Did you know that 50% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day? Same with 34% of consumers who searched on a computer or tablet. Whether you're a digital business or a brick and mortar location, local search is a great way to inform and engage with people looking to take action. While some savvy business owners tackle their own SEO, many outsource the work to others. This post will help make sure you make a smart decision before hiring a local SEO company.
Over my years in the search and digital marketing community I have a heard a number of horror story from companies that invested thousands of dollars with so-called "SEO experts" but received little or no results. By the end of this post, you'll have the knowledge and tools to make an informed decision on which local SEO firm is right for you.
Before we get into the details, lets cover a few of the basics of Local SEO and why it matters.
What are The Differences between Organic SEO & Local SEO?
Organic SEO: Organic SEO is a marketing practice of optimizing your website to make it search engine friendly and get it ranked for relevant keywords. It might or not include a local element, but is usually not associated with a brick or mortar business. (source)
Local SEO: Local SEO is simply the practice of building reliability and relevant signals around specific locations. (source)
Why local SEO matters?
Because 50% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, local SEO presents a great opportunity to get in front of searchers who are looking to take action. Because the Google 3-pack appears in the top spot in 93% of local searches, you can actually get your website or location ranked above the organic listings. Companies that invest in local SEO can benefit from more exposure and clicks from local searchers.
Who Needs Local SEO?
If you have a physical location such as a brick and mortar retailer or serve a specific area, like a plumbing company, local SEO is for you! Google search interest in “near me” has increased 34X since 2011 and has nearly doubled again in 2015. But like any marketing strategy, there is no one size fits all strategy. This is why finding a local SEO company that can create a strategy specific to your business needs is essential to your success.
Things to Consider Before Hiring a Local SEO Company
Ask for Case Studies: Ask prospective companies for examples of their work. Ask for a few different case studies in different industries that show how they worked with each company to overcome specific challenges and produced results.
Ask for Referrals: 88% of consumers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. The same rule should apply to local SEO companies. Ask for referrals and read reviews. These will give you are a great insight into how well this company performs.
Don't Hire Based on Rankings: When it comes to search engines rankings, there is a lot that goes into the equation. Don't just pick the local SEO company that is at the top of the list. Do your homework on them and see if they are the real deal.
Location/Citation Management: There are 1000's of different location and citation sites that you could list your business on. But just because they are there, doesn't mean they are good for your business. Ask the prospective SEO company how they handle location and citation management. Do they partner with any tools like Yext or MozLocal?
For a list of the top 100 local citations in your state, check out this great post from Brightlocal.
Reputations Management: 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business. Any company you work with must have a solid understanding of reputation management. Not only do reviews help impact consumers, but search engines also love and trust them too.
Link Building: Links are the backbone of all SEO efforts. When it comes to local search, having a local link strategy is key. It's not the quantity that matters, but the quality and with local SEO, the neighbor of those links matter as well.
Reporting & Tracking: Many companies and SEO obsess over vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are metrics that make you feel good but lack any real meaning. Make sure that any local SEO company you go with tracks and reports on metrics that impact your businesses bottom line. Traffic is nice, but it doesn't pay the bills.
Mobile vs Desktop: Optimizing for mobile and desktop are two very different things. While both matter, mobile is clearly taking over.
So again, making sure that the local SEO company you choose understands what it takes to both attract and convert local search traffic. It is essential to your success.
Just Your Gut: Never hire a local SEO company without spending time getting to know them. While much of business today is done with online communication, nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting. This lets you get to know their personality and see if they will fit well with your working style.
Making an invest into marketing your business with local SEO can result in powerful growth. People use search to learn more about the products they want and where they can get them now. In fact, 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. If you need local SEO help or have questions about the information above, please feel free to contact us today.
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