Explaining the Value of SEO to Local Business Owners

Explaining the Value of SEO to Local Business Owners

Many local business owners do know the importance of having an online presence. But most of the time, their strategy only involves creating a website and registering an account on some of the most popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.

SEO is much more complex than that. As the SEO agency or contractor, it’s your duty to communicate the value of SEO to local business owners, not just to educate them, but also to convert them into SEO clients. There are three things you should effectively communicate: the benefits of SEO, the most crucial aspects of SEO for their local business, and how to collaborate with an SEO agency. Let’s dive into these three things one by one.

SEO professional explaining SEO to a local business owner

Table of contents

Key benefits of SEO to local businesses

Sell the idea of SEO to local business owners by explaining the transformative benefits of locally optimizing for search engines. Increased online visibility, targeted traffic, and the buildup of credibility and trust are the key benefits you should emphasize.

These benefits are incredibly valuable to businesses and they are concepts that business owners can easily understand even if they don’t know anything about SEO and local SEO. Make these business owners embrace search engine optimization, not as a mere service, but as a transformative strategy for their business growth and success online.

1. Increased online visibility

The SEO journey to increased online visibility involves a lot of parts, such as building business listings and social media profiles, doing meticulous keyword optimization, and ensuring both of these processes are locally relevant. But you don’t have to open your SEO explanation like this to local business owners. It can sound overwhelming. This can push them away and ruin your chances of getting them as local SEO clients.

Start with something they will understand as business owners. Tell them that, when you optimize their local business for the local market, potential customers in the area looking for their products and services are more likely to discover them online. Supplement your explanation with an analogy.

You can say that locally optimizing for search engines is like putting up a signpost, letting passersby discover their business and inviting local consumers to try what they have to offer. Whether the local business is a plumbing service provider or a nearby coffee shop, they will be positioned better online, making them more ready to cater to the needs of locals.

2. Targeted traffic

Not all traffic is created equal. Local business owners know that not all passersby are looking for their products and services. They are not buying even if the local businesses have signposts up. This concept also applies online. Increased visibility is great. But what’s even greater in local SEO is that you are attracting not just random visitors, but visitors who are actively looking for your products and services. This is the beauty of targeted traffic, a concept that is in abundance in local SEO strategies.

Let the local business owners imagine that their physical store is in a bustling neighborhood with high foot traffic from individuals specifically looking for their products and services. Explain to them that local SEO replicates this experience in the digital world.

The result is a more efficient and productive flow of visitors, translating into more opportunities for conversion, engagement, and long-term customer relationship buildups.

3. Buildup of credibility and trust

Increased online visibility and targeted traffic are great. But you can’t convert visitors into real paying customers if you don’t have authority and credibility. In both physical and digital landscapes, trust is important. Local businesses should establish their authority and credibility if they want to be taken seriously.

Yes, getting more online visibility and having the capability to attract the right audience are powerful signals of authority and credibility. But local businesses need more, especially in today’s extremely competitive online world. Climbing search engine results pages is not enough. They should also prioritize building a digital persona of authenticity and reliability.

With the right local SEO strategies, explain to local business owners that their SEO investments can position their businesses as leaders in the industry. There are many ways to do this, such as building accurate and consistent business profiles, creating authoritative and relevant content, and giving a positive experience to local audiences.

Overview of local SEO strategies

You should explain the benefits of SEO first to local businesses before diving into local SEO strategies. If you explain the strategies first, you may overwhelm them. But if they are diving in while already knowing the potential benefits, they may be more willing to understand the complexities of SEO and more receptive to your SEO sales pitches.

There are many local SEO strategies out there, but you can essentially classify them into three main categories: business profiles and citations, local content, and links. These three can provide an overview of local SEO strategies, so local business owners can have a decent understanding of local SEO.

1. Business profiles and citations

When local business owners hear the words “business profiles,” the first things that come to mind are social media profiles. This is okay, but it’s an incomplete assessment of business profiles. Yes, local businesses can create and thrive in social media spaces like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. But there are other online spaces for business profiles and citations.

The biggest one is the Google Business Profile. If these local businesses want to be competitive online, they should at least have such a profile. They should also consider other profiles, especially in more niche online spaces. For example, if the local business is in the hospitality and travel industry, it should consider creating a profile on TripAdvisor.

Also, explain to local business owners that this local SEO strategy is not just about creating profiles and citations. It’s also about optimizing and continuously managing them. After all, someone will have to make sure that business information is accurate across profiles, write posts and updates, and reply to inquiries and reviews.

Business profiles and citations are great not just for building authority and trust and boosting online visibility. But also for improving customer relations. Utilizing services like rich media citation services can streamline this process and enhance the effectiveness of local SEO strategies.

2. Local content

Creating local content is a great local SEO strategy because it doesn’t just boost credibility and trust and improve online presence. It also forges a connection to the locale because the locals find the content engaging and relevant. But creating and executing a local SEO content strategy can be difficult. Local business owners should hire local SEO agencies like yours instead of just blindly writing posts and praying that they are effective in fulfilling business goals.

Explain the strategy to local business owners by breaking it down into steps. You can start with localized keyword research. And then move on to local pain points and narratives to address the unique difficulties and showcase one-of-a-kind experiences and stories that define the locality.

Once you know the kind of content you want to create, move on to the mediums, such as blog posts, social media posts, videos, and whatnot. Explain the power of storytelling and visual appeal to create lasting impressions, evoke emotions, and foster trust.

If you can do all these things right, the local business can be a behemoth in the locale, giving a lot of room for growth and success. But this is a multifaceted strategy that requires the expertise of SEO professionals, not business owners micromanaging their own content.

3. Links

Links can be quite difficult to explain to local business owners who don’t know anything about SEO. But here’s a good analogy. Links serve as “votes” from other websites. The more “votes” you have, the more search engines like Google will think highly of you. (That’s not exactly true, since the quality of the votes could be more important. But for the sake of simplicity, you can explain it this way to local business owners in the meantime.)

Business profiles and citations serve as links too as these have URLs back to the websites of the local business owners. But some links are more complex, and many of them involve processes that are outside of your control. Look at link building via blogger outreach and online publications, for example. You can reach out to webmasters and publications all you want, but you can never be sure if they are going to give you a link. This is why you should convince local business owners to let SEO agencies build links for them.

With that said, there are also link building strategies where you have more control over, such as the strategic use of anchor texts.

Common local business concerns

It’s natural for the local business owners to have concerns. Are they really going to get results? How would you measure success? And how do you even coordinate with a local SEO agency? Do you talk offline or online, since SEO is more of a digital thing?

These are valid concerns. And as the agency, it’s your duty to address them and nurture confidence and trust. If you don’t, you may not convert these local business owners into local SEO clients.

1. Getting results

When you explain the value of SEO to local business owners, they may view SEO as an investment. They are going to pay money for SEO products and services, so they will expect some results.

The trick here is to balance expectations and reality. Right from the very beginning, emphasize that SEO is a long-term game. There are short-term wins too, and there will be immediate effects even just after primary optimizations. But positioning their businesses for the long-term is the better priority over quick and unsustainable strategies like getting their content viral and receiving a momentary jump in traffic.

Sit down with them to get to know their business goals and objectives. And then use these to set realistic accomplishments, goals, and timelines. Also, assure them that there will be regular communication. Schedule meetings and reports, and let them know how to reach you immediately when there is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed. 

2. Measuring success

Local businesses will want a positive return on their investment. The best way to showcase this is through analytics. While discussing business and local SEO objectives, set up key performance indicators. For instance, if the main objective is to increase web traffic, some key performance indicators you can look at are page views and bounce rates. When you establish key performance indicators, the objectives and the progress in achieving them become more tangible.

Also, explain the analytics tools you use. They could be more general, like Google Analytics, or more specific, like Google Business Profile Insights. Assure these potential local SEO clients that you will be sending them regular reports. These reports won’t just involve the progress in objectives and key performance indicators. They also involve long-term trends, professional insights, and other crucial information.

If you have an SEO suite with client access or a client dashboard, mention that as well. It’s always plus points when local SEO clients have direct and easy access to data, so show that off if you can.

3. Communicating with a local SEO agency

As the local SEO agency, you will do most of the heavy work. But this doesn’t mean that local business owners don’t play a part. Explain to them immediately that the SEO journey is essentially a collaborative partnership between the agency and the client. The client has a lot to offer in this SEO journey, such as clear business objectives to make sure that they are on the same page as the agency.

For this collaboration to be effective, communication is essential. Set up clear communication channels with the local business owners. Different people communicate differently. Some may prefer a proactive approach, like phone calls or video calls. Some may prefer a more detached approach, like emails and reports. Respect what the potential clients prefer.

Emphasize too that communication is two-way. When communicating, mention that you are not just there to give updates. You are also there to get feedback for a truly collaborative experience with the local business owners.

Get more local SEO clients by effectively explaining the value of SEO

SEO is very transformative for local businesses, even those whose products and services aren’t even focused online, such as barbershops and coffee shops. But you have to clearly explain its value to the local business owners.

And then you can dive deeper into local SEO strategies. Once you get them hooked, there will be questions and concerns, and you should be prepared to address them as well.

If you can do all these, you are one step closer to converting a local business owner into a real local SEO client.


  • Andrew David Scherer

    My name is Andrew David Scherer and I've been involved in digital marketing since 2006.. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about marketing your local clients online, I'm always happy to help and share what I know. I've built local businesses from 0 to 6 figures in sales. Leased, sold, and rented a handful of them. And I've had hundreds of them as clients. Marketer's Center gives digital marketing consultants the ability to easily scale their local marketing agencies in a way that isn't labor-intensive and still very profitable. If you want to get my "6 Month SEO Plan" please request a free reseller dashboard account here. You'll also be able to download a price list for all of the services we offer. You can connect with me via Facebook in our Local Marketing Freethinkers group, or via Twitter and Linkedin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *