The latest mantra in the United States and many other developed nations is to “Go Local.” Due to the revisiting of this concept before major shopping chains and restaurants emerged, local search engine optimization (SEO) has become a major topic for business owners to reach their local customers and communities. Most business owners ask the same few questions: what is local SEO? What is the difference between organic SEO and services for local SEO? Why does local SEO matter?
These are all excellent questions that will be answered in this article to help you target the surrounding region for your products and services.
History of Local SEO
The origin of the local SEO concept is not that ancient, only dating back to around 2003-2005 when search engines focused on delivering results within the visitor’s locale. Additional provided information was a map listing, store hours, and a description of the store, like what you see in Google Maps today.
Since the concept emerged, local SEO has grown to become a customer-targeted online marketing tactic allowing local businesses to be included in relevant results based on various search indicators. This allows for a differentiation from broad organic SEO that prioritizes search relevance instead of searcher distance.
What Do I Get When Buying a Local SEO Package?
There are two options for implementing local SEO into your business: do-it-yourself or hire a local marketing firm. Unless you are an Internet marketing guru, your results will be considerably better when hiring a firm. While the services offered by internet marketing companies vary, you can expect the following when buying a local SEO package:
Behind-the-scenes reporting helps you understand how your company and campaigns are progressing and commonly includes reputation reporting, advertising reports, and search engine rankings. Google Analytics is the typical choice for gathering these metrics.
Content marketing through WordPress blogs helps your company maintain communications with existing and new followers to ensure your business is an authority on your industry topics. Content marketing is essential for the growth of new and existing companies.
Having a Facebook Business page is as crucial to your advertising as a Google My Business site. Therefore, it needs to be professionally-designed with SEO details to attract the social media-dependent crowd.
Fully-Optimized WordPress Website
Purchasing a local SEO package includes a newly-designed WordPress site with a domain name of your choosing, brand and call-to-action window, social media integration, and lead generation forms. On your site will be professionally-written content, contact information, a review showcase page, a feedback submission page, and a professional association section. Promotional details can also be added to the site.
Hosting Package with Fast Page Speeds
To achieve the highest level of visibility within search engine rankings, optimization of your Google My Business page, localized maps, and the Bing search engine can take your company to the next level. These three listings allow customers to find your company and learn more about your products and services more easily. Also, this optimizes your company for navigation devices with monthly submissions being sent to providers to ensure accuracy.
Feedback and testimonials are the lifeblood of consumer buying behavior which can be added to your website to support positive reputation management.
Security includes SSL encryption to ensure data and sensitive information exchanges keep the customer safe. This also increases search engine rankings since major search engines frown upon sites without SSL encryption.
SEO Within the Website
SEO experts ensure all new websites are fully-optimized to rank highly on search engines that drive traffic to your site. Common SEO additions include optimized high-value keywords, headers, titles, image descriptions, and XML sitemap integration. The keywords are professionally researched to generate interest from the audience.
Video marketing can help your company gain more visibility that supports your products and services. A professionally-prepared video and YouTube channel will go a long way to extending your local reach within the community.
Should I Do My Own Local SEO or Hire an Agency?
There are pros and cons to doing your local SEO or hire an agency, including:
Pros of In-House
- Could have a dedicated employee to work on SEO – An agency will have many clients and cannot devote all their time to your site. A dedicated employee is specific to the needs of the company.
- An employee can build relationships within the company – A dedicated employee will have face-to-face interactions with required departments to make decisions.
- An employee will have a complete understanding of the company – The employee will become fully invested in the company and familiar with short-term and long-term business goals.
Cons of Do-it-Yourself
- More expensive than an agency – Employees require salaries, benefits, education, software, etc.
- Project demands on the skills of the specialist – If your specialist’s skills are not up-to-par, you may not achieve the required results.
Pros of Hiring an Agency
- Access to a team of experts who remain updated on the latest changes – Full-service agencies are composed of numerous specialists who can improve your campaigns.
- Can be less expensive than in-house specialists – You do not need to pay a salary, bonuses, benefits, pay raises, etc. with an SEO agency.
- Can escalate issues – If you have a problem or disagreement with the agency, you can go to their boss.
- Gain an extensive wealth of knowledge – When working with so many specialists, you gain access to decades worth of knowledge and experience.
Cons of Hiring an Agency
- Multiple clients – You will never have the agency’s undivided attention.
- Restricted to a virtual relationship – You will unlikely ever meet the entire team with most communication done via email and phone, so it is difficult to brainstorm ideas.
How Can I Measure the Success of Running a Local SEO Campaign?
Measuring the success of a local SEO campaign can be achieved with three Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s):
Organic traffic refers to the visitors who originate from search engine results and not from advertisements. This is one of the best metrics of SEO performance and Google Analytics displays this information well.
Referrals are visitors to your site that arrive via a link on another website or app and do not include organic traffic. Referral reports show how to engage the visitor on your website and where they originated. Google Analytics does an excellent job of displaying referral traffic.
The value of reviews can transport your company to the top of a search page. Reviews give new consumers insight into the workings of the company to help them gain confidence in your products. The number of reviews is not the only metric, they must be honest and legitimate.
There are many factors to local SEO but using the same best practices used within regular search engines will get your company far. The alternative is to hire a local SEO specialist to manage this and ensure more traffic is being driven to your site. Now that you have the background, you can find the best option to fit your company’s needs!
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