The most important question to ask in local SEO

Achieving outstanding local search results for your clients all comes down to one simple — yet essential — question. Columnist Greg Gifford explains how getting an authentic detailed answer will set you on the path to success.

The most important question to ask in local SEO

Last month, I talked about the importance of setting client expectations for Local SEO efforts. If you were paying attention, that advice should have gotten you in the door and landed you the gig. Now that you’ve got a new client, what the heck are you actually supposed to do?

We’ve all seen the Local Search Ranking Factors study from Moz. We’ve all heard Google admit that the top three ranking factors are content, links and whatever RankBrain does.

We also know we need to make our clients’ sites unique with awesome, never-before-seen content and amazing local links from all the most authoritative sources.

But how do we actually do that? If you’re doing work for one particular business niche, how do you come up with amazing unique content for each client? Or here’s an even more difficult quandary — if you’re doing local SEO for businesses in lots of different verticals, how do you come up with unparalleled content in so many different areas?

There’s one simple question you can ask that solves this problem every time.

Every business owner thinks they’re the best, and that they should be #1 in local search results. The important question to ask is, “Why do you DESERVE to be #1?”

If you work in-house, ask around and get the answer. If you’re freelance or at an agency, insist on a detailed answer from the client. You’ll inevitably hear answers like “Because we’re better than everyone else” or “Because we treat our customers better” — but don’t settle for generic fluff. Don’t be afraid to push them for a better answer.

If you can dig in and get a serious, detailed answer to that one question, then your job is incredibly simple.

A great answer to the question makes content easy

When you get a detailed answer to the question, writing awesome unique content is easy. You’ll know exactly what sets that business apart from local competition. You’ll know precisely how the process at that location is unique. You’ll know in depth how that location is involved in the local community.

With all that knowledge in your hip pocket, your home page content almost write itself. Product and service pages are a breeze. Location pages are suddenly easy to put together. A well-thought-out answer to the big question makes content light-years easier to create.

A great answer to the question makes link building simple

A great answer to the question also makes link building a much simpler process. You’ll hear about any community involvement or worthy events that the business supports on a regular basis. You’ll hear about that crazy contest that they run every fall or the impactful community service event that the entire team heads to every Christmas.

If you get a really solid answer to the question, you’ll be able to mine that answer for tons of local link opportunities. The links will be unique and hyper-local, so they’ll have a noticeable effect on the site’s visibility, and you won’t feel like you’re pulling teeth to come up with ideas.

A great answer to the question makes you look good, too

The simple act of asking the question is important as well. Most agencies (or in-house SEOs) automatically start working the same cookie-cutter SEO plan for every client.

When you start the relationship with this question and insist on a well-thought-out and detailed answer, clients will notice. You’ll immediately stick out in their mind as the SEO consultant or agency that’s different — the one that truly cares about them and the results you’re providing.

You’re setting the expectation that they’ve got to be involved, and they’ve got to invest in the process. When you take this approach, you’ll see that your clients are more dialed in, and they’ll be happier with their results as well.

[Article on Search Engine Land.]

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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