We take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to talk about the services industry. While we are normally expounding the virtues of the fanciest software there is, today we are going to tell you about some very valuable local services for your business. In particular, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of local SEO services.
Local SEO has gained immense significance in recent years and now it is an essential component of every brand and business that needs to rank highly across different search engines. Before going into further details it is important to understand what Local SEO is and how it works. Local SEO is about getting a business ranked in their geographical location. For example, if you are searching for a certain restaurant Google will let you know about the restaurant that is closest to your place.
Why Do Businesses Need Local SEO Services?
One fundamental question to answer is: why does a business need local SEO in the first place? Isn’t it sufficient to advertise on television, radio, billboards, and by word of mouth? Well the answer is very simple. Businesses need to get visibility across a local area. A local SEO service can prove to be quite useful in getting the ranking in the targeted area so that you are able to get more targeted traffic for your website and convert them to your potential clients.
How Does the Local SEO process Work?
Each website has its own targeted market and audience so the strategies need to be designed accordingly. However, here is an insight into the basic processes executed by the best local SEO services.
- The local map submission: The website’s name address and the phone number are submitted to the local map websites like Yahoo Locals, Bing Locals and Google Locals by a local SEO service.
- The Yellow pages: The local citations are researched and collected depending upon the location of the business. The local SEO service then submits the business NAP (name, address, phone #).
- Researching the keywords: This is one of the bigger challenges for a Local SEO service. It is the job of the local SEO service to discover those keywords that are relevant to the website. These are the keywords that will match up to user queries in the search engine.
- Managing the on-page optimization: The keywords lay the foundation for what is required by a search engine to index the specific page. Usually local SEO services also engage in building new pages based on the local keywords.
- Quality link building is the key responsibility of a local SEO service. As we covered in a previous article, inbound links are a primary source of juice in the eyes of the search engine. The local SEO service will therefore spend a great deal of time on that task.
- Giving the clients a vision about Social Media: It is the responsibility of local SEO service to make the client realize that Social Media can play a key role in brand reputation and bringing about conversions.
- Reporting: It is yet another key process that is managed by the local SEO service. The progress of the website is reported to the client at the end of the month. A local SEO service also checks out how visitors are responding to the website and what changes are required to boost engagement and conversion.
Choosing one of the best local SEO services
Now choosing one of the best local SEO services is not an easy task at all. The following points will indicate the dos and don’ts of selecting a local SEO service.
- Always beware of any promises that sound too good to be true. Remember that using white hat SEO techniques means that you will have to wait for results. Don’t go for companies that promise overnight rankings on the first page.
- Now most people think that when they hire a local SEO service then their job is over. However, it is not the truth. You need to evaluate the knowledge of the people whom you will hire for the job and for this you need to have sound knowledge on your own as well. Thus you need to do a bit of research on SEO so that you can put up questions to the SEO consultant. You need to understand the fact that since the algorithm of the search engine changes every year, your SEO service provider needs to keep abreast of these changes to keep your website ranking highly.
- When you are choosing a local SEO service remember that you hired them to increase traffic to your website. Your website has to produce qualified leads so that your client portfolio will increase. A helpful exercise is to take a look at other local businesses they have served. Contact them and see how much their business expanded as a result of the SEO services.
- Now some businesses try to opt for a shortcut and think of hiring a local SEO freelancer instead of the best local SEO services. This COULD work, in principle, however you must keep in mind that by hiring an individual you are not going to be able to contact them whenever you want. When the freelancer goes on vacation you are stuck dealing with problems on your own.
- If you need web design services as well, then be sure to ask if the SEO firm also offers that services as well. If they do, you want to get a feel for their skill level. The best way to do this is by looking at their website. This will give you the opportunity to assess their design and development skills. You want to be sure that their design philosophy is in line with your own preferences.
- Before you decide to hire the firm, make sure to check out their reputation online. Google reviews are one handy way of accomplishing this. You can also ask around to see if anybody knows who they are. The chances are high that if they have a bad reputation, quite a few people will know about it. If you ask around and nobody has heard of them, it simply means they don’t have a very large footprint and haven’t screwed anybody over.
Hiring a local SEO service the next step
Now that a local SEO service has been chosen, the job does not end here. The next step is to set up a meeting to get a feel for how it would be to engage in a business relationship with them. Make sure to ask about their expertise, ask for references, and strategies for dealing with future search engine algorithm changes. Make sure that they don’t engage in a “customer is always right” attitude, as this isn’t the case. You are not always right. They are the experts at SEO and design, and should be assertive enough to tell you when you are requesting something that isn’t feasible.
You need to work at every step with your local SEO service and the best local SEO services will cooperate with you. Make sure that they get back to you with regular feedback. If you have any concerns, do not keep them to yourself. You have to communicate your concerns to your hired
local service because it is a matter of concern for your business. Part of this is availability. The firm has to be available during normal business hours to facilitate clear lines of communication with their customers.
Pay a visit to their local office to get a feel for the environment. Engage in some careful observation of the working culture. If the front office staff is unhappy or unfriendly, this is a red flag. There is a strong chance the company has a negative culture that fosters a hostile work environment. If they are mistreating the front office employees, you can be pretty certain they won’t give you the type of treatment you want. Stick to your guns on this point and don’t be swayed by a factor like cost. If they treat employees like garbage, they will treat you even worse.
When you are ready to hire the firm, make sure to get a clearly spelled out contract. You want to clearly delineate what their responsibilities are. You also need to address questions like the ownership of Intellectual Property. Should you terminate your business relationship with the firm, what happens to the IP? Are they going to actively remove the SEO optimizations they put in place? Will they remove your local business listing with Google? It may seem farfetched, but do not leave it to chance. You don’t want to get caught off guard in the event you are unsatisfied with their performance and attempt to terminate the agreement.
As we have seen, there are a number of considerations when selecting a local SEO service. Make sure they are using white hat techniques and are abreast of future changes to the search engine algorithms. Ranking a local site is somewhat different from ranking national or international sites, in that you have to pay close attention to creation of a Google business page and other small details. It is these details that will spell success for your SEO campaign.
Make sure you can have a strong working relationship with the company. Key to this is going to be how they treat employees and customers.
Don’t do business with people you wouldn’t want to have over for dinner. I mean, you don’t have to invite them to meet the family, but they should be decent enough people that you can tolerate working with them.
Make sure to get everything in writing when you are finalizing the contract. Spell everything out in painstaking detail. Don’t be afraid of this step. Oh, and hire a lawyer.
We hope this has been informative. Navigating the realm of local SEO service providers can be a little difficult, so hopefully this article has shed some light on a murky topic. We look forward to seeing you in the next article.
Latest posts by Phil Tabor (see all)
- Content Marketing Services Software You Don’t Want to Miss - April 4, 2016
- Resourceful Human Resources Software - March 20, 2016
- Ins and Outs of Brand Management Software - March 20, 2016