Local SEO 2018 [The Complete Guide]
What’s up, SEO Pros?
My name is Chase Reiner and I’m here today to teach you how to do Local SEO like a COMPLETE BOSS!
In this guide, I’ll be telling you everything I know about Local SEO and show you exactly what you need to do to get an INSANE advantage over your competitors.
Quick Qualifier: I’m currently the highest-rated SEO consultant on Google, and I’ve ranked almost every type of business on Page 1 of Google for the major city that I currently live in!
Here’s what you will learn in this Local SEO guide:
- SEO basics
- Setting up your website, content management system (CMS), theme, and hosting
- Site architecture
- Content Relevancy
- Keyword research and mapping
- Content creation techniques
- Optimizing your Google My Business (GMB)
- Citation building
- Schema markup
- Local client generation and management
In this section, we’ll talk about where to start and what to avoid if you are brand new to the realm of search engine optimization (SEO).
If you’re already somewhat seasoned in SEO, you can skip this section; however, this may prove to be an excellent refresher for you (as well as an opportunity to learn some of my workflow best practices).
Where to Start
Unfortunately, I will not be covering how to get started in great detail because I’m assuming you know at least a tiny bit about SEO.
That being said, if you found this post on Google (or somewhere else) and have no idea what SEO is or how it works, I would suggest you start with the Beginner to Advanced SEO guide that I’ve created or you can read the Beginners Guide offered by Moz.
Here are some things you’ll want to remember while going through the Local SEO guide:
● Don’t be concerned about link building (as we WILL NOT be covering this topic).
● Don’t get overwhelmed, if this information seems like a lot. As you follow my advice, it will get easier. (Remember, the journey of a thousand steps begins with the first step!)
● Please be patient with my presentation of information. Some of you may already know a lot about Local SEO, but many do not.
● My purpose for the Local SEO guide is for it to be THE GUIDE THAT ENDS ALL GUIDES!
● If I missed anything, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post and let me know.
Setting Up Your Website, Content Management System (CMS), Theme, And Hosting
In this section, we’ll be covering:
● Choosing a domain for your website
● Choosing a content management system (CMS)
● Choosing a website theme
● Choosing a hosting company
Choosing a Domain for Your Website
In this stage, you have a few factors to consider:
● Keyword targeting
Factors A, B, and C will actually all need to be decided together. How you brand your website is going to affect how you eventually scale it while targeting valuable keywords along the way.
For instance, if you want to be the GO-TO company that does iPhone repair in every city around the world, you wouldn’t want to brand your website as www.iPhoneRepairCityName.com.
The Name in the domain is too location restrictive. Same goes for how you will be targeting your keywords. You wouldn’t want all of your title tags and URLS to replicate www.iPhoneRepairCityName.com/Other-City.
So, here’s my suggestion:
If you’re going to be targeting only one country, metropolitan area, city, or county because you may sell the website to someone, as I did in my Rank and Rent 2018 Guide, then I’d suggest you use an exact match domain, while focusing on targeted keywords and branding for a particular location.
Once you follow these strategies, you’ll see how easier it is to rank (and turn a nice profit once you sell the website!).
If you’re going to try to rank in multiple major areas under one brand, I’d suggest you go for a catchy-sounding name with your keyword in it, such as iPhone Repair Geeks, because you then can quickly brand your website as your main keyword and still have location modifiers on your Google My Business (GMB) pages.
For instance: iPhone Repair Geeks (City Name)
Lastly, if you’re going to target separate major areas, you should do so with a new CMS installed on your additional city subfolders, such as IphoneGeeks.com/Locations/Location or IphoneGeeks.com/Location Once you created a separate CMS install for each of the new location subfolders, you will then create subsites that are going to look like the main site would in that area.
This means there will be a new About page, Contact page, Services page, etc. for each subsite.
That may seem like a lot of work to do, but please understand that Google doesn’t like seeing websites trying to take over location keyword modifiers with just one page.
The Google best practice is to target the location keyword modifiers with an entire website!.
Moreover, if you create a bunch of low-value pages targeting every city around the world and they end up not ranking, it is likely that they were hit by a Google penalty based on its search algorithm or a manual review by their team.
Remember, the more low-quality, non-ranking, thin-content pages you have on your website, the worse your website will likely perform on Google’s search engine results pages.
Also, if you have a bunch of crappy content that nobody looks at, I promise you that it will screw up your overall website architecture’s perceived quality and internal link flow in the eyes of Google.
Quick story: I had a client once come to me and ask for SEO help. I deindexed more than 50% of their website’s pages and they received an almost immediate and substantial increase in traffic just weeks later!
Choosing Your Content Management System (CMS)
Regarding your content management system (CMS), you’ll want to factor in how you plan on scaling your website and business.
Here’s what I recommend:
● Rankings in just one area or county (WordPress or Squarespace)
● Rankings in multiple areas or counties (WordPress)
Squarespace vs. WordPress
As a CMS, Squarespace is great for creating simple, responsive websites without needing to know a whole lot about web design or code.
The issue with Squarespace is that when you start growing your business, there can be a ton of scalability issues when using their tools, especially with things like local schema markup customizations.
With WordPress as a CMS, you’ll have a little bit more of a learning curve (especially if you’re brand new to web design, SEO, and schema markup), but if you get the right template, it’s pretty easy to set up.
When I need to effectively implement schema markup, only WordPress is up to the task.
I can’t stress enough the importance of choosing a CMS that can handle schema customizations when you have a bunch of different businesses ranking in other locations…and this is why WordPress is my choice.
Sorry, Squarespace, you just can’t be counted on to do this!
Choosing a Website Theme
I really like the Divi theme from Elegant Themes, as it is the WordPress theme that I currently use for my website.
My favorite things about Divi are all of the available themes it comes with and its built-in page builder!
Choosing a Hosting Company
This step is fairly simple. All you need to do is find a hosting company that is fast, affordable, has free SSL certificates, and offers good customer support.
I’ve found that Siteground is the best solution for all of these things!
Now that you have a domain, a CMS, and a host, you’ll want to start figuring out how your content is going to be presented on your website.
Again, you have a few options here:
● The single-business approach
● The multi-business approach
If you’re going to be ranking only one business and targeting only one area (say a county), you’ll want to follow this layout taken from my Rank and Rent blog post:
The point is that your website should have a categorized architecture that makes sense.
Every additional service you have on your website is an additional sub-keyword that is related to your main keyword.
For your location pages, you’ll need to figure out if any additional related cities in your county are worth targeting.
Tip: Do not go for city pages that have ten searches per month, as those keywords are not worth the effort you’ll need to rank them.
For the this approach, you’re going to follow the same outline as the singlebusiness approach, but with CMS-installed subfolders, as mentioned earlier.
Your main website will likely be targeting national keywords, such as Find iPhone Repair Near Me.
Moreover, there should be a Call-to-Action (CTA) on the front page above the fold (what you initially see on your computer screen) that asks a user to type in a city or related-query to help direct them to one of your subsites.
Here are examples of main site targeting:
● domain.com [keyword: iPhone Repair Near Me]
● domain.com/about [keyword: About International iPhone Repair]
● domain.com/locations [keyword: Find iPhone Repair in Your Area]
● domain.com/locations/location [keyword: iPhone Repair + City Name]
● domain.com/locations/location/services [keyword: iPhone Repair Services in City Name]
● domain.com/locations/location/services/service [keyword: iPad 8 Repair in City Name]
Hopefully, that makes sense to you.
Here’s the thing.
It doesn’t matter if you’re creating thousands of pages for different cities or a few pages for one city.
If you, or your users, or Google doesn’t understand the purpose of your content, then there’s virtually NO POINT in having that content!
Someone recently asked me how to tell if the content is good or bad.
Well, I’m going to share with you what I told them.
Check out the next page.
Good content is colored green, and bad content is colored red:
● Content that provides awesome user experience (UX) based on what the keyword intent is
● Content that performs superbly in Google Analytics and drives conversions
● Content that meets content averages based on intent
● Content that uses hyper-specific data to match what people are searching for
● Duplicate content (internally on your site, and externally from other websites)
● Automatically generated content
● Spun content (content that has been copied but spun with different words)
● Over-optimized content (insane numbers of internal or external links, or mentioning your keywords way over the average, as well as having a high-frequency word count (discovered in my Bench Marketer SEO Software)
● Content that performs terribly (as reported through Google Analytics)
Watch this for more detail: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=29hukK0JdN0
The point to remember is that your content shouldn’t be targeting a keyword count.
Your content should be targeting an actual intent with the content optimized for that intent.
If you’re wondering how many words, images, types-of-words, videos, etc., that you’ll need for a given intent, I highly suggest you do the following:
● Search for the keyword you’re trying to rank for
● Figure out what recurring themes are for that keyword
● Replicate that theme and slightly over-optimize the theme you’ve found
● For instance, if you see the top 10 pages ranking with 5 images, add 5 more, etc.
Tip: The easiest and fastest way for you to do this is to use the Bench Marketer software that I created to calculate all of these averages for you!
Keyword Research And Mapping
Now that you have an idea of what your website architecture and content layout should look like, you’re going to want to do some keyword research to find out what kind of topics that you’ll want to rank for in your chosen niche.
For this phase, you’ll need to follow a few steps:
● Initial keyword research and mapping for main landing pages
● Analytics data benchmarking
● Concurrent keyword research for subsequent informational-based blog posts
Here are the differences between main landing type pages and informational-type posts.
Main Landing Pages:
● Generally ranks for selling or brandable-type keywords
● Not great for building authority
● Extremely important (especially if you’re not going to be doing external link building)
● This is how you’ll generate authority with *free* information-type content
● Great for internal linking and cross-selling up your main value ladder
Initial Keyword Research for Main Landing Pages
The reason why we are starting with this step before doing informational/blog-type content is that these are the pages that are going to need to be in place before we try to rank our niche or sub-niches (ie. subfolder for a city, if you’re doing national/international).
Once these pages are in place, we’ll need to let them marinate (slowly build rankings and data first).
Remember, it’s better to rank as a website around your subject then it is to rank only one page and have the rest of your pages not rank or be entirely irrelevant to your topic/niche.
For your initial keyword research, I recommend you follow my competitor keyword research method, or use something simple like the Google Keyword Planner and simply type in your city + keyword and then export your ad group keywords.
Now just filter by different keywords and start keeping track of which ones you’d like to use.
While you start gathering your keywords, you’ll want to start putting them next to the URL’s (pages) you already have or the URLs that you’re going to create in the future.
Note: This is the first step of many for keyword mapping. If you don’t want to do all of the formattings that I’m going to show you how to do, you can get my pre-made SEO Audit Checklist Template here.
After doing this for all of your keywords and URLs, you’ll now want to head towards the content creation side of things.
For this, you’ll start finding averages, as discussed earlier.
Again, you can use the Bench Marketer software that I had made for my own personal use, or you can eyeball/guess the averages yourself.
Here’s how you will do this process if you’re using my software:
1. Enter your URL and keyword
2. Export results to Excel
3. Plug values into spreadsheet
1 – Enter your URL and keyword.
2 – Export results to Excel.
3 – Plug values into spreadsheet.
You should end up with something like this:
CSWILC: Current Sitewide Internal Link Count [found through Search Console internal links tab]
ASWILC: Average Sitewide Internal Link Count [no way to track this yet, but hopefully we will in the future]
CWC: Current Word Count
AWC: Average Word Count
CIC: Current Image Count
AIC: Average Image Count
CVC: Current Video Count
AVC: Average Video Count
CSM: Current Schema Markup
ASM: Average Schema Markup
The green and red boxes are just whether or not a certain average has been met with the based current count and average.
All you have to do once your content is mapped out is to focus on the red boxes and ignore the green boxes.
For the red and green scored averages, you’ll need to add conditional formatting with the following formulas: Again, if you don’t want to set up all of this stuff yourself, you can get the audit template here.
● CTR [click-through-rate] under 3% = red box
● BR [bounce rate] over 70% = red box
● ASD [average session duration] under 3 minutes = red box
● CCR [current conversion rate] under 3% = red box
● CASD [current average session duration] under 2 minutes = red box
● CPPS [current pages per session] under 2 pages = red box
● CPS [current page speed] over 2 seconds = red box
Analytics Data Benchmarking
This step is arguably the most important step of all.
This is what’s really going to help you optimize your pages 99% more than your competition!
I say 99% because 99% of local businesses don’t do this.
For data benchmarking, you’re going to add a new section to your spreadsheet called, Analytics Data Optimizations.
Once that is done, please add the following categories (on the next page).
BMD: Benchmark Date (to keep track of analytics and to compare)
CAP: Current Average Position
CCTR: Current Click-Through-Rate
CBR: Current Bounce Rate
CCR: Current Conversion Rate
PPS: Pages Per Sessions
CASD: Current Average Session Duration
And underneath these boxes, you’ll place the new comparison metrics of your data for 30 days after initial benchmark [or whatever time period].
To gather this data, you’re going to first go to Google Analytics and sync your Google Search Console in the administrator settings section.
After sync is set up and a month has gone by, you’ll need to go to: Google Analytics home > Acquisition > Behavior > Landing Pages.
Next, you’ll export the metrics to Google Sheets.
Finally, drag your metrics over to your benchmark sheet.
Concurrent Keyword Research for Subsequent Informational-Based Blog Posts
For this step, I’m assuming you’ve already set up your content and benchmarked data a month out for your main landing pages.
If that’s true, you’re going to move into this phase.
Now, you’ll be building authority through content by targeting informational-based keywords.
This means you’ll want to follow the same keyword research methods as mentioned in my earlier Keyword Research and Mapping section of this guide.
In this instance, however, you’re going to want to find scalable topics.
For example, if you’re in the iPhone niche and you want to start building authority for said niche, you would target a long tail keyword, such as iPhone tips + year.
The reason I say this is scalable is because you can always relaunch your content and target more long tail keywords if you don’t rank the first time.
Here’s a personal example of mine:
When I first tried to rank for White Hat SEO, I didn’t initially try to rank for those exact keywords.
I went for longer tail with less competitive variations, but I did plan on implementing ranking strategies for more competitive keywords eventually.
Notice how my blog post initially hit its target for White Hat SEO 2017.
At that point, I could’ve just kept the post the way it was and been extremely happy with the rankings.
But instead, I decided to relaunch the content with further optimizations based on the benchmarked data.
Check out how the CCTR [current click-through-rate] CCR [current conversion rate], and CASD [current average session duration] were WAY down!
Not to mention the page speed being super-high!
So what I did was optimize according to those metrics, and of course, the content averages to the right.
I changed the CTA [call-to-action] in the post, optimized the title a little better, and upped the page speed.
I also changed the URL by removing the 2018 keyword modifier.
Average SERP position is now at 12.
I will be benchmarking this blog post 30 days after the first optimizations were done and then I will reoptimize the post again.
If the keyword becomes too difficult to target, I may just try to rank number one for a longer tail keyword that will bring more conversions and traffic in the long run.
Content Creation Techniques
Let’s talk about what choices you have for creating content in terms of main landing pages and blog or informational-based pages.
First, we’ll cover main landing page type content creation techniques.
For this, you can obviously write the content yourself or you can hire a content writer from a gig-based website, like WriterAccess, to do it for you.
Here’s my favorite method:
I make video and text-based content at the same time.
This is what I did for my Local SEO Domination course when I ranked locally for SEO in my city.
I actually got this technique from a good friend, named Lee Waters, during an interview.
All you have to do is get your list of different keywords for each URL [after you map them out] and then you talk about what you do or what you know about each keyword.
You then upload your video with the keywords you’re targeting and afterward you get it transcribed on Fiverr.com for five bucks.
You then use that transcribed content from the video as your main content for your webpage!
Pretty simple, right?
In terms of blog-type content, I would HIGHLY recommend you use either my favorite method or expert roundups.
My favorite method is to create PowerPoint-type content and then get that content put into a blog styletype post.
For instance, the blog you’re reading right now is from a video presentation, or the presentation you’re watching right now in this video is from a blog post.
The point is, I’ve found it much easier to create content through slides for some reason then it is to go to a blog page and write paragraph after paragraph on a never-ending page.
Alternatively, maybe I like this type of presentation because I know I will be showcasing the information in a video-style format and the PowerPoint-like slides are really nothing more than my cue cards.
Ready, set, action! [snapping the clapboard shut]
For expert roundups, you’re going to follow the method I used for an Alaskan fishing lodge when I got them to rank for a TON of keywords around the word for fishing.
All you have to do is use some sort of automated outreach, such as BuzzStream, and ask people with websites that are ranking for keywords around a target niche to leave their best tip with you on whatever niche + tips you’ve chosen.
You’re publishing goal is to double the tip average of those websites already ranking.
So if the top sites are ranking with 15 tips, you deliver a minimum of 30 tips on your own website!
That’s pretty much it.
One small note: Make sure that with any blog post you write, make an effort to encourage your visitors to check out some other asset you control, such as an email list, Facebook group, etc.
Optimizing Your Google My Business (GMB)
Now that you started your content strategy and benchmarking, it’s time to start setting up and optimizing your GMB.
First of all, we need to talk about a few things:
● Ranking with an address
● Ranking as a service area
If you have a physical location for your business that you want to show on the maps, this is what you need to do.
1. Set up your GMB by clicking on the little blue My Business icon in the Google Apps section after you have signed into your Gmail.
2. Press add location.
3. Enter your business name.
4. Next, choose a category.
The way you choose a category is just by looking at what your competitors are ranking for and use a similar category.
5. Enter your phone number.
Note: If you’re going to be creating this business to eventually sell, you may want to use a forwarding number with call tracking enabled.
You can buy forwarding numbers through call tracking software, such as Call Tracking Metrics.
We will be covering call tracking and conversion tracking a bit later in more detail.
6. Now you need to continue filling out your GMB.
As you can see from the arrows, you’ll want to create a few posts, add photos, add correct hours, add a business description, and add a profile photo.
For the photos, make sure you add the following:
Amount of images:
3 x images of interior
3 x images of exterior
3 x images of workers or services
3 x images of team
When you upload the images, make sure you title them with the correct file name that matches the details in the scene.
As far as Google’s GMB video uploads, I’d say go for it, it will probably help your website rank higher!
A citation is any one or more of the following:
● Phone Number
Or NAPW for short.
Google uses citations to see how consistent and authoritative your website is across the web.
So you generally want to get your NAP listed on relevant niche/city-related websites, as much as possible.
To do this, you can either build the citations yourself or you can order someone to do it for you.
Either way, to find your citations, I would use a service like Whitespark.
Next, you just enter your keyphrase and location, and * boom * you now can see the citation counts for your competitors.
To order citations, just go to Citation Builder Pro and use my discount link!
Schema markup is a markup language created by major search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It is used to understand what a given webpage and its elements are all about.
For Schema markup, a couple of things are important to know:
● You need to have location markup on any page that represents a LOCATION.
● You need to markup your website’s About, Contact, Blog, etc. pages with the methods I’m about to show you.
To markup your pages, you’re going to download this plugin for WordPress and follow the things I’m about to show you.
If you aren’t using WordPress, you’re going to need to use something like Schema App or just straight go through the Schema library listed here.
After installing the plugin, go to the Schema.org Settings and click on Local Business Markup.
Now, you’re going to enable the local business markup on the homepage and choose a specific type of markup for your business from the drop-down menu.
Note: If your home page is not representing your local business, or in other words, if it is representing a national organization and you’re going to be using sub-pages to target locations then you will want to use Schema markup on those pages.
If your homepage is going to represent an organization, make sure you use organization markup instead.
Here’s how to add local business markup to a subpage without using the plugin:
1. Go to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool
2. Enter a page with local business markup already on it (you could use your homepage after marking it up with local markup and then take it off afterwards)
3. Then take the data shown and replace it with the new data (new url)
4. Paste it into Notepad
5. Download OH Scripts
6. Inject code into header
For marking up your About and Contact pages, just copy the Schema from my pages listed below using the same methods:
ChaseReiner.com About Page
ChaseReiner.com Contact Page
For your blog, you’ll want to mark it up with article markup; and for your individual posts, you’ll want to mark them up as blog posts (unless they are news articles, in which you would mark them up as such).
The only other things you need to watch out for is breadcrumb markup and product/service markup, but we’re not going to cover that in great deal at the moment [come back to this and talk about service / product markup with aggregate rating]
Another thing you will want to do after you go through the review generation section of this post is markup your services with an aggregate rating.
Aggregate ratings are basically the little star ratings you see underneath search results on Google.
These stars can significantly boost your CTRs [click-through-rates] and conversion rates!
Here’s an example of an aggregate rating boosting CTR’s.
Here’s an example of an aggregate rating giving a conversion increase.
So whether you have a service or a product, you can also mark it up and it’s fairly simple.
For service markup, you can use this page to extract the code and change it to your own: MeatHeadMovers.com/Movers/Santa-Barbara-County
For product markup, WooCommerce will generally do this for you.
With any Schema markup, you can extract the code from someone else’s site and change it to your own.
Note: VERY IMPORTANT, if you’re going to be using service or product markup and are listing reviews. make sure those reviews ARE ON THAT PAGE.
Also, do not markup every single page on your website, as you can get a manual penalty from Google.
Local Client Generation And Management
For this section, I’ll go over some of my favorite techniques that generate local clients.
Keep in mind that as an SEO company, generating national clients may not be an option. Sometimes working with local clients can be a better option for new SEO startups.
Targeting local businesses is especially true if you aren’t extremely confident in your SEO abilities. It seems to me that it’s easier to rank in an area that I know really well, as opposed to one that I don’t know as well.
Some of my methods that have gotten me high paying clients in the past follow on the next page.
Before we go into how to get local clients, we need to talk about how to sell first.
It’s one thing to get a bunch of leads, but it’s another not to have any idea what you’re selling.
I see a LOT of SEO models like:
● Monthly retainers
● Locked in contracts
● Project-based SEO
● PPL (Pay-Per-Lead SEO)
● SEO that isn’t even SEO
The point is that there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong model, if the one you are using is working for you and your SEO agency. The problem arises if you are unable to scale that model of yours.
Which is often what happens to a lot of new SEO professionals.
So I’m going to share with you my most scalable business model and why you should consider using it as well.
First of all, we need to consider the Value Ladder concept.
It’s basically a map that enables to you to see how a buyer goes through the buying process.
This value ladder really helps you sell to a potential client because you’ll understand the progressive worth of your products or services and you’ll be able to tailor the best price solution that they can afford.
As the price goes up for your services, so does the value, or at least the perceived value does (depending on how good you are at branding).
My value ladder is as follows:
1. Free Content
2. Paid Audit [$200]
3. Paid Services [$150/hr for 10 hours]
4. Paid Services [$100/hr for 30 hours]
Now I’ve tested this value ladder many, many times and I’ve honestly found this to be the optimal one for my own business.
Yes, I do admit that I charge hourly, but that’s because project-based SEO isn’t as profitable, in my opinion.
However, building your services as if they are products is absolutely doable.
I’ll show you what I mean in a second.
First off, in pretty much any situation, you want to bring people to you on the promise of a free offering.
Whether they see your ‘freebie’ on Google, a blog post, a Youtube video, or even a Facebook ad, it’s the initial lure of getting something of value that attracts them to you.
The point is you need to show some appeal to get people to at least look at what you do.
We’ve covered most of this pretty extensively already from within this post so I’m going to show you how to reel in your potential customers with a low barrier-to-entry product or service.
This step is arguably the most important step to selling.
If you can’t do this right, you will probably lose the customer forever, even though they may be directly looking for your service.
So here’s, what you do:
● Give your potential customer an initial taste of your lowest barrier-to-entry service
● Make this service just as good as something your customer would get at your third-tier level
Now, what I do for this, as you know, is sell an SEO audit.
Generally, most people who want to get their website audited will also want help with implementing the SEO needed to make it run and rank better.
Now, for anything you sell at your lowest barrier to entry spot, you’ll need to MAKE SURE you convey authority and understanding of the following steps to your value ladder.
People who are in the buying process need to BE SURE that what you’re selling is the right option for them.
After all, they are looking to you to be the SEO expert that will help solve their problems.
So if you are going to follow a similar outline as me, I’d recommend you templatize your approach, as it makes things much more easier to streamline.
Remember, scalability and practicality are extremely important for the long term success of your SEO agency.
If you want to use the template that I’ve already created for auditing websites, with bonus video tutorials, please access it here:
SEO Roadmap Template
What you’re going to do is first learn how to audit websites yourself with this handy template I designed based on my SEO workflow best practices.
After that, you’re going to train someone else to do it [have them watch my videos linked on the audit to help them learn].
At that point, whenever you get an audit request from a client, you’re going to send the audit over to your main SEO worker to finish it and then later have them discuss with you what they’ve found.
You will also create a top ten list of what needs to be fixed first on the client’s website.
Make sure to integrate a screen share / phone call with the client and the audit worker and you to discuss what’s going on with the roadmap.
[For screen sharing, Google Hangouts or Skype works fine.]
Now for the call.
When you speak with a potential client, you want to convey 3 main points:
1. Any problems their website and marketing may be having.
2. Your company has the solution needed to fix their website and marketing.
3. Importantly, you’re going to be as transparent as possible with the potential client about your work and how much value they’ll gain by hiring your SEO agency.
So, let’s break this down a little more.
● A potential client’s website and marketing needs help.
● They contacted your SEO agency for assistance.
● Their website problems are shown to them on your SEO audit.
● They are now considering hiring you to help them fix these problems.
This part is easy.
Do you know exactly what you need to do to get them to hire you?
If you don’t, this is really important.
You need to show your potential client HOW you deal with customers and why you deal with them the way you do.
Here’s what I do.
My SEO Agency Billing
I typically start my client’s projects on the first of every month, and they get monthly reports based on what is handled for them.
I bill hourly, and as the retainer goes up, the hourly price goes down.
In other words, for 10 hours, I get paid $150/hr, and for 30 hours, I only require $100/hr.
(I bill this way because I pay my workers internally based off a percentage model. More on this later.)
If a client comes in at the middle of the month or the end of the month, I prorate their hours/billing.
I like to have all of my clients start at the beginning of the month because it’s easier (and faster) to manage all of the reporting and internal workflow by doing this.
Again, we will talk more about the SEO agency model later, but this is pretty much all the clients need to know.
One other thing I tell them is that we only have so many hours we can handle [which is true] so I can only do a certain amount of work for them within a month until I have to hire more people.
This shows them that I am selective about who I work with and that I’m not desperate for money (and truth be told, I’m not).
One of the MOST IMPORTANT things you can do in the selling process is convey that money is not your driving force!
This is true for almost anything you do in life.
Remember, money is just an object.
It’s value is only a Number!
Say this again to yourself.
It’s value is only a Number!
Do not let money ever distract you.
I hope you didn’t forget about how you’re going to be as open and upfront as possible to your clients about the services that you will provide during your relationship with them.
I’ve repeatedly been saying that full transparency is the key to success for an SEO agency because it will help brand them as being trustworthy and honest.
So many people are getting scammed online by SEO hacks that it’s nearly impossible to trust anyone.
When I tell people that I’m the highest-rated SEO consultant in the world on Google, they almost sigh with relief.
So the point is, you need to be transparent about your work, and here’s how you do it:
You only talk about your work in the sense of benchmarking.
That’s pretty much it.
Tell your potential client that the only way you operate is based on data and averages.
Your main point at the end of the day should be driving traffic and conversions to their website, as well as helping them with their website usability.
You will explain to clients how the benchmarking process works. Use the details I told you earlier.
In terms of retaining the client, I would recommend you use a contract similar to this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1597_rlcTtCMVCqLw7OQd1YVvUxURb6V-n9R0JEudz1E/edit
The point is that you aren’t locking your clients into a contract (they can cancel anytime)!
But you do need to set them up on automatic billing.
In terms of increasing your retainer, I would recommend you make suggestions based on how your client’s conversions increased through organic traffic.
Now that you understand the selling process a little bit better, let’s explore client generation methods.
Client Generation Methods
1. Ranking for keywords besides SEO
4. Facebook Ads
5. Cold Calling
Ranking For Keywords Besides SEO
Don’t be like me and discover the hard way that, in most cases, ranking for the keywords SEO + target location doesn’t bring you really any sales.
Most people who are searching for those keywords are other SEOers.
And most of your potential clients are only seeking help with basic website matters.
They are likely to not even know what the SEO stands for.
Which is why I decided to rank locally for keywords around web design, which then led me to many clients needing SEO services!
I used this method for four meetups and I wound up getting four clients out of it.
All I did was host a small business meetup at a shared office space.
I wrote in the description of the meetup that there would be free coffee and that attendees would be learning from the top ranked SEO expert in their city.
Many small business owners showed up for valuable information about SEO techniques and strategies…and of course, for the free coffee (remember the value ladder).
Later, a few eager people asked me if I could take a look at their websites.
And shortly after, some of them became my clients!
Craigslist.org was actually the first place where I started generating clients.
Craigslist seems to be a lot harder nowadays to advertise on since you have to pay for ads and it doesn’t appear that there is as many people looking for SEO services anymore.
I recently tested a few paid ads and didn’t even get a single response!
But, it worked before for me, so maybe it will work for you.
If you’re going to be using Facebook ads, I’d generally suggest you do an initial campaign for publicity in your area and then remarket to that audience who’s already seen your stuff before.
For this method, you’ll need to create a custom audience; however, I will not be covering this in great detail in this presentation, so I suggest you do some Googling on this one.
This is another method that I used back when I first started SEO.
Although picking up the phone and calling a business does work, it seems to me that a better idea would be to just walk into different businesses and talk to them about their SEO needs in person.
Well, SEO Pros, I sincerely thank you for checking out my Local SEO guide!
I trust that this guide will help you understand how you can bring tremendous value to your SEO agency, as well as to your local clients.
Stay tuned for more awe-inspiring SEO tips and advice at ChaseReiner.com!
And make sure to join my high-energy White Hat SEO Network group on Facebook at Facebook.com/Groups/WhiteHatSEONetwork!
Good luck and Happy SEO’ing!
The Complete Guide
By Chase Reiner
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— All Rights Reserved.