What is local SEO?
It is literally as the name sounds, it is ranking businesses in their local SERPs. So this will be ranking for terms like ‘service + location’ and ‘best service + location.’ As well as ranking their websites typically it will include map pack ranking as well. Below are a few examples of local businesses that you could do SEO for in your area:
- Car bodyworks
- Personal trainers
Why local SEO clients can be the best to start out with
Working with local clients can be a great way to get into SEO as often you have friends and family who own businesses and would like to have more leads calling their phones. You could even work on a friends business for a low price to use them as a case study, record their ranking improvements and refine your processes. As this will allow you to show potential future clients your previous work and build trust during the sales process.
As well as this often these sites are a lot easier to rank (depending on where you live and which service it is e.g. lawyers may be very competitive). If you look at a lot of local search terms small websites with not much content may be ranking just due to the age of their site opposed to their site authority and optimisation (which we will go into more detail on later).
If I was to start out again with not much money to invest I would probably pick up some local clients (probably minimum $500 a month clients) and then reinvest the money earned into making my own money sites. Often the first month you might have to spend maybe 10 hours (maximum) working on the site but from then onwards you can literally spend $150 (or less) of the money they are paying you on services such as citations, backlinks and content. So you are making at absolute minimum $350 a month per client for essentially having to remember to email them a ranking report each month. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a lot of profit to be making but this is just a low barrier way to start out SEO that will give you some money to re-invest.
If they are happy with how their site is ranking you can begin to offer up sales to increase your profit such as ranking for new keywords or first page domination (creating another website and ranking for the same terms). If they don’t want these you can always ask if they have any friends that may be interested in your services and ask for an introduction, as often tradesmen will be friends with other tradesmen etc.
As with all things if this is the route that you decide to go down refine your processes and create some SOPs so that when the time comes you can outsource this to staff or VAs.
Setting boundaries (how to avoid a nightmare client)
A common complain about local SEO is that while the amount of time actually working on the site can be very short, the amount of time dealing with the business owners questions and complaints can be very long. Therefore if you are dealing with a small local client (who isn’t paying a large amount) you need to make them aware of how you work by setting the boundaries before you begin working with them. When I was working at an agency we decided to (slowly) get rid of the 20% of clients that were taking 80% of our time, we quickly replaced them and made more money because we weren’t wasting time on constant phone calls / emails with them. This was partly a mistake on our part by not setting any boundaries or guidelines before they signed up so therefore they came to expect to be able to do what they wanted by the end. If I was to work with small local clients again I would follow set in stone rules with them, which is part of the contract. These would include only communication being via email and if they want to make any changes to their site themselves it needs to be approved by myself or a staff member.
In lesson 2 we will begin to discuss the optimization of local businesses. We will cover how to audit your website as well as how to analyse your competitors site to see why they are ranking above yours.
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