What is SEO?
As a business owner or marketing manager, you’ve probably heard of search engine optimization in some respect. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. When optimized properly, SEO will generate more traffic, more leads, and more sales. Should a local business worry about their SEO ranking and implement a local SEO strategy?
Absolutely, local SEO is especially important for businesses that need to stand out in local search queries. To make sure your business gets found by local prospects, you must rank high on page results. Local SEO incorporates searches with certain geographic qualifiers, like your city, state, and zip code, as well as “near me” searches. You can delve deeper in our previous blog, Local SEO Visibility.
According to a Forbes study, 95% of smartphone users have used their device to perform local searches. 61% of those users called the business and 59% visited. These numbers confirm that potential customers are performing location-based searches all the time. With a better local SEO strategy, the number of leads you receive will only grow. Implementing SEO services can help your small business achieve these goals.
What are SEO Services?
Adding SEO services to your local marketing strategy can produce great results. SEO companies help boost your organic search rankings for your website to ultimately outrank your competitors. Since Google looks at hundreds of different factors to determine the rank, SEO requires a significant amount of expertise in order to get the results you’re looking for. That’s why many small businesses may partner with a local SEO company.
Before paying for local SEO services, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you’ll receive. Time and time again, local businesses will sign up with an SEO company before asking the right questions and unfortunately get burned down the road. I’m going to walk you through 12 questions to ask before paying for local SEO services.
12 Questions to Ask Before Paying for Local SEO Services
1. Have you worked with any local businesses before?
When researching for local SEO companies, you must know if they have experience working with other local businesses. Local SEO is very different than traditional SEO. As a local business, your goal is to find leads within your service area, not someone who is located, for example, across the country. An SEO company must be able to provide SEO services for your specific location.
2. Can you list the services you intend to provide?
An SEO company should be able to itemize the services that are going to improve your search rankings. If they are vague, this could be a cause for concern.
3. What type of SEO tactics will you use to deliver results?
A quality SEO company will be transparent with you about how they will improve your local search rankings. Many SEO companies will hide details and refuse to be transparent. You should be concerned if they’re hesitant about revealing their SEO tactics to you.
There are many approaches to SEO so it’s important to uncover their style. Some strategies are built on the technical side with an emphasis on structure and website speed. Others focus on the user experience, involving keyword optimization, navigation, and optimized content. Finally, some agencies prefer to work with off-page SEO by using links beyond your website through tactics like content marketing. The ultimate goal is to pick up on how open they are to collaborate with you and choose tactics that will deliver ROI.
4. What types of tools do you use?
While knowing the actual tools isn’t of the utmost importance, knowing that your SEO partner can articulate why they are preferred tools is critical. Experienced SEO companies will have tested many tools and uncovered the best to conduct audits and complete tasks. It’s important to know the impact of the tools that they use!
5. What sort of rank increases can we expect to see?
Be sure to set accurate expectations with your SEO partner. Understand what types of rank increases you should expect and what results define success.
6. How do you measure your strategy’s success?
SEO companies may over-promise results so make sure you ask what their success measurements are. Try to get a feel for the general goals that they shoot for with new clients so that you can determine if they match yours.
- What metrics define success?
- What metrics do you focus on?
- How do you measure the success of your clients’ SEO campaigns?
7. What do you know about my industry and how will your team adapt to it?
SEO strategies are not one size fits all and the traditional approach may not be highly effective for your business. Companies must understand your industry and be able to adapt to a strategy that fits your goals. A skilled agency will have experience within your industry or do the research themselves to come up with an effective strategy, rather than pushing a one size fits all approach.
8. How can you optimize our SEO for mobile?
Especially for local businesses, you’ll want your SEO to be optimized for mobile. Like I mentioned earlier, 95% of smartphone users are performing local searches and asking for businesses “near me”. You’ll want a strategy for mobile optimization so be sure to ask about how they would approach this.
9. How soon will I see results?
Don’t be fooled by SEO companies that tell you to expect immediate results. Gather information on the timeframe that they anticipate you will begin to see success. Ask what you should expect in terms of ROI from month to month. The SEO company should be able to give you an estimate, however, results will be based on how much you’re willing to invest. If they give you a hard time and aren’t willing to give answers, this is a red flag.
10. How will you keep me informed of the changes you make?
You must understand how an SEO company is going to deliver the results to you. Will they provide data and reporting? Make sure you will be receiving clear results based on their efforts. You can even ask them for example reports so you can clarify any questions.
11. Can you take my business to #1 on Google search?
If you get a “yes” from any agency, you should be suspicious. An SEO agency should set authentic and practical outcomes. You should not say yes to a company that overpromises because they will under-deliver. A local business should look for a company that offers realistic promises and delivers results on local searches.
12. How much do your services cost?
Pricing is obviously an important discussion to have. Most agencies require fees, payment terms, pricing plans, and long term contracts. It’s necessary to flesh out those details and understand what you’re agreeing to prior to signing on with them. Be clear about your budget and make sure that your expectations align with your investment.
Finding Your Local SEO Partner
Local businesses will find great results with a detailed local SEO strategy built specifically for your industry. Many agencies promise more than they can deliver. It’s imperative that you find a company that will build a local SEO strategy that enhances your overall marketing efforts.
At Surefire Local, our unmatched combination of software and services enables businesses to become more productive, have transparency of marketing spend and ROI, and manage content and customers all in one place. This includes optimizing for local SEO. Most importantly, Surefire Local’s team consists of been-there-done-that local digital marketing strategists who become a part of your team, unlike an agency relationship. We won’t just give you the industry’s most powerful local marketing platform and tell you to figure it out. We’ll show you how you can leverage it to drive effective and positive change.