We all know the benefits of shopping locally and what it does for the local economy. But, if you’re a small business with a shoestring SEO budget, working with a local company is a nice-to-have, not a must-have.
Your priority is a company’s value, not their vicinity. The good news is that a local SEO firm can often offer you more value. Of course, there are good SEO firms and bad ones in every city and country. But all things being equal, a local company is better positioned (no pun intended) to meet your needs.
Accessibility and Accountability
If a company is out of your city, or out of your time zone, you might run into communication issues. You’re more likely going to see lags in response times to phone calls and meeting requests.
Communication between the SEO company and the client is truly one of the most important (and underrated) parts of SEO success. There also needs to be full transparency at all times.
“If someone asks you what your SEO team is doing for you, the last thing you ever want to say is I don’t know,” said Paul Teitelman, owner of Paul Teitelman SEO Consulting in Toronto.
“Anyone can just print off Google analytics and show it to you. What are the strategies and deliverables that you can expect every month? How many blogs are written and how many links are built?”
Local Research and Insights
A Canadian company could probably do OK with American keyword research. But there are often subtle differences in the data, and those differences often hold hidden opportunities.
Any time your keyword research is more thorough or current than your competition, it’s a huge competitive advantage. Being the first one to spot (and take advantage of) new trends is always a big win in SEO. You can be the first one to rank for an undiscovered longtail keyword that can unlock more organic traffic for your site and more sales.
Let’s say you’re a local bike shop. You want to write a series of blogs about the best bike trails around Toronto. Your out-of-town company probably doesn’t have access to a Toronto-based blogger with actual insights about this. At best, they would do a Google search to see what other people have written on this topic and then re-spin what they find.
You deserve better. The more niche your business is, the more educated your buyers probably are. They have a nose for recycled material or something that’s written by someone trying to fake it until they make it. You need a real writer, offering the unique insights that your users are looking for.
To gain SEO traction, you need to do more than publish content. You need people to read it, finish it, share it, and link to it. The absence of these things could tell Google that your content is possibly low quality and ignorable.
At the same time, your local SEO firm is also going to know local experts in any other discipline. If you need a local photographer, videographer, or UX designer, they will almost certainly know someone.
Does it pay to shop local when it comes to SEO? Yes, when you’re trying to get the absolute most for your dollar, it does.