“Shop local” seems to be the millennial mantra, and they aren’t the only ones – consumers of all demographics have grown in their support of local small businesses. More and more users are conducting searches for businesses “near me,” or local brands that are in their neighborhoods. This has led to the need for local search engine optimization (SEO) and local SEO consultants. Local SEO is much different from typical SEO. It requires practice area specialists. Does this mean you have to shop locally for your SEO consulting services? Not necessarily.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO refers to a strategy of marketing your business online to local customers. It is a highly targeted online marketing approach that helps brands promote their products and services to customers that live in the area. Local SEO uses a number of strategies to place a website in the first page of search engine rankings. Ideally, local SEO will get a brand into the “local pack,” or the top three local search results Google gives for relevant keywords. Local SEO can grow a small business and help it compete with larger brands in the area.
When you hear the phrase “local SEO consultant,” you probably think of an agency with an office in your hometown. Google the same phrase, however, and you’ll see results from all over America. This is because an agency doesn’t have to live near you to excel at local SEO. It is a marketing strategy that does not rely on local expertise or knowledge – much like typical SEO. It does rely, however, on the agency’s comprehension of local SEO best practices. This is what your search should include, not the location of the agency.
The best SEO agencies for your local business might be hundreds of miles away. This may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t when you consider what it actually takes to develop a successful SEO campaign. Your consultant should have in-depth knowledge of search engine optimization, online marketing experience, and the resources to make your campaign a success. Does this mean the individual or agency needs to live nearby? Absolutely not. Some of the best SEO agencies support national brands.
Hiring a Local SEO Consultant vs. the Right Consultant
An SEO consulting service in your hometown might have exceptional resources, a great track record, and everything your brand needs for a successful campaign. If this is the case, feel free to retain a local firm. Know, however, that the closest agency to you is most often not the best one you could choose. An SEO consultant doesn’t have to be in your zip code – or even the same state – to be your ideal choice. Looking only within your local area can severely limit your options and ultimately lead to a bad business decision.
Don’t buy into the idea that you have to hire a local SEO agent for high-quality local SEO. This is just a sales tactic that your neighborhood consultant might use to win your business. The reality is, a consultant should be able to handle your project with dexterity from across the country if need be. Consultants who truly excel at their jobs can boost a company’s visibility in local search results whether they live in the area or not. It simply takes the right business tactics.
Local SEO doesn’t actually have much to do with your local area. Instead, it looks at the information the brand has available online – mostly through services like . This is a free Google listing service for local businesses that stores their information. Other business directories are also important for local ranks. The more a business puts its name, address, and phone number (NAP) online, the better the local ranking will be. Local SEO also relies on link building, content, keywords, and other website optimization factors – all relevant to local searches.
What to Actually Look for in a Local SEO Consultant
Forget including your city in your search for local SEO consulting services. Instead, look for a local SEO consultant with experience, expertise, and a history of success stories. SEO agencies in your region may have knowledge of businesses in your area, but they might not have any other benefits recommending them. Conducting a search for only local consultants will limit your possibilities and potentially lead to hiring the wrong agency for your specific needs. Your local SEO consultant should have:
- Specialists in the field
- Experienced professionals
- Effective local SEO strategies
- Portfolio of past clients
- References or testimonials
- A variety of SEO/marketing services
- Local business listing management
- Social media marketing services
- A unique plan based on one-on-one consulting
- Website redesign consulting
These are just some of the elements that make a great SEO consulting agency. Where the agency has its headquarters shouldn’t impact your decision as long as it can fulfill all of your requirements. The key takeaway is that local SEO doesn’t have to be “locally sourced” at all – but it does have to be powerful and effective. The consultant or agency you choose should be a mastermind of the craft, regardless of location.