A well designed local SEO strategy is hugely beneficial to any small business that serves the public from brick & mortar locations. Successful SEO provides free advertising to your business when people are searching for local stores or services. But many small businesses fail to take advantage of local SEO mostly because they don’t think they can afford it. But if you know what to look for it’s not hard to find affordable local SEO services. In this article, you’ll learn questions to ask and what to look for in an affordable local SEO consultant for your business.
What are Local SEO Services?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method used to make a website appear in Google’s search results. Local SEO services are methods of making that website that appear in search results for a specific location. For example a website for a Boston SEO expert would be configured to display that website in search results related to seeking expert SEO services in Boston. Local SEO is always used to associate a local business with its physical location in search results.
What to Look For When Seeking Affordable Local SEO Services
A skilled and affordable local SEO expert will understand how location specific keywords can help your business appear in local search results. Here are some examples of local keywords:
- Local SEO services near me
- Boston SEO company
- Best local SEO services in Boston
Key takeaway: An affordable local SEO expert will be able to discuss with you what kinds of local keywords your business should rank for.
Local Pack and 3 Pack Listings in Search Results
A local SEO expert will understand that effective local SEO depends on a lot more than just keywords. They will understand how to configure your website to use a type of data called microdata. That data is used to give search engines detailed information about your website. Microdata includes location data which search engines like Google use to provide enhanced search results called Google 3 Pack or Google Local Pack.
Below is a screenshot of a Google search for ‘donut shops near me’. It shows three donut shops in Escondido, CA. Note that each listing contains a picture, a rating, information about the business, and there’s a map that shows the business’ location.
Peterson’s Donut Corner is an Escondido institution. I highly recommend visiting them if you are ever in Escondido!
As you can see, a 3 Pack listing is very valuable for a local business. A local SEO expert offering affordable local SEO services will know how to configure your website to obtain Local Pack listings and 3 Pack listings.
Google 3 Pack is also called Google Local Pack
Here’s a great trick question that can fool someone who offers affordable local SEO services but doesn’t understand how local search results work:
Question. What’s the difference between Google 3 Pack listings and Google Local Pack listings?
Answer: There is none!
A Local Pack listing will show just your business if you are the only local business that offers your product/service. A 3 Pack listing will show the top 3 businesses in your area if there are three similar listings.
Key takeaway: An affordable local SEO expert will be familiar with Local Pack and 3 Pack listings and be able to discuss how to get your business featured in both types of listing.
The Importance of Google My Business to Local SEO
Google offers a free listing to all businesses called Google My Business. If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business profile you are losing out on important local search visibility. An SEO expert will know how to claim and configure Google My Business for your business. Here is part of the Google My Business listing for Peterson’s Donuts:
Google My Business provides valuable information about your business to people searching for it
Bing Places for Business provides similar information. A local SEO expert will also understand how to claim and configure your business’ Bing listing.
Key takeaway: An affordable local SEO expert will know how to claim and configure the Google My Business and Bing Places for Business listings for your website.
Affordable Local SEO Services Include Reputation Management
Every business is rightfully concerned about online reviews because they have a huge impact on a business’ ability to attract customers. That is why Reputation Management is a critical component of local SEO services. If your business has struggled with online reviews, then you should definitely discuss your reviews when seeking affordable local SEO services.
Reputation Management services can include: Reaching out to customers that left bad reviews to see if they can be persuaded to improve their review. It can also include responding to negative reviews in a way to minimize their impact on your business. A local SEO expert will also know how to claim online listings for your business on sites like Yelp. Properly configured, review sites like Yelp can bring qualified customers to your website.
Key takeaway: When interviewing a local SEO expert, discuss your company’s online reputation with them and listen to any recommendations they make
Technical SEO is an Important Part of Local SEO
Technical SEO is used to properly configure your website to rank high in search results, it is an important part of SEO. It includes the previously mentioned microdata for Local Pack and 3 Pack listings, plus a lot more. A knowledgeable technical SEO expert will conduct an audit of your website and will be prepared to discuss any work needed to improve your website’s configuration. Any local SEO service worth buying will begin with a technical audit of your website. If a prospective SEO expert you are interviewing skips this first step, move on quickly! That ‘expert’ isn’t actually an expert.
Key takeaway: Expert affordable local SEO services always begin with a technical audit of your website
On Page Local SEO
Content is King: The quality of the written and visual content of your website is one of the most important factors that search engines consider when deciding how to rank your website. Any SEO expert worth hiring will examine your content for problems such as:
- Poor grammar
- Improper use of title and H tags
- Bad spelling
- Missing or improperly configured links
If there are problems with your on page SEO, an SEO expert will prioritize fixing those problems. Problems with on page SEO can actually cause your website to be penalized in search. Plagiarism in particular is a major SEO no-no. Centaur Consultants worked with a client that had plagiarism problems and was having problems getting their website to rank well. Fixing that problem alone made a huge difference in ranking their website.
Key takeaway: An affordable SEO expert will be able to spot problems with your website’s content and be able to discuss how to fix them.
Core Web Vitals
Another critical component of SEO is Core Web Vitals. It is a significant ranking factor in Google search results. Google rates your website for Core Web Vitals on both mobile and desktop search results. Core Web Vitals is the name given to a group of ranking factors that include:
- How fast your website loads
- Do images and text jump around on a page when it loads?
- How usable are the pages on your website?
- Is there any scripts or other code on your site that slows it down?
Local SEO is highly competitive, properly configured, Core Web Vitals will make the difference between you beating your competition, or them beating you. A skilled SEO expert will evaluate your website’s Core Web Vitals and be able to discuss any problems with you.
Key takeaway: Ask about how well your website is configured for Core Web Vitals on both desktop and mobile. A knowledgeable SEO expert will be prepared to discuss this with you.
Another important ranking factor is website security. Problems such as non-https pages will significantly impact your website’s rank in search results. If your website was hacked and contains malware, that can prevent your website from appearing in search results at all. An SEO expert will examine your website’s security and discuss any problems with you.
Key takeaway: Ask if your website is properly configured for security. A knowledgeable expert will be able to discuss any problems found in the technical audit of your website with you
Affordable local SEO services are about more than just getting people to visit your website. It also includes converting website visitors into customers for your business. Conversion entails getting visitors to your website to take an action, such as calling you on the phone. A skilled SEO expert will be able to discuss how to analyze traffic to your website to find visitors that convert. They will be able to spot flaws in your website’s landing pages that may impair your sites’ ability to convert.
Key takeaway: Ask about your website’s landing pages. Listen carefully to any recommendations a prospective SEO gives. There is always room for improvement and a qualified expert will be able to make recommendations.
Off Page Local SEO
Off page SEO refers to hyperlinks from outside websites which link to your website. Think of these hyperlinks as upvotes; the more you have, the more upvotes your website will have. Those upvotes tell search engines that your website is popular, and that helps you rank better. A skilled SEO expert will begin the improvement process for your website with on-page SEO. Off page work will come after your on page SEO is in good shape.
A warning: Not all hyperlinks are created equal. If there are spammy links or links from websites not related to your business, search engines will hold those against you. This can cause your website to rank poorly or not at all.
Key takeaway: Ask about your website’s link profile. An SEO expert will be able to tell you whether or not your website needs to get rid of bad links, and/or build good links.
Social Media for Local SEO
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Indeed, and Yelp are all used to promote local businesses online. A local SEO expert will evaluate your businesses’ presence on social media and be able to make recommendations to you. Links from popular social media sites can drive traffic to your website. A local SEO expert can evaluate your social media profile and make recommendations if needed. It pays to have an active social media presence. You may also want to hire a social media expert to maximize your use of social media.
Key takeaway: A skilled local SEO expert will be able to analyze your social media presence and make recommendations if needed.
Centaur Consulting Offers Affordable Local SEO Services
Centaur Consulting Group specializes in affordable SEO services for local businesses. If you are just getting started, contact us for a free SEO consultation. We have helped businesses just like yours find hidden problems on their websites that prevented them from ranking well. Often, tangible results can be produced in just 90 days!
If you are not satisfied with the results you are getting from your local SEO strategy, we can perform a technical SEO audit and may be able to find out what’s stopping you from ranking well.
As you can see, there is a lot involved with ranking well in local SEO search results. But what you may not know is that any one of these factors, if poorly done, can prevent your site from ranking well. Centaur Consultant’s free preliminarily SEO audit can spot these hidden but significant problems and get your website found in local search results.
Contact us for a free consultation and discover what’s holding you back from getting into the top position for your local SEO results!