Do Your Need a Local SEO Consultant?

Local SEO doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Success is primarily determined by consistently doing a few key things correctly over time. By dedicating some effort to the basics, many businesses may find they can effectively manage their local SEO without the need for a consultant.

However, there are certain scenarios where hiring an SEO consultant is strongly recommended:

  • Businesses with non-local (national or global) marketing initiatives
  • Most professional services
  • High-ticket sales situations where losing a sale could mean substantial lost revenue

In these cases, the expertise of an SEO consultant can be invaluable in navigating complex SEO needs and avoiding costly missteps.

For those looking to tackle local SEO on their own, here’s a checklist of essential tactics to master:

1. Google Business Profile Optimization

  • Claim and Optimize: Verify your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing and ensure your business name, address, phone number, category, description, photos, and other details are accurate and complete.
  • Active Management: Regularly log into your GBP dashboard to keep your profile fresh. Update with new content, respond to reviews, add photos, and engage with your audience.
  • Google Posts: Utilize Google Posts within your GBP profile to share updates, offers, events, or news. This helps keep your listing engaging and can boost visibility in local search.
  • Avoid Common Pitfalls: Be aware of potential mistakes that can harm your GMB listing or lead to suspension. Read Why Your Google Business Profile is Suspended and How to Fix it for detailed guidance on avoiding major errors.

2. Local Keyword Research

  • Identify Relevant Keywords: Determine the keywords and phrases potential local customers are likely to use when searching for businesses like yours. These are your core local keywords.
  • Tool Recommendation: Ahrefs is a top tool for keyword research. Consider a trial or a month’s subscription to gather a comprehensive set of keywords.
  • Integration: Incorporate researched keywords into your website’s pages, posts, meta titles, URLs, and overall content. See Title Tags: How to Write and Optimize Them for Maximum SEO Benefit for tips on optimizing meta titles.

3. Website

  • Building a website for your small business involves a range of considerations that can significantly impact cost and effectiveness. Options vary from DIY platforms like Wix and Squarespace to professionally developed custom sites in WordPress.
  • Key factors influencing cost include the scope of work, developer expertise, and business objectives. DIY websites might suffice for hobbyists or very small businesses, but they often lack SEO optimization and advanced features necessary for competitive markets. Investing in a professional website can enhance your online presence, improve search rankings, and increase conversions, ultimately offering a better return on investment. For more detailed insights, check out How Much Should a Small Business Website Cost?.
  • Mobile-Friendly: Ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices. Over half of local searches occur on mobile, so a fast, responsive design is critical for user experience and search rankings.

4. Local Link Building

  • Build Local Backlinks: Focus on acquiring links from websites of local businesses, organizations, and events. These local backlinks can significantly boost your search engine rankings.

5. Online Reviews and Ratings

  • Prioritize Review Acquisition: Reviews are a top factor for both conversions and rankings. Actively seek reviews and respond professionally to all feedback, positive or negative.
  • Utilize Tools: Consider applications like TrueReview to automate and streamline the review collection process.
  • Key Platforms: Prioritize acquiring reviews on Google first, followed by Facebook and Yelp.

6. Local Content Creation

  • Match Content to Search Intent: Use your researched keywords to create content that directly addresses what local searchers are looking for. This could include posts about local events, news, activities, or common questions.
  • Content Assistance Tools: AI tools like ChatGPT and Claude can help generate relevant, high-quality local content.

7. Local Business Citations

  • Consistency is Key: Your business Name, Address, Phone number, and Website (NAPW) must be consistent across all online listings. Services like Whitespark can help manage this for a reasonable fee, just have them do it.

8. Structured Data Markup (Schema)

  • Implementation: Use tools like RankMath to set up structured data markup on your website. This helps search engines better understand and display your site’s content.

9. Voice Search Optimization

  • Optimize for Voice Queries: With the growing use of voice-activated devices, optimize your content for voice search using natural, conversational language and long-tail keywords. That’s where keyword research comes in.

10. Regular Website Audits

  • Maintain Website Health: Periodically audit your website to identify and fix SEO issues like broken links, outdated content, or slow loading times. Keeping your site technically sound is key for sustained online visibility. If you’re not familiar with this work, hire a maintenance service.

Remember, local SEO success comes from consistently executing a handful of key tactics over time. While many businesses can effectively manage this in-house with some dedicated effort, those with more complex needs or higher stakes may find hiring an SEO consultant to be a worthwhile investment. Either way, mastering these fundamental local SEO strategies is the key to boosting your online visibility and attracting more local customers to your business.