What Broke My Heart
When the recession ended in 2010 and a coffeehouse with big comfy sofas opened at the end of my block, I was overjoyed. My whole neighborhood — indeed, all of Oakland — was springing to life with new businesses: restaurants, shops, salons, nightclubs, and more. I dubbed it the Oakland Renaissance.
So it broke my heart to walk past the growing number of their boarded-up windows during the pandemic. Thankfully, some of my favorites adapted with sidewalk pickup service and now are reopening fully. Sadly, not my corner coffeehouse. It’s gone for good.
My New Mission in Life
A zero-waste shop has taken its place and become a welcome addition to the neighborhood, helping to usher in a new way of relating to our world with sustainable products from other local suppliers.
And now I’m on a mission to help local businesses everywhere get back on their feet and build a solid marketing foundation that can sustain them through the next crisis — and all the time, good times and bad.
Search Locally …
Did you know that nearly half (46%) of all Google searches are for products and services “near me” or “close by?” That number was growing before the pandemic and has only accelerated since it started as people increasingly search online to shop closer to home.
And yet, only about a quarter of local businesses attempt to implement local SEO in their marketing; instead they turn to social media advertising that’s both more expensive less effective.
Local SEO is search engine optimization (SEO) designed to help neighborhood businesses attract more website and foot traffic. It lays an enduring foundation that flash-in-the-pan advertising can’t.
Sure, ads have their place, but local SEO is one of the most reliable and accessible long-term marketing strategies available to a small business. And despite what you’ve probably heard, local SEO is easy to implement yourself and mostly can be done for free.
… and Act Locally
For the self-actuated, I explain how to do things yourself (and inexpensively) on my Writing for the Age of Lies blog.
I invite everyone to learn about my local SEO, content marketing, private SEO coaching, and group coaching services. Local SEO has its own rules but you still need a website with high-quality content whether you’re a local business or not, which is why I offer writing and blog coaching as well, focusing on traditional on-page SEO.
In my personal life I support a lot of causes, but as a social entrepreneur, my cause is supporting local and mission-driven businesses. It’s how I live; now it’s my business too.
The pandemic showed painfully what a vital role local businesses play in our lives and communities, and how the quality of our lives suffers when they’re gone. My mission is to keep them around.
Search engines and searching humans have one essential thing in common: They’re both looking for expert, authoritative information they can trust; information that’s useful, relevant, and there when you need it through thick and thin. That’s exactly what SEO is for: establishing your business as the authority that both Google and humans want to recommend all the time.
Early in my writing career I experienced dramatically the power of words to make a difference in the world. Now I inspire others to experience that too. Your message does no good unless people find it and read it. So let’s get to work on that.
If you’d like to learn how search engine optimization (SEO) can help your local or purpose-driven business, please check out my services schedule a free, no-obligation strategy session and let’s see what we can do about it.
Randy Lyman, 420 Bellevue Ave. #108, Oakland, CA 94610, 510-255-1166