Are you looking to increase walk-in leads to your physical store? Do you want to be the go-to business when potential customers search for your products or services? Chances are, you already know local SEO is your best bet. However, you are confused about what to look for and how to hire a local SEO agency.
Hiring anyone to take your online marketing to the next level has never been easy. Too many ‘self-acclaimed experts’ are out there delivering low to no results and charging high fees. That’s as bad for your business as it is for your mental health.
Here, you will learn where to find the best local SEO experts and the right questions to ask.
What is local SEO?
Just so you’re sure of what you are looking for, local SEO works just like the basic Google search. However, in this case, Google’s bots run through the indexed pages on their server to bring up the best businesses offering the services that the searcher wants to see.
To make it simpler to understand. When people do a local search on Google for location-specific queries like “Haulage company in Cleveland,” Google brings out listings of different businesses in that area, and the user can choose any of them.
With local business listings on Google, serious buyers can easily order the goods or request the service without visiting the website or the store. This makes it easier for companies to drive sales and generate organic traffic to their site. Learn more about the types of SEO.
DO NOT make the mistake of going with the first company you find. This is the first ingredient of failure. Be sure you have thoroughly grilled the process before making a decision; below is why it is essential to do that.
Why is it crucial to carefully choose a local SEO company
The answer to this question is simple, and every smart business owner must consider it. Don’t rush the process, or you lose more than just the time it could have taken to find a capable expert’.
1. Too many self-acclaimed SEO experts are either too new to the business or too inexperienced to handle your local business. If you don’t take your time, you might end up with a newbie trying to use your business as a training ground. That’s not what you need right now.
2. Don’t experiment with your marketing money. SEO costs money and needs to pull in returns for what you spend. You shouldn’t have to waste all that money on experiments. When you choose a local SEO expert, you should be sure they can get your business found.
3. Reputation management: The job doesn’t end at just getting your business to rank. You must also work with experts dedicated to giving your business a good face. They’ll manage your reviews, respond to customer feedback, and tackle negative comments to help potential customers see your proficiency in the industry.
Find out about the most common SEO mistakes that send companies down a slippery slope.
Now that you know how important it is to carefully and patiently search for an expert, what are the best ways to do it?
How to find a reputable local SEO agency for your business
Below is a list of tips for hiring the right SEO agency. Ensure you go through every stage mentioned in this article before you hire the best possible local SEO company.
1. Set realistic and measurable goals
You must understand that while SEO can help you boost leads and increase sales, it takes time to see results and may be affected by factors such as the location you serve, the product or service, the competition, and many more. You must consider all these factors while setting your goals.
Ensure that your goals are specific. Generic SEO goals are hardly ever accomplished because they get you lost. However, ensure that you aim reasonably and realistically high. You don’t want to shortchange yourself. And lastly, your local SEO strategy should align with what you hope to achieve with your business.
2. Go for a specialized expert
The best way to find the right SEO agency to help you succeed is to work with a company that specializes in specific SEO services. The SEO agency should be able to handle technical SEO, on-site SEO, local listings management, and even local SEO. It must be somebody who has helped other local businesses improve their local search optimization, helping them get qualified leads. That’s who you need on your team.
3. Create a list of some of the best companies you find
You may think you have it all in your head, but making a list is always a great way to see your options quickly. Create a list of experts that fit into what you want, and write down why you think they are a good fit. Compare these companies and carefully determine which one has the most experience and fits into the goals you have for your business.
4. Look for experts who understand your industry
Hiring a local SEO company with no industry knowledge or experience is a waste of your time and money. As you search through the hundreds of good SEO companies, ensure to only shortlist the ones that have helped companies in your industry or related industries. The last thing you want is a one-size-fits-all approach.
SEO is dynamic. What works in the health industry may be useless for a restaurant business. This is because every client base has different intentions, and their willingness to buy food may differ from their willingness to purchase medication.
Also, hire an SEO company that is willing to learn your trade, ask you questions, do in-depth research, and take the appropriate steps that fit into your industry.
5. Consider your budget
Like every other SEO marketing service, local SEO costs money. However, you can find the right companies that meet your budget. As you make your list, you can either remove companies that charge way higher than what you have planned or increase your budget to hire an SEO agency that can take your company to success.
Note that higher rates don’t always result in higher success. Before you choose an established agency because of its big business name, consider all the other points raised here.
6. Check for testimonials and case studies
Don’t decide until you read what previous customers say about the company’s expertise. Although it is not a complete indication that they will help you achieve all your goals, it gives you a clear understanding of how they treat their clients, their dedication to their work, and the results they can create.
You can also privately email the companies who dropped the testimonials to be sure. We advise clients to do this because some SEO experts will have fake testimonials with fake names. An alternative approach is to choose an SEO company that offers video testimonials. That way, you can see their clients talk about them and not just ordinary texts that can be forged.
Case studies do more than just praise. They show what the company has done for previous clients. Take a look at our case studies to give you an idea of what you should look out for.
7. Screen your list and reach out to the best few
Now that you have a list of potential best local SEO companies, it is time to reduce the list by weeding out companies that do not provide the right services for you. Carefully screen the list against your business goals and reach out to the selected few.
It is always essential to contact up to three (3) or five (5) different prospective SEO companies to help you determine the best fit. Speak with all of them and see their unique proposals before you choose the right one.
Some critical questions to ask a local SEO agency
Asking the right questions will help you understand what the company can do for you and also help the company see that you know what you want and understand how SEO works. Before choosing a local SEO company to help your business succeed online, ask the following questions.
1. Do you follow Google’s guidelines?
Google is the mother of search engines, at least when this article was created and likely longer, so your strategies must match what Google suggests and wants.
Your Google My Business page can get deleted if you disregard the guidelines they have created to keep the community safe. While you could top the rankings for a few days, the moment Google finds out that you’re cheating the system, your profile gets deleted, and you must start all over.
Ask the SEO company if they follow all the guidelines, so you don’t have to start afresh.
2. Can I get anonymous clients’ reports?
As mentioned earlier in tips for hiring the right agency, you can ask the agency to show you a report from one of their previous projects for an anonymous client. This helps you see almost everything, including their local SEO results, reporting style, progress made, and efficiency in improving local businesses.
3. How have you improved your past clients’ businesses?
You may not understand the metrics and everything you see in the report, but it makes the agency see you as somebody who knows their way around basic SEO strategies. When you ask them how they improved the client’s local business, they’ll be inclined to tell you all the facts.
This helps ensure you’re not just reading fake success stories and vanity metrics. They will fill you in on every detail and process that got the business up to speed.
4. Do my local SEO goals look realistic or over the edge?
After discussing your goals with them and letting them know what you want out of their local SEO services, it always helps to hear from them if they think the goals you have set align with the SEO program, the current position of your business, and the historical data of the location you want to serve.
You don’t want to table these to just one local SEO agency. Ask as many as you can and let them review your goal. If they all give you the impression that your goal looks unrealistic, you should ask them what can be done instead. If not, you should move on to the next point.
5. What else do you need from me?
This is an important question to ask anyone who works for you. Not just agencies but anyone helping you build a business. Your goal is to see that your company is making the rounds on the search engine, and you should give everything required to see that come true.
You want to ensure that you provide everything the agency needs, including the required funding, to take your company from where it is to where you want it to be. And if they cannot produce relevant results within the promised period, you would be sure you’re working with the best possible SEO agency.
Are you considering hiring a digital marketing agency? Read the 15 critical questions you must ask a digital marketing agency before onboarding them.
Five (5) reasons why you need local SEO for your business
The idea of local SEO is almost the same as the usual kind of SEO you already know. The only difference is that this time, you’re ranking for local search and winning over local customers instead of generalized keywords in blog posts and service pages.
Below are five reasons why you need local SEO for your business.
1. It boosts your competitiveness
When you set up a business, you must understand that several other companies in your industry have been set up in your locality. Your goal is to outdo those competitors and acquire a good market share. Local marketing is how to do that.
2. Serious buyers prefer local search
Over 46% of Google searches are local, meaning that out of every 100 searches in your industry, around 46% of them intend to buy. When people search for terms like “Car Window Tinting near me” or “Interior design company in Cleveland,” they are obviously ready to pay for the service. Google suggests businesses that have optimized their Google my business profiles to meet that query.
3. It is more affordable than full-blown SEO
Since you are only choosing local SEO packages, you may only have to pay a fraction of the total SEO cost. However, local search campaigns are often influenced by organic SEO, meaning that your business also needs to have a solid SEO standing to make local searches profitable for you.
So, find an agency that can help you achieve all-round SEO success.
4. Phone searches lead to more sales
Mobile phones are taking over search engines. More people are creating search queries with their phones than with their computers. Over 50% of Google searches are done with mobile phones. Now, how does this relate to your local SEO campaign?
Because local SEO (local search engine optimization) is mobile-friendly, most users or buyers prefer to use their mobile phones to do a quick search instead of turning on the computer. Mobile phones are also super-convenient when buyers need to make a sudden or urgent decision to purchase a product or service.
5. Helps you get more visitors to your website and land-based store
If you ever need that extra boost in traffic, online presence, or sales, local SEO is the ideal SEO strategy to use. If you work with the right local SEO agency for your business, you shouldn’t have any problem pulling in traffic and leads to your business.
Learn these six (6) tips to pull customers to your online store.
Three (3) things to remember when you eventually hire the right local SEO agency
After you have hired one of the agencies on your list, you should take note of the following.
1. Let them know mistakes you’ve made in the past or strategies you’ve used
It would be best if you didn’t hide anything from the agency. They should know about the strategies you have tried that worked or didn’t. If you already have a Google business profile, they should know what mistakes you made while doing that and the results you got from it.
Fill them in on the process and methods you used when creating it. By doing this, you’re making the project easier for the agency and speeding up the process for your local business.
2. Know Google’s guidelines for yourself
A basic understanding of SEO always comes in handy, but a basic idea of Google’s regulations and guidelines is even more critical. Understanding Google’s guidelines will help you make a good argument when choosing a local SEO agency.
3. Changes take time – so give it time
SEO takes time. In fact, every online business strategy takes time. This usually happens because several websites and businesses compete for high rankings, and your company is just one of them.
As a local business owner that needs to appear on search results and dominate it, you should know that it will take a lot of time to knock out the old site owners already dominating the rankings. With time, you should also see your business dominating search results as long as you keep up with the SEO efforts.
Organic and local ranking on search engines is a task left only to business experts. This is because it goes beyond optimizing your site to feature specific keywords to help you stay competitive in your locality and niche. You need someone to constantly monitor every activity on your Google business profile and ensure it is optimized for success.
Milia Marketing is a digital marketing agency that delivers excellent SEO services to help you scale your business online and improve qualified SEO results. We can help your business get found for all local keywords that help you make a sale, putting you in a position to become a leading voice and seller in your industry.
Read case studies of how we moved small businesses in and out of Cleveland toward success beyond their expectations. Schedule a quick discovery call with us today, and we will show you how we can help you improve sales.