Localized SEO is different than other SEO campaigns. To put it simply, it isn't so "macro". There are usually no departments that you are dealing with. There is less money. In most cases, it is a highly intimate relationship between yourself and the business owner.
Smaller doesn't necessarily have to mean less though. If you can get a clear picture of the what's and why's of the small businesses' intentions, you can draw up a pretty effective SEO campaign even on a tiny budget that will help the company's online presence evolve to being one of the top ranked local websites in their market.
Here are some things to think about before you start to build a localized SEO campaign
#1 Know the reason for why they want to rank in the first place.
Don't get me wrong, it's always about money but most of the time, it isn't overt. For example, a restaurant who wants to rank locally won't be "selling" anything online. Instead, they may want to use the website as a way for prospective customers to get directions, view their menu or simply call.
#2 How is their on page optimization (for search)?
Are their title tags in place? Is the navigation flat? Crawl errors? How are the search bots seeing the website? What do they see? Is the linking structure optimized for the goal(s) of the website?
#3 Do they have any metric system in place (if they have a website)?
This is super important because a lot of times what a company believes the website is serving may be different than what the customers want. By analyzing what they are currently getting, you can search for ways to improve the user's experience and may even reshape the website. With analytic data, you can see the problems in association with the website's goals and effectively reshape the front page to improve user experience.
#4 How large is their existing online footprint?
Is their restaurant talked about online? If they have experimented with SEO, are the links they are getting coming from real or spammy sources? Are they connected to social review websites?
These questions will help you assess what direction you may want to push for online.
#5 Where are their customers online?
Where do their customers congregate online? Are there ways to integrate the website's brand into the conversation cheaply? Are there cheap advertising avenues to keep their brand in the front of people who may be interested in their business?
#6 What things do their competitors do online?
Are their ways to easily merge their competitor's online strategies with their own? If they are using Facebook, what things are getting the most "likes" and "shares"? How are they promoting their brand?
#7 Do they have offline events that can be translated online?
For example, a local business that I am affiliated with recently bought a car for one of their employees. The money was pooled by their employees over a period of months and the car was given right before Christmas. Events like these can be used to get a business PR from newspapers, social platforms and even news stations, all of which can be linked to from the online community.
Charity events, sponsorships and general acts of good will can all be leveraged for more links and help web presence.
This is just a few things to think about before you start running a local SEO campaign. If you have any other things, feel free to add them in the comments below.
Leo Dimilo is a marketing consultant for local businesses in his area. He develops online marketing strategies to help businesses become more visible on the web. Read More Articles by Leo on Search Engine People