Local SEO Frequently Asked Questions
Commonly Ask Questions About Local SEO
SEO is how you get listed in the modern phonebook: Page 1 of Google and Bing. Instead of being based on alphabetical order, it’s based on whose website and web presence does the most things search engines like Google care about.
Yes! Generally B2C companies who need to make lots of individual, point-in-time sales like plumbers, roofers, real estate agents, salons, used car lots, etc.
For someone like an executive business coach who needs to reach 10-20 CEOs in the region, LinkedIn would probably be a better tool than blogging and hoping these 20 people came to his website after doing a search.
It should generally focus on a handful of primary keywords with good search volume, high searcher intent (meaning someone Googling this phrase is ready to buy), and competition that can be beaten in under a year
Change it from a brochure people check out after they’ve already heard of you into a lead generation tool that brings prospects and customers to you.
Note that you need a good website with clear “calls to action” (like Call Now or Contact Us) so the visitor traffic that comes to your site contacts you or comes to your physical location. If you do not have a website, we will create one for the campaign. This website stays active will under our service.
Not nearly as well, though it is possible to create and claim a Google My Business page for free. Those can show up in the map 3-pack if the competition isn’t too fierce for your local industry. But, while under our services, we will create a website for your business if you do not have one.
Google and Bing check around the web to verify your business information, so make sure it’s correct across the web and you’ll see your rankings climb. Here’s a list of the top SEO directories
Note that if you’re receiving calls saying things like, “Your Google listing is not up to date,” that’s not Google calling you! Unless you’re verifying your Google My Business page by phone, Google will never call you.
You should be doing both strategically if you’ve got the budget because they both help each other.
AdWords allows you to jump to page 1 right away, but you must pay for every click. SEO can be more economical for long-term website traffic and business growth, but it takes longer to see results.
Search Engine Marketing (also called SEM, pay-per-click, PPC, or Google AdWords) can show you what queries led to clicks to your website.
Plus onsite optimization can increase your Ad Quality Score, which can decrease your cost per click (CPC). Google wants your landing page to serve the searchers needs exactly, and they evaluate that page’s content in a similar way they evaluate its SEO.
Google Analytics now hides the queries people searched when they came to your website organically, so running an AdWords campaign is a good way to see what people are clicking to come to your site.
- Not enough targeted monthly searches.
- There needs to be existing demand for your product or service in order to capture it.
- Inferior website that doesn’t convert visitors well.
- Competitive first pages for competitive keywords.
SEO is not something you pay someone to take care of technically behind the scenes without your involvement as a business owner or marketer. SEO is a process that needs to be integrated into all your marketing, writing, publishing, and customer targeting activities.
Hire an SEO firm to do a keyword research report so you know what the demand is in your area. If you run Google AdWords campaigns you can try to use their Keyword Planner Tool to see some estimates yourself.
This depends on the company’s goals and needs. For most local businesses that have done little-to-no SEO in the past, a 6-month campaign to implement all the needed changes at around $300/month is usually enough of an upfront investment to see results for years afterward. Ongoing SEO after the first year builds on top of the basic work, and makes sure nobody sneaks up out of nowhere and ruins your previous work.
Don’t be taken by directory companies that claim to just list you around the web; you need a full campaign to make a difference. Directory listings are only one piece of the SEO pie.
- Keyword research
- Onsite SEO
- directory citation building (accurate business listings across the web)
- Offsite SEO
- Ongoing content creation and link outreach.
Social media can be a way to promote your blog content and bring people to your website for content they will find useful. Give first in the form of knowledge, and receive business second.
We regularly see companies with fewer or worse rankings appear higher in the Google Map 3-pack that shows up on the results page.
In general, reviews help your SEO
- when your reviewers mention your keywords in their reviews
- Once you have 5 reviews, your stars start appearing, which can likely make more people click your result over competitors who don’t have visible stars.
You can send customers a link to give you a Google review and use our email template to ask for Google reviews.
Here’s how we usually ballpark the SEO competitiveness of a local industry
- Low competition:
- the third-place listing has < 5 Google or Yelp reviews or under 10 backlinks from other websites
- You could start ranking in ~ the top 5 spots in 3-4 months, especially if you have more reviews and post weekly content
- Low competition:
- Medium competition:
- the third-place listing has < 10 Google or Yelp reviews and about 10-20 backlinks
- You could start ranking in ~ the top 5 spots in 6 months,especially if you have more reviews and post weekly content
- Medium competition:
- High competition:
- the third-place listing has >10 Google or Yelp reviews and > 20 backlinks
- Expect to invest in SEO for a year or more to rank in the top 5
We don’t guarantee any specific rankings (like the #1 spot on page one) for our clients, but we expect to see some measured improvement over the course of the campaign. SEO takes time and is a long-term investment; it takes a while for Google and Bing to re-crawl, index and eventually boost a business over its competitors.
Also note how SEO is a collaborative effort; we tell our clients they can’t expect our SEO expert to disappear for a month and resurface to show improved search rankings and web traffic. The SEO specialist can handle the overall strategy and certain details, but some SEO campaign tasks fall to the business owner, such as creating relevant content, and some website updates need to be made by a web developer.
Is a 12-month SEO campaign a sizable investment in your long-term growth? Sure.
Does it take work? Definitely.
Is it worth it to get directly in front of customers who are ready to buy what you’re selling as soon as today? Absolutely.
If learning about SEO makes your head spin, outsource it. You pay an accountant to handle your books, so pay an online marketer to handle that side of your business.
Plan to stay involved because you know your industry better than your SEO expert. You should be ready to create content like blog posts, web pages, videos and before-and-after pictures for your services.
Contact us with your other questions or if you’re interested in finding out more about what SEO can do for your business.