Tips to Choose the Right Local SEO Agency

The search engines prioritize providing the most relevant information available in their information. Here's an example showing the nearby hotels for a 'restaurant' search.
Hence, ranking on SERPs has become cardinal for brick and mortar businesses. If you are one of them and lack in-house expertise, then outsource your local SEO to an SEO agency.
With all the agencies out there, how do you choose the best one? Finding a local SEO agency that meets your business needs and delivers your expected results can be difficult.
But don't give up just yet. We have listed some points below to consider as a starting point when selecting the right local SEO agency.
Let's get started.

1. Know What You Want

You don't need to be an expert in local SEO. But you need to know what you want to achieve when outsourcing your local SEO needs.
Uncertainty can lead to confusion and dissatisfaction down the line. So, before you select a local SEO company, you should sit down and map out the objectives you wish to achieve. This will help you define your goals.
As a business seeking help with local SEO, your goal may be to achieve the following.

  • Improve the quality of leads because some businesses like saloons can only serve in their locality
  • Engage more customers
  • Increase website traffic
  • Improve rankings of local listings.
  • Reputation Management

The above are just a few of the goals you can achieve with local SEO. Other things to keep in mind include:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • Where do you think your efforts are lacking?
  • Do you need help with GMB listings or the website?

2. Follow Google Guidelines

You want to know the agency you are hiring is following Webmaster guidelines. These are publicly available and list 12 prohibited common SEO tricks. Why?
As a local business, Google will be your biggest lead generation machine. If the agency violates Google Guidelines, they will also break the rules when helping you.
If you violate any of Google's guidelines, you could lose your spot in search results or even get penalized manually.
Hence, it's vital to see if the agency is well aware of Google's guidelines as shown in the screenshot above or ask them directly while enquiring about them.
Here Are Some Signs To Know If They Are Violating Google Guidelines:

  • They don't ask you questions. If the agency is genuine, they will have lots of questions.
  • They have no suggestions for improvement. Genuine agencies consider your business as partners. They will make recommendations to help you move forward.
  • They do not want to share their strategies. The agencies who do not follow Google Guidelines tend to avoid sharing their strategies for helping you improve your local SEO ranking.

Read: SEO Tips from Google's Quality Rater Guidelines

3. See How They Communicate

Communication is a crucial factor when partnering with a local SEO agency. Even the most reputable SEO agency won't help if they can't communicate properly.
The difference between bad and good local SEO is they will communicate with you without being prompted.
Here Are Some Key Considerations To Look For When Gauging Their Communication:

  • The reliable agency will provide clear information on who will manage your accounts and get in touch with them.
  • A reliable local SEO agency will offer more than one communication channel to keep in touch withβ€”for instance, Slack, calls, emails, etc.
  • Reliable agencies will tell you how they will stay in touch and how many times you can expect to communicate in a month.
  • Their communication reflects that they value their past and current clients with a good level of professionalism.

4. Think Beyond SEO

It's good that you are taking local SEO seriously. But think of bigger pictures.

  • What else does your business need to get ahead of the competition?
  • Is your website lacking somewhere?
  • How is your social media?

More importantly, focus on how you can drive conversions and sales? Simply getting leads from Google won't help. You will need to convert them, right?
It's because local SEO helps you rank on top, but you don't know the customer demographics interests, whether they are bouncing off from the home page or service page, or they find you in non-operating hours, etc.
So, to help it, many local SEO agencies also offer advanced SEO campaigns to help you convert your leads into sales. The only precaution you need to take here is to select a local SEO company with experts in the field and those who've helped local businesses scale before.
Below Are Some Questions You Can Ask:

  • What advanced services do you provide other than local SEO?
  • Do you provide services like A/B testing and conversion optimization?

5. Check Reviews And References

Save yourself from future disappointments. Always check reviews online before moving forward with a local SEO agency. Here's an example for that:
Reviews are solid social proof to know whether an agency's services benefit clients or not. According to BrightLocal, 82% of consumers read reviews of local businesses.
A reputable agency will have generated a long list of good reviews through the years, with most clients coming in through references.
On the other hand, if someone refers you to local SEO agencies, don't just go with the flow. Ask questions. Simply knowing 'they are excellent' won't help you.
Here Are Some Questions You Can Ask When Getting References From Local SEO Agencies

  • Did the company educate the client on what they needed to do and set the right expectations?
  • Was the client able to achieve the goal they set at the beginning?
  • How well did they coordinate with clients throughout the process?

6. See How They Measure The Success Of SEO Campaigns

It's hard to predict the exact results of SEO campaigns due to the unpredictable nature of local SEO.
Every business owner wishes to be on top of SERP rankings, but your SEO success is more than just rankings. Any reputable local SEO agency will know that the end goal of any SEO campaign is to help businesses make money.
As a result, local SEO agencies will have key metrics to define the campaign's success. These KPIs include website traffic, revenue generated, leads, and conversions. The agency should ensure to consider local SEO performance to evaluate these KPIs.
The agency will help you understand why they measure success using those key indicators and the true value of local SEO.
Below Are Some Questions To Ask:

  • What analytics tools do they use to collect data? E.g., Google Analytics
  • How will they share these analytics with you?
  • How would they use these data to improve results continuously?

7. Be Clear About the Budget

SEO isn't cheap. SEO services usually start from $3000 per month for the basic package. Google is unpredictable, and it would be a long time before you see results.
You should ask yourself before hiring a local SEO agency, "How much can I spend on Local SEO?" And can I spare that much money month after month?
If you are looking for cheap local SEO agencies, consider the significant risks involved. SEO services are not cheap. As a result, any local SEO agency charging fees that seem too good to be true is a red flag. Here's an example below, if the listed price is too reasonable than a market price, then it's not good.
Below Are Some Things To Ask When Looking For A Local SEO Agency Within Your Budget:

  • Ask about the local SEO packages that fit your budget.
  • Do they offer discounts for long-term strategies? In many cases, long-term services are offered at a discount.
  • Ask if you can remove any component from the package that you don't need?

8. Keep An Eye On Red Flags

Unfortunately, the SEO field is full of misfits. You may come across many so-called local SEO experts who may have no SEO knowledge or even know what they are doing. That's the reason why you should keep an eye on red flags when hiring a local SEO agency.
Here Are Some Red Flags You Should Avoid When Hiring A Local SEO Agency:

  • Agency guarantees the results: Why is this a red flag? It's because local SEO and SERPs are unpredictable. One never knows what will happen. Here's an example:
  • The Agency Urges You To Sign A Long-Term Contract: It is best to avoid signing long-term contracts since things can go awry, and you may have to part ways. A long-term contract can make leaving more difficult.
  • Do Not Have A Digital Footprint: How do you trust an agency to help you rank your services on Google when they do not have a website or social media? Lack of digital footprint may signal something shady.

9. Ask For Report

SEO reports are an essential part of local SEO. They act as a scorecard of your local SEO performance. Ask the agency for the progress reports of previous clients. This will ensure that the agency has a valid method to report the progress.
You want to ensure that they show you the report and walk you through the entire process. In other words, you want a report that can easily be understandable by both you and your team members. So, you can ask for case studies, achievements, revenue generation, etc., as shown in the below screenshot.
Here Are Some Questions To Ask:

  • What will the report include? Clicks, visitors, leads, keywords ranking, etc.?
  • Now that you know our goals, how can you customize the progress report to cater to our KPIs?
  • How often will you share your progress reports? Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?

Read: What are the Things to Include in SEO Reporting?

10. Learn Their Strategies

Rand Fishkin, Moz founder and author of Art of SEO, warns businesses to steer clear of SEO consultants and agencies who won't freely discuss their methods in detail.
According to him, If they are genuine, they will share key strategies that will help you improve your local search ranking, generate more leads and estimate how long it will take to achieve those results. Here's a screenshot of an agency indicating the strategies they'll be covering for local SEO.
Here Are Some Critical Points To Consider When Knowing The Strategy:

  • How do they conduct keyword research? What metric do they follow while researching keywords?
  • What are their local link-building and citation strategies?
  • How will you improve the local rankings of my website and business listings?

11. Ask If The Company Specialize In Local SEO

SEO is a large term, and people often don't understand it properly. There are different types of SEO, including local SEO, national, and international SEO. Not all SEO agencies can solve your SEO issues.
If you're looking for an SEO agency, you should look for one specializing in Local SEO. Why? You want to know they're experts in managing local business listings and citations for your business.
It is important to find an SEO agency that understands your business needs. Besides GMB, they will help with Yelp, Apple Maps, and industry-specific platforms like HomeAdvisor.
GMB listing management can be time-consuming with many things to troubleshoot, such as inaccurate time, false reviews, and managing queries. A deal-breaker is not having any experience with your industry or managing GMB listings.
So, take a look at the screenshot below, where the agency shows you their experience and results provided to clients in local SEO.
Here are some questions you should ask

  • Do you have any previous experience in our industry? Tell us about it.
  • Have you managed GMB listings for businesses before?
  • Are you familiar with industry-specific platforms? A good example is Yelp for restaurant reviews.

12. Check Their Privacy And Maintenance

Last but not least, the agency you are approaching should protect clients' privacy. Working with the SEO agency means sharing sensitive information such as accounts, admin access, etc.
The SEO agency should have guidelines to ensure your information is safe.
Here are some questions to ask when gauging how the agency maintains the privacy of its clients.

  • What steps do you take to protect clients' business information?
  • Do you have NDA signing in place to protect clients' business information?
  • Does any third-party platform or business have access to any client's information?

Key Takeaways

  • Read reviews and recommendations online to know the quality of services.
  • Ensure that the agency follows Google's webmaster guidelines.
  • Learn what strategies they will use to help you rank higher in local SEO results.
  • Keep an eye on red flags such as guaranteeing results within a short period.
  • Keep your SEO goals clear and realistic.
  • Ensure that the agency specializes in local SEO and has past results to back its claims.
  • Ask what steps the agency takes to protect the clients' privacy?

Rank Your Website

Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years strategizing and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested in writing Digital-marketing, PPC, and Social Media Marketing related topics.


Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years strategizing and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested in writing Digital-marketing, PPC, and Social Media Marketing related topics.