Looking to be found in local search for your business premises and services you offer?

Let me guess, you’re conducting some research about the types of providers and companies who offer local SEO services. Let me tell you, it’s a crowded space. There are dozens of agencies and freelancers in every town offering Local SEO. So, the question is, how would you identify a reputable provider to trust with your business online presence?

It’s not always that easy. Let me explain, just because they have prominent listings in Google. For example, first page positions don’t necessarily mean they are reputable. There’s a lot of snakes in this space, who use techniques that Google frown upon. They may get you shown on the first page of Google for your services, but will it last?

It’s generally easy to spot those types of snakes with a little digging around, quite often they will use terminology like guaranteed first-page listing, 100% Google safe, no payment until first page results. You have to take a step back and think about that. How can someone guarantee something they don’t control? How would they get you first page listings without some kind of payment upfront? It can take months.

The truth is they are gaining the system, they are very likely using techniques that work short-term such as link spamming and keyword stuffing (aka black-hat). By short-term I mean first page results within a couple of months. Google’s algorithms are very good, they are created by some of the best minds in the world. They will find out that your website has been trying to artificially gain the system, your website will likely be demoted very quickly with a black mark against it from Google. Think of that black mark as a mark on your credit score. It’s not pleasant and it takes much longer to remove.

Another word of warning many of the low-cost providers will offer keyword packages such as 5 keywords or 10 keywords. That should set off alarm bells in your head, DO NOT concentrate on a small bunch of keywords. You should be focused on increasing organic keyword count as a whole, you want to be found for 100’s of keywords and search phrases too. Not just a handful.

What annoys me the most about the people that undertake these techniques, they often don’t care about the damage they are doing to the small businesses that hired them in good faith. It could result in redundancies and in extreme cases, I have heard of businesses going under.

I suppose the point I’m getting at watch out for cheap low-cost local SEO providers. It takes time to establish a strong foothold in local search. Anything between 6 – 12 months, it also takes a considerable amount of time and effort to do it right.

If you are serious about establishing a foothold in Google Local search results and Google my Business listings.  Make sure you do some research first, don’t select a provider just because you found them at the top of Google or they’ve been pestering you over the phone and email. The questions in your mind should be can I trust this company? Are the sales tactics overly aggressive? Ask them for references? Ask questions like, how long does it take for first page results? Remember what I said it generally takes 6 – 12 months.

Thanks for reading and good luck.