By Brett Lewis
Understand what to expect when hiring local SEO services from an Internet marketing Agency. Get a real grasp on SEO service level agreements and more.
What Local SEO Services Can Do For Your Company
So your company needs to get more exposure online for it’s local business base. You want to get your website to rank on the first page of the big search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing. But, you’re frustrated because you just can’t seem to get it there yourself. That’s when you turn to an SEO Agency for their local SEO services. Prior to hiring a Search Engine Optimization expert, be sure that you understand the serve level agreements and what you are buying. This article discusses everything you need to know in order to hire an effective local SEO services company.
What is Local SEO Services?
Local SEO is different than National or Global search engine optimization. Most small and medium sized businesses are local by nature. They are established in a city (or multiple regional cities) and they serve customers, clients or patients that live nearby. For example, lets consider a dentist. He or she has a brick and mortar location in a particular city. In our example let’s say that city is Allentown. This Allentown dentist services patients from Allentown as well as nearby cities. Therefore the SEO services that they require should be laser targeted to people that live within their geographic area. It makes no sense to try to rank for a keyword phrase like “Dentist” on a national or global level. However, they absolutely want to rank for a phrase like “Dentist in Allentown” or “best dentist near me”. (I’ll discuss this last phrase a little later in the article) Therefore, it is important to understand the nature of the search engine optimization campaign that is being used because a local campaign is MUCH different than a national campaign.
Local SEO Pricing
SEO Agencies and independent SEO experts charge for their services in a variety of manners. To make matters worse, the pricing for SEO services is widely varied. If you are shopping for local SEO services, you’ll find the pricing to be all over the map. In some instances you see price points less than $200 per month and in other instances it’ll be in excess of $5,000 per month. There are many factors that enter into the pricing equation such as the level of competition, the number of locales to rank keywords in, etc. Also, keep in mind that in the case of SEO, the lowest price is not always the best. Make sure that you are working with a solid SEO company. One thing to keep in mind is the protection of your company’s branded websites. I consider these websites to be your company’s digital assets and they MUST be protected from harm. Hiring a cheap SEO may result in having bad SEO practices negatively impact your digital branded assets. I’ll discuss this in more detail further down in this article.
Local SEO Company
Not all SEO agencies are created equal. As discussed previously, agencies that implement marketing campaigns for large organizations will not have success working with local companies if they utilize the same techniques. So what works best for local SEO?
- Creating citations in local directories.
- Claiming and optimization your company’s Google maps listing.
- Creating a solid Reputation Marketing campaign.
- Making sure to not over optimize your website for local keywords.
- Having a great content creation strategy (blog article, video and picture marketing)
- Being social engaging on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
Must Have Local Search Engine Optimization Services
When looking to hire an SEO company to perform your local search engine optimization services, make sure that there are perform the tasks that really matter today. For instance, local companies should have local and relevant directory listings for their company. This establishes your NAPW citations (Name, Address, Phone & Website) correctly. This means that directory listings should be created for business directories that are regionally appropriate as well as listings that are niche appropriate. Another core task to have included in your monthly services is the creation of relevant and unique content. Content is the core of the Internet and websites that do not have good content with a decent FOP (frequent of publication) will struggle to get solid, long lasting 1st page search engine listings. Of course prior to any of these strategies, your website needs to be structurally sound with rock solid on-page SEO. On-Page SEO and keyword analysis should be the very first elements that any SEO agency performs as a part of their search engine optimization services.
One Great Local Search Engine Optimization Tip
One basic SEO tip that can be implemented by you or your SEO outsourcing company is to claim AND optimize the top 10 directory listings that your company should appear in. Be sure to fill out the listings 100% completely, including photos and video. A key factor in success is to make sure the NAPW is exactly the same across all the listings and that it matches your website. Here are the top five directories that you should start with. I’ve included links to the specific pages to get you started in the process of claiming your listings:
Generate Local Splash Reviews
Online reputation is an important element for local SEO. I utilize online reviews to create a ‘splash’ for my clients. For example, I’ll generate a video that highlights the reviews. In some instances, video is created with my client’s customers whereas other cases the video is a voiceover narration of the testimonial. Of course all the videos are optimized for specific keywords pertinent to my client’s niche and locale. I also create photos that incorporate the review and distribute these photos on the appropriate social platforms, making even more of a ‘splash’. My entire local splash reviews concept is online reputation marketing which establishes my clients as market leaders within their community. Equally as important, this method is a solid SEO technique that helps to bolster my client’s websites in the search engine results pages.
The marketing of reviews and reputation is an element of SEO that needs to included into any local search engine optimization services package to truly distinguish your company from your competitors. As you can image, this takes a lot of time to execute correctly but it is well worth it. In fact, I have taken the extra steps to put together a training program that specifically trains my client’s employees with regards to the importance of reputation. Why? Simply because THEY are the ones that interface with the public, the public that are leaving reviews online. The staff NEEDS to understand the importance of generating a positive reputation.
Measuring Local SEO Marketing Campaigns
Local SEO marketing campaigns may seem to be vague and ambiguous but there is no need for this to be the case. Make sure to track your results. For local SEO marketing, this can be accomplished in a variety of manners. It all boils down to the rudimentary question of, “What is the goal or objective of your SEO campaign?”
For instance, if the primary outcome is to get more customers, then you will want to measure metrics like number of phone calls generated, number of online form opt-ins generated, sales conversions compared to leads generated, etc. However, if the goal is to establish market dominance and branding, then the focus may be shifted to track the number of digital assists ranking in the search engines for specific terms, the company’s online reputation, the overall presence of your company versus the competition, etc.
All of these metrics are available and they all have a place when measuring the effectiveness of your local SEO marketing campaigns.
ROI For Local SEO Services Pricing
Back to the pricing topic of local SEO services. How do you know what you should pay for SEO services? instead of focusing on buying the cheapest services, instead consider quality of the service and factor in the lifetime value of your customers, clients or patients.
First of all, I cannot stress enough the importance of implementing quality SEO services for your websites. Shady, low quality, cheap & automated services will ultimately land your website in hot water and possible get it de-indexed from the search engines. Make sure that the SEO services being performed on your site is clean and “white-hat”.
Take into consideration the lifetime value of your customers. For example, if you run a HVAC contracting business, the average lifetime value of a customer may very well be over $6000. Based on this value, would you be willing to pay $1,500 per month to attract new customers? Assuming that you only received one new customer per month and utilizing the most basic return on investment (ROI) formula, ROI = (Gains – Cost)/Cost, the ROI in this example would be (6000-1500)/1500 or 300%. If you acquire more than one new customer per month, the ROI skyrockets.
When done correctly, local SEO services will produce extraordinary results for local businesses but be prepared to sort through a variety of pricing models. To recap, be sure to select a SEO services package that takes into consideration the the above points.