Search engine optimization is essential in today’s business world to gain any level of success online. There are 1.8 billion websites out there to compete with which makes SEO for local businesses crucial to allow customers in your area to find you.
Most business owners don’t know very much about SEO for local businesses, and what they do know may be counter-intuitive to their success. They spend time, energy and resources on strategies that just don’t work.
Now is the perfect time to start a local SEO agency. But how do you go about it?
Keep reading to learn 7 steps to starting a local SEO agency.
1. Have a Business Plan
As with any venture, it’s important to have a plan. This will allow you to understand what direction you want to take your new venture and how you’ll do it.
It also allows clients, investors and other business associates to clearly see that you mean business!
A business plan may seem like an overwhelming task in the beginning but it makes it easier for you as you hit bumps in the road along the way.
There are a few things that are included in every successful business plan.
An Executive Summary
An executive summary is an overview of the business. It will give a brief description of the key points of the plan that follows and the company this plan is discussing.
It should briefly outline what services your local SEO agency will offer, why your company is needed and how you’ll fill a need for your clients.
The executive summary of a business plan will be the first thing readers see. But it’s most effective if it’s written last. This is because you can’t summarize what’s to follow if you haven’t completed the other sections of the business plan.
It doesn’t lay everything out in great detail but offers an optimistic and concise overview of what is included in the rest of your business plan.
The next section is usually a business description. This will explain the mission, vision, and purpose of your company. It will lay out the direction you plan to take your company and how you plan to accomplish the business mission and bring your vision to fruition.
It’s good to give a brief overview of the industry and why your company is needed in it.
This section of your business plan will more thoroughly detail the facts and figures of the industry your company is joining. You’ll discuss who your competitors are, the size of the market and the potential for growth and success within it.
You’ll need to show you know the Local SEO market and how you can make money and how you’ll become an integral part of it.
This section of your business plan will explain who is going to run the company, how decisions will be made and the role of each department.
Sales and Marketing Strategy
You can’t be successful in business if you don’t have clients. This section will outline the strategies you’ll use to market your services and how you plan to attract and retain customers.
You need to stand out from your competitors and offer services that will get clients in the door the first time and keep them as loyal customers in the future. This is impossible to do if you don’t have a solid strategy.
Financial Needs Strategy
It takes money to make money. This section of your business plan will describe where that initial money is coming from and where it’s going to be used.
It should discuss what equipment, supplies, and resources you’ll need to get started. How you’ll pay employees if you have any and how your business will survive financially until you have a steady stream of money coming in.
Everyone wants to earn a million in their first year but that’s just not realistic for most companies. This should be a realistic view of the amount of money your company should be able to make and where that money will go in the future.
2. A Local SEO for Businesses Portfolio
Now that you have a plan so you and your investors have a clear idea of how the business will operate you need something to show potential clients.
Why should they trust you to take care of their local SEO needs?
A portfolio can include demonstrated experience, the CV of company executives, and examples of the work you’ve done in the past. Show clients why and how you’re the expert they need to take charge of their local SEO strategy.
This could include:
- written material such as brochures, mailers, and business stationery
- client reviews and recommendations
- education and training details
- links to past work
- a company website
You want to inspire confidence in your ability as an agency to successfully promote and meet the needs of your clients.
3. A Professional Local SEO Website
Before you can prove your ability to improve SEO for local businesses you need to successfully do so for your own company.
You need a website that attracts the right visitors so you can gain customers. People have shorter attention spans than goldfish, so you need a website that keeps them interested once they find you.
But first, they have to find you. This is something that can take time and energy to do. This will be accomplished by implementing the same local SEO strategies you’ll use for clients once they hire you.
After creating a unique, informative, and effective website you’ll want to focus on local SEO for your company online presence.
This will include growing your own digital footprint through your website, social media profiles, business directory listings and a strong overall SEO strategy.
3. A Company Blog
You’ll want to include a company blog in your SEO strategy. This is a great way to share information, gain credibility with clients and search engines, and build a stronger online presence.
A blog is vital when it comes to search engine ranking because it gives your website more pages to be indexed and evaluated. The more topics within your niche that you write about, the more search engine results you’ll show up in.
As you build an informative and unique blog that delivers quality SEO information to visitors you will gain credibility and can be considered an expert in your field when search engines rank you. You’ll be valued by search engines and more easily found by potential clients.
4. Networking and Online Engagement
You can’t wait for people to find you, you need to actively reach out and build a business network while engaging with potential clients. This can be accomplished online and in your physical community.
Attend networking events for local businesses whether they are within your neighborhood or an online community.
Engage with followers on social media and always respond promptly to comments and reviews.
5. Know Your Stuff
SEO is constantly evolving and the strategies that are most successful are always changing. You need to know what algorithms each search engine uses to rank sites.
Google has hundreds of factors when assessing sites. You need to know which ones are most important and how to develop a successful strategy for your company and your clients to use these factors to your benefit.
Search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com and others also have their own algorithms for ranking sites. It’s important to not just focus on Google as you want to make the top of the list for these sites too.
6. Deliver Quality Service
Customer service is everything and you won’t be successful if you don’t master this aspect of your business.
Whether your interactions are entirely online or you meet with clients in person, you need to ensure they get the best service possible and that you deliver quality products every time.
Ensure your website is easy to use, provides the information and options for clients to have a hassle-free experience. If your site is slow loading, or they can’t use the payment option they prefer you could lose a client.
AI helps customer service on your website be almost as efficient and informative as if you were standing there helping them yourself. It can offer live chat, F.A.Q. and other valuable services to potential customers that may just seal the deal and turn them into loyal clients for years to come.
Don’t promise more than you can deliver because one bad experience can also turn a loyal customer into a hostile review. You could lose their business and that of other potential clients.
7. Be Professional
Whether you’re replying to a disgruntled online troll or making a sales pitch, always be professional. Deliver professional, quality products and services and never associate your company name with anything that can lose you revenue.
It’s great to add a little fun to your social media and blog posts. This can get more people interested and give them a reason to share your posts but make sure that even your humor is delivered in a professional manner.
SEO for Local Businesses is Your Business
Running an agency that provides SEO for local businesses isn’t much different than how you optimize your own company. It’s an essential tool of success for any business in any industry.
For more tips on making your company a success check out our services today.