SEO in Lancaster: Challenges & Advantages

Brandon Schmidt | October 4, 2018
Local Search Optimization

As a Lancaster, PA SEO agency, we have a front row seat to the challenges and opportunities facing local businesses in getting found online. Here are our thoughts.

seo for businesses in lancaster

Search engine optimization is an important component any digital marketing strategy. A small or medium sized business relies on local search optimization to get found by their target audience.

For local businesses, the stakes could not be higher. There is only so much space in the local map pack and on the first page of the search results. Every click to a competitor’s site is a lost opportunity for you. When a local user searches for your product or service, you need to show up.

As a Lancaster, PA SEO agency, we have a front row seat to the challenges and opportunities facing local businesses in getting found online. Here are our thoughts.

Challenges for SEO in Lancaster

Every city and community provides unique challenges when it comes to SEO. Here are some of the most common ones we see facing local Lancaster County businesses.

Brand Confusion

Due to rich history of families staying in Lancaster County for centuries, there are certain surnames that are way more popular than others. And, since many small businesses are started by families, these last names find their way into the business name. If you live here in Lancaster, you no doubt can think of more than one store or business that includes these last names:

  • Brubaker
  • Miller
  • Stoltzfus
  • Weaver

If your business includes a name like this, Google may confuse your brand with other companies. This makes you a likely candidate for local SEO services to minimize confusion.

Complicated Business History

Since many local SMBs here in Lancaster are long-standing and family-run, there is a greater chance it has gone through organizational changes. Whether you update your name, spin a division off for a relative to run, or move your operation from the family farm to a larger shop or office, these company changes can have an impact on how Google sees, understands, and shows your business. Local SEO work can bring clarity and reduce inaccuracy for your online presence.

  • Name Change
  • Address Change (moving from the family farm to a professional shop or office)
  • Split the Company (usually among family members)
  • Purchase a Company

High competition for certain industries

Every community has their share of retail, manufacturing, and service based companies. Here in Lancaster County, we have a larger than average number of businesses in specific verticals. Many of them are in the woodworking and construction industry, likely due to the skill and reputation of the County’s Amish & Mennonite craftsmen.

More local businesses in a specific industry means greater competition – especially when it comes to SEO. Companies in these industries must make SEO a priority to stay ahead of the competition.

Highly competitive industries in Lancaster include:

  • Outdoor Living Products (furniture, sheds, gazebos, playsets)
  • Woodworking
  • Car Dealerships
  • Restaurants & Buffets
  • Retirement Communities

Opportunities for SEO in Lancaster

There are some incredible options for businesses in Lancaster County to leverage in order to grow their online presence and increase qualified traffic and leads.

Linkbuilding Opportunities

Here in Lancaster we are fortunate to have several great websites that help local businesses get found by their target audience. Local business directories (like The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Central Penn Business Journal, and LancasterPA.com) receive large amounts of traffic and are solid sources of referral traffic. There are also plenty of Lancaster-specific community calendars that are always willing to highlight upcoming events your business may be hosting or sponsoring.

High Traffic for Certain Keywords

Lancaster County is known for our Plain communities, with people coming from around the world to see the Amish. If your business is an attraction or in a tourism-related field, you have a great opportunity to target the traffic searching for these terms.

Likewise the handcrafted items produced by Amish and Mennonites – including quilts and furniture – are sought after across the Mid-Atlantic states. You can target keywords like “Amish-made [product]” or “PA Dutch [product]” to tap into these high search volumes.

Savvy Internet Users

While most of Lancaster County is rural, the community is made up of a sizable population of savvy internet users. This means that you can use the latest offerings from Google, like Google Posts, and you’ll see a better result than you might in other rural areas of the country.

Hire an SEO Agency with Lancaster Expertise

When you are looking for a digital marketing partner to improve your company’s online presence, it’s wise to find one that knows your community. What works in Philadelphia may not translate to success here in Central PA. Contact YDOP to learn how we can bring our local SEO expertise to your company.