Posted on April 13, 2011 by Kevin Getch Search engine optimization is a must for nearly every business type. It’s simply a reality in the Internet age. There are many SEO techniques that small businesses can have in their marketing plans, but local SEO is key and will frequently provide the best return on investment for you.Your Customers are Local You don’t have to have an MBA to understand the basic business principal that you go where your customers are. The fact of the matter is that many small businesses simply provide services to people in their area. So, why would you target less specific search terms and get traffic from out-of-market people who won’t be buying your products or services? It’s also important to note that people are using area-specific search terms more and more these days. According to Danny Dover, lead SEO at SEOmoz, Google has recently said that over 20 percent of all searches have some form of reference to locality. So whether it’s state, city or even one’s neighborhood, people are being more specific about what they are looking for. A part of this local search growth is in the form of the growing popularity of mobile search. Since people have greater access to web searches via their smart phones, this has played a part in the growth of local-specific web searches. Competition Isn’t as Fierce If your food delivery business resides in Seattle, Washington, your main concern is beating the handful of competing businesses in your area. If and when you want to take your business to a regional or even national level, you’re competing against many more businesses. You’re in the big leagues then, which means you have to spend more to compete with the “big boys.” Trust Factor It may not be a conscious decision, but people tend to trust local businesses a little more. If you are sending traffic to a page that shows you are just down the street, there’s less mystery to you. This means, as long as you do everything else right, you have a better chance of that person opening up their wallet. High Quality Leads When you do start producing traffic from local search terms or phrases, those people are highly targeted and more likely to be converted into customers. As opposed to vague non-location searches, people who are typing in a phrase that includes a city, town, or neighborhood know what they are looking for, thus inherently more serious about their search. One of the biggest mistakes a small business can make is to leap into their SEO campaign without giving real priority to local SEO techniques. Rather than getting lost in a sea of vague global search terms, look towards the powerful precision of local SEO to maximize your ROI.