I’ve known plenty of SEO consultants in the time I have been doing this type of work, including many who work specifically with plumbers and ac techs, and they can say that most of these techs and experts are really old school. In most cases, they were a little hesitant about doing Local Seo In Houston for there business.
They believed that the way they have been doing there advertising for years still works but, they soon realized that the local business environment nowadays is actually pretty cutthroat and that a good web presence was essential in driving potential customers to visit their business.
And once the old-schoolers saw business improving, they were convinced that it works, even if they stubbornly refused to understand what had happened. Businesses have to have an online presence in this day in age if you want more customers.
In this article, I will take you through my approach when working with local businesses on SEO and outreach. While it may seem like a niche industry, I think that my work will be of interest to many people working on SEO.
This is because working with clients who are new to technologies like the internet represents something of a challenge. As an SEO consultant, working with companies like this forces you to go back to basics, and remember some everyday things about the way that the process should work.
1. Know Your Client
Before I started working with small local businesses, most of the tech-savvy clients pretty much know what they are offering, and what made their business unique. The same is not true of clients who are new to online marketing.
Whenever you get a new client, take time to understand who they are, and what makes them unique. This could be anything from a particular clinical specialty to a customer services team who are the friendliest in the neighborhood.
Sometimes, it takes a significant amount of time to understand this, clients are generally focused on their day-to-day work rather than on marketing themselves. However, the time spent at this stage is invaluable. It gets your clients on board, for one thing, because everybody likes talking about what they are good at.
Additionally, it also allows you to focus your efforts on a specific set of keywords. This saves a whole lot of time during the later stages of SEO, allows you to limit your competition to a smaller pool of competitors, and ultimately makes you more effective.
2. Build A Good Website
The majority of local businesses you will work with, probably already have websites, but most of the time they are not good: normally just one or two low-resolution pages that have a picture, a phone number, and an address.
This can serve as a reminder to us the importance of a decent website. You can get all the backlinks you want, and your page can climb to the top spot in Google, but unless your web site is good you’re going to lose a lot of customers. It doesn’t have to be the best but, have it look professional.
Truth is, SEO and the quality of your base website go hand in hand. Without a fast website, you are not going to climb up the page rank, because Google now ranks pages partially on their speed. Improving the speed of a site encompasses everything from comparing popular web hosts to find the fastest one for the area, to making sure the images and code on a site are streamlined.
There is one important thing, however: keep it simple. It’s no accident that websites that win awards are built on minimal design. Not only do these designs make it easier for customers to find what they want, but they also load faster, which in turn improves their page rank.
3. Making The Blog
This is one of the steps that a lot of SEO consultants hardly ever have to do from scratch. Publishing engaging, relevant content on a dedicated blog is the bread and butter of SEO, of course, but setting up a blog from scratch is a good reminder of the primary purpose of a blog: putting a human face behind your brand.
You can hire freelance writers from Freelancer or Upwork, and they’ll probably generate a lot of content quickly. However, my experience has shown me that what clients value is an expert opinion. It’s not hard to convince professionals to let you write about their day-to-day work.
The trick here is to make sure they stay focused on subjects that will rank well. Using standardized tools will normally generate a list of top-ranked sites and pages for a client’s specialty, and then use these as inspiration for my writings.
This means you don’t have to come up with subjects on your own, which can be the most time-consuming part of writing a blog, and it also starts the SEO process at this early stage.
4. Sorting Out Customer Service
In addition to redesigning the website and starting a blog, at this stage register your clients with every local business listing possible. Google remains the most important, but also bear in mind that many cities have local business sites that a lot of people use to search for products and services.
Once you’ve got a killer website and a blog with plenty of good content, it might be tempting to immediately start your SEO. But, be patient, and get your customer services ready first.
The clients I work with are generally quite small businesses and accordingly need only a small customer service department. Most of the time all that is needed is for you to teach the small staff how to respond to the increased online engagement they are going to receive.
This normally includes some basic training on how to use LinkedIn and Facebook, and in particular how to respond to negative reviews and comments. The last thing you want is your customer service rep arguing with a potential or even worse a paying customer.
Through experience, most online criticism of a company can be shut down by an employee taking the time to respond attentively to such comments. In fact, in a lot of cases, this can often turn a bad review into a marketing opportunity.
5. Global Outreach
Now we get to the stage that most SEO professionals are more experienced with. It’s hard to write in this article, all the advice on how to get your brand out there because the process is in principle quite simple: write posts for sites that rank well in your specialized field, and link them back to your site. Keep repeating your keywords, and use quality content to drive visitors to your site.
Working with local businesses, like in a lot of industries, there are plenty of large online communities that can be utilized in building links to your site. As I’ve said, some clients are not the most active of businesses online, and as a result, there is a lot of untapped potential in their industry.
One thing especially useful in this regard is to build forums for professionals to discuss work-related subjects. Customers only look for certain clients once or twice a year, like a dentist or a doctor, but if you build quality resources, other professionals are going to visit your site once or twice a week, building up your traffic, and ultimately your page ranking.
At this stage, you should see site traffic and page ranking increase dramatically for your clients. This is great, of course, but you need to make sure that all the stages I’ve mentioned are in place before this happens.
Customers are going to start asking your client questions and leaving reviews, and if staff are not ready for this then potential clients are going to become frustrated.
6. Local Outreach
By this step, your client should have a pretty good web presence and is on the way to the top of the page rank. For companies that are global, and sell goods and services online, this is great. However, working with local businesses has taught me another lesson, some companies are inherently tied to a local community, and you need to reach out to the neighborhood as well as the internet.
You can’t get your teeth fixed online, of course, and so all of the dental clients’ business comes from the local community. This is also true of many retailers, even if they ship their products worldwide.
What this means from an SEO perspective is making sure that your page rank is high on a local level as well as a global one. There are many ways of doing this, but one that is particularly effective is to make sure that your content mentions local activities and businesses.
You can even set up a separate blog of guest posts that are specifically geared toward the local community. There might even be a local historical society or community forum that gets a load of local traffic and will be only too willing to accept articles about your client’s services.
Another key part of local outreach, which will also boost your global page rank, is to make sure that people leave positive comments on Google or similar sites. This can be achieved by asking the employees of your client to ask their customers to leave reviews. I have clients that gave away gift cards or offered a discount for giving feedback about their services.
People feel deeply connected to local businesses, and their your client asking them to leave some warm comments on Google can feel like they are giving something back.
7. Keep In Touch
Don’t forget t make sure you keep in touch with your client. My experience of working with local businesses has forced me to go back to basics when it comes to SEO, which has been great.
On the other hand, it can be frustrating to work with clients like this in another way. I’ve sometimes checked in with a client after 6 months, only to find that their blog hasn’t been updated since I left, and there is a stack of unanswered messages on every platform I’ve given them.
The thing to do here is, to give responsibility for SEO to a particular person at the company. Choose someone who you think can handle it, and spend a few hours teaching them about every aspect of what you’ve done. Put them in touch with your writers, and most importantly show them how to measure success. For the most part, they will be only too happy to learn a new skill, as it will ultimately give them more leverage in the workplace.
Though some of these steps will be obvious to any SEO professional, by going back to basics I’ve reminded some of you of everyday steps that you might have forgotten.
And if you happen to work with a plumber, a local business, or someone who is similarly old-school, hopefully, this information will be of value to you and your marketing agency.
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