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Optimizing our clients’ online presence for local intent searches has been deeply embedded in the SEO services we’ve provided for the past twelve years. Setting up an information-packed Google My Business, crafting content with local keywords in mind, and listing clients’ businesses across relevant directories isn’t anything new, nor revolutionary in the world of SEO.
In fact, much of what constructs today’s concept of local optimization has been practiced by marketing experts for years.
However, the onset of voice search and mobile devices’ prevalence as the primary medium of Internet access have propelled the growth of location-based searches, crystalizing local SEO as an entirely new digital marketing concept for our (prospective) clients to seek help with.
According to Google Trends, the search for “local SEO services” went up nearly five times in February 2022, compared to the same period in 2020.
So, if you’re looking to leverage this hot digital trend and make your name in the industry, read on as we go through the things you need to consider to find local SEO clients.
1. Define the Scope of Your Local SEO Services
Before pitching our local SEO services to any potential lead, our task was to outline and specify the exact activities we’ll be able to provide to future clients. Local SEO intertwines technical website optimization, social media marketing, backlink outreach, and content writing, to name a few. There are many points to cover—and not everyone is keen on being a Jack of all trades.
We were lucky that our team has already boasted specialists experienced in and dedicated to different aspects of local SEO. However, if your agency is just beginning its endeavor in local optimization, and there’s no clear-cut distinction as to what are each team member’s passions, roles, and expertise—this step will prove crucial for your business’ success.
Take out the time and thought into this process. Remember that defining your—individual or agency’s—scope of work is more than simply defining what you sell to clients.
Offering services that your agency isn’t specialized in under the pretense of “fake it until you make it” is a setup for failure. Likewise, biting off more than you can chew can prove to be a pitfall as your team fails to deliver promised results and too much pressure causes cracks to begin to show.
Be frank as to what your team is capable of and what scope of work you can take on. Prioritize quality service and client satisfaction above all else, and avoid overwhelming your teammates with tasks they’re not knowledgeable in.
2. Outline the Industries You Serve
Defining niche(s) to serve isn’t a must—after all, our agency has over the years successfully worked with businesses from across industries. Still, local SEO is unique as there’s a limited pool of clients to acquire—stores with a physical location or businesses that serve a geographic area.
If your team has experience in a certain business niche, leverage that knowledge by seeking clients whom you can deliver excellent results—quickly and effortlessly.
Otherwise, you can opt for a niche that is prevalent locally, with many businesses in need of local SEO to boost your agency’s chances of acquiring good accounts. Or, you could leverage a potential lack of companies that serve local SEO to a particular niche and set your foot in the door.
Of course, we’d always recommend finding a balance between passion and profit. Serving an industry you’re simply not passionate about won’t yield results either to your clients or you.
3. Do Your Agency’s Local SEO As You’d Do For Clients
Don’t waste precious time wracking your head with the question of how to find local SEO clients. Instead, dedicate efforts and expertise to transforming your business into a local SEO agency clients will seek to partner with.
Wondering how to do it?
By demonstrating your local SEO expertise for your own business.
Of course, there’s only one first spot in the SERPs, and ranking 1st or 8th doesn’t indicate either agency will do a good or a bad job for their clients. However, the first-ranking agency definitely does something better than the latter one, and in clients’ eyes, the quality of your agency’s local SEO may make or break them converting to clients.
As an agency with several offices across the globe, optimizing our search performance for every location is an incessant endeavor—but the trouble does pay off. For our local optimization purposes, we focus on polishing up our agency’s GMB profiles with keyword-targeted client reviews and building our backlink portfolio from relevant local directories and websites.
4. Become a Local SEO Thought Leader
You already know that every conversion begins with raising awareness—so be the one to do it among your prospective clients.
Most business owners hear about local SEO from a fellow entrepreneur or read about it in an online magazine. They’re perhaps aware it’s something their business may need, but they’re not convinced—yet. So, before they start local optimization, they’ll want to know more about local SEO and what benefits it can yield—and this is where (y)our content enters the scene.
Valuable and informative content will establish your agency as a thought leader on the topic of local SEO. We have always taken pride in our agency’s blog, which largely dons pillar content written for people who know nothing about local SEO, and the world of digital in general. Education, for us, proved to be the best form of encouragement for local business owners who need to be very tactful about their investments and expenses.
However, don’t focus on demonstrating your expertise and authority only online.
Instead, pave your way to converting more local businesses by attending and participating in local entrepreneurs’ events and marketing conferences. Work towards building your credibility among prospective leads—online and offline.
It suffices to say we sprinkle our website’s local SEO content with some location-based keywords to give it an extra layer of relevancy—for readers and Google alike.
5. Pitch to a Prospective Local SEO Client
Don’t be dissuaded from showing the initiative to gain new clients with arguments that it’s an indication of your agency lacking clients or quality. Taking a proactive approach towards acquiring new local SEO clients is an entirely valid strategy—and may we say an efficient one.
As an agency, we’ve only recently begun pitching our services to prospective clients. And we can confidently say that this practice has done wonders for us.
First, it empowered us to refuse accounts that we felt weren’t the right fit for our agency and instead choose the projects and clients that embodied the brand of PopArt Studio truthfully. Second, client pitching enabled us to define and refine our services and business model in general.
As for our local SEO pitch practices, we’ve tried cold outreach via emails and LinkedIn, but in our experience, the latter proved more successful.
On LinkedIn, our Business Development team approached local SEO prospects via their profiles, and leads seemed to appreciate that extra touch of personalization, and being able to put a face to the name.
We also did a sort of A/B testing of pitches—to some prospects we’d send an outreach presenting our agency and our local SEO services, but for others, we’d do an analysis of their site’s local SEO quality together with some actionable advice on how our agency could help them improve their rankings.
Guess what type of outreach did better?
Witnessing that leads were much eager to act upon our pitch upon seeing their website’s problems for themselves, we shifted our pitching practices towards hyper-personalizing every offer.
All in all, when pitching a potential local SEO client, show understanding of their business, and personalize your proposition.
We also found that many leads liked the fact that PopArt Studio is a full-service digital agency, meaning clients can rely on us for any kind of digital service. As an agency, we provide graphic and web design, web development, content writing, social media marketing, and much more—and even if our clients come to us for only one of these services, they almost always broaden the scope of our involvement.
So, if your agency provides local SEO services alone, it would be a good idea to partner with agencies that provide other digital services and thus create a full digital cycle offering.
Whatever the case may be, craft your local SEO pitch to mirror what you can provide for clients. So, if your team is specialized solely in backlinking, GMB optimization, or local SMM—no worries—being honest and transparent will always get you where you belong.
6. Perform Comprehensive & Effective Local SEO Services
Of course, this depends on the scope of services your agency offers. PopArt Studio, as a full-service Local SEO agency provides an all-encompassing approach to improving our clients’ local rankings.
Usually, we begin local site optimization with an in-depth website audit to assess the current state and outline a plan of action. The goal is to set a strong foundation, so before starting any on-page and off-page activities, we take care of the technical SEO elements, such as mobile-friendliness, fast loading time, adequate language attribute, schema.org, rich snippet, etc.
Once the site is technically ready, we start with optimizing our client’s Google My Business profile, as probably one of the strongest signals for good local search rankings. Within GMB optimization, we:
- add images of the physical location’s interior and exterior
- upload promotional videos, if applicable
- add the store’s contact info, including
- Google Maps location
- working hours
- include price range, if applicable
- write the business’s short description with strategically embedded keywords
Customer reviews are a huge part of a good GMB ranking, so we always stress the importance of our clients encouraging their customers to leave reviews and share their experience working with their brand. Needless to say, positive reviews, from authentic Google accounts, and with detailed descriptions instead of only ranking with stars, go a long way.
And a pro tip—customers should include keywords in their reviews, and so should our clients in their answers, to help boost Google’s understanding of the business’s products and services. Of course, customer reviews aren’t that easy to control, but we always tell our clients to make up for the lack of keywords by adding them to their answers.
GMB profile optimization is an ongoing process. Still, once we wrap up with the basics, it’s time to continue with other local SEO activities, such as:
- adding the client’s business to local directories while ensuring business information are identical across all listings
- targeting local keywords within the website content through title tags, meta descriptions, blog posts, landing pages
- uncovering and acquiring quality local backlinks
You can also boost your local SEO efforts by performing remarketing and retargeting activities via Google Ads and social media, to nudge customers that were initially hesitant of converting.
7. Report on Your Local SEO Activities
How you’ll craft your local SEO report to a client should be a result of your mutual agreement. In my experience, some clients prefer a visual representation of their site’s performance, through, for example, graphs, bars, and charts. Others prefer monthly reports in the form of written analysis where we’d discuss the activities and results from the past period.
Regardless of how you opt to construct your local SEO reports, the point is to make them informative, explanatory, and actionable. Your reports should effectively communicate the metrics that matter, progress on KPIs, discuss the success of performed tactics, and highlight the plans for the following period.
In general, our local SEO reports include data on:
- rankings of local intent keywords
- CTR, impressions, and clicks for the predefined local keywords
- traffic data from Google My Business, organic search, and ads, if applicable ads
- a detailed list of website traffic sources, with a drill-down of device types, locations, and demographics of the client’s site visitors
- referring domains and backlinks status
- website’s page speed, mobile-friendly score, and other relevant technical SEO aspects
Of course, reports vary depending on the type of client’s business. For example, our reports for an ecommerce store and a service provider hugely differ, so I’d always recommend taking an advanced approach to local SEO reporting and hyper-tailoring your agency’s SEO report templates to match your clients’ unique needs.