starting my first local SEO client. any advice?
I usually do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on a national scale for businesses without brick and mortar locations. This new client that I am getting is for a local brick and mortar dentist. Any advice you may have for me on how local brick and mortar and national SEO differ would be appreciated. Here are some specific questions:
– Google My Biz (GMB): I know this is huge for local brick and mortar businesses (its how i find people, i never click the regular Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs)) – What are the primary ranking factors for Google My Biz (GMB)? do i even need to bother with getting the "first organic hit" in the non-GMB results? How important are the regular SERPs?
– tools – I looked up Brightlocal for tracking GMB seems to be legit. anyone ever use it? Any other tools for tracking local SEO? I currently use MOZ and Ahrefs for my national clients
– on-page SEO and money keyword – so I am thinking my first step for organic hits (non GMB) will be to create a pages "money-keyword-location-1, money-keyword-location-2". Is this a good strategy? Again, not sure how important the non-GMB SERPs even are
-Content/blogging/links – I definitely want to start a blog page to get links. maybe even rank nationally for long tailed keywords to encourage links and authority. Should i put the doctor as the author for blog posts? She offered to help me write some of the posts. I think having her picture on there as an author could be great
Anyways, thanks for reading. really just looking for advice on how to transfer my national SEO skillz to local and how to manage GMB/its weight vs. regular SERPs
****EDIT: Thank you sincerely to everyone for the excellent advice and feedback. I am learning a lot! I was losing faith in this thread after incompetent, rude reception to my last post (now deleted), but FAITH RESTORED!!!
Google My Biz (GMB) – Make sure to fill out as completely as possible. Add Service + Location using dental keywords you researched on Ahrefs . When adding products don't worry about adding location, but make sure to include photos. Also, make sure to add descriptions to both services and products.
GMB has it's own metrics called "Insights" to measure GMB stats. Make sure to consistently make GMB posts (at least one per week).
Finally, make sure your client stays on top getting Google reviews. REVIEWS MATTER A LOT TO GOOGLE.
I've used Brightlocal and it's not bad for managing listings…a bit slow, but the listings you manage are permanent, unlike Yext.
As for the website itself, make as many Service + Location pages as possible. I use Ahrefs , Ubersuggest, and Google for keyword research.
Finally, create location pages over time. Add not only the local city of the company, but surrounding cities as well.
Our company mostly works with local, brick and mortar shops, with a few national ones and we've become pretty good at local SEO.
Thanks so much! Very helpful!
When it comes to getting links for local business sites, the first place I reach out to are other local businesses that the client has relationships with, which I usually find is a highly effective way to build links with little effort.
So in this niche, I imagine the client has relationships with local dental laboratories, dental suppliers, health clinics, family doctors etc and each of these businesses will have sites. I then get the client to reach out (I usually draft the actual email for them) to their contact and ask if they can publish a guest post on their blog, or a testimonial, or a case study with a link back to the clients site.
These sites pretty much never ask for a link in return (pretty much no one I've dealt with doing this type of outreach had any understanding of why we were requesting this), so I never have issue with reciprocal linking.
I think there is lower hanging fruit to pick at first for local SEO. However, that is a good strategy. Just not one I would put tons of effort into right away.
Interesting, what do you prioritize to begin with? I'm always open to learning from others :)
Every business is different. I find that many local docs and dentists can be a hard nut to crack for blogging and content. They'll easily post up a radio or newspaper ad but have a horrible website and citation presence.
Depending on the customer and how the conversation went.
I would start with is –
• See if they have a Client Relationship Management (CRM) and a list of clients they've worked with. See if they have emails or phone numbers and can contact them. If they've done anything marketing here. If I can get any info on what's works or what they have tried. If email – set up a campaign. If phone, chat with owner and see if they can have their staff make some calls. Might require a landing page for an email campaign or entire website redesign. (very dependant on what they have but it gets the ball rolling and the client can see income faster.) Current customers are likely easier to convert.
• Check their analytics (if they have any) to see what traffic sources come in and why. If web is best, prioritize web optimization. If social – see what worked if they have data. (Most businesses think they get good converting traffic from certain sources that really don't deliver. They just like the idea that they know stuff.)
• Prioritize the channels that look like low hanging fruit to analyze. Many business sites have horrible copy and messaging or haven't claimed some of their citation resources. Do they make it hard for the customer to find out what they need or even how to pay them?
The next three kind of all go together.
• Redesign website (if needed) to put important Call to Action (CTA)'s and to clear up messaging. Proper copy is super important across all channels.
• SEO website (on page technical stuff). Comp research, keywords, etc.
• Definitely set up GMB and Facebook and optimize.
The idea of getting links from local businesses is great and I would add that into citation resources. Along with this, I would check with my local city for any resources to get listed – tourist sites, chambers of commerce, etc.
Not a full list but just a start list.
Are you setting up email campaigns to pull reviews from past customers (boosting up GMB) or just for more business in general?
Can be a mix of both. Depends on the services.
If the service is a repeat, say, dentist, then I would ask for another visit/checkup, etc. (if appropriate). If they aren't doing that already. Then I would segment revisits and follow up with review email. Non-revisits would get segmented and feedback/review email. New visits the same.
To me this gets the company more potential money as keeping a customer is easier than getting new ones. Then the reviews bolster whatever review channel you're trying to build. The feedback also comes in handy if the business didn't know x,y or z was unattractive to the customer.
A current customer that runs a tech shop for repairs – we're in the process of building out campaigns to gain social followers and gain more reviews – but we need a site and social design and content. The main goal is to be able to have a bit of mind share and make it SUPER easy for the customer to contact the business with any future potential issues. No need to ask for a sale right now since tech issues don't occur on a regular basis.
right on, that makes sense. Thanks for the reply!
the first place I reach out to are other local businesses that the client has relationships with
Can I just say how refreshing this is? Honestly so many "linkbuilders" just start spamming and begging for inks, they never think to just go and talk to the people that have already built a rapport with the business. Get these guys working together and every body wins. good on you!
Thanks! Yes all about rapport. I have a leg up because the practice I am working for is very invested in their marketing and public relations, so we are going to work together! I've tried the spam method and it only gets you so far (which is not far at all).
I love this strategy – I've done similar with my national clients, glad to hear I can transfer it to local!
Google My Biz (GMB) is important but so is non-GMB SERPs
You're on the money with location approach and individual pages. That will be a huge proportion of searches.
Blog, do it but make sure they have money committed to grow content as ones that say they will write themselves invariably don't. I have similar clients and those with blogs you see big differences in traffic, as well as when they update websites if they don't transfer the blogs you see the traffic/ranks decline sharply.
Glad to hear it – that's always my on-page bread and butter for ranking locally
If you are planning to drive organic clicks through the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), I would invest in a keyword research tool – I personally use Ahrefs and SEMrush.
Also, use Google Search Console (GSC) and Analytics to figure out what search words are getting the most interactions in the local market. In local markets, it's really easy to take a 3-pack spot.
Finally, invest in link-building – either in time or money or both. If you don't have it, download Help a Reporter Out (HARO) now. It's a great free link-building tool.
Most of my clientele is brick and mortar, and GMB is the most important part of their Local SEO. Make sure you fill in all the information, teach them how to make posts, and help them get 5 star reviews. I can explain this more in detail, and even give you a crash course if you'd like.
Source: I'm a Grow With Google partner (Google City Partners / Get Your Business Online)
very good advice thank you
When listing my services, can i list a service and location? Roof repairs perth Roof repairs Joondalup Roof repairs wanneroo etc? Will this help with ranking or will Google punish?
If you do a bunch of them without adding actual value to those pages, they are technically considered "doorway pages" by Google and "could" get you a penalty – however I have seen work so well personally.
If you have brick and mortar locations in each location, 100% build a page for every one. Focus on adding unique info, pictures, info relevant to those locations.
If you don't and are just trying to target the location – I personally say do it (some will disagree) but be careful! This is classified by Google as a "doorway page"
For local SEO GMB is one of the key area to start for working. Fill all the details and get verified for your GMB. And when you have GMB verified use the posting feature of the GMB in good manner.
• Build the trust in the customer.
• Share your business services and special deals if you are providing any.
• You can use some of he link submission material like images, Info-graphics, videos for sharing in the GMB.
Other than that do local business listings, it will impact the ranking in that particular region. Some sites also allow you to link to the inner pages in their descriptions. And also go for some classifieds sites which are popular in that particular region. This both things are to create the awareness of your services in the people of that particular region as well as for link building and gain Google trust too.
On-page SEO and money keyword – Yes you can create the pages location wise if the keywords have any search volume. But don't create too many pages or if possible you can group the similar keywords in one page. Check your competitors if they are doing and ranking well then you can do it too.
Content/blogging/links – If you are going to creating the blog for website then it is ok to use her name but blog/article should be well research and well written. And if you are writing her name, using her pic then write the authentic bio after each post/article/guest post and whatever content you are sharing. as it will increase the "EAT"(Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) factors of your site.
Last but not the list whatever you are doing always check what competitor has done to grab the first position. For on-page, off-page, content check always how your competitor has written Meta tags, building links and all.
If done right in just 2-3 months you will get good results. Not expert in this but just sharing what I have learn from my experience.
very detailed thank you for all of the info!
Good luck buddy,
Review replies – when you stick keywords in, Google pulls this data for better keyword search matching.
Photos, keep them up to date, the amount of views Google MB images get is insane and so few people realise it. Old photos mean potential customers move on.
Hit up all of the Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP) systems, word document the details so you can make sure they are uniform across all of them
Get the company to get all their friends to review them. Make it easier by getting the review Google page pop up link.
And ensure they know how to train their staff in requesting reviews. Role plays perfecting it are important.
Turn on Google messaging.
Other bits have already been mentioned.
Don't neglect Bing, yelp, foursquare etc
love it, thanks! What is a "NAP system"?
NAP means Name and Phone number. It's all those local SEO indexes. Like Yelp, Foursquare, Yell, Central Index, Facebook etc.
You need to make sure that the things you enter into them are completely uniform across the board. Not even a spacing difference.
That may be overzealous, but you get my point. Keep them identical.
This shows that the business listed on all of these is alive and kicking and is the one referenced in 50 listings sites.
If you Google places to get free backlinks from business directories there are a ton of helpful resources listing up to date ones.
This is great, thank you!
If you took on a client like that and don't know what to do for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) it's not the best way to start.
You should do research on long tail keywords related to dentistry, look into voice search like alexa and grow Google business listing rankings on Google maps with local citations.
I would get onto
r/thesidehustle for more guidance.
Thanks for the feedback. At the risk of sounding defensive – I am doing my research – per this thread. I don't start the client up for a month because I told them exactly that :). I taught myself national SEO and have had tremendous success, I believe I can transfer to local pretty effectively.
I am not an employee or reseller, I do Local SEO for a larger company and have had nothing but great experiences. Yext saved my life during the pandemic trying to keep hours updated and with troubleshooting. Sorry you guys had such a bad experience but yeah I don't work for them.
thanks for the feedback i will check Yext out
Make your Google business optimize, submit your site to local directories and once you rank on Google business it would be easy for you to get ranked.
Use SEMrush to do a complete audit of your website. once it's done then solve all the issues, it will help you optimize your on-page SEO.
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Pretty proud of my MOZ Local SEO score right now and have never spent a single penny on anything SEO related..just lot's of my own downtime…also here's some tips i've learned along the way
After about 1 year of optimizing my business's SEO without spending a single penny of money to anything Search Engine Optimization (SEO) related (just lots and lots of my downtime while not actually working) …I think it was at about 30% on this day last year…
i kinda started this thread both to brag (hehe) but also share/discuss any tips people have (mine below)…also does anyone else want to share how high they've been able to get their moz score? (i honestly didn't think it was possible to get it this high without paying them haha)
On that note I don't think it's possible to get to 100% without paying them. there are some things that just can't be fixed/updated on my own…I'm aiming for 98% though! Anyone else want to share theirs? (or ask about/share tips)?
to anyone new…you should constantly be trying to improve this score all the time.
the url in case anyone doesn't have it
like i said, always monitoring this score and trying to improve it…i launched my local business site in august 2015 for a pretty competitive industry in my area…now i dominate the local rankings over large companies who have been around for years and have spent thousands on web design/advertising/SEO optimization
here's my short list of things/secrets to leap frogging everyone fairly quickly (it took me a year..but most of the work i put in last winter didn't start paying off until the last few months..it takes time..but i dominate every keyword i want in my local area and it only took me a year (and no money…the only money i spend is on my host..and certain times of the year i'll run a Google adwords express campaign for a few weeks…nothing else) and i'm pretty damn proud of it.
• build your site well and read about how to optimize it for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ..where to put keywords..how to write organically..site speed, mobile compatible, alt tags on images, compress all the data…make sure pages are updated every few months at least..write a blog if you can..don't let the site get stale and just sit there. even if you update a random sentence and change the "last updated" date…it will help. (obviously if you're using WordPress, you need Yoast, but don't think your work is done just by getting it, you're just starting) … the best FREE SEO analyzer i have found is
https://www.woorank.com that will tell you all sorts of tips of what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong, and what you should be doing but aren't.
• get registered EVERYWHERE..every search engine (not just google, some people do still use Bing and yahoo…look for free advertising vouchers they offer every once in a while and take advantage of them..Bing gave me $100 for free no strings attached, didn't even ask for my credit card or harass me to buy more advertising..that $100 voucher sent quite a few people to my site over the course of a month or so),get on every business directory, every review site. register on the bbb and your local chamber of commerce directory (you can sign up for free basic profiles, they will try to sell you memberships/accreditation..but you don't need to buy it) always keep the info consistent. even if you don't have a physical location…you should still have a physical address as your "headquarters" or "main office" (even if it's your house). and a business phone (use Google voice if you don't have a separate line already) almost every directory (and Google maps) wants to know your name, brand name, website, email, an address and phone. and it should be consistent across every single site you submit to.
• get your MOZ local score (
https://moz.com/local/overview ) as high as possible. it tells you what to do to raise it..you don't have to pay them. i went from 30% at this point last year to 96% right now (i'm waiting for hotfrog to update changes, i think i'll hit 98% this week…i don't think 100% is possible…98% is good enough i think heh. YOU SHOULD AT THE VERY LEAST BE OVER 70% ..then focus on raising it slowly more and more from there. if you're under 70% you're not doing something right.
• domain authority and backlinks…one easy cheap thing for new-ish sites is to buy an Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate (so it's an https:// url instead of just
http://...additionally buy your domain for at least 3 years (ideally 5 or 10 years if you have the money)..and your domain should be at least a year old. it lets Google know you've been around, and plan on staying around, and secure sites with SSL get preference. that and backlinks will raise your domain authority (and you rankings)
• get REVIEWS. EVERYWHERE. figure out a way to get them..you want at least 5 on google+ (you need at least 5 to get those stars to appear next to your website in search results)…get them on the bbb, get them on Facebook, yelp, angies list, yp.com…offer incentives to people if they review you, get creative, get them any way you can (don't try to write them yourself..aside from it being unethical..you'll get caught and punished..potentially blacklisted…so think of creative ways to get real reviews on as many reviews sites as possible)
• social media. sign up on Facebook, google+ (obviously the most important even though no one uses it…if you want to rank on Google use their products if you aren't already..ALL their products. if Google suggests you do something, do it. …just like the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) https:// thing i mentioned…when i read Google reccomended having it…i immediately got one. they don't tell secrets of their ranking algorithm, but they do release little bits of info like that. Google favors sites that listen to what they say and use their products)…also get a YouTube account, twitter, instagram..LinkedIn. my particular business does not have any f*cking use for a twitter account..but for SEO reasons..i have one. i hate Facebook (i would delete it and never use it again if i had that option…but for SEO reason…i don't have that option). you need social media accounts and to keep them active..get a script that will update all of them at once (i can make a short Facebook post of a random update or a photo of a recent job..it will post it to twitter and google+ automatically). even if you know no one cares or is going to read your twitter account, just f*cking have one and keep it upated with inane crap and try to get as many likes/fans/followers as you can..at least 100 on each..just keep them active..don't let your website or social media go silent/stale. it's possible to perfectly optimze your SEO and be ranking first for all your keywords one day.. but if you start to ignore it and let it sit without updates, you will find yourself falling out of first place real quick (over the course of a few months anyway)
that's my advice i have to offer. feel free to add anything or call me clueless and tell me i'm wrong lol…i figure i'd offer up what i think i've learned and spark a discussion on what i think are the most important things to do.
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