Don’t Spend Your Time Worrying about Google Search Results

As a small business owner, you probably get 100 emails a week from SEO specialists telling you that your ticket to untold riches will only come if you are ranked number 1 in Google search results.  While there is some value to that, it is far from the be-all and end-all of your digital marketing goals.

While getting your website optimized for the search engines is always a good thing to do, it is certainly not the only, or even the most important thing that you can do.  Online local marketing is vastly different from marketing for bigger brands and companies.  You should definitely not be spending your entire budget on Search Engine Optimization. 

 As a small, local business, you should concentrate on getting involved on social networks, review sites, and directories to piggyback off of those sites’ traffic and “authority”.  

Harnessing review sites such as Yelp will give you another avenue of potential clients and customers.  Having good customer reviews and experiences greatly translates into a digital grass roots movement and affinity for your business.


Example Yelp Page

Keeping a Facebook business page will allow your business to build a fan base and also allow you a good opportunity to communicate with them on a personal basis and build loyalty. It also allows you to share special events, promotions, and even survey your user base for new ideas. Since complaints often show up on social sites, your participation helps you manage those negative experiences and turn them into a reputation enhancer by handling problems quickly and showing that you care about your customers.


Example Facebook Page Enagement

Exploring other online advertising opportunities besides Google’s Ad Sense might give you exposure and revenue streams that you didn’t realize were there before.  Participating on help and answer sites, DIY forums and other places where your potential visitors go for information can also be a good way to get more customer traffic and exposure and build your reputation.

About Vu Thai

I am a "Search Experience Officer" ;) for SuperMedia. I have helped small businesses near and far be heard and seen online. In my spare time, I'm keyword ranking my words before I speak. You can find me on Twitter or Google Plus


  1. I like your post and agree with your suggestions. I would argue, in fact that many small businesses do a lot of these activities already, knowing in the back of their minds that it’s helping impact their SE rankings. Most business owners are already targeting page 1 of Google for their target key phrases and geographies, and most do the activities you’ve described as a means to that end. My opinion is that business owners choose the social venues that communicate with their target audience the best, participate and show thought leadership to build their network. Optimization should still be a huge part, (the foundation in my opinion), of an Internet presence.

    Thanks for the great article.

    • Thank you Bradley! I agree that they should work hand in hand and a lot of business owners are getting this idea. Think of the SEO as the billboard to your business, and the social is your actual customer interaction.

  2. I have fund that an overall strategy of using review sites and social media works hand in hand with my SEO work. I find that the traffic that comes from social media is more relevant and has a bigger impact n my business than the search traffic.

  3. Yelp is a scam to extort money from business owners. We had eight reviews on yelp. Seven decent ones and one really bad one. As soon as we stopped paying yelp a monthly fee, the seven good reviews disappeared and only the bad one remains and they relabeled the bad one as ” first to review”. yelp has called me several times to renew the monthly fee and tells me that the monthly fee has nothing to do with why the seven good reviews disappeared. What a coincidence. Luckily it does not affect our business much but if you have a restaurant, hair salon, travel agency, or other service industry this scam can hurt your business badly.

    • I’m sorry that you had a poor experience with your business listing on Yelp. The fact remains, however, that many consumers use Yelp and other services, such as the Better Business Bureau, when deciding which business to patronize, so monitoring your listing and working with the provider and consumers to resolve issues with reviews is an important part of managing the online reputation of your business.

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