Sorry, I Didn't Know You Have A Coffee Shop Near Me (Or Local SEO: Don't Miss Business Opportunities)

digital nomad working with laptop in a coffee shop

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one digital marketing measure that can pay off substantially for local businesses, big or small. However, many still don't understand why local SEO is important, thereby losing out on opportunities that could have given them more revenue.

Here's my personal account relating to the benefits of local SEO and how local businesses can adopt a solid local SEO strategy.

So one day, I was walking around my neighborhood, a nice mixture of residential and commercial spaces in quite a small radius.

Pre-pandemic, it had become a habit of mine to work at a favorite coffee shop in a business district a few kilometers away from my apartment. Working from home can be pretty boring, so I looked forward to working at my favorite spot outside the house at least twice a week.

But more recently, many shops have sprung up around my immediate vicinity, so I've been exploring a bit, hoping to find my next new favorite spot within a 1-kilometer stretch from home.

So this was one of those early evenings when I was just returning from a new coffee shop that I decided to try out, walking out the few hundred meters to home. When lo and behold, just around the corner, literally just about 200 meters from my apartment, something caught my attention.

rustic-themed coffee shop's storefront

Guess what? It was a coffee shop! A quaint little rustic-themed store that was not very visible from the road as it was positioned a few feet inwards, away from the standard line of stores. I took a peek at the glass door, but that was as far as I got since I already had my one coffee shop for the day.

With my curiosity piqued, I immediately Googled "coffee shop near me" the minute I was back home at my desk. Quite expectedly, that little coffee shop was nowhere near the top of the Search and Maps results even though it was closest to my location.

Local SEO: Google search results for 'coffee shop near me'

So what went wrong here?

The short answer: Local SEO

Uh, what is Local SEO again, and why should I care?

Well, Local SEO or local Search Engine Optimization is the practice of improving your business's online presence to rank high in local search results. 

You know how it is nowadays. People depend on their mobile phones or computers to search online whenever they need to get more information about something, like "best fried chicken recipe", or "iphone pro max 14 price", or "gift ideas for women", or like in my story above—"coffee shop near me".

Especially if you're a business with a physical storefront or you interact with or serve customers in your local area or region, you should definitely care about local SEO. Local SEO will help you attract more foot traffic, phone inquiries, appointment or event bookings, and other business from local customers.

So in the case of that little coffee shop, it should have shown on top (or at least near the top) of the search results when I Googled "coffee shop near me" since proximity is one of the core ranking factors for local SEO, along with relevance and prominence.

Clearly, that is an opportunity lost by that coffee shop on direct sales from someone like me who spends their working hours on such a spot at least two times a week. Not to mention the opportunity lost from referrals if I liked them and recommended them to my coffee shop-loving friends.

A good local SEO strategy can significantly help small businesses that depend on local customers, especially since they are more likely to have fewer resources or budgets than bigger shops.

OK, I get it now. But how do I start doing local SEO for my business?

If you have the time and energy, here are some local SEO tips you can immediately do to start creating a good local SEO strategy for your potential customers to find you in your community easily:

Claim your Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) listing

Google Business Profile (GBP) is a tool by which you can manage your business's online presence across search results and Google Maps. Setting up your GBP is free, yet many businesses don't utilize it for their marketing. 

Go ahead and take advantage of this free tool to jumpstart your local online presence. Just go to and everything should be easy to follow from there.

Google Business Profile setup home screen

Once you've claimed your GBP, optimize it by putting accurate information that can be helpful for customers to know more about your business, such as your store's location, open hours, and contact numbers. Ensure these details are consistent across all your social media platforms and websites so as not to confuse search engines and hurt your SEO efforts.

sample Google Business Profile for Akin Artworks

Adding photos of your products, menu, or crew and posting relevant updates can also help boost your business's credibility. Just make sure to upload engaging, high-quality pictures and not blurry or pixelated ones.

Encourage your customers to leave online reviews and respond to them

Businesses with many positive reviews online may rank higher in local search results, making them more visible to potential customers.

Giving your customers the best service will certainly pay off, especially if you encourage them to leave online reviews on your active social media profiles. Positive online reviews can increase engagement and trust, which can help in attracting new customers.

Your Google Business Profile also makes it quite easy to ask for online reviews. You can get a review link that you can send to your customers, as shown below.

Google Business Profile customer review link

Once you get customer reviews, be sure to respond to them promptly and professionally. Most customers also appreciate a personalized message, which can promote loyalty to your brand.

Google Business Profile customer review

More positive online reviews can also serve as social proof that your business is reputable and trusted by many. Even when a review is negative, it is more important that you address it to show existing and potential customers that you handle negative feedback well and that you are listening to them.

Additionally, ranking highly in local search results because of your positive online reviews can eventually improve your clickthrough rate or CTR (the percentage of how often people who see your business in search results end up clicking it). As they say in SEO, the best place to hide a dead body is on Page 2 of Google search results, so the ultimate goal for your business is to be on Page 1 of Google to get those traffic and sales.

Use local-specific keywords in all your online profiles and content

Local-specific keywords are those that include your business's city or the region where your shop is located. Use these keywords in all your social media profiles and website content to signal to search engines that your business is relevant to local searchers.

Local SEO: 'artwork for sale Perth' Google search

For example, an art shop in Perth, Western Australia, could use the keyword "artwork for sale in Perth, Australia" across its website and online profiles to improve its ranking in local search results for that city.

Build local citations for your business

A local citation is when your business's name, address, and phone number (NAP) are mentioned on other websites, like your local business directories and listings. Developing a plan to build local citations can help search engines better understand your business's location and industry.

Again, make sure that your business's NAP is the same as that in your Google Business Profile, website, and other online platforms to establish professionalism and credibility with potential customers and help your SEO endeavors.

Check if your website is mobile-friendly

As most of us easily rely on our smartphones these days, it's critical that your business website is mobile-friendly; that is, it loads quickly and is easy to use on smartphones and tablets. A mobile-friendly website is one of the top ranking factors for Google, as it contributes to a better user experience for your website visitors. However, too many businesses still take this for granted.

To check whether your website is mobile-friendly, use this mobile-friendly test by Google.

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Great! Anything else I can do to help boost my local SEO?

Doing the actionable steps above can essentially improve your local SEO efforts and put you on the map, so to speak. Here are a few more things worth adding to your local SEO process, depending on your budget and resources:

Final Thoughts

In summary, here's what you can do to immediately expand your business's online presence and improve your local SEO:

In a world where everything is now online, your business can't be left behind (like that invisible little coffee shop near me).

Now more than ever, it's more important to understand local SEO's role in your marketing efforts, especially if you're a local small business owner. A good local SEO strategy can spell the difference between surviving and thriving in a competitive online marketplace.

Need help with your SEO? Let's talk.

10 Strong Reasons Why You Need A Business Website

As a small business owner, you might say, ‘’Oh, a website isn’t exactly a necessity to my business,’’ especially when it’s already booming and doing well on its own with the traditional business setting.

In today’s time, it’s essential to consider the changes that are happening around us. The world officially entered the age of the Internet—the Digital Age—decades ago.

This generation has been quick to adapt to such changes, especially when the pandemic hit. Most consumers have learned that it’s easier to find services and products they want or need online. Studies show that the number of consumers that use the Internet to search for business websites increased to 97% in 2020 and is expected to go up even higher.

As of June 2022, there are an estimated 12 million – 24 million eCommerce sites across the entire globe.

Surveys show that consumers like visiting social media pages, but they prefer to look up business websites that directly provide complete or detailed content. More and more business owners figured it’s better to cater to consumers’ expectations than stick to the old ways.

While having social media accounts and pages for your business is absolutely helpful, it’s pretty different if you have your own website. With the Internet being more and more relevant as time goes by, you would have to change your mind if you want your business to keep up with the times.

So, the real question is...why wouldn’t you want to have a business website?

To get things started, we’ve listed ten solid reasons why a website for your business is the way to go.

1. A website builds a professional image

The majority of consumers tend to think that a business with a website is more trustworthy than those without any.

Try to put yourself in their shoes. Any consumer would want to check a business's legitimacy. Potential customers would do the ‘legit check” action, especially when transacting online. It’s essential to provide any certification to prove your business is real and to earn your customers’ trust.

2. Your business website can attract new customers and produce better outreach

Boosting ads on social media platforms like Facebook might be the cheapest option for small businesses, but nothing beats the outreach of an official business website.

By having a website, you can target customers both locally and internationally. Putting your website on Google or Google Maps makes people find you easier.

FUN FACT: A vast percentage of consumers use the Internet to search for local businesses, and most of them start with a search engine. This is one of the main reasons companies invest in websites with search engine optimization (SEO)

Have your dream SEO-friendly business website without breaking your budget. Check out our "Website-as-a-Service”.

3. You can customize your website to your liking

Add your personal touch to your business website with your brand logo and theme preferences.

You are free to choose colors, layouts, and designs to make it look good and embody all the things you’ve been wanting to show the world about your business.

Keep in mind, though, that it’s important to make your website suitable for your ideal customers. Navigation should be easy, and stuff must not be all over the place. Don’t put unnecessary content that could make them lose interest and leave your website. It’s also a must to make your website mobile-friendly.

First impressions of a website are 94% design-related. (Source: WebFX)

4. You can exhibit products and services more effectively

Another great thing about having a website is that you can update information, images, and videos in their best quality. Social media sites could ruin the quality of your uploads over time with their ever-changing policies, affecting your customer’s experience.

You have the power to convince people to choose your brand by showcasing your products in the best light possible. You could even give them a taste of what a great choice it would be if they worked with you.

And that’s not all! Your website can also function as an online shop.

By 2025, the number of worldwide e-Commerce users will rise up 
to 4.9 billion.

COVID-19 has really made a significant impact on the global economy and consumer behavior. The new normal has led people to use the internet more, as we all experienced being quarantined for weeks, months, and even longer.

Even before the pandemic happened, online shopping has been a thing.  A website can help you sell your products online. If people buy directly from your website, your brand will continue to rise. 

5. Allows your customers to engage with your business and contact you directly

Having a ‘CONTACT US’ page or feature on your website helps potential clients to get in touch with you easily. This can lead to new business offers, sales opportunities, and an increase in engagement. It’s also easier for you to determine what the client wants as they fill up the form you provided.

Customers prefer to talk to a real person, not a bot—automated responses could make them feel uninterested. If your social media page is booming and has too much spam, it might be difficult for them to reach you. You probably won’t even notice their messages.

Your website gives you the means to be attentive and responsive to their inquiries, and these days, being responsive is always a plus point for your brand.

6. Gives you the upper hand against competitors

If your business doesn’t have a website, potential customers may get snatched by your competitors who have already set up theirs. That would be such a shame, wouldn’t it? After all, the masses are attracted to a business that has credibility, and yours wouldn’t have much of that without a business website.

Not to mention you’re missing out on great tools that can help you grow your business, such as analysis of where your customers are coming from, which pages they visited on your website, on which page they stayed the longest (or shortest), and the like.

Having a business website can give you all these critical information for your all-important business decisions.

7. A business website influences or impacts buyer decision

A website is also a platform. It’s your opportunity to showcase your services and products. If you know how to appeal to your customers, they will undoubtedly choose you over the rest.

You have shown great promise, and they trust you will deliver. Your business has something that others don’t, and that’s how you capture a customer’s heart.

Take note that a lot of people also purchase products because of VISUALS. If they look at something pretty or exciting, they will want to have it. A website with a bad design will definitely not help your business at all. The first 10 seconds of impression are crucial.

83% of consumers expect websites to load in less than 3 seconds. (Source: WebFX)

If one potential customer leaves without even checking the rest of your content, you’ll have a bad bounce rate (the percentage of visitors that leave your website after viewing only one page on your site), and this will heavily impact your website's SEO score as well. A well-constructed, well-designed business website goes a long way toward your brand’s reputation.

A visitor will always look for these three important factors:

If those are evident on your website, then you’re all set!

8. You can collect reviews and feedback

We all know that consumers tend to believe other consumers. In Craig Bloem’s survey, it was shown
that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends or even family.

If a customer likes your products or services, they’ll give you a thumbs-up! It’s no secret that most of us take time to scroll and read reviews made by other satisfied buyers or clients. 

Reviews and feedback play a big role in a consumer's buying decision. It will definitely bring you more interested visitors when they see that you’ve earned your customers’ trust. If the people who availed your products or services share it with their peers, then this has the potential to become a big buying cycle.

TIP: You can add interactive features to your website, like a survey or poll.

9. Websites are actually more affordable than you think!

You may hear some people say building a website is insanely expensive. That’s not really the case! 

In fact, you can make your own website at a low cost. Many tend to start out with an automatic business website builder, mostly for free! Some of the popular free small business website builders are Wix, Weebly, Site123, Strikingly, and WordPress, to name a few. Go ahead and give it a try.

But if you want a serious business website and don’t have the time to design a website by yourself, the best path to take is to consult an expert. Free website builders are good, but having a professional web designer construct your website for you could be the better choice. 

Find yourself a company or a team that offers website design services. They can do all the dirty work for you, so you get to work ON your business and not IN your business. Just tell them what you want for your brand identity and the stuff you want to put on your website, and they’ll take care of the creative and design work and everything in between.

If you’re curious, here are some of the components needed for your professional business website:

Domain Name - simply put, this is (there are other options but .com is commonly used for commercial websites)
Hosting - this is where your website technically resides (or is hosted from)
Design and Copy - includes the graphics, videos, and text content
Tools and extensions - for customizations and other non-standard, advanced website features

If you want affordable, fast, secure, and reliable hosting, check out Hostinger, where this site is hosted.

Professional freelancers or design agencies have different rates, so make sure you negotiate well with a win-win mindset. Some offer budget-friendly design packages, while some come with full-range, all-in website service plans. The choice is yours.

10. You are in control

Algorithms change, and social media sites can shut down in a heartbeat. Customers will always look for you, no matter what happens on other platforms. Your website will never go away, and that gives them a sense of relief. You can keep it for as long as you want because it belongs to you.

Plus, you decide everything that’s shown on your website. Your words matter to your customers. Social media platforms and other review sites may say something different about your business, but on your website, you have the power to influence a person’s way of thinking about your brand’s narrative or story.

If you prove with your website’s content that your product or service is better than your competitors, you will gain many loyal followers and customers.

Business Website FAQs

Is it easy to build a business website?

Nowadays, it's becoming easier to build a business website with all the tools available for website design and development. Many platforms offer intuitive, drag-and-drop style interfaces that can help you set up a website at a rapid pace, even without coding knowledge.

The more important thing to consider is to plan your website well. If you're thinking of DIY, make sure you know the critical factors that make a great business website.

Can I build a business website for free?

Yes, many platforms offer free plans, but most of these typically have limitations on features or functionality. You can try out free website plans if you want to test the waters; just ensure that you know what's available to you in terms of what you want your website to be.

A business website is an investment that can make or break your business, so it's crucial that you do it right.

How long will it take me to build my own small business website?

If you decide to take the DIY route, creating your small business website will depend on the time you can put into its planning and development and how simple or complex you want it to be. As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Depending on what stage your business is currently at, you could probably allot anywhere from 2 to 5 hours a day to construct your website. At that rate, you could likely launch a decent website in 2 to 6 months.

Remember that if you're doing it on your own, you're in charge of all content your website should have, including photos or videos and all texts that come with your web pages. If it's your first time doing it, it surely won't be a walk in the park, but it will definitely be a great learning experience.

Final Thoughts

If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business. - Bill Gates

If you're serious about your business, having a business website is a must. Your website could be your most valuable tool for business success. While you’re out there hesitating, other business owners are already on the go. Survival in business means adaptability. If you let yourself embrace change, your choices will not let you down.

So what’s it gonna be?

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated for freshness and accuracy.

If you’re looking for the perfect partner to build your business website, that could be us. Check out our "Website-as-a-Service” offering.