Today, most people research products or services online before they contact a company. However, usually, the articles that people read belong to the big companies that serve a national or international market. Small companies that mostly do business in their geographical area may struggle to break into this part of the industry. In order to reach prospective clients, companies need to focus on local SEO or search engine optimization.

SEO involves moving a company’s website higher in the list of search engine results. For example, a simple search for the keyword “inground pool” can generate millions of results. If a pool company only installs pools within one county or even one state, then probably its articles will be buried deep within the search results. In order to move a company’s products higher up, its website needs to be remodeled.

To improve a company’s visibility, executives should focus on the content of the website and its keywords. Research must be conducted, either by an employee or by an outside consultant, into what kinds of keywords the intended audience searches for. These keywords must be used in the website’s articles and should include the target region so that people looking for something in their area are led to the local options. Each article should also contain links to reliable sources to increase its credibility. Links to the company’s website should also be placed in other local articles to increase visits to the page.

The decision to focus on improving a company’s local online presence will probably require hiring some new employees. These may include researchers, website designers, content writers, and marketing experts. For small companies in their early stages, hiring so many people may not be realistic. Those in financial difficulties must prioritize the jobs for which they truly need outside help and then train existing employees to complete the rest.

All of these steps may seem like a lot of work to simply move a company’s visibility higher in the list of search engine results. However, this process allows people to see that a company can compete with others. So many options are available today that people will probably not look very long for the service or product that they need. By focusing on local SEO, a small company can build greater awareness of its existence in its community. A company with a strong local presence, both online and in the physical location, will be better able to expand to a wider market.