7 Things I Wish I Asked Before I Purchased a Local SEO Solution
As an experienced marketing professional, you likely already understand the importance of local SEO, but choosing an SEO solution for your company can be a much heavier lift. Many multi-location marketers aren’t familiar with all of the ins and outs of local SEO, and therefore don’t know where to start when choosing the best solution. Within this blog, we dive into the top questions marketers wish they would have asked before purchasing a local SEO solution. To get this information, we spoke with Damian Rollison, one of our local SEO experts here at SOCi.
1. How many platforms do I need to purchase to accomplish my goals?
One of the first questions your multi-location business should consider when selecting a local SEO solution is how many tools you will need to purchase to accomplish your goals. For instance, if your multi-location business wants to improve your local SEO as a whole, a tool that helps manage local pages, local listings, and ratings and reviews are essential. It’s up to your business to decide whether you want various tools to accomplish each of the components of local SEO or a single, consolidated tool that allows you to manage them all from a single platform.
Many multi-location marketers prefer a single tool because it means fewer logins, fewer tools for your local marketing teams to learn how to use, and usually a lower cost. While finding a tool that can help you accomplish your goals from a single platform is a great benefit, it’s also important to consider how well that tool performs each task. A technology might offer support on both listings and reviews, but how robust is their listings solution? This is crucial to look into before making a purchase decision. If a solution isn’t as strong in one area of local SEO, it might not be worth your business’s time and money.
2. Does the company I’m working with offer a comprehensive contemporary GMB optimization program?
Once you determine whether or not a solution will be able to assist your business with the various tactics that encompass a holistic local SEO strategy, you can start digging deeper. In the world of local SEO, a contemporary Google My Business (GMB) optimization program is essential. What does this mean? When looking at the most recent Google ranking factors below, local listings have continued to make up a smaller piece of the pie over the past few years. This doesn’t mean that local listings are no longer critical, but it means your business should be careful about going with a solution that focuses solely on local listings.
Instead, your business should look for solutions that are more forward-thinking when it comes to listings. Because GMB makes up a big part of Google’s ranking factors, finding a solution that goes deep in Google while still allowing your business to maintain and update its local listings on Facebook and Yelp is crucial. Rather than spending time ensuring your multi-location business is listed on the highest number of directories, it would be best if you focused on making your listings on Facebook, GMB, and Yelp as accurate and informative as possible.
3. Will I have the ability to do both on-site and off-site SEO?
When purchasing a local SEO solution, you must consider both on-site and off-site SEO. On-site SEO, also known as on-page SEO, includes all SEO tactics done directly on your website. For instance, including specific keywords on your website or improving the quality of the content on your website would be categorized as on-site SEO. On the other hand, off-site SEO is, as you would expect, all SEO tactics that occur off your business’s website. Social media marketing, updated GMB profiles, influencer sponsorships, and building backlinks contribute to off-site SEO.
While on-site SEO is critical, it’s also vital for an SEO solution to help manage off-site SEO efforts. As mentioned previously, the center of gravity has shifted when it comes to Google’s ranking factors, and a lot of the weight is centered around GMB. A comprehensive solution that helps your multi-location business manage its GMB profile and assist with social media is necessary.
4. Is the company I choose helping me create engagement points with consumers that will convert searchers to buyers?
As a multi-location marketer, you understand that getting the attention of your target audience is one thing, but what about getting them to convert? When purchasing a local SEO solution, you should consider whether or not the company you choose will help your multi-location business create points of engagement for consumers that will convert them from searchers to buyers.
These points of engagement can range from a simple CTA button on your GMB profile to a chatbot solution on your local social channels. The more points of engagement you create with your target audience, the more likely you are to get them to convert.
For instance, does it make sense for your business to add a “Call Now” button to your local pages, or insert a “Book an Appointment” button to your local GMB profiles? Similarly, would a chatbot solution provide more opportunities for your business to collect information about potential customers? These are all questions to consider before selecting a local SEO solution, and ensuring they can help your company improve its number of conversions is essential.
5. Can my company mine through reviews and provide me with brand insights?
While many platforms now offer reputation management functionalities, your multi-location business should consider the technology. For instance, most reputation management solutions provide a review response tool, but does it do more? There are many valuable insights your business can get from its reviews. Some platforms can mine through reviews and analyze the sentiment. Are there common words appearing in your reviews, and are they associated with a negative or positive sentiment? Finding a solution to mine the reviews your business receives and provide insight will help your business make the most out of local reviews.
Through insight provided by your reputation management solution, your business might find that several customers are commenting on the wait times at your restaurant, or you may discover consumers love your new curbside option. Without a tool that analyzes your reviews, these helpful insights could get lost in the noise.
6. Is my vendor proactively helping me find undiscovered leads through social listening?
Speaking of noise, one great question before purchasing a local SEO solution is whether or not social listening is an offered feature. If you’re not already familiar, social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels and other online platforms for mentions of your brand, your products, and your competitors. Social listening allows your business to uncover meaningful conversations that your business might have missed otherwise. Recent data found that 96 percent of relevant conversations are not directed at or do not mention your brand, leaving a lot of room for missed opportunities. Through social listening, your multi-location business can better understand what topics are trending in your industry, how your business stacks up against the competition, and where your business is already succeeding.
Social listening also provides your business with the opportunity to find new leads. For instance, if you see specific conversations happening around your industry, you then know those people having the conversation may be interested in what your business has to offer. If you’re in the health and beauty industry and see someone asking about where they should get their nails done, your local nail salon can jump in and connect with this new lead. Determining whether a local SEO solution your business is considering has a social listening feature before you purchase is, again, crucial.
7. Does the company I choose act as a collaborator with me?
Finally, one of the last questions you should ask as you’re selecting a local SEO solution is whether or not you can count on the company to act as a collaborator with your multi-location business. For instance, is the SEO solution more of a machine that runs the numbers but doesn’t provide any feedback, or is the company going to be there along the way to help you make adjustments and optimizations based on results?
The level of service your multi-location business is gaining should be a big differentiator. Some companies believe that technology can solve problems, while others emphasize relationships and customer success.
It’s no secret that technology is an essential aspect of a local SEO solution. Still, it has to be in the hands of service-oriented experts who are there to help solve your business’s problems with you. Getting an idea of what customer success will look like after you purchase your local SEO solution can provide insight into your future partnering with the company.
Now that you’re equipped with a list of questions to ask when considering a local SEO solution, it’s time to start shopping. While there are various local SEO solutions, SOCi is the only local SEO equipped for multi-location marketers. From listings to reputation management to local social, chatbots, local pages, social listening, and more, SOCi can manage every aspect of your local SEO strategy in one centralized platform. SOCi is the central command for multi-location marketers and the all-in-one solution for your localized marketing needs. For a more in-depth look at how SOCi can be your multi-location business’s one-stop shop for local SEO, request a demo today!