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$300 a month for Local Search SEO?

     
9:15 pm on Jan 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I came across a serious ranking problem for someone whilst doing work on one of my own sites. I emailed the firm to let them know incase they didn't already. The problem was, the domain had obviously been previously owned by spammers. 90% of their 2000+ backlinks were for ... male medicinal helps ... if you know what I mean?

They guy said thankyou, and had a bunch of questions. I gave him some helpful answers. And then he said "I should probably hire an SEO firm to help me, but I'm already paying $300 a month to a firm for Local Search SEO."

Am I just out of the loop? Isn't Local Search something you sign up to for free and then you rank based on the general SEO work you do regarding location, page title, etc.?

My gut tells me this guy has been conned BADLY! Surely a firm being paid $300 a month for Local Search SEO should have spotted the 2000 v*agra backlinks?!
5:21 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've just recently been exploring Local, it's really a different creature. My first learning lesson has been a friend's restaurant where he gave up his site and uses his Facebook page for contact info and daily specials.

If you search the restaurant name, you'll get a Yelp page, the Facebook page and a TripAdvisor page at the top of the SERPs. It appears to me the focus then becomes "how do we float to the top of Yelp and TripAdvisor for the given cuisine in the desired location?".

Google and thousands of v*agra links don't seem to have much impact on the resources/results people use for location based searches. I've been working on this just for the knowledge, but a lot of local seems to be more reputation management/enhancement rather than old school SEO.

My conclusions are based on limited exposure, but I think reasonably valid.
8:13 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That sounds ridiculous to me. "They don't even have a website" is a criticism I hear from regular users. It's often a deal-breaker. An indication that they are either behind the times, or not good enough to be bothered with a website.

You seem to indicate that you think people that don't bother being listed on Google are somehow enlightened?

So you're the type of mystic guru that charges people $300 a month to tell them they need to work on their "branding and reputation" ... you know, mystical words like blue sky thinking and synergy that really give no practical application.

Sorry Clay More, but you sound like one of these new breed SEOs that treat the internet as some sort of holistic medicine where if they have good thoughts, their rankings will heal.
8:33 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A firm that specializes in local SEO might not even look at your backlinks…

The very first thing that they normally will do is to obtain a ‘master’ list of places/businesses where local listings, for your specific business/niche, are possible...

Then they will do a detailed competition analysis...

Then they must look for all the places/businesses where you’re already listed, as double listings are very seldom necessarily, nor do you want to be charged twice, or more, for work already done.

Depending on your business/niche, general/country wide listings can be good, but you usually will need niche/locale specific listings; and the most valuable are the rare ones that aren’t widely known.

It might take a week or two to obtain the most ‘common’ listings, but to discover ‘gems’ can sometimes take longer than anticipated.

Listings needs continue work/adverts/updates/reviews/likes etc.

Then there’s, as Clay More stated, stuff such as reputation/authority management/enhancement; and some firms also include video, local social and online/offline advertising in their services…
9:36 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A firm that specializes in local SEO might not even look at your backlinks…


That makes absolutely no sense to me. It sounds like utter nonsense. Any SEO that hasn't taken even a peek at the general backlinks, is a moron. At the very least, incompetent.

You are talking the same jargon as Clay More. Unaware business owners may be enticed by such a speech. But it is clearly jargon and sales talk, with zero substance or indication of any result-bearing action.

Seems like it's time to move into SEO con-artistry? If I can use words like "authority management" to get people to give me $300 a month for a couple of hours work putting free ads up for them, then I'm in!
10:47 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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<off topic, I don't know?>

My first learning lesson has been a friend's restaurant where he gave up his site and uses his Facebook page for contact info and daily specials.


This is interesting since I live in a small town, 17,000 pop, in the second biggest county in the UK and, basically, we are in the middle of nowhere.

There are some international/national businesses here and quite a few shop with their own web presence however the vast majority of the small businesses do use Facebook for their local promotions etc and it definitely seems to work well.

E.g. I have a friend whose hotel site I run who opened a ladies clothes shop last summer, we registered the domain name, I loaded up a splash page and it obviously ranks #1 on a local search BUT the shop manageress wanted to try a Facebook page to see what happened.

You've guessed it the Facebook page is all they use, it has several hundred likes and 4.7 /5.0 for reviews and, of course, it costs them nothing.

<was it off topic?>
1:39 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Depends what he gets for his $300. Doesn't sound like you know, nor know what the contract specifies.

$300 a month isn't going to get you very much SEO from an expert, since it's so time intensive to do it right. My guess would be that he hired some beginning or mid range person (or firm - don't forget everyone from the Yellow Pages to GoDaddy sells "SEO" services now)

But it also sounds like you have something of an anti-SEO agenda as well. As with any industry, there are legit and not-so-legit players.
3:03 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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For 300 a month he likely had a lower end person just building citations and links, that was not doing full service holistic Local SEO which normally costs much more. And yes they should have caught the domain issue.

Like regular SEO, Local SEO prices vary.

Many of the higher end consultants I know charge 1500 a month and it's well worth it. But that's for more competitive markets like attorneys and that's for a very comprehensive campaign.

Like netmeg said, there are all types and you get what you pay for.

Linda Buquet
6:20 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So you're the type of mystic guru that charges people $300 a month to tell them they need to work on their "branding and reputation"


I'm the type of person who insists that business hours and phone number are immediately available, changes website information to the Facebook page, makes sure location services all point to the proper address and discusses signage changes. You know, fundamentals.

Reputation is important in local. If a business has mostly one and two star reviews, they probably aren't going to get many customers originating from internet searches. The answer there lies in improving the issues reflected in the reviews.

As I said, I'm just learning local, but so far it seems more like a partnership with local business rather than checking off a list of best practices.
7:55 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I do local work for friends for 300 a month. A small business just can't pay much more, I even throw in hosting, and dns. Probably a local guy he is friends with.
Local search isn't hard to rank for so really it doesn't take the work it does for a national firm.
10:47 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A firm that specializes in local SEO might not even look at your backlinks

That makes absolutely no sense to me. It sounds like utter nonsense.

For someone who 'admits they're out of the loop' you're a tad dismissive of the advice given.

My experience with local in the UK (and by that I mean the A-G listings) is that the algorithm is completely different from traditional organic.

For instance, you don't need a website - I still see listings for 'SME service + city' with only a Google+ page. So links are obviously not vital, at the very least.

The single most important factor in my experience is co-occurence and similarity of address / tel on the Google+ page and other sites deemed noteworthy (varies from place to place and perhaps niche to niche too).

There are also some good checklists out there for local SEO, and it's also a useful exercise to pull apart a number of A-G listings by drawing up a list of the citations (NOT just links) each business has, marking those sites that keep cropping up for the different businesses, and also paying attention to sites that look like they're trying to drive business leads.

There are also data providers that feed even major directories, which then get scraped by loads of different sites. Track those down and getting the data right on a few sites will lead to multiple listings.

Finally, in my experience this is very much 'set and forget', so an ongoing monthly fee without an itemised list of work done seems like a rip-off to me, unless the contract is 'pay me for as long as you rank, but only when you rank'.
4:43 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Finally, in my experience this is very much 'set and forget'

Including ecommerce sites?
8:45 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've yet to see an eCommerce site in the local (A-G) listings or handle one myself so I couldn't say. My experience is mostly SME service providers.
9:25 am on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ok, now I understand some of the posts better :)

I’m involved in manufacturing, wholesale as well as retail with ecommerce sites for everything..

With us ongoing monthly work is essential, not only for keyword/product rankings, but also to ensure continues flow of visitors.
2:59 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I hate to break it to you, but people that work need to make something called money. Something Google make a LOT of.
4:56 pm on Jan 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My gut tells me this guy has been conned BADLY! Surely a firm being paid $300 a month for Local Search SEO should have spotted the 2000 v*agra backlinks?!


It is not surprising to me that they did not catch this. People are only going to work on what they are paid to work on. This goes for SEOs, too. As far as what your local SEO campaign contains I am not sure, but if I were you I wold be revisiting that contract or SOW.
5:49 am on Jan 29, 2015 (gmt 0)

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$300 a month seems a little high unless their are in a high density area and their average sale is in the $50+ range.
There are some trades that have commercial contracts worth 10K+. That is a different ball game.
6:47 am on Jan 29, 2015 (gmt 0)

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$300 a month seems a little high


Given the amount of work and the scope of work, that isn't anywhere close to covering the costs of project completion.

If you started making $30,000 a month more, is $300 a month excessive?
If you started making $ 3,000 a month more, is $300 a month excessive?

I wouldn't manage anyone's site for $300/month. There is no incentive for me, or the property owner.
12:27 pm on Jan 29, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Placing your prices based on the income of the business owner is absurd. You're not entitled to a share of the profits based on how much the business earns. You're acting as an advisor not an affiliate.

I've pointed out previously that the SEO monthly business model is baloney. Most of the work is done upfront, and if it's done properly upfront, then there's little to no need for ongoing monthly work for most small businesses. Might be different for a large company, but for bob's lawn and garden, one shot every year or two is more than enough.
7:20 am on Jan 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Quote=internetheaven
That sounds ridiculous to me. "They don't even have a website" is a criticism I hear from regular users. It's often a deal-breaker. An indication that they are either behind the times, or not good enough to be bothered with a website.

You seem to indicate that you think people that don't bother being listed on Google are somehow enlightened?


I agree completely.
A business's domains and websites should be treated as extremely valuable property assets to be built maintained and protected just the same way you would any physical real estate, trademarks, brands, or other asset a business owns.

I've been screwed a few times by ignorant clients after busting my ass to build them a website and get them #1 position in google, only to find them trashing that position by creating competing pages on blogspot or facebook.

I've repeatedly made it clear that I won't write new copy for them or hunt down and copy their updates from social sites to paste into the blog provided on their own websites.
To me, this social stuff is a bit like someone neglecting to paint or maintain their own house until it crumbles in disrepair then screaming at the builder about it. They'll happily paint the rich guys house down the street every year though, for free.

I've "fired" 2 clients recently whose favorite reply when I ask them to supply me with any new copy or images first is "Just do whatever.. Here's some more $$$ for ya" while their site sinks below all the listings websites, facebook, twitter, blog sites, etc that profit from their ignorance and don't really build true value or confidence in the business. And then they bitch that their website is now on page 20 instead of page 1 and business is down...
 

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