can have into the national and international market with the help of organic SEO as described above, with the geographic targeting capability of paid advertising on platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, then the potential for any small business to scale well beyond their local border is truly only limited by their imagination.