According to studies, 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars on local reviews.
Local SEO has gained momentum in the last few years, owing to the fact that more and more businesses are setting up their digital shops. To be precise, Covid-19 has accelerated the pace with which local businesses are going online.
To get your SEO strategy in place for a local business, you need to hire a local SEO expert for the job. But finding a local specialist from within a market which is already full to the brim can be quite demanding, especially when you don’t want to end up with an unfitting individual.
We have put together this brief guide on how to hire a local SEO specialist to help you do the “less-figuring-out” part and more on hiring the best candidate.
Top 6 Tips to Hire a Local SEO Specialist
Be Familiar with Google’s Guidelines
Before you start your hunt for affordable local SEO services, take some time to go through the Google Guidelines.
If you are unaware of the policies, you may risk asking an SEO professional to perform things that will bring your company into problems with Google.
What’s worse is, if you don't know what Google permits local businesses to do on its platform, you'll have no way of knowing whether the candidate you hire is breaking the rules, putting your business in danger of suspension, listing removal, and reputation harm.
This is an important step that should not be overlooked. You don't need to be an expert in guideline compliance, but you do need a basic knowledge of what Google allows so that you and your SEO professional are on the same page and can make sensible strategies.
Set Measurable Objectives
Clients and SEO professionals often misunderstand each other due to vague criteria. If you want a local SEO expert to fulfill your expectations, you should spell out your objectives as clearly as possible.
Explain who you want to reach, how much traffic you need, which rivals you want to beat, and if you need to incorporate reputation management in your local SEO strategy.
A list of precise objectives will make it simpler to hire a local SEO expert with extensive experience and expertise, as well as provide a benchmark against which to evaluate outcomes.
Don’t set unrealistic expectations like, “I want to rank #1 within a month.” Rather, this step is the cornerstone of a plan that may take some time to completely implement, with key milestones set monthly or quarterly to ensure that progress is quantifiable and significant.
Choose A Profile Specialist Over a Generalist
Because local SEO slightly varies from conventional SEO, you'll want to hire a pro that specializes in local optimization. They should have hands-on expertise in Google My Business, Google Maps, local structured data markup, citation building, link building, and review management expertise.
Also, it’s good to hire a local SEO expert who has experience in your niche. For example, in a situation where your goal is to show up on Google’s first page when people use specific words to search for specific information relevant to your business.
And as an outcome, you want to attract a particular set of people, offer them engaging content, and pull them into your sales funnels.
In this instance, you’ll need a candidate with expertise in SEO-optimized content marketing. You’ll need to look for someone who has a track record of assisting other businesses in achieving comparable outcomes.
Look into the Candidate’s Track Record
Every reputable local SEO professional has a track record that demonstrates their knowledge and expertise.
They must have outcomes to demonstrate their success in providing the services you need in order to be worthy of your attention.
So, how do you verify their credentials?
Ask for their work portfolio: On most freelancing websites, you may find the freelancer’s portfolio with customer feedback and recommendations. They can help you verify the abilities of a potential SEO freelancer.
Ask for previous or current customers' references: A competent SEO professional should be able to provide you with the names of previous customers. Check to see whether those customers show up on the first page of a Google search for certain keywords. Do not hesitate to contact them for a reference.
After all, you want to employ someone who understands what they're doing, so checking an SEO freelancer's track record is crucial.
If you don't, you may wind up paying for a candidate who doesn't provide the results you envisioned.
Interview Your Prospective Local SEO Experts
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential candidates, it’s time to conduct an interview to get to know them better.
Thankfully, with the newest technological software, you can conduct interviews from anywhere in the world.
These are some of the important questions you may ask:
What distinguishes you from other SEO experts?
When choosing an SEO expert, you're limiting down your choices in order to find the greatest match for your company. Hearing directly from applicants about what uniqueness they can bring to the table through their services is beneficial.
Could you give a quick rundown of your SEO strategy?
There are a variety of ways to approach and refine your site's SEO in order to achieve top search engine rankings and drive traffic. Inquire the SEO experts about the common cornerstones of their strategies.
Do you keep your clients informed about technical site changes?
Your website will be shaken up by code-level modifications and structural transformations in local SEO. By hiring an SEO professional that is upfront about their practices, you may avoid black hat SEO and penalties
Which SEO tool do you use?
When SEO professionals create a campaign, they utilize tools to assess your site, your backlinking techniques, the success of your rivals, and more.
Inquire about the tools your SEO experts use since this may affect the overall performance of your strategy.
How do you evaluate progress?
What factors go into determining whether or not your site is performing well on SERPs? From search ranks to bounce rate, there is a plethora of data that may be used to drive campaigns.
It's critical to know whether your local SEO expert is ready to go the extra mile and provide a good return on investment for your objectives (ROI).
How do you stay in the lead with the latest SEO trends?
Search engines are always upgrading and adding new factors for SEO optimizers to consider in their campaigns. Because the industry is in change, your SEO expert must dedicate himself to stay current with the latest trends.
6. Give Your Potential SEO Expert a Test Project
Another approach that will help you find the best local SEO services for your business is to give your prospective candidates a paid test project.
This will help you gauge their skills and see how you'll get along as a team.
Your test should be focused on the primary responsibilities for why you’re hiring your local SEO expert. This way, you'll know precisely what to anticipate in terms of performance from them.
There are three main types of SEO assessments:
The multiple-choice test: These are the tests that offer questions like, “What is a robots.txt file?” These tests measure someone's theoretical knowledge (or Googling skill), but not their actual, on-the-road abilities.
The checklist: These tests offer a set of tasks to assess how well they can do them, for example, “change this title tag.”
The ambiguous audit: This might include giving someone a webpage and instructing them to “see what you can discover.” These may be quite subjective: your applicant may concentrate on the unimportant things and they may wind up depending on tools to perform most of the work.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Local SEO Expert?
Local SEO is what first attracts consumers to your business.
Some businesses may not realize the benefits of hiring an SEO expert and that by using local SEO, they may be attracting more customers from beyond their immediate region.
You should invest in local SEO for the following reasons:
It Improves Competition
Even if you aren't investing in local SEO, the other local companies in your industry most likely are. This implies they're already one step ahead of you and have access to all of your prospective consumers.
You Attract Newcomers and Visitors
While local consumers will be the “bread and butter” of your company, investing in local SEO can also help you attract visitors to your region.
People Support Local Businesses
People are increasingly turning to local businesses to express their support and boost the economy in their communities. They are more skeptical of big-box shops and internet behemoths, and they want to put their money where it will have the most impact.
Sales Are Boosted by Phone Searches
People will discover you while they're out and about if you have a solid local SEO strategy in place. Customers will come to you on the spur of the moment.
This is particularly relevant for the catering or hospitality businesses, where non-local visitors may search from elsewhere before coming to your venue.
Businesses that usually benefit from Local SEO include:
Hospitality – hotels, restaurants, café, bars, etc.
Medical practices – doctors, dentists, clinics
Law firms – solicitors, barristers
Local Services – florists, plumbers, electricians, hair salons, accountants, fitness centers, etc.
Local SEO is a big experiment, and every client teaches SEO experts something new. They create exciting discoveries, develop abilities, and achieve professional success by working on your website, listings, reviews, social platforms, and other assets.
In reality, it is the client-freelancer relationship's mutual pursuit of success that protects and encourages business development.
When you work together, you can transform the difficult journey of local SEO into a manageable route brimming with thrilling benefits.
With many people opting to work as freelancers instead of conventional 9 to 5, you have a lot of options when it comes to finding a local SEO expert for your business.
Our seasoned freelancers at TaskShift provide the most affordable local SEO services and are committed to the growth, progress, and success of your business.