Hiring anyone to take your online marketing to the next level has never been an easy task. There are too many ‘self-acclaimed experts’ out there delivering low to no results and charging high fees. That’s bad for your business as much as it is for your mental health.
Before choosing a local SEO agency, there are lots of things you want to do first and some more you should be looking out for. This article will show you all of them. Tag along as we help make your decision-making journey a lot more stress-free than you expected.
Before we dive into the ‘hows’ of this article, you must know the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ first and they are:
- What is local SEO
- Why do you need local SEO (local search engine optimization) anyway?
- Why is it important to choose carefully?
Let us get those points clear as we move on to the main point of the article.
What is local SEO?
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 for the service without having to visit the website or the store. This makes it easier for companies to make sales and generate intentional and organic traffic to their site.
Read case studies of how we moved small businesses in and out of Cleveland towards success beyond their expectations. We run a full-service digital marketing, Cleveland company that focuses on ensuring that every client attains a level of progress they expect for their money’s worth.
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 that you already know. The only difference is that this time, you’re ranking for local search instead of generalized keywords in blog posts.
Below are five reasons why you need local SEO for your business.
1. It boosts your competitiveness
When you set up a business, you need to understand that several other businesses in your niche have been set up in your locality. Your goal is to outdo those competitors and acquire their market share.
Online, local SEO is that one strategy that can help you stay competitive and measure up with your competitors both old and new.
2. Serious buyers prefer local search
When people need products or services and decide to search on Google, they usually type in search terms like, “Car Window Tinting near me” or “Interior design company in Cleveland.”
With search terms like these, Google suggests to the searchers some businesses that have optimized their Google my business profiles. If your Google my business (GMB) profile is properly optimized, you’ll always make a new customer (Long term or one time).
The good news is that only serious buyers use this technique. Over 46% of Google searches are local, which means that out of every 100 searches in your niche, around 46% of them have the intention to buy.
3. It is cheap — cheaper than regular SEO
SEO is cheap but local SEO is even cheaper. Even hiring a local SEO agency in Cleveland is not as expensive as paying for the full SEO package. However, it is important to optimize your entire website and not just Google my business if you intend to boost sales and traffic.
You’ll need a full-service internet marketing agency, Cleveland to offer you the best in SEO to boost your appearance on search engines and help your site and GMB profile stay optimized always.
4. Phone searches lead to more sales
Mobile phones are taking over search engines. More people are creating search queries with their phones more than they’re doing with their computers. Over 50% of Google searches are done with mobile phones.
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 to use when buyers make a sudden or urgent decision to purchase a product or service.
With this knowledge, it is important to make your website completely mobile-friendly and easy to access as you pull in traffic from your local search appearance.
5. Helps you get more visitors to your website and land-based store
If you ever need that extra boost in traffic or sales, local SEO is the ideal SEO strategy you should be looking out for. 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.
Because local search makes up over 46% of all Google searches, you’re sure to keep getting visitors to your website and buyers to your land-based store regularly.
Why is it important to carefully choose a local SEO company
Hiring a local SEO company is a task that requires a lot of focus, deliberation, and consideration. Your goal is to reach a wider range of people and make more sales. You don’t want to add an extra cost to your business when it doesn’t yield any extra profit to your local business.
It is important to carefully choose a local SEO agency because of the following reasons:
1. A lot of self-acclaimed SEO experts are either too new to the business or too inexperienced to be handling your local business. You need to put your ears and eyes to the ground when selecting one.
2. Local SEO is cheap but it still costs money and that money has to be recovered. You don’t want to go about spending money on your business that you cannot recoup. Whether you’re going for local SEO or a full-blown search engine optimization, Cleveland, you should make some profits.
Things to keep in mind as you hire the best possible local SEO company
Before you hire an SEO agency, there are crucial points you have to keep in mind and some more that behooves you. Below are some of them.
1. Set realistic and measurable goals
Many local business owners think that SEO, especially local SEO is a source for hundreds of thousands of buyers flocking their store overnight. SEO as a whole is a long-term strategy. And if you want to rank for a local search, you must bear that in mind as well.
Set your goals based on historical data. If you have tried local SEO before, ask yourself questions like what progress did you make? How did you rank? How many sales did you make? How many new customers came knocking. Once you’ve answered these questions, moving forward becomes easier.
Ensure that your goals are specific instead of generic. Generic SEO goals are hardly ever accomplished because they get you lost along the way. Whether you’re working with a local SEO agency for your business or you’re doing it alone, your goals should be about what you hope to achieve and when.
However, ensure that you aim reasonably and realistically high. You don’t want to shortchange yourself. And lastly, tie your SEO strategy to your marketing strategy. Your local SEO strategy should be in line with what you hope to achieve with your business.
2. Reviews! Reviews!! Reviews!!!
There is hardly any business these days that doesn’t have a reviews page on Yelp or, at least, Google. Browse out the local SEO company you want to hire and read what others are saying about them.
Note that reviews are somewhat different from testimonials. While testimonials could sometimes be made up, reviews will always point out the fact from customers who have really used the services of the SEO agency.
3. Go for a specialized expert instead of an ‘all-around-the-place’ guy
Choose a more specialized expert instead of a jack of all trades. Some freelance digital marketers claim to be the best at everything about digital marketing. However, online marketing is a wide field including social media marketing, email marketing, web design, SEO services, and several other services.
SEO agencies or full-service digital marketing companies, which means that they offer all the internet marketing services under one house but there is a difference.
Instead of having one guy handle all the marketing services, the duties are shared among teams of experts. This means that there are specialized experts handling your local SEO services while others handle the other aspects of your marketing needs. This makes it super easy to come up with a suitable marketing solution for your business.
4. Ask the agency what they want to do
While most business owners wait until they have hired the SEO company before asking this question, it should be done before it. You want to ask yourself first what this agency can do for you and then ask the agency what they intend to do.
How do they plan to increase the number of visitors to your website through local SEO? Can they improve your rankings in search engines through local SEO? How long will be the maximum time before you can begin to see changes? These questions will help the SEO company make your business a priority.
5. How do they communicate and report progress?
Nothing beats a good report. After a while of implementing the strategy, there should definitely be some results. Ask what the company’s mode of reporting is. You definitely want to choose a local SEO company based on this.
Most local SEO companies have no metric. They have no way to prove to you that the strategy they’re using is making any difference in your business at all. While the strategy may be working, you should be able to see it.
How many customers have clicked on your GMB profile since creating it? Are you ranking for the right keywords in the search engine? All these should be reportable. A good SEO company prioritizes reporting more than anything else because it shows you how far they’re going with your business.
However, you need to be wary of some SEO companies and digital marketers who report vanity metrics. You should care about how many clicks your link got because that doesn’t help you sell. You should be more concerned about the result of the clicks.
You want to make money from the search engines, not just clicks and as such you should be concerned about how they communicate progress to you.
6. Look for SEO agencies that are willing to learn about your local business
As a local business owner looking to hire a local SEO agency, you might get lost with all the hundreds of SEO agencies on the internet. They all have achievements to show you and convince you that they’re the perfect team for you.
However, the right local SEO company is willing to learn about their clients’ local businesses.
Most SEO companies may have made a huge success in an industry they’re conversant and comfortable working in. They should make it a point of duty to fully understand your business and not implement a one-size-fits-all approach.
SEO is dynamic. What works in the health industry may be completely useless in a restaurant business. This is because every client base has different intentions and their willingness to buy food may be different from their willingness to buy medication.
Hire the best local 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.
7. Ask for testimonials and reach out if you can
Established local businesses or business owners know how important testimonials are. They help new and potential customers get an understanding of what previous customers have to say about the business.
Testimonials are somewhat different from reviews. This is because most reviews are done by independent bodies who go out to check several customer satisfaction points as well as pain points in the services of a business. Testimonials, on the other hand, are done by previous clients.
If the local SEO company is as big and successful as they say they are, then it should have some loyal and happy customers or clients who are willing to put in good words for them.
Local businesses usually have a section for testimonials on their website. If you can’t find that, simply contact the company and ask them to direct you to it. If they can’t do that, then you probably should reconsider.
One thing you must remember before you hire a local SEO agency is to reach out to the people who dropped the testimonials. Send a quick email to some of them, asking them for recommendations.
The reason why we advise clients to do this is that some SEO companies and several other businesses in many an industry will have fake testimonials with fake names. When you reach out to these people and you don’t get any response after a week, you probably should ask more questions.
An alternative to the above paragraph 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.
Now that you know what to look for when hiring a local SEO agency to help boost your local business sales as well as your appearance on search results, you should now think about the right questions to ask the local SEO agency.
Some important questions to ask a local SEO agency
When you finally narrowed down your choices to around two SEO companies or agencies, the following questions will help you detect red flags that should help you further narrow down your list.
1. Do you follow Google’s guidelines?
Google is the mother of search engines, at least at the time that this article was created and likely longer, so your strategies must match what Google suggests and wants.
Google My Business profiles are often easily deleted when they go out of Google’s regulations. 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 have to start all over.
Ask the SEO company if they follow all the guidelines so that you don’t have to start afresh.
2. Can I get an anonymous clients’ report?
As mentioned earlier on tips to 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 to see almost everything including their reporting style, the progress made, and their efficiency in improving local businesses.
3. How have you improved your past clients’ businesses?
You’re likely not going to understand the metrics and all the things 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 local business of the client, they’ll be inclined to telling you all the facts.
This helps to ensure that 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?
Remember that the first point in the 7 points above is setting realistic goals. Now, you get to speak to the agencies you’re hiring about your goals and let them tell you if it is achievable or unrealistic.
Note that 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 that is required to see that come true.
You want to ensure that you have given them all that they need, including the required funding, to take your company from where it is to where it is supposed to be. And if they cannot produce relevant results within the period they promised, then you would be sure if you’re working with the best possible SEO agency or not.
3 things you must keep in mind when eventually choose a 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
You shouldn’t hide anything from the agency. They should know about the strategies you have tried that worked or didn’t. If you had a GMB profile already set up, 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 not only making the project easier for the agency but also 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 what’s even more important is a basic idea of Google’s regulations and guidelines.
Understanding Google’s guidelines will help you put up 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 takes time. This usually happens because several websites and businesses are competing for high rankings and your company is just one of them.
As a local business owner that needs to appear on search results and also 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 see your business dominating search results too as long as you keep up with the SEO efforts.
Are you ready to increase business sales and website traffic with the best search engine optimization, Cleveland company?
Finding the best company that meets your local SEO expectations in Cleveland, Ohio takes so much effort. Sometimes, their names appear in listings and several reviews but their services aren’t quite fruitful enough to match your expectations.
At Milia Marketing, we make your success our focal point by implementing SEO best practices that not only help your entire website but also help you appear in local listings.
Below are a few reasons why you should choose us
1. Effective communication of relevant data and progress
We understand how important reporting is. We know how it can foster a strong belief in us and your business as well. We don’t waste our clients’ time reporting useless and irrelevant numbers.
Our reporting style is super-easy for you to understand and convenient. We focus on only the numbers that yield cash flow for your business.
2. Healthy agency-client relationship
Our clients are everything to us. Your success is our success because we add every client to our portfolio. And to make sure that our portfolio only speaks good about us, we put in everything that’s required to leave you satisfied and that includes excellent customer service.
We are always up and ready to respond to your emails and walk you through the process as we go through it. We meet your expectations and surpass them.
3. In-depth research and industry mastery
We conduct deep research about your business and your industry. We spend the biggest part of our work on mastering your industry to ensure that every action we take is spot on and can help your ranking and sales.
4. Big results within your marketing budget
We offer all these services with your company’s budget. We want to focus on delivering the best results and to do that, we spend your money like it’s ours. Get on a call with us right away and let us help you get your business on top of your local listings on Google.
5. Reviews and testimonials to prove it
On our site are several video and text testimonials from industry leaders who have enjoyed our wealth of knowledge and have been moved from one point in their business to another.
Organic and local ranking on search engines is a task that is left only to the best in the business. This is because it goes beyond optimizing your site to feature certain keywords but to help you stay competitive in your locality and niche.
Milia Marketing is the local SEO agency you want to have beside you at all times if you ever want to scale your online business. Send us an email, give us a call or visit our office today, and let us discuss your way up.