Local SEO is so important for businesses with a physical location.
As a top ranked local SEO company, we are uniquely qualified to provide advice. Get ready to learn about local search engine optimization and how to pick the best local SEO company.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the phrase “Local SEO,” it’s basically a way to optimize your website so that people in your area are likely to find it. Think of it as a way to get people to your site so that you can eventually get them through the front door.
But Local SEO is a complicated discipline.
That’s why you need to find a company that specializes in Local SEO.
Here are several steps you should take to find the company that will optimize your website so that people in your vicinity will find it.
Get Multiple Consultations From Local SEO Companies
When you’re interviewing for an open position at your place of business, do you interview just one person? Probably not.
And when you’re scouting around for a great Local SEO company, you shouldn’t just accept the proposal of the first business you contact.
Get multiple consultations so that you can get an idea about which company is giving you the best bang for your buck.
Ask for Case Studies From a Local SEO Company
Any Local SEO company worth its salt has case studies. They’ll tell you exactly how the company helped other SMBs achieve local stardom online.
Usually, SEO companies will have case studies on their website. Go over them to get an idea of each candidate’s track record.
Ask Local SEO Companies About Experience With Schema.org
Schema.org is very important to local SEO.
You need to make sure you configure things correctly and have a company working with you who understands it.
Ask If the Company Specializes in Local SEO
SEO is quickly becoming a multi-faceted discipline. There’s Local SEO, national SEO, and international SEO, just to name a few.
It’s probably best for your business if you contract with a company that specializes in Local SEO.
Ask About the Company’s Overall Local SEO Strategy
Each company will take a slightly different approach to SEO depending on the nature of the business and its target market.
Some might specialist in just one vertical, others might only work one client in each vertical, so there are vastly different models.
That said, the companies you’re considering should also have a general approach to local SEO that cuts across industries and markets. Ask your local SEO company to explain it to you.
Ask About the Tools That the Local SEO Company Uses
There are countless SEO tools available on the market that make an SEO’s job much easier.
Ask the companies you’re considering to explain the tools that they use and why they use them. You’ll gain some insight into their overall approach to SEO.
Ask About the Local SEO’s Company’s Experience With Reviews
Brace yourself: part of good Local SEO involves generating positive reviews for your business and getting those reviews posted online.
A good local SEO company will have a review generation strategy and service. Lately, I have really been liking Birdeye.com for this.
Ask About How Much On-Site SEO Is Required
Do you need to create landing pages, restructure your site, add schema.org?
When we do local SEO, it often involved location pages, city pages, state pages and even country pages. It is important to know how all this works together and what website development is involved.
For big sites, sometimes it can make sense to organize it with a clickable map. These guys have done a pretty good job, although they have only built out about 25% of their state and city pages.
Ask Local SEO Companies About Citations
Another important aspect of local SEO includes placing business citations throughout cyberspace.
A citation is contact information about your business. It includes the business name, address, and phone number (NAP).
Google uses citations to determine which order to rank businesses in local search results, so it’s important that your SEO company knows how to place them.
I like Moz Local for this right now, but there are so many citation builders out there and many that need to be created manually.
Ask the Local SEO Company for a List of Current and Past Clients
Do you go see a movie without first reading reviews? Do you buy a product online without looking at its rating?
Probably not. And you shouldn’t hire a local SEO company without first checking references.
Make sure to ask about clients that they did specially local SEO for.
Ask About What’s Included in Reports
Local SEO reports are often different than national, so make sure they have these capabilities.
Here is what you want to see:
- Rankings in each location (Google Plus Page and HTML URL Ranking)
- Traffic for each location, conversion rates and leads (or sales)
- Read more about SEO reporting.
Ask If the Local SEO Company Adheres to the Webmasters’ Guidelines
There is a right way and a wrong way to do SEO.
The right way involves following the guidelines set forth by Google. The wrong way involves doing pretty much anything else. Make sure that the company you hire follows the guidelines or you might end up hurting your business more than helping it.
Ask What the Company Offers for Free
Does the local SEO company provide a free analysis or projections? Its a great idea to ask.
Ask About the Latest Changes in Local SEO
Give your candidates a chance to impress you with their knowledge by asking them about the latest changes to Local SEO.
Ask How the Company Plans on Getting You in the Local 3-Pack
If you Google the name of your city plus the word “plumber,” you’ll probably see a list of 3 businesses just below the ads at the top. That list is called the local 3-Pack.
That’s prime digital real estate for your local business. Ask each of the companies you’re considering how they plan to get you in that top spot.
Ask How the Local SEO Company Plans on Ranking You for Organic Results
Your business shouldn’t just appear in the local 3-Pack. It should also appear in the organic results.
The organic results are search results that appear just below the ads (or the local 3-pack). You want customers to find your business that way even when it’s not listed in the 3-pack.
Ask each of your local SEO company candidates how they plan to rank your site for organic results.
Ask About the Company’s Mobile Strategy
Simply put: there’s no such thing as Local SEO without a mobile strategy.
Why? Because people often perform searches on their mobile devices and Google uses the location of the device to determine which listings appear in the local 3-pack.
Mobile SEO and desktop SEO have different strategies associated with them.
Ask About the Company’s Experience With Voice Search
With the astounding use of voice search and the demand it has created, more and more technologies are being developed to utilize its power.
BrightLocal recently performed research that shows 75% of smart speaker owners perform voice searches for local business on a weekly basis and 53% on a daily basis.
And voice search is an especially big deal when it comes to loacl SEO. In fact, a 2016 the Internet Trends Report found that 22% of voice searches were used to find local content and information.
Given this data, it is imperative that the local SEO company you are considering hiring knows what they’re doing when it comes to voice search.
They should know how “near me” searches affect voice and types of phrases generally used in voice search (it varies considerably from traditional search) and how to optimize your website for these new kinds of queries.
Ask About the Company’s Experience With GMB
“You can improve your business’s local ranking by using Google My Business.”
Make sure you hire a Local SEO company that knows how to use GMB.
Ask About the Local SEO Company’s Backlink Strategy
Almost any SEO effort includes a backlink strategy.
Ask the companies that you’re considering how they’ll plant links on other sites that point back to your own website.
Ask About the Company’s Experience With Local Blogs/City Media
Many cities have one or more local websites that list businesses in the area and include reviews. Also, almost every area has one or more blogs specific to the region.
Ask the candidates how they plan to work your business name into those channels.
Ask About the Company’s Payment Structure
You’re investing in Local SEO because you’re hoping for a positive ROI. But before you can calculate the ROI, you first have to know the “I”.
Ask each company about its payment structure. Get an idea of how much you’ll spend to optimize your site for local traffic.
Ask About How Local SEO Will Tie Into Other Marketing Efforts
Here’s how to tell if the local SEO company you’re considering is a winner: if that company presents you with a plan that not only optimizes your site for local traffic but also ties that plan in with your overall marketing strategy, then you have a winner.
Your Local SEO effort shouldn’t happen in a bubble. It should be part of your broader outreach effort.
Ask If the Company Has Ever Worked With a Business in Your Industry Before
As we’ve seen, Local SEO strategies vary from business to business. That’s why it might be a good idea to not only hire a with Local SEO company with experience, but also to make sure that it has experience in your industry.
Simply put, a company that has a history of ranking plumbers in the local 3-pack might not be very good at ranking restaurants.
Ask How the Local SEO Company Measures Success
Here’s a great open-ended question to ask a company you’re thinking about hiring: “How do you measure success?”
The answer will almost certainly vary from company to company. But it will give each business an opportunity to seal the deal with an intelligent answer.
Ask If the Company Has Relationships With Influencers and Media in Your Market
Finally, ask your candidates if they know the right people in your area.
It might be a good idea to go with a Local SEO company that’s actually local. That way, people who work for the company might know some influencers and media personalities who can help send you some business.
Local SEO Company FAQ
What are the benefits of a local SEO company?
If you have a physical location or cater more specifically to a local clientele, having a local SEO company will help you attract more relevant customers by targeting those in your specific location. It helps promote your business and stand out in local search results.
It will also help increase your sales. A Hubspot survey found that 18% of local searches lead to a sale within one day, meaning those businesses who practice local SEO have a higher probability of finding and attracting customers.
What are some SEO factors a local SEO company should be aware of?
Local search engine factors include:
- Link signals
- On-page signals, including keywords, domain, etc.
- Business title
Can I do local SEO myself, or should I hire a local SEO company?
Yes, you can do it yourself. But keep in mind, it is complicated and time-consuming, and unless your business has the time, resources, and someone with technical SEO know-how, it may be a good idea to consider bringing in a local SEO company.
What are the differences between local SEO and organic SEO?
While location is a factor in both local and organic SEO, it plays a much more important role in local. The key difference is that with organic SEO, search engines and look based on quality content, while with local SEO the emphasis is on location. Similarly, organic SEO relies on links to increase rank, while local SEO is more concerned with citations (references to a business’s name, address or phone number).
Can a local SEO company remove a negative review from my Google My Business page?
It’s very difficult. They can flag a review if you think it may violate Google’s review policies, but that does not guarantee that it will be removed. Instead, focus on encouraging your existing, satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
6. What Is Hyperlocal SEO?
Hyperlocal SEO goes beyond local SEO to target a particular neighborhood or community. And yes, you can do it.
Here are some steps you should follow for hyperlocal SEO:
- Put hyperlocal terms on your website – If there are landmarks, subdivisions, or shopping centers near your place of business, be sure to name them on your website.
- Use Schema markup – Make sure that you include your business location latitude and longitude.
- Complete your Google My Business Profile – If you know about local SEO, then you’ve probably already done this. Still, it’s a great idea to go over it again and populate it with details that will tell Google you’re in a specific neighborhood.
7. How Can I Keep up With Changes to Local SEO?
Local SEO, like regular SEO, changes frequently. It’s important to keep up with all those changes.
To do that, most local SEO companies must follow SEO news sites. Here are a few that you should bookmark:
8. What About Local Business Search Engines? Will my local SEO company use them?
You or your local SEO company should definitely try to get your business listed in as many local business search engines as possible. That way, you’ll have more link juice and people who use those search engines will find your business.
Here’s a list of some of the best local business search engines:
- Better Business Bureau
- Angie’s List
- Merchant Circle
- Dex Media
- Discover Our Town
- EZ Local
- Advice Local
- Get Fave
- My Huckleberry
- Magic Yellow
- Map Creator
- Judy’s Book
- Home Advisor
9. Is There Such a Thing as Local Search Engine Marketing?
Yes. As is the case with normal search engine marketing, local search engine marketing goes beyond SEO and includes PPC.
If you’ve got the budget for it, you can run ads that appeal to people searching for your kind of business in your area.
If you’d like to learn more about how to run ads that appear in local search, consult your local SEO company. If not, Google has you covered.
10. Is There Such a Thing as Local SEO Image Optimization that my Local SEO company should be aware of?
Yes. You or your local SEO company should optimize your images as well as your content for local search.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Name your file accordingly – If you’re a dentist in Atlanta, Georgia, name your image files something like dentist-atlanta.jpg.
- Use the alt text – Include keywords and your business location.
- Link to your images with appropriate anchor text – When you link to your image, use something like “Dentist in Atlanta” as the anchor text.
- Put image tags in your sitemap – That’s how you’ll help Google find your images.
11. Are There Any Alternatives to Google My Business My Local SEO Company Should Be Using?
Yes, you should also list your business on Bing Places.
Bing Places includes much of the same local business detail that you can find on Google My Business. Obviously, though, it’s meant for Bing users.
A great Local SEO company won’t just optimize your Google My Business Listing but will optimize your Bing Places listing as well.
12. How Does a Local SEO Company Conduct Keyword Research?
Keyword research for Local SEO is a bit different than “general” keyword research.
That’s because Local SEO professionals will not only optimize your site for keywords related to your niche, but also for keywords related to your location.
Remember, it’s often the case that people in your area use regional keywords in their search. For example, if they’re looking for a plumber in Oak Park, Illinois, they’ll search for “plumber in Oak Park.”
That’s why your site needs to be optimized for regional keywords as well.
13. How Does a Local SEO Company Optimize for a Multi-Location Business?
There are a few ways that Local SEO pros improve the online visibility of a multi-location business. You can do the same for your business.
- Get local listings for each location. Use Google My Business, Yelp, and Foursquare to list each business location.
- Optimize each listing. Create a unique, keyword-rich profile on every property where your business is listed.
- Get some reviews. People want to work with businesses that have a great reputation in the community. If you haven’t already done so, get some positive reviews for each of your locations.
14. How Does a Local SEO Company Optimize For Voice Search?
When it comes to optimizing for voice search, the goal of the local SEO company you hire will be to get your business into “Position Zero”.
Because voice search assistants only answer queries with content of the top position zero results, these positions are highly coveted and therefore, the competition is high.
To do this, they will perform keyword research to come up with relevent questions that pertain to your audience’s needs.
From there content will be created to answer those questions which, if done right, will be a featured snippet at the top of Google’s search results.
15. How Will Local SEO Companies Optimize For “Near Me” Searches?
Having the local SEO company you hire optimize for “near me” searches is vital to your business…and to the potential customers who are seeking businesses like yours out.
Some of the important things the SEO company you work with will focus on will be:
- Making sure your website is mobile friendly.
- Optimizing for local search (i.e. incorporating location keywords into title tags, meta description and page content).
- Having content created that incorporates location keywords.
- Make sure your Google My Business is up-to-date with current information such as hours and contact info.
16. Is There Anything Offline That Can Help a Local SEO Company With Their Strategy For My Business?
Actually, yes. If you are involved in a local charity or sponsor a local sports team, club, etc., a local SEO company can utilize those affiliations online to better your SEO.
For example, you are likely to get a backlink to your website from your affiliation’s site.
You could also get mentioned on their social media or even get covered in local news (that could earn a backlink from your local news website).