How to decide on the suitable native search engine optimisation company
According to Statista, 52 percent of global internet traffic is mobile. A third of all mobile searches on Google are local. Microsoft says the same thing: 53 percent of Bing mobile searches are local in intent.
That is pretty big in itself.
Then we see data that shows that local search is growing 50 percent faster than mobile search. This growth is amazing for local businesses, but many companies are unwilling to take advantage of this growth. If you have the right local SEO agency, this is not a problem.
Do you know how to choose the right agency?
Here are some simple tips to help you choose the right local search agency for your business.
Know your goals and desired results for local SEO
According to a BrightLocal survey, the top local search metrics for businesses were:
- Google rankings: The better your rankings, the more traffic you will generate for your company. It's easier to generate leads, inquiries, or sales when you have strong rankings in both organic search and Google Maps via the local package.
- New customers: Local businesses obviously need customers. That's not the problem here. It is the fact that local businesses face tremendous competition for a limited number of customers in their area. You have to dominate local search if you want to consistently close new customers.
- New leads / inquiries: Leads give local businesses room to breathe. When you have good lead flow, you can increase your prices, test new products and services, and find out which offers are best for you. This makes cash flow more predictable once you've chosen your conversion rate.
- Organic traffic: This includes traffic from your search engine rankings, online reviews, direct visits, and other earned sources.
- Number of new reviews: For searches near me, increasing the review rate by 0.1 can increase your conversion rates by 25 percent. Great reviews make everything better. Your conversion rates are higher, advertising is cheaper, and your ROI is better.
What is special about these metrics is that they are all pretty handy. Local businesses need a consistent cash flow. Each of these five metrics has a direct impact on a local company's sales. When hiring a local SEO agency, they should have a special focus on the metrics that directly impact your sales.
Next, focus on metrics that are specific to your business.
For example, if you run a restaurant, you may want to pay attention to your customer acquisition costs, repeat visits, customer loyalty, and the offers that have brought customers back. Focus on your core metrics and add additional metrics when you need more data.
7 characteristics of a great local SEO agency
There are 8,212 local SEO agencies on Clutch.co. If you're not sure what to look for, most of these companies look great. Most agency profiles show glowing reviews, clear price data and information about their service focus.
None of this tells you whether these agencies are right for you.
Here is a list of features to look out for. Use these to help decide if the agencies on your list are a good fit (or not) for your local business.
1. Agency focus
There are two ways to look at this. You can look for agencies with a service focus almost entirely on SEO, or you can look for a full-service agency with experience in various fields.
- Specialist focus: You can choose an agency that focuses solely on local search. A specialist agency focuses on the services that are closely related to local search, but this one
- Generalist focus: These agencies offer a wide variety of services and focus on overall goals across many different channels.
Here are the pros and cons of both.
If you work with a local SEO specialist, they probably won't be able to lead you to your other campaign goals. If you're wondering how to incorporate local search into your other marketing campaigns, a specialist may not be able to give you the advice you need.
A specialist can develop creative (and profitable) strategies for your local search campaigns. If you have the expertise or help you need to manage the other parts of your online marketing, it makes sense. If you need help in other areas and are on a budget, this is probably not a good idea.
Generalists can give you a comprehensive view of the overall performance of your campaigns. You can link your local SEO campaigns to other channels such as social media, email, direct reply or advertising. An established agency has the skills and the team to create content to improve the performance of your local SEO campaigns.
2. In-depth industry expertise
If you are looking for something in particular, your local SEO agency should be able to offer you the services you are looking for. If you are a local restaurant, you should choose an agency that is experienced in working with restaurants. If you are focused on B2B sales, you need a B2B specialist.
You need a deep understanding of your business.
If they have a good reputation, are willing to do the job, and you enjoy working with them, an inexperienced agency can work. You want to work as much as possible with an agency that understands your business well.
Case studies, work samples, anonymized data, reviews, and reports are helpful ways to measure your skills and performance.
3. They practice what they preach
When looking for a local SEO agency, you want to find one that does well for a decent number of keywords. If they don't rank well on keywords and don't show up in local or organic search, they are probably not good at SEO.
You want to find out in advance.
You can use Ubersuggest to analyze their rankings. This gives you a pretty good idea of their abilities; It also shows you whether the agencies you are considering are practicing what they preach. Some agencies neglect their websites and prefer to focus on client work instead. No problem, just ask them to show you what they could do for other customers. They should be able to provide you with at least one current (and detailed) example of a customer that they could help.
If they can't provide this information, it probably doesn't fit your company.
4. A good reputation
Your agency should have an established list of clients and case studies. They should be able to provide references and work samples upon request. You should be able to find reviews online from previous customers. They should also be able to show you that they have the skills to deal with contacts and partnerships. You should also have a proven track record of placing content with local or regional journalists and publications to promote your content.
It's a red flag when agencies can't provide you with any of the above information. It is also a bad sign when there is a lot of negative feedback about your agency online.
5. Experienced SEOs
According to BrightLocal's survey, 38 percent of companies only have one SEO professional. Only 10 percent of companies have more than 10 SEOs. Most local SEO agencies and SEOs work alone. So you should make sure your agency has SEOs on staff.
Before hiring your agency, you need to know that your agency has a reasonable number of people who are experienced and able to properly manage your account. If you don't feel comfortable having interns or freelancers doing most of the work on your account, you may need to be more careful with your search.
6. Current education and training
In 2018, Google introduced 3,200 changes to its search algorithm, up from just 400 changes in 2010. Search is always changing. If you're planning on hiring a local search agency, you need someone to stay abreast of these changes or to act on your behalf if something goes wrong.
After a small update in 2019, many websites that use good SEO practices have actually been penalized. Google declined to clarify what changed, when it happened, or how it needs to be adjusted.
“Some have asked if we had an update for Google Search last week. We actually did multiple updates, just as we regularly have multiple updates in a given week. In this thread a reminder of when and why we are giving specific instructions for certain updates … "
– Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) November 12, 2019
When it comes to situations like this, most local businesses are overwhelmed. Not particularly sure how to approach the problem or where to start. Your local SEO agency should know how to deal with these situations. You should have procedures in place that you can use to resolve issues that arise from an algorithmic update.
7. Provide clear communication and manage expectations
A reputable local SEO agency won't promise you number one. They know that big budget companies are battling over the same keywords as you. Taking first place in Google will take a lot of time, work, and resources.
Rankings shouldn't really be a priority, however.
Your agency should be focused on driving conversions and revenue for your business. They should be able to provide you with consistent performance improvements over time. If they focus on vanity metrics, they may not fit your business.
They will respond to unrealistic expectations that you have in advance. They will make reasonable projections and explain the reasons for their numbers.
How to work with a local SEO agency
You want to equip your agency with the things it needs to work with you. Here is a pick list that outlines the things that you should make available to your agency.
- Usernames and passwords: You want to give your agency access to analytical tools – Google Analytics, Search Console, GMB, etc. This allows your agency to set benchmarks for your campaign.
- Performance data: You want to give your agency access to any performance data they may have in other sources (e.g. spreadsheets, Ubersuggest, Authority Labs, Moz, etc.). This way your agency can identify problems before starting your campaign.
- Marketing content: Pre-access your marketing content to your agency so it can match your voice, branding guidelines, and approach.
- Product or service information: Provide your agency with as much information as possible about your products and services. A good agency will learn as much as possible about your offer. Great agencies will understand your product as well as some of your experienced staff.
What about your relationship with your agency? To keep your relationship healthy, you want to:
- Choose a contact person: You need to provide your agency with a consistent contact person. You should have decision-making power or the ability to receive feedback from someone who does so. If you're a small local business owner, you might be the point of contact.
- Outline your approval process: When assigning an employee as a contact, you want to describe the approval process that your agency should follow. Does your contact person have the authority to make all decisions on your behalf? What approval process does your agency need to follow to make significant changes to your campaign or project? Phrase it so that everyone is on the same page.
- Formulate your expectations: If you know the breakeven point for a product or service? Most of what you can spend to get a new customer? Share this data with your agency. Let them know that you will need certain results in order to continue the relationship. These shouldn't be extreme or unrealistic. They should be based on the numbers or existing performance data you have for your business.
- Set communication standards: How can agencies best communicate with you? How often would you like to meet with your agency? You need to find this out at the beginning of the relationship. Pick a sweet spot that will give your agency the time it needs to work and get results.
Give your agency the feedback, information, resources, and support it needs to get the results you want. Be as open and transparent as possible so they can work hard for you.
How to Find the Right Local SEO Agency for You
You can use review aggregators like Clutch.co, HubSpot Agency Directory, Sortlist or TopSEOs to find the local SEO agency that works best for you. We've made a helpful shortlist of the best local SEO agencies in the business.
7 of the best local SEO companies
1. NP Digital – Best for conversion-driven local SEO
My agency, NP Digital, is focused on conversions and earnings. Customers have high expectations because of my reputation, but our case studies show that we can deliver amazing results. We have a 4.3 to 5 star rating online and have been able to deliver consistent results for each of our customers. In a case study we were able to increase the organic traffic of our customers by 2.3 times!
2. Searchbloom – Best for local (technical) SEO
Searchbloom relies on the Authority, Relevancy, Technology (A.R.T) method to achieve local SEO results. Searchbloom is very effective in technical search engine optimization. This is because they initially focus on optimizing their customers' technology stack.
3. BrightLocal – Best for assessing local search performance
BrightLocal makes all-in-one local marketing software for agencies and local businesses. They also offer services – manual submission, quote creation and management services for your local SEO campaigns. If you are looking for an agency to provide a supportive role, BrightLocal is a great option. If you're looking for the full help available from a traditional digital marketing agency, BrightLocal is probably not what you're looking for.
4. Digital Marketing Agency – Best for Worldwide Local Search
DMA distinguishes itself by handling large multinational accounts for established medium-sized or blue-chip customers. They provide clients with comprehensive local search campaign management across a range of markets, including markets with different languages, cultures and expectations.
5. Higher Visibility – Best for Franchise / Multi-Location
HigherVisibility is an agency that specializes in organic search engine optimization and local SEO. They are especially good at local search engine optimization for small businesses, franchises, and multi-location businesses. The majority of their customers are small, local business owners who need more traffic, leads, and sales.
6. Instaboost Media – Best for low budgets
Instaboost Media works with tiny budgets. They're perfect for local mom and pop businesses that don't have the budget for large local search campaigns. They specialize in two specific areas: paid ads (e.g. Google ads, Facebook ads, Bing ads, etc.) and local search engine optimization. They are able to multiply tiny budgets and generate income for locals in need of cash.
Mobile search is growing, half of the world's internet traffic is now mobile. Local searches grow 50 percent faster than mobile ones. This growth is a great opportunity for local businesses if they are ready to take advantage of this great opportunity.
When it comes to local search, most local businesses are overwhelmed. With the right agency and helpful guidelines, you are ready to capitalize on the local search boom.
Use these simple tips to help you find, review, and hire the right local SEO agency for your business.