Whether it’s finding a new physician, car repair specialist or the love of your life, the search is what everyone dreads, am I right? It’s difficult to trust someone new with things as close to you as your health, your safety or your eternal happiness—but we can’t avoid having these vital people in our lives for long, especially when the car breaks down or that annoying cough turns into a full blown flu.
In a difficult economy, more and more business owners, small and large, are looking for a way to keep their business healthy and stable and SEO is a proven method for both long term and short term growth online. More companies are realizing that looking to the professionals is a quicker and more cost effective solution to getting started with SEO than navigating the intricacies of bringing this service in-house. But, finding an SEO firm you feel confident enough to trust your business to, especially when budgets are tight, can be a pretty daunting task—where do you look and what exactly should you be looking for?
Looking locally for an SEO firm or professional provider provides a few benefits that can ease the transition and inspire confidence within your organization. First, a local SEO provider is likely to be more familiar with your particular business situation. Whether you’re a multi-national organization or a small local business, the economic circumstances in your locale do affect how you do business—someone local is much more likely to know and understand those circumstances and how they affect your business online as well.
Second, a local SEO provider offers security for you and others within your company. You don’t need to be able to meet personally with your SEO team to have an effective campaign, and certainly many companies work with SEO firms hundreds or thousands of miles away and have amazing success with service and results. But, when investments are so closely scrutinized and budgets are monitored closely for performance, everyone involved may feel comforted by the fact that an in-person meeting with your SEO team is possible to iron out details, talk about results and make adjustments as needed. It’s all about feeling confident in your SEO provider.
Finally, finding a local SEO provider that you can trust can be a lot easier when you look locally. Your personal and professional network starts locally, your colleagues and connections are concentrated in your area, and organizations that you are involved with are just around the corner from you. These are the people who know your business best, aside from you of course, and will serve as your best and most trusted resource when looking for an SEO provider. But, you want to be sure you get trusted experts, so where do you start looking for a local SEO provider?
Here’s a simple list of tips and resources most of us can find locally that can make your search for a local SEO provider a whole lot easier.
- Ask Around. Local businesses may not all have an active SEO project, but they are the best networking group around and are a great source of information. Whether it’s a local SEO company they’ve worked with or have a personal or professional relationship with, local business owners can give you information that you won’t find in any yellow page listing or advertisement. And, there is nothing more assuring than working with a company owned and operated by trusted members of your community.
- Turn To Professional Resources. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start to find SEO professionals that are actively involved in the community and working with local business. Or look at other area organizations such as a Young Professionals group, industry specific groups or other networking and business development groups. Or, contact local universities to find our more about local online marketing companies teaching or recruiting locally. Involvement in SEO education speaks volumes to a company’s experience, and recruiting efforts mean that the company is stable and growing. You’ll find that it’s much easier to get trustworthy references from a company that is based in your area and involved locally—and you can have honest and detailed conversations with people you already trust about what they liked and disliked about a local SEO provider.
- Do A Bit of Research. No, not just a Google search. Spend some time looking at what’s written about your local SEO providers online. You can see what types of organizations they are involved in, what they are writing about, and what others have to say about them and their work. And, they should be monitoring their own online reputation, right? Finally, take a look at an SEO provider’s website. Look at who their clients are, what services they provide, and who is providing them. If they don’t tell you these three things, that’s a red flag. You’ll certainly still want to ask for references but you do want to make sure they are proud of their work. A quick tip, make sure you look at the services they are providing their clients before you run off super-sleuthing. You don’t want to be judging a company’s work by looking at their client’s websites—quite often, an SEO has nothing to do with a website’s design or aesthetic.
For more tips on deciding on a SEO provider, take a look at this article in Search Engine Watch, Use Care When Choosing an SEO Agency.