By OLIVER ANDREWS
Everything you need to know when you hire a local SEO expert in 2021
So, you want to hire a local SEO Expert?
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about local SEO among business owners. With each passing day, entrepreneurs are sweating it out to increase the visibility of their businesses in the digital space. And rightly so, local businesses have decided to go for the jugular.
Even as the frenzy for SEO gains traction, some few pointers will help to put this issue into perspective:
An SEO strategy allows businesses to gain a competitive edge.
Virtually every internet session begins at a search engine.
A local SEO expert will optimize your business’s visibility and online presence.
As a business owner, you cannot be oblivious of the benefits of local search engine optimization. But if you opt to bury your head in the sand, sooner than later, your business will be short of clients. Eventually, when the rubber meets the road; you will be left with no other option but to prioritise your local SEO strategies.
In any case, the difference between poor Google rankings and a boom in organic traffic will often boil down to the choice of your SEO expert. By attaching yourself with the right SEO partnership, you stand a better chance of boosting your business ranking – all while increasing your sales and cutting on the advertising budget.
What we will cover in this article
What are the Benefits of Local SEO Services?
Without any fear of contradiction, the viability of any small business is hinged on how well it can generate sales. At this point, maybe you’re probably wondering how you can make it happen. Oftentimes, the process of converting prospective clients into buying clients is easier said than done.
To cut to the chase, local SEO services can turn out to be useful in numerous ways:
Has it ever struck your mind why businesses get listed on popular search engines such as Google and Bing? Well, the answer to this question can be traced back to brand awareness. As of now, SEO services will help your brand to make a name for itself in a rather extremely crowded space.
One of the ways in which SEO plays a part in brand awareness is through link building. While this process can be tiring, it is often worth the while. And, of course, as your business continues to make its mark in the search engines, so is its brand.
It builds authority.
In an era where technology dominates virtually every aspect of your life, it has certainly changed the status quo. Currently, SEO has changed the way people do business. In return, businesses have established authority in their respective jurisdictions.
Since SEO services are catalysts for building online communities, your local business can easily raise its profile. Such businesses tend to become tightly integrated with their target market. After all, the art of building authority is judged by how well your business can generate better traffic volumes and sales.
Increases sales and leads.
If you’re not making the most out of local SEO, your business will hardly leap forward. That means you’ll could lag in sales and leads. However, if you seek the input of SEO experts, your business will readily show up in local searches.
If this trend goes on unabated, more people will click on your business website link to see what the business is all about. Ultimately, if you target the right keywords the countless searches will translate into sales and leads.
Local SEO has a higher conversion rate.
In many business settings, SEO and conversion rate are often at odds with one another. To cure this anomaly, you’ll need to bridge the gap between your SEO strategies and conversion rate optimization efforts. At this point, you should reach out to your local SEO expert.
SEO services can only be judged to be effective if they increase the number of website visitors whose intention is to take a desired action. If your business boasts of higher conversion rates, this milestone allows you to understand how visitors are moving through your site.
Why is Local SEO more important than ever before?
In this perilous period where Covid-19 has decimated people’s ways of life, SEO remains your biggest ally. As you continue to figure out how to keep your business afloat, your local SEO platforms may prove to be more useful than ever before.
For the doubting Thomas, the essence of SEO may be attributed to some few notable facts:
Covid-19 has emphasized why people should support local business owners.
As Covid-19 continues to ravage communities, people have embraced the idea of “shopping local.” Of essence is how local SEO searches have given business owners a new lifeline. At a time when restrictions are prevalent, search engine platforms have played a part in bringing character to the local business community.
Gather a few/statistics about local SEO.
While the benefits of local SEO cannot be understated, there are a few stats that are worth mentioning. For starters, it is estimated that 80% of local searches will turn out to be successful sales. Further afield, Google projects that 46% of searches are traced back to top local businesses.
In the past few years, “near me” searches have hit a record of 500%. This implies that more people have embraced the culture of shopping locally.
People have placed more trust in local businesses.
Local SEO experts have been instrumental in improving people’s trust towards neighbouring enterprises. A while ago, these turns of events were a mere pipe dream. Today, search engine optimisation has helped to convert people’s trust in local businesses into action.
Understanding the basics of SEO
First things first, SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. In layman terms, SEO is a digital process that increases the visibility of a website in terms of organic search results. However, the visibility of a website is dependent on three core components:
The types of content that will get people talking.
The functional mechanism of search engines.
The promotion and optimization techniques at play.
For you to get a grasp of what SEO is all about, there a few basic facts worth mentioning:
You can rank two ways for local SEO
Any SEO company worth its salt will always resort to one of the two ranking methods of your business website. If yours is a local business, the website should rank locally.
That being said, strap in and learn the probable ways of ranking your business website:
Use local keywords
More often than not, keywords help to display relevant results about a particular search item. Even though websites rely on keywords, your local SEO Company will be inclined to add that extra component. In other instances, local jargons may be used to localize your keywords without naming the place.
As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Using this line of thought, visual information is a resourceful avenue because it is good at getting the point across. If you’re trying to rank your business website, graphics and videos are a viable option. The thing with visuals is that they breathe life into your website, and they enhance their overall perception of your business.
The first way is on Google maps.
While increasing the visibility of your business is paramount, prospective customers will shy away from businesses with little or no presence. With Google maps, local business owners can market their goods and services in real-time. If the profile of your business has been optimized, it stands a better chance of showing up in a Google maps search.
The second way is organic listing.
Over time, Google has devised new and smarter ways of analysing and understanding web pages. Organic search is one such strategy that allows website owners to benefit from unpaid search results. While organic listing may result in fewer clicks, it is possible for search engine experts to create better and faster websites that will improve user experience.
If you’re not familiar with this concept, it’s a component used by SEO consultants to optimize elements on a client’s website. On-page optimization is designed to make your website more usable and valuable with a view of improving your rankings or visibility. While this SEO strategy is not straightforward, once it gets off the ground, your online rankings and sales are likely to soar.
If you want to drive growth on your site, you should always look beyond factors that are not within your control. In other words, off-page SEO delves on matters that are happening outside your website. Some of the critical areas that are synonymous with off-page SEO include brand building, content marketing, citation building, social media, and so forth.
Besides being used as trust and relevance factors, these thematic areas often help users and search engines to develop a perception of your website’s authority.
What you need to know when hiring a local SEO company
Of late, local searches are growing twice as much than mobile search.
Such a level of growth is instrumental to local businesses. To achieve this milestone, you need to enlist the services of a local search engine optimization company. However, do you know what it takes to hire the right agency? There are simple tips that will help you to make an informed decision:
Are they local SEO specialist?
While you might be spoilt for choice, you need to ascertain whether the optimization companies at your disposal have created a niche in local SEO. Speciality is an important factor of consideration because you’re better off not hiring a jack of all trades.
Do they rank their own website?
Even before a search engine company demonstrates how it is going to optimize your website, you should inquire whether it has ranked its own website. It is foolhardy to hire SEO professionals to rank your website, yet they do not have any evidence that can help you to assess their proficiency.
Do they work remotely, or do they work for an agency?
Depending on your immediate needs, you can opt to hire a local SEO in the UK or an SEO consultant who works remotely. Each of these options will be influenced by how much you intend to interact with your SEO expert of choice.
Are they freelance or a large agency?
There are different categories of SEO experts in the UK that you can choose from. Based on your tastes and preferences, you can opt to go for a large agency or a freelance SEO professional company. Either way, the former appears to be the most appropriate choice.
Do they outsource anything?
Before you get down to business, you should seek to understand whether the company intends to outsource its services. Outsourcing can work to your advantage because it comes with a host of benefits such as provision of marketing tools, website improvements, cost efficiency, et cetera.
What are their reviews like?
Of course, you do not want to hire an SEO expert company with a questionable past. A company’s reviews will play a huge part in local organic search rankings. Good reviews will undoubtedly translate into increased traffic and eventual purchases.
What’s their track record like?
At all times, do not fall into the trap of hiring a local SEO company whose track record is full of blemishes. If need be, you should do a bit of research to establish whether the company you have in mind does not have skeletons in the closet.
What kind of reporting do they do? How often etc?
As you continue to search for an SEO company that will live up to your expectations, you should seek to understand the kind of reports you’re likely to get. However, any report that comes your way should cover some key metrics such as conversions, rankings, traffic, and sales or leads.
How do they measure success and metrics?
In this line of work, any credible company should always have a mechanism of measuring success and metrics. It is your responsibility to inquire about the ways and means the company uses to assess whether the work undertaken delivers results. Always go for that company that uses key performance indicators to assess its success and metrics.
What metrics do they measure?
Even as you strive to hire a local SEO expert, you need to be aware of the types of metrics they measure. The most notable metrics include organic traffic, keyword rankings, page speeds, and conversions.
What’s their communications process?
For there to be a good rapport between a client and service provider, communication is key. A company should communicate through email or phone calls, but the message should be properly encoded.
What’s their usual process?
The standard process of the best SEO companies is to make changes on your website design and content. As is often the case, this process is intended to make your website more attractive such that it can generate traffic and sales.
What to avoid when hiring a local SEO expert
Black hat SEO.
Black hat SEO is used to denote the techniques and strategies that go against the search engine rules. White hat SEO relies on the use of techniques and strategies that are more focused on the human audience. The continued use of black hat SEO can result in the permanent ban of your website.
They’re not outsourcing cheaply.
As a business owner, you need to be conscious of your costs. Therefore, always avoid hiring an SEO professional whose outsourcing charges are way above the usual rates.
Spammy low-quality tactics.
When hiring a local SEO expert, the quality will always precede quantity. Nevertheless, if the SEO professional of your choice has a habit of using spammy links, stay away.
Little to no reporting.
One of the professional requirements of an SEO expert is to file initial or ongoing reports as part of the ways of enhancing a website’s traffic, rankings, conversions, and sales. If an SEO company is unable to meet these obligations, you should source for another option.
Shady about what tactics they use.
Any local SEO company should always keep you apprised on the tactics they use to boost your website. In this regard, do not enlist or prolong the services of an SEO expert who is not willing to share this information.
A good company will happily explain everything they’re doing.
SEO companies have a mandate of sharing everything they do with their clients. A company that makes a deliberate decision to keep you in the dark on certain issues is not worth spending your money on.
They’re not a jack of all trades.
If you run a local business, it will only be wise if you hire a local search engine optimization expert. Do not take the risk of enlisting the services of an SEO professional who does not work on a specific niche.
It’s very cheap – you pay for what you get in SEO.
In as much as you intend to pay for affordable services, you should think twice if the deal is too good to be true. Remember, cheap is expensive. A credible SEO expert will always charge standard rates.
Guaranteed rankings – there’s no such thing with SEO!
No one person can assure you of guaranteed rankings. Such promises are only meant to deceive you into parting ways with your hard-earned money.
What are your goals for the local SEO campaign?
Define what success looks like.
An SEO campaign is deemed to be successful if a website can consistently generate traffic, conversions, and sales. Furthermore, the website should be highly ranked in the search engines.
How many leads do you want?
The number of leads you generate will be dependent on your website’s Google rankings. Also, you should optimize your homepage and if need be, you can use Google ads to generate more leads.
What are your revenue goals?
In search engine optimization, the expected revenue goals can only be achieved based on several factors, such as lead generation, increase in raw traffic to your website, reputation, management, and branding.
What are your traffic goals?
The traffic goals of your website will be influenced by how you go about the process of increasing organic traffic. In doing so, you will open up your website to a larger pool of potential customers.
How quickly do you want it?
For you to reap the benefits of your website, you need to trust the process. Generating ample traffic to a website is a long and tedious process, but it is worth the wait.
Having the right expectations for local SEO
Understand it’s a long-term investment.
Setting up a business website is akin to purchasing long-term bonds. Nevertheless, you need to secure the services of the best marketing professionals. People with this level of expertise are better equipped to convert leads into sales.
Understand it takes consistency and hard work over a long period of time.
The last thing you cannot afford to do in the process of building your local business website is to stutter. Put in as much effort as you can. A task of this magnitude will require you to be consistent up to the very end.
It’s not a get rich quick scheme.
Local SEO services are not overnight ventures since they require perseverance. In essence, you should normalize the habit of considering this project as a future investment.
If you want fast results SEO is not for you.
As you contemplate the idea of joining a select few entrepreneurs who are proud owners of local business websites, this is not a quick fix scheme. At the onset, you will hardly see any tangible results but with time, your patience will be repaid with unrivalled success.
If you want to invest in something that in the long term will return a large return on investment it is for you.
A business website is a preserve for those people with a knack for putting their money where their mouth is. While investments of this kind may take ages to materialize, the outcome will be worth every penny spent.
Do not give up with it.
As the adage goes, winners never quit and quitters never win. The key to realizing the benefits of your local business website is to hang on even when it appears as if the odds have been stacked against you.
Be prepared to spend the right amount of money and not just look for the cheapest option.
While the concept of putting up a local business website is a noble idea, you must be prepared to fork out the cash. Conversely, you should desist from the idea of settling for the cheapest option because as you well know, you cannot afford to patch up a business website.
How much does it cost to hire an SEO specialist?
Cheap SEO will almost always come back to bite you.
As alluded hereinabove, setting up a website from the ground up might cost you an arm and a leg. Nonetheless, you can’t underpay for a website as you might end up with a substandard product that will hardly yield any returns.
But be careful not to be overcharged.
While you might incur a substantial amount of money to set up your website, some unscrupulous people will use this opportunity to overcharge you. Thus, you need to be on the lookout to ensure that you do not pay beyond the recommended price.
SEO experts will show you a rough calculation of what you should expect from the local SEO campaign.
It is essential to seek the input of a local SEO expert who will probably give an estimate of what you should expect to spend. There is no other person who is better placed to furnish you with this kind of information other than an SEO guru.
Make sure it is ROI positive.
The primary essence of putting up a business website is because you’re hoping that this investment will begin to generate returns in the near future. Nevertheless, you need to develop a business plan since it will provide you with a clear picture of whether this investment is likely to be a hit or miss.
Look out for a company whose prices are somewhere in the middle
There are plenty of companies that charge favourable prices to put up a local business website. If you opt to cast your net wide, you’re likely to bump on an irresistible offer.
For local SEO, anything from £500 per month to £2000 is about right but if you require customer packages or want to target a wider area it may cost more.
Currently, local SEO services will set you back 500 to 2000 pounds which appears to be a relatively fair cost. As a website owner, you can hardly do without search engine services since the objective of this platform is to generate traffic and sales.
How do I find my SEO expert?
Search for a local SEO company on Google.
Google is the easiest platform where you can easily spot your preferred SEO expert without much trouble. Before you hire an SEO company, you should check to confirm whether its website is ranked.
Ask people who have used someone before, and they have got their site ranking.
Referrals will go a long way in ensuring you get hold of the best SEO professional services that money can buy. Always reach out to other people who own websites as they might refer you to a credible SEO expert.
Look for recommendations on social media.
Social media has numerous platforms that you can make use of to find local search engine optimisation specialists. A good number of SEO consultants have advertised their services on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Look for SEO experts that help out a lot on social media
There is a significant chunk of search engine experts who are providing pro bono services on social media platforms. You can reach out to them with a view striking a deal on how they can provide you with SEO services.
Look for SEO experts that help people out with free regular content showcasing their knowledge.
While this avenue may be useful, you need to look out for SEO experts with unmatched skills. There are professionals whose main aim is to engage in a popularity contest; hence, you should always find a way of separating the wheat from the chaff.
Ask in local networking groups.
Networking is one of the most viable means you can use to locate an SEO expert. In recent times, industry experts have been sharing insights in local networking groups and if you happen to be in one of them, you might rub shoulders with who is who in the search engine industry.
Is SEO worth the money?
If you have a marketing budget at your disposal, SEO is an investment that will be worth the while. Since time waits for no man, you need to consult an SEO expert for solicited advice on how you should invest in a successful SEO campaign. The sooner you put up a local business website, the shorter it will take to garner the requisite traffic.
Yes, it’s absolutely worth the money providing you pick the right local SEO expert.
Local businesses that have invested in SEO can hardly complain because the majority of them have achieved their objectives. But this would not have been the case, had they not enlisted the services of a competent SEO expert.
If you pick the wrong agency it will be a waste of money
Why go through the trouble of investing a lot of money in putting up a website only for you to hire the wrong SEO company? A website should always be complemented with a reputable SEO agency.
If you make your buying decision purely based on price instead of results, experience and expertise you will likely waste your money.
As you deliberate on which SEO agency will optimize your website, you face the risk of throwing your money down the drain. This might be the case if you opt to overlook some essential factors such as reputation, expertise, and experience.
Do your research, pick the right local SEO expert and reap the rewards!
The research will help you to identify the best local SEO expert. This is an area you cannot afford to compromise because it will determine how your website will fair in the Google rankings.
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