If you are a local business, at some point you may have asked, “How Long Does Local SEO Take?”
Most small business owners know how essential SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has become for their businesses. Well, this post was inspired by a recent article from Neil Patel, a top SEO industry expert.
We’ll take a closer look at the 5 key strategies Patel recommends for large corporations and scale them down to fit the local business world.
- Learn how to keep your website fresh and how to make your brand shine in your community.
- See why you should stay up to date with local happenings and keep your website speed fast.
- And know who you’re talking to when posting content to your Total Addressable Market (TAM).
So, grab a quick drink and read “How Long Does Local SEO Take?” to discover how you can improve your local marketing efforts. We dedicate this blog to all the local heroes. The neighbourhood favourites. The small businesses that truly make our communities special.
SEO for Local Businesses: How Long Does It Take for SEO to Work?
It’s a big question. One without a straightforward answer. Every local business owner wants to know how long it will take for SEO to start working and make their website more visible on Google.
Well, based on Patel’s article for larger companies, we can use these findings to determine how various local SEO strategies can make a difference for small business owners.
SEO Growth Takes Time
SEO takes time, not only to implement, but also to see results. Later in this article, we’ll take a look at the average SEO traffic growth most businesses can expect over a 3-year period. For now, let’s look at what Patel and his team uncovered.
Patel and his team had access to data for over 1 million websites. Of that 1 million, they were able to determine that over 42,000 were actively focusing on SEO marketing.
“[W]hen I say actively focusing on their SEO, I mean they are continually pushing out new content on a monthly basis, focusing on optimizing their code, growing their backlink count, optimizing their load, etc. In other words, they are putting in energy to get more organic search traffic.” (SEO Expert Neil Patel)
The 5 Key Traits that Can Help Local SEO Efforts
Analyzing the data, Patel and his team identified five key traits that are highly relevant for all businesses, regardless of size.
How Long Does Local SEO Take? Keep these 5 Key Traits top of mind when optimizing your website and you can speed up the process:
- Keep Your Content Up to Date
- Build A Strong Local Brand
- Use Local Trends & SEO
- Ensure Your Website Has Fast Load Times
- Understand Your Total Addressable Market
Let’s look at these 5 key traits in detail.
1. Keep Your Website Content Up to Date
Fresh content is like a fresh coat of paint – it keeps your website looking new and interesting. Regular content updates signal to search engines that your site is current and relevant, which can boost your SEO rankings.
For small local businesses, this could mean:
Regular Blog Posts
Share written content about your business, industry insights, or local events. Include a mix of industry news, personal business stories, customer experiences, and practical guides related to your services.
Regularly add recent reviews to show potential customers the latest good things people are saying about your business.
Adjust content to align with holidays, seasons, or local events. This can be developing posts and offers that resonate with current seasons or holidays.
2. Build a Strong Local Brand
Having great brand identity can help speed up your SEO efforts. Your brand is your business identity – it’s how customers recognize and remember you.
Online, your brand is often the first impression customers have of your business. For small local businesses, this is an opportunity to showcase your unique identity and connect with the local community.
Emphasize Your Local Identity
Highlight your local roots in your content. Share stories about your business’s role in the community. Also, participate in local events and showcase this involvement on your website and social media.
Consistent Branding Across Platforms
Use a consistent logo, company colours, and messaging across your website and social media. Keep it the same across any other physical presence like storefronts, stationery, business cards, etc. This consistency helps reinforce your brand in in the minds of your cuatomers.
Optimize for Local SEO
Optimize your website for local search terms including location based keywords. List your businesses in local directories and on your Google Business Profile. This helps locals find you easily when searching for relevant services or products.
Engage with Your Community Online
Use social media to engage with your local community. Respond to online reviews, participate in local groups, and create posts that resonate with local interests and issues.
“The most common reason a site doesn’t do well is they aren’t consistent and patient. SEO takes a lot of work. But the ROI is huge. You have to be patient, put in the years, and be consistent over those years. That’s how you win in the long run.” (SEO Expert – Neil Patel)
3. Use Local Trends & SEO
Staying current with local trends not only keeps your business relevant but also improves your local SEO efforts.
To effectively use local trends:
Monitor Local News & Events
Regularly check local news sources and event calendars. Use this information to create blog posts or social media content that resonates with local interests.
Engage in Local Conversations on Social Media
Use platforms like Twitter and Facebook to join local conversations. This can increase your visibility and establish you as a local authority in your field.
Create Seasonal Promotions & Offers
Design special offers or promotions around local events, holidays, or seasons. This can attract more local customers and create buzz around your brand.
Utilize Local Keywords
Use keywords related to local events, landmarks, or issues in your content. This improves your visibility in local search results.
Promote Local Partnerships
Collaborate with other local businesses or organizations for events or campaigns. Share these collaborations online to increase your customer reach.
We suggest using Google Trends to search for trends in the area.
4. Have Fast Load Times
A fast-loading website provides a better user experience and is crucial for SEO. Slow websites can lead to high bounce rates and lower search rankings. Follow the tips below to speed up your website.
Compress and Optimize Images
Use compression tools to reduce image size without compromising quality. Choose the right file formats (like JPEG or PNG) for faster loading.
Minimize the Use of Plugins
Too many plugins and outdated plugins can slow your website down. Regularly review your plugins. Remove those that are no longer necessary or duplicated by other tools.
Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider
Select a web host known for good performance, especially if your target audience is local. A local server can reduce load times for local users. See our post entitled, Why Good Website Hosting Services Are Important for Your Business.
Enable Browser Caching
Browser caching stores elements of your website in visitors’ browsers. This means that when they revisit your site, it loads faster because the browser doesn’t have to download every element again.
Each redirect creates additional HTTP requests, slowing down your site. To minimize redirects, audit your site for unnecessary redirects. When launching new pages or changing your site, carefully plan your URL structure to avoid creating chains of redirects.
5. Understand Your Total Addressable Market (TAM)
TAM refers to the overall revenue opportunity available for a product or service. Identifying your TAM allows you to target your marketing efforts more effectively.
Identify Your Customer Base
Look at who is currently buying your products or services and why. This helps in understanding your core audience.
Localize Your Approach
Customize your products or services to meet local demands. Consider cultural, regional, or community-specific factors that might influence customer preferences.
Look at similar businesses in your area to understand their customer base and marketing strategies.
Participate in Local Events
Attend local events and fairs to understand what appeals to your community. For small local businesses, understanding the local market is an important key to how long local SEO will take. You must meet the specific needs and preferences of your community.
How Long Does It Take to See Local SEO Results?
Implementing these 5 key strategies can take time, but the positive effects on you SEO can be great, and the payoff is worth it.
Keep your website updated, build your local brand, engage with trends, speed up your website, and understand your market. It’s just good business sense.
According to Neil Patel’s article, which looked at data for large websites, we know that:
- Websites focusing on SEO saw an increase in organic search traffic by 11.4% in the first 6 months and 9.5% in the next 6 months.
- The second year experienced an average increase of 49.4% over the first year. That’s a nice increase!
- In the third year, there was an increase of 30.7% over the second year.
- By the fourth year, additional growth of 13.5% over the previous year was noted.
Graph showing SEO traffic growth over 4 years.
Contact 1st on the List
What to learn more about local SEO? Ready to elevate your local SEO game? What to learn how to shorten the time it will take for local SEO to improve your traffic and sales?
Request a quote for personalized SEO services designed to fit your local business needs. Let’s make your business shine online in 2024!
Call us toll-free at 1-888-262-6687.
Local SEO Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to see local SEO results?
The timeframe to see local SEO results can vary. Small businesses can typically begin noticing improvements in organic traffic within the first 6 to 12 months if SEO efforts remain consistent.
How does local SEO differ from regular SEO?
Yes, local SEO and regular SEO can be quite different! Local SEO specifically targets optimizing a business for local search results. It’s best for smaller, community-focused businesses. Local SEO services aim to increase search page visibility to attract local customers.
Can small businesses handle local SEO on their own?
While small businesses can do some basic SEO strategies, more complex aspects of SEO often require professional expertise. Local SEO services can be tailored for the specific needs of your market and your website goals.
How important is website speed for local SEO?
Website speed is critically important for the success of your local SEO efforts. Fast-loading websites provide a better user experience and are favoured by search engines like Google. Your website needs to load fast and work great on all devices, which is good for both your visitors and your SEO.