The internet is a global phenomenon, and there are millions of web pages competing for rankings in almost every niche. Many local webmasters make the mistake of assuming that they simply cannot match the SEO efforts of the biggest brands, and that they should not invest time and effort in SEO. While it is true that ranking for a broad keyword is difficult, most businesses do not need to appear high in the SERPs for a generic term. A restaurant or a solicitor in Sussex does not need to attract traffic from searchers in Scotland. You can use that to your advantage and focus your SEO efforts.

SEO Focuses Your Marketing

Since the Google Hummingbird update, the search engine has become increasingly focused on answering questions and offering valuable information to users. Pure sales pages are not necessarily going to rank well for most keywords. Modern SEO techniques, such as local citations, authoritative link building, semantic keyword analysis, on-site architecture and content optimisation are beneficial for both search engines and users. A site that performs well in the SERPs will also be highly accessible, relevant and responsive. Ranking well in the search engines requires a lot of work, but it is work that is good for your brand.

Techniques such as blogger outreach, press-release marketing and social media marketing increase your visibility for search engines and also draw in traffic from blogs, news sites and social media platforms. This traffic is just as important as search traffic, and helps to secure your brand in the minds of consumers in your area.

Google uses IP address targeting, so when someone in Gatwick searches for a taxi service, they will see different results to a searcher in the Brighton area. Good SEO practices allow you to take advantage of that, and narrow down the competition that you face.

SEO Produces Sustainable Traffic

Many SMEs think of SEO as being a gamble, because there is no guarantee that your work will result in your site ending up on the front page of the search engines for your chosen keyword. They feel that PPC is a better investment, because there is a guaranteed return. With PPC you only pay when a user clicks your ad, and you know that a certain amount of money will net a given number of clicks.

Using PPC to bring in instant traffic makes sense, but traffic from paid search stops coming in once your budget is exhausted. SEO, however, offers a steady stream of sustainable traffic and while it is a longer term strategy the traffic is effectively free once rankings are achieved. SEO allows you to generate a far greater return on your investment in the long run.

Successful online marketers nurture as many different traffic streams as possible. That means getting your business listed on Google+ local, using social media marketing, modern SEO tactics, and optimising your website for mobile and tablet devices.