Weathervane Graphics has moved its offices!

And guess what? No more steep stairs. We're on the ground floor in a lovely office space with a pretty view of the mountains.
Please note our new address is 400-B Kendrick Lane, Front Royal, VA 22630. 

What is Local SEO?

Have you heard of the acronym "SEO"? Do you know what it means? If you're a small business owner who has heard the term but are unaware of—or worse, ignoring—its benefits, you're losing potential clients or customers.

Years ago, small businesses didn't need to worry about the virtual world—they were fine with a yellow page ad, some business cards, and word of mouth. But nowadays, most people don't know what yellow pages are, or if they do they don't use them; yellow pages are falling further and further down the list of how to find a business, replaced by smartphones and the pocket-sized mobility of the Internet. Business cards are always worth having, but you have to get them in peoples' hands first, which you can't if no one even knows your business is out there. Word of mouth is in many cases the only thing that retains its value in this age of technology, but again, people have to know your business is there if you want them to talk about it.

Given the somewhat recent and very dramatic changes in how people go about finding what they need, business owners of all types—including small business owners—have to accept and adapt to the new way people are shopping, and people are doing most of their shopping online these days. Which is where SEO—specifically local SEO—comes in. As you may know, there's a science behind the design and stocking of traditional supermarkets and retail stores that's intended to direct your attention in the aisles and encourage you to buy certain things. Similarly, SEO helps to bring your product or service into the range of view of potential customers online.

With the ever-growing frequency of online shopping, it's vital that business owners not let this valuable source of customers go untapped. So if you're someone who's been under a rock and haven't heard of local SEO, or if you have but believed that only huge national and international businesses needed it, then you need to starting listening now.

How Does It Work?

In general, SEO—search engine optimization—combines creative and technical aspects to reach your potential clients and make you more visible online. Who would imagine that what you type and where you put it on your website could make the difference of you being ranked #82 or #2 in the search results, and that that difference will affect how many people visit your website and see your product or service? Your local SEO company certainly does. That's why having a professional working those techniques and keywords will create a chain reaction of increasing your ranking and pushing online traffic your way. The purpose of SEO is to reach the traffic you need for your website based on the relevance of your content and the words real people are using to search for products or services like yours.

Quality local SEO is vital to small businesses.

What's the first thing you do when you're looking for or researching anything these days? Like the majority of people, you probably immediately search the world wide web to investigate what variety of needed product or service is nearby. You may have never thought about it, but such clients are giving no phone calls or other communication to local businesses—you, like them, are just searching the Internet. That may not seem terribly important at a glance, but it's visibility, and isn't visibility important for any business? After all, when you find a website that has what you're looking for and looks good as well, are you not led to think that that small business cares about its publicity and reputation, and is therefore more likely to be a trustworthy authority?

So what about you? Are you being found or is a competitor ranking better than you and landing all of those leads that you could have been raking in? We live in a time where clients want answers quickly—they don't want to scroll and scroll through pages of search results to find what they looking for; studies and polls have shown consistently that the vast majority of people typically don't leave the first page of results that comes up on search engines. They often scroll past the top couple of businesses that pay for advertising spots and go right to the listings in the "organic" search results to see if what they're looking for is there.

How Can Local SEO Services Benefit You?

When we work with local business owners on their SEO, one of the questions we ask is what they would type into the search bar if they were looking for their business. This is because local SEO is largely about what your customers are looking for versus what you're advertising. For example, you own a bakery and have a website. Your target audience may be searching for keywords such as "wedding cakes in [your town]," or "specialty cake designs." You could be missing a lot of potential clients because those keywords are in the wrong place—or completely missing—and you're being overlooked.

Doing this exercise really brings things into perspective for business owners; a lot of the time, even if they've thought about SEO and come up with their own keywords they choose words that are right for their industry or that they believe are most accurate or valuable . . . but aren't actually what potential clientele are typing into the search engines. That's why the best tip we can offer to those who choose to do SEO on their own is, "Think like a customer, not a professional."

The good news is that even a small amount of knowledge about SEO can be immensely helpful. There are many schools and even some businesses that offer free or inexpensive classes about the basics of SEO. Just be sure that if you're the go-getter type and want to do this yourself you have plenty of time set aside for it—learning the in and outs of local SEO as well as putting them into action can be time-consuming. That's why we really recommend letting specialists like us handle these things for you. We have the experience necessary to help your business be even more successful without you having to expend all your spare energy on it and risk it falling by the wayside at a busy time.