The 6 greatest native search engine optimisation firms of 2020
Local search has exploded. Research by Think with Google has shown that local searches that qualify “near me” grew 150 percent faster than other local searches. Mobile searches near me increased 500 percent and searches near me tonight increased 900 percent.
If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.
Google introduced us to what they call "micro-moments". They defined micro-moments as “an intentional moment in which a person turns to a device to respond to a need – to know, to go, to do, or to buy”. Companies that rely on local SEO firms dominate these micro-moments in the long run.
Which company is best for your company? We take a look at some of the best local SEO companies in the business.
6 of the best local SEO companies
1. NP Digital – Best for conversion-driven local SEO
Many SEO companies are obsessed with vanity metrics like rankings, impressions, or traffic. Finding an SEO company that is obsessively focused on generating revenue isn't easy. When I started my first company, a job board called Advice Monkey, I had no idea. I didn't know how to build traffic, generate leads, or increase sales for my business.
I saved enough money by picking up trash and cleaning toilets at a theme park. I gave my money to a marketing company and they screwed me. I had nothing to show for my money.
This is the experience most people have with their local SEO firms.
I know what it's like to be ripped off. Lose money. You may need to keep your business going. For this reason my agency NP Digital focuses on conversions and income. We offer our clients a carefully planned local search campaign that offers A to Z coverage. We work with small local mom and pop businesses to large multinational brands with locations around the world.
However, we focus on conversions and sales. Customer expectations are high, but our case studies show that we can do some pretty big things for our customers. In a case study we were able to increase the organic traffic of our customers by 2.3 times!
We don't separate local SEO into separate silos. We keep everything – technical SEO, quotes, reviews, on-page and off-page optimization, content marketing – in the same marketing area.
NP Digital's customer list includes:
- Thomson Reuters Foundation
- American greetings
2. Searchbloom – Best for local and technical SEO
Searchbloom focuses on a methodology they call the A.R.T. (Authority, relevance, technology) of local search engine optimization. One of the things that make Searchbloom so effective at technical search engine optimization is the fact that they focus on optimizing their clients' technology stack.
This is how they explain it on their website.
“Local search engine optimization is not just about keywords and search engines. It's also about making sure that the foundation of your website is solid. For example, the structure of your site needs to be optimized to provide a fantastic user experience with fast load times, mobile optimization and secure user data. If you were a search engine, would you reward a website with top rankings if it was unresponsive to mobile devices, had broken links, or took a long time to load? I think we can all agree that the answer is no. For this reason, optimizing your website's technology, or the “tech stack”, is critical to the success of local search engine optimization. "
You have a point. The easier it is for customers to use your website, the more likely they are to use it. They are technical specialists but still focus on making sure their clients get a return on investment. It's part of their promise:
"We have made a commitment to ourselves and our partners never to acquire a new partner customer unless we know that we can achieve an ROI."
The other parts of their ministry also seem to support their engagement. Every client receives a dedicated analyst, custom strategies and there are no long term contracts. They guarantee a response time of 24, but the average time is less than two hours. They share several case studies on their website, including one where they increased organic traffic for their customers by 71 percent. They have an overall rating of 4.9 stars.
Searchbloom's customer list includes:
- Moxie pest control
- Wine of the month club
- Schwartzapfel Lawyers
3. BrightLocal – Best for assessing local search performance
BrightLocal makes all-in-one local marketing software for agencies and local businesses. If you are a marketer, the local platform gives you the tools you need to manage the specific tasks of local search engine optimization. If you are a demanding customer or already have a plan to follow, BrightLocal is ideal because you can do the implementation yourself.
What if you don't have the expertise you need to deal with it yourself?
They also offer services – manual submission, quote creation and management services for your local SEO campaigns. If you are looking for a company that can help you in a support role, BrightLocal is a great option. What sets BrightLocal apart is the fact that they provide software and services to both brands and agencies.
They are local search specialists and have in-depth knowledge in the field. You work with small, local businesses and large national customers like Valvoline. They have an overall rating of 3.8-4.9 stars.
BrightLocal's customer list includes:
4. Digital Marketing Agency – Best for Worldwide Local Search
Reviews: 3.7 – 5 stars (aggregated)
DMA is an award-winning international marketing agency providing full service marketing and promotional support to growing local businesses. If you have a regional or national company with multiple locations and want to expand, you need a provider who can support you in successfully entering new markets.
DMA has 10 offices on 4 continents.
They work with small local brands but are specialists in handling large multinational accounts for a variety of large blue chip clients. You can manage local search campaigns from start to finish across a range of markets, including markets with different languages, cultures, and expectations.
They have an overall rating of 3.7 to 5 stars and a good reputation in the industry. While other companies focus solely on the SEO side, DMA can cater for any creative, development, or marketing need as soon as they arise. If you are looking for a qualified generalist, DMA is a good place to start.
DMA's customer list includes:
- Charcoal burner
5. Higher Visibility – Best for Franchise / Multi-Location
HigherVisibility is an agency that mainly specializes in organic search engine optimization and local SEO. They are really good at local search engine optimization for small businesses, franchises, and multi-location businesses. More than 50 percent of their customers are small, local business owners who need more traffic, leads, and sales. They share the results they have achieved for other clients in their online case studies.
HigherVisibility was named Agency of the Year by Search Engine Land and UpCity was named Top 10 SEO Agency in 2018. They have an overall rating of 4.8 stars.
HigherVisibility's customer list includes:
- Allied Van Lines
- East Coast Wings franchise
- UFood Grill
- Sonx therapy
- Memphis Medical Society
- Magnolia houses
- Barefoot luxury villas
6. Instaboost Media – Best for those on a budget
Instaboost Media specializes in two areas. Paid Ads (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, etc.) and Local SEO. You started with local SEO. They are among the top SEO companies listed by Clutch.co in 2020 and have an overall rating of 4.1-4.8 reviews online.
“We started in 2016 as a local SEO company based in Orange County, CA. Originally, local SEO was our be-all and end-all, and we've helped hundreds of customers rank on the Google search results homepage. After the great success with Local SEO, many customers asked about other ways to improve their online business. As of 2019, the Instaboost team started to focus on paid advertising on Google and social media. "
They are a small team focused on lead generation for local businesses. They offer straightforward prices on their website – $ 299 to $ 499 per month. Their services mainly focus on generating traffic and leads. If you're a midsize company or a local business with multiple locations, Instaboost is probably not the best for you.
Instaboost Media has 750+ small business customers and rave reviews on Google, Clutch, G2, and others.
The 7 Characteristics That Make a Great Local SEO Company
A great local search company should demonstrate the right traits and qualities in their own business. It's a serious red flag if the company you're considering lacks some or all of these characteristics. Here is a list of the properties to look for:
- A good reputation: The company you are considering should have a good reputation. This could be positive reviews for Clutch or Google reviews, strong testimonials on social media, or great case studies and testimonials from happy customers. They want to see their reputation show that they are trustworthy, keep their promises, and perform consistently.
- Ironclad ethics: Your agency should pay attention to tried and tested white hat strategies and tactics. You don't take unnecessary risks with questionable gray or black hat strategies. They are ethical, open and transparent about their work. This means that they follow the rules and abide by the terms of other platforms like Google, Yelp, Facebook and others.
- Well trained employees: Your employees should have several years of experience and several local search campaigns. Your account shouldn't be in the hands of inexperienced interns, and you shouldn't pay to have your agency learn the pros and cons of local search on your dime. You want to see that employees are certified, trained regularly, and good at what they are doing.
- Uses current strategies and tactics: Local SEO is always changing. Your agency should be aware of the adjustments in the industry. They should be able to explain what updates or changes they applied and why. You should also be able to share some sources detailing the changes you are tracking.
- Good communicators: A good agency regularly informs clients about the performance of their campaign and relevant industry changes that may affect their business. They will work with you to create a schedule (e.g. weekly or monthly) and keep you updated on the work in progress. If something goes wrong, they will proactively reach out to you and let you know what went wrong, why it happened, and how to prevent it from happening in the future. They also do this when something goes well.
- Achieves consistent results: An experienced agency gets local companies. They know local businesses are under a lot of pressure. Many companies struggle to keep their doors open. Seasoned agencies focus their attention on getting the results their local clients need to grow.
- Make realistic promises: A skilled local search company doesn't promise to "get you to the top" on Google. They help you establish your expectations, and they link campaign performance to your business goals and objectives.
If you are considering a business and it lacks these traits, this is a serious red flag. When you partner with a marketing company, these characteristics are the basics.
What to Expect from a Great Local SEO Company
According to Google, there are four breakthrough moments in local search that matter most.
- I want to know moments: When someone is researching or researching but not necessarily in buy mode. In this phase, people rely on comprehensive information search queries (e.g. camera, tablet, truck). They are not looking for anything in particular – they do not yet have the education they need.
- I want to go moments: When someone is looking for a local business or considering buying a product from a nearby store. People at this stage are more focused on transaction search queries. These can be specific keywords that contain specific destinations (i.e. Legoland California Resort) or generic keywords (i.e. ideas for kids vacation in California). These people are near the end of the conversion funnel and are preparing to make a decision.
- I want to do moments: When someone needs help getting a job done or trying something new. Like the I-want-to-go seekers, these people are close to the end of their research process. They use transactional keywords and have a pretty good idea of the type of activity they are looking for. Your keywords can also be specific or broad.
- I want to buy moments: When someone is ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what or how to buy. At this stage, people are looking for something specific. You know what you want. They use navigation keywords to find what to buy.
A great local SEO company has the people, processes, and products it needs to put you in front of local searchers for each of those micro-moments. A reputable company will build your strategy based on the current local search ranking factors:
- Google My Business signals – Keywords in the business title and description, nearby and in the correct categories.
- On-page signals B. Name, address and phone (NAP) of your local business, keywords in titles and domain authorization.
- Connection signals including incoming anchor text, domain authority link, domain set link, etc.
- Citation signals from generic, niche, and hyperlocal sources. Citations should be consistent, accurate, and clear.
- Check signals, including timeliness, quantity, speed and diversity. The stronger your review portfolio, the greater the impact on local search performance.
- Social signals, Engagement on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
The local search companies you are considering will give you a full explanation of what they will do for your business. They also explain why this is happening (i.e. put on Google's local package) and the results they want to get for you. They won't overload you with a lot of technical jargon. You will keep things simple.
If you are inexperienced, the ranking factors above are explained. They describe each of the above factors in as much detail (or as little) as you need. When you need it, we will provide examples or evidence demonstrating these ranking factors in action.
Large local SEO companies will link all of this to sales. They'll show you how the work they've done will result in more traffic, leads, and revenue for your business. They should be able to provide you with reasonable estimates and projections that are more accurate over time.
As research by Google shows, local search continues to grow. Every year more people are looking for the local suppliers they need. The best local SEO companies help local clients optimize their business around the all-important micro-moments.
Finding the right local SEO company takes work. Choosing the right company is easy when you ask the right questions. Use this post to help you find the SEO company that is right for your local business.