Would You Prefer to Listen to the Audio Post Instead?
2021 is upon us and Google rankings are as volatile as they’ve ever been. In fact, Google, especially if your business is local or multi-local (operating on a local level in more than one region), is more complex than ever.
Two things to know for certain are this…
- Your prospects are using Google like previous generations used the phone book.
- Your competitors are aggressively looking for ways to beat you to those prospects.
The challenge is that it’s basically impossible to stay on top of local SEO trends and run a business at the same time.
If you’re unsure whether you should hire an agency, we’re going to help you figure out if you need to hire someone to handle your SEO or if you can do it yourself.
Here’s my list (updated for 2021) to help you decide if your site needs a local SEO agency or whether you can put it off a little longer.
1. You’re Not Feeling the Google Love
Have you ever heard someone refer to the Google local 3 pack? It’s a grouping of the top 3 search results that Google considers to be most relevant to a local user’s search. So if someone in Cleveland, Ohio searches for a dry cleaner using their mobile device, the 3 local dry cleaning businesses with the best SEO will show up right at the top of their search results page (SERP).
What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re a dry cleaner in Cleveland, you definitely want to show up in that user’s search. And if you want the best shot that this person will click on your link and find your store, getting into the local 3 pack should be your top priority.
But how can you do that? A Google search for dry cleaners in Cleveland returns more than 6 million results. But the vast majority of mobile users won’t scroll past the first page. Of the Google users who click on a link after searching, a whopping 94% click on a first page link. And since the local 3 pack takes up the entire first page on many mobile devices, you really want to be in that top three.
How a local SEO expert can help
If your site hasn’t been getting a lot of traffic from Google, that probably means you’re not ranking very high on the SERP. Getting your link into one of those top spots is challenging and takes a lot of work. It also takes the kind of expertise that many non-SEO professionals lack.
A local SEO expert can go into your site’s background code and write, tweak, and add features that Google will love. They can leverage phrases, keywords, and topics that will improve your SERP ranking and increase your chances of landing in that local 3 pack.
So if you’re not feeling the Google love, consider hiring a local agency to help you stand out and leave the competition behind. If they have experience in your vertical – that’s even better.
2. You Haven’t Updated Your Web Copy Recently
Hey, we’re all busy. In fact, if you’re running a business, you passed “busy” at about 9:00 AM and you’re fully in the weeds by noon most days. Who has time to update a website?
Unfortunately, if you want to attract customers and use your website to funnel leads and close sales, you really need fresh, useful content. If you haven’t done that in a while? Time to call a local SEO expert. Here’s why
Stay Relevant on Google
Google uses bots to crawl billions of web pages searching for content that meets its users’ needs. They want people to find their search engine useful, so that means they have to fill their SERPs with fresh, relevant results. Your web copy from 1997 won’t strike Google as particularly fresh or relevant.
What the Google bots are looking for is recently updated, well-written, and useful content. If a user searches for “how to change your own oil,” Google wants to show them articles and videos that were written recently with current car models in mind. They want to highlight content that gives a thorough, step-by-step description of the oil changing process, and that’s presented in a way that a novice can understand. And they want to direct users to local websites with a reputation for providing great content.
If you own an auto parts store with a locally optimized website and you’ve recently published a blog that does all that, you’ll probably rank higher than the shop that stopped updating 10 years ago.
This is why it’s so important for businesses to frequently update their web copy. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, hire a local SEO expert to help. They’ll keep you relevant on Google, drive visitors to your site, and help you generate leads so that you can focus on running your business.
Maintaining Your Own Website
Today, many businesses choose to maintain their own websites. They think they’re saving themselves money. It’s fairly easy with programs like WordPress and Squarespace. Even someone with no coding experience at all can choose from a menu of pre-written website themes and create an attractive page layout.
The reality is, they’re probably costing themselves a lot of money instead.
The tricky part is filling that website with Google-focused, locally optimized content. If you’re not familiar with schema markups, focus keywords, backlinks, and domain authority – this could be very difficult to do. A local SEO expert can help you with all of those things so that you can stay focused on your actual area of expertise.
3. You Haven’t Optimized for “Near Me” Searches
Certain location-based apps, like Google Maps and AroundMe, offer users the option to search for a local business in their immediate area. Let’s say an iPhone user is driving from Baltimore to Philadelphia to meet up with an old college roommate. Our Baltimore resident wants to know where she and her old friend can get a drink and catch up. She’s already using Google Maps for directions to Philly, so she taps on “explore” at the bottom of her screen, chooses “bars,” and voila! A list of the most relevant businesses that are close to her destination pops up.
You might have guessed where we’re going with this by now. Yes, if you own a bar, it is definitely in your best interest to have your business show up in that search.
The same goes for any other local business with a brick and mortar store: restaurants, car repair shops, record stores, injury lawyers. The list goes on and on.
Smartphone users often search for nearby places with voice search as well. “Hey, Siri, find me a nearby Chinese restaurant.” Or “OK, Google, help me find a nearby gas station.”
The best way to ensure that a potential customer finds you when she’s searching for a nearby business is to optimize for nearby searches. In order to do that, you’ll have to find someone who understands how people search, and how to tell Google that your website is a relevant result. A local SEO expert will understand how to best use keywords, search phrases, and other tools to give your business the boost it needs.
4. You Aren’t Getting the Results You Want
Businesses should always look ahead and seek out new ways to drive higher conversions and grow their customer base. Part of this process is factoring in new investments and ROI. If you’re looking for a way to get the biggest bang for your marketing buck, a local SEO expert can give it to you and then some.
Think about your current digital marketing activities. Are you advertising with Google and other search engines? Running a drip email campaign? Maintaining social media accounts?
Now ask yourself how much business these activities have pulled in. Many business owners say that they’ve given up on digital marketing because it just doesn’t pay off enough to justify the spending.
But a local SEO expert can improve the timing, positioning, and content of all these activities and more. Your marketing dollars should be spent on initiatives that increase your revenue. So it’s important to talk to someone who knows how to make that happen.
There’s a reason why SEO companies are open for business: their methods bring results.
Local SEO experts understand consumers and how they search. They can craft compelling content to snag search engine bots for top results. Even from your initial consultation, a worthy consultant should be able to pitch you a data-driven approach to growing your brand based on what they know about your target audience.
So if your marketing dollars aren’t bringing in the ROI you were hoping for, talk to a local SEO expert to find out how he or she can help.
5. Keeping up with Changing SEO Rules Doesn’t Seem Worth It
To prevent scammy business practices and to keep the market fair, Google updates their SEO rules pretty frequently, and they do it without really telling anyone. Many people try to guess, but nobody but Google knows exactly how they choose which websites to rank highest.
Google does give people a few official suggestions for improving their rankings, but for the most part, experts have to figure it out through trial and error. These folks are constantly testing the rules to understand them better and put them to use for their clients.
This is why there are so many articles and blog posts about SEO. Experts who study Google’s algorithm and ranking results all day try to put what they know into helpful content that others can use to improve their rankings on the SERP. But there is so much information and so many rules, it’s way too time-consuming for a non-expert to try and understand it all.
Instead of wasting time trying to play catch up with new SEO rules and tactics, hire a reliable, local SEO expert who comes up with a plan for success.
Invest in a Local SEO Expert for Higher Returns
If you don’t already have a local SEO expert, it’s time to make that call. There is no digital marketing investment with a better return on investment.
Don’t know where to look? Give White Peak a call! We’ve got years of experience to help you improve your local SEO and drive customers to your business.
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