Choosing a local SEO agency to work with can be overwhelming. Many businesses may not know where to begin or what to look for in a trustworthy, reliable SEO company. Some partnerships don’t always produce the best results for your business and some local marketing companies may not get the most out of your bottom dollar.
Local SEO is something you can do for yourself—but working with a local SEO agency to help you if you’re struggling to get to the top of search results or to find the time and resources to work on your local SEO. Typically small business owners find that the time they save and the results that working with an agency produces is well worth the costs of SEO services.
But how do you know if your local SEO provider is actually going to help you realize your investment in working with them? It’s important to get the most out of your money invested in a local SEO expert but can be a struggle for many business owners.
We’re on a mission to help improve the local SEO industry by helping business owners better understand how SEO works. We’ve gathered together the top things to look for in a local SEO company so you feel confident in your investment—and the SEO industry improves on the whole too.
Do They Specialize In Local SEO?
Believe it or not, standard SEO services and local SEO services are different from one another. Just because you have a local digital marketing agency that understands SEO, it doesn’t always mean that they’ll know the ins and outs of local SEO strategies.
Although you might want to work with a local marketing agency near you, it may not be the best choice if they’re not well versed in helping local businesses rank and how to create local SEO campaigns that work for small businesses. Instead, it’s important to look for an agency that has a proven track record of helping businesses get to the top of search results in local markets. Ask yourself which is more important: working with someone who you feel confident can get you to the top of local search or working with someone who you feel is confident about your local area?
The key here is that local SEO doesn’t require knowing a specific market well to be successful. Instead, it’s about knowing which strategies work for local SEO rankings.
Local SEO solutions usually incorporate different services than traditional SEO services because of the differences in how local SEO works. For instance, ranking nationally doesn’t require any emphasis on Google My Business and many national companies don’t have GMB listings at all.
Local SEO, however, is largely dependent on having an optimized listing to get to the top of search results. The techniques of local SEO are often very different as a result and focus on more granular, specific tactics for local rankings.
When choosing a local SEO agency, be sure to ask questions about how they’ve helped businesses like yours get to the top of local search and what techniques they use to do that.
Do They Do Reporting and Have Transparency?
Even the best local marketing companies may not always be the most transparent when it comes to numbers. When you’re looking for a local SEO marketing agency, it is important to know that they are going to be honest with you about your SEO performance and overall reporting.
Performance measurement is one of the only ways you’ll know if your local SEO is working, beyond feeling the effects of increased business. While it’s easy to see when business increases, it’s almost impossible to attribute that to your local SEO campaign without reporting and transparency.
Most agencies start with a local SEO audit to help you gain a better understanding of what needs to be done to improve your business’ local SEO. Some agencies use audits as a selling tool to create feelings of shame or guilt that your local SEO is bad, not as a tool to help your business improve local SEO factors. The best local SEO agencies use an audit as a measurement of their progress in addition to improvements to your business’ rankings.
Choosing an SEO company that frequently tracks your data and performance is important. Our local marketing firm offers monthly reports to our clients so they understand their areas of success and areas of improvement each month.
How Do They Communicate With Customers?
Do they take the time to quickly answer your calls and emails? Are they willing to share honest information with you about your business and local SEO performance? Local internet marketing companies may be able to accurately do the work, but how they communicate with you is just as important.
Beyond reporting and transparency, you should have routine check-ins with your local SEO agency about their work and what’s happening at your business. Good local SEO experts use feedback from clients to judge how SEO is performing and to understand the quality of new clients and leads created through SEO. Success with local SEO isn’t just about getting to the top of search results but about producing value for your business.
Asking how prospective local SEO companies communicate with clients and if you can speak with the person who will be your contact point before signing a contract should be part of your vetting process. You may find that the person you speak with during sales isn’t the same person who will actually work with you on a day-to-day basis.
At our agency, we use initial consultations to understand communication styles, not just as a sales conversation. Why? Successful local SEO campaigns come down to open lines of communication between our local SEO team and your company so we make sure we can do our jobs well. Great SEO companies vet you as a client just as much as you’re vetting them during initial conversations.
Have They Managed Multiple Locations?
If you have multiple locations, you need to work with a company that knows what it takes to do that. Managing multiple business locations is different than managing a single location, both in strategy and in execution.
If you have SEO citations that require multiple addresses or phone numbers, doing it incorrectly can have a massive impact on your local search engine optimization. There are special ways that multiple listings should be managed across Google and other major search engines and directories.
Local advertising agencies should not only have an understanding of how to handle your business locations but also how to follow local SEO best practices for multiple locations. It is important to see what their digital marketing services include and if they have experience handling a business with multiple locations if you have a multi-location business.
How Do They Manage Listings?
Your business’ Google My Business listing is the most important tool for local SEO rankings. Optimizing your listing to rank in Maps should be one of the first things a local SEO agency helps your company do and continuing to help you improve your listing should be part of their ongoing services.
Directory listings and local citations are important to your business’s local SEO and lead generation. While there are tools out there that act as citation generators and will automate the listings for you, manual listings are higher quality and may provide better results. Asking how an agency managings listings can give you clues into how they work with clients as well as what they believe is more important in the quantity versus quality question.
They should also know some of the less common local SEO strategies your business can use to get to the top of Maps results, like using Q&A, embedding Maps on your site, and other ethical tricks for increasing rankings. While they might not talk about these strategies during your consultation because they’re more advanced local SEO tips, asking if they handle those kinds of things for listings can help you understand the depth of their local SEO knowledge.
If you’re looking for a professional marketing agency for local businesses, ask them how they handle listings for their clients. You may be paying them to use an automator that isn’t getting you qualified leads. We believe that listings should be managed by hand to get the best results and prioritize that in our management strategies.
Do They Offer Other Services Beyond Listing Management?
Although local listings are important for your overall ranking, it’s important that the local marketing company you work with has a holistic approach in improving your ranking and takes care of more than just your listings. Are they able to do website design, social media, website optimization, content marketing, keyword research, and more?
All of these marketing strategies play a key role in generating new leads for your business and maintaining current client relationships. They can also have a drastic impact on how search engines rank your business.
Local SEO is more than optimizing your Google My Business listing. Your local marketing agency should be able to help you take care of more than just your listings and improve the other elements that influence local search results.
Do They Help You Get More Reviews?
Reviews are important to the trustworthiness of a business, not just as a ranking factor for local SEO. Many customers view reviews to see how good your products and services are and if they are worth their time or money. Although some previous customers may leave positive reviews at their own will, your local business marketing agency should be actively working to gather more reviews for you.
Some agencies won’t do a lot to help you cultivate new reviews while others will provide automated tools as part of their services. The best local SEO agencies not only help you with the right tools, they also help you develop review policies for getting more reviews and learn the right strategies for customer service processes.
We help our customers get more reviews through SEO tactics or by encouraging reviews in email marketing strategies as well as through training for your staff. Working together to cultivate reviews is an important part of local SEO campaign success and is baked into how we work with clients.
Do They Help You Respond to Negative Reviews or Negative Brand Mentions?
Unfortunately, as a business owner you may face the occasional negative review or brand mention. How you respond and react to them is important to maintaining your existing customer base and attracting new ones.
Your local digital marketing company should help you deal with negative feedback or reviews in a professional manner so that you don’t have to worry about it negatively impacting your future business.
In addition to using crisis communication techniques for negative reviews, your local SEO company should also help walk you through the process of developing review policies and knowing what to do before a negative review happens. The best SEO companies also help you understand where your customer service is missing the mark with service audits and other skills that help you improve your overall customer contact, not just for SEO purposes.
We pride ourselves on working very closely with our clients to help them do more than just improve SEO and take a very holistic approach to improving their rankings. Customer service is an essential part of ranking well in search engines but is all too often overlooked.
Do They Help You Gain Visibility in Your Community Beyond Search?
As we mentioned, local SEO marketing is a lot more than just business listings and business profiles. Your local digital agency should help you become more visible in your community through other marketing strategies like press mentions, influencer marketing, and event marketing.
Rather than focusing solely on Google Maps marketing, your marketing agency should help you improve in other areas of your marketing as well. The right marketing company will want you to succeed in as many ways possible, which include other local marketing tactics.
The whole purpose of local SEO marketing is to help you get more customers and raise awareness about your business in your local area. While SEO tends to focus on doing that through search traffic, taking a more broad approach to your overall marketing will help you achieve your goals while reaping the SEO benefits.
Are They Well Reviewed and Have Case Studies?
The bottom line always comes down to one essential question: do they have proof of their reputation? If you’re looking to find a digital marketing agency to handle your local SEO, it is important to look at the work that they’ve done in the past.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of scammers in the SEO industry because SEO is largely an unregulated industry. There are no formal qualifications to prove SEO knowledge and most SEO professionals learned on the job. The only way to tell if a local SEO expert is authentic is by verifying it for yourself.
Check out the agency's case studies, see who they’ve worked with and how well they did. Additionally, just as positive reviews are important to your business, they are also important to the local marketing agency to work with. Spend time looking at their reviews to get a feel for what they might be like to work with.
Our agency is 5-star reviewed on Google and has a strong reputation of being authentic, transparent, and bringing a great attention to detail in our work and our portfolio features a number of clients we’ve worked with to help them achieve SEO & business goals.
Do They Have Any Awards?
To make it easier on you, some marketing companies have awards that showcase their expertise and qualifications. Typically their awards will be listed somewhere on their website if they have any.
At Orsanna, we have won awards as one of the best advertising agencies and web design agencies in the US. While awards aren’t always a symbol of being a great local SEO company, they can help if you’re stuck between two options for your local SEO services.
Do You Feel Comfortable with Them & That You Can Share Your Business Information with Them?
You will be working very closely with the local SEO marketing agency that you choose. It is important that you can trust them with your business information as they need to know internal information for marketing purposes as well as to make decisions about how to market your company.
It is important that you trust your marketing team and that they are a good fit for your and your overall business goals. While it goes without saying that you can always protect your business, you should feel that your business is in safe hands with your local online marketing agency.
Above all, you should feel that you can trust their opinions and that they have your best interests at heart, even if it means that they’re going to tell you things that you might not like to hear. After all, your business can only improve by first identifying what needs to be improved.
Speak With Our Local SEO Agency
At Orsanna, we believe that if customers are discerning in who they choose for SEO services, the entire SEO industry will benefit. That all comes down to understanding a bit more about how SEO agencies work and what your local SEO company should be doing.
You should have a clear idea of what to look for in a good local SEO agency after reading through this extensive list. We’ve tried to cover all the different aspects of what to look for in a local SEO service provider to help you make a more informed decision.
Think you might be a good fit for Orsanna? Get a free consultation today to see if we should work together! Our methods emphasize open, transparent processes and using Google’s best practices to help our clients rank in local search and grow their businesses.