Should I Hire Someone For Local SEO To Help Increase Leads?
So you have a business in Maryland, and you are wondering two things.
- Should you hire an SEO company to help lead generation?
- If you do hire an SEO agency, how much will it cost?
I’ve been in the SEO game for a decade, and although much has changed, there are staples that stay the same. One of those things that remains constant, is “you get what you pay for.” Today, there are thousands of big companies that make alluring promises. They say they will get your business to the top spot in Google Map Pack (the top spot in the GMB results) within a month. They say they will double your leads in 2 months time. My advice? Be wary of promises that seem too good to be true…especially if they come at a very cheap price. Let me answer the first question:
Should you hire someone to handle your Google My Business listing and boost visibility for your Maryland business?
Maryland is a great place to do business. Due to our close proximity to DC, the economy is usually among the most stable in the country, and those living in the DC, MD and Northern VA area have disposable income to spend. That means the competition is going to be a little higher, and you might have to spend more to optimize your GMB listing than a business owner in the same niche in Arizona or Mississippi. So the answer really depends on your niche and it depends on whether or not your competitors are spending money, and if they are HOW MUCH they are spending. Unless you know how to do local SEO, chances are you want to focus on running your business, not on keeping up with the latest and greatest SEO practices.
As a full time SEO dedicated to ongoing education, my recommendation is to hire a professional SEO consultation or agency to work on your GMB listing. I also recommend going with a local company, because a lot of the success of your GMB is going to depend on good old fashioned local connections that can turn into hyper-local links back to your GMB listing and website. With every algorithm update Google rolls out, one thing is for certain. They are trying to weed out fake and spammy businesses, and they are getting better at it all the time. Ideally, you hire someone who you can meet with face to face once or twice a year, or at least speak to on the phone once a month.
You Decided to Hire a Local SEO Agency. Now What?
The million dollar question is “how much is this going to cost me?” Before I answer that I want to make something very clear. SEO is NOT a one time thing. Even if your website is structurally sound and incorporates all the best SEO practices, you will likely need ongoing SEO – at least for 6 months. If you are in a competitive industry, then SEO should just be part of your marketing budget. Stop spending money on pens and baseball hats with logos, unless you have money to burn. If you want leads, invest in SEO. Have patience (it doesn’t work immediately) and put your trust in your SEO agency or consultant. In general, you are likely to spend anywhere from $150 per month to $1500 per month for local GMB SEO. No, that does not include SEO for your website (although the two do work in tandem if SEO is done correctly). Again, this depends on your niche and what your competitors are doing. If your main competitor is spending $500 on GMB SEO then you are likely going to be paying a similar monthly retainer.
Local SEO is becoming increasingly more important and Google keeps rolling out features to engage users through its GMB platform. If you cannot afford to hire an SEO agency, then at the very least do the following yourself:
- Add one accurate main category for your business
- Add your info: description, hours of operation, address (your real address), your website, images, logo, etc.
- Add posts at least once per week
- Encourage your customers and clients to leave reviews
- Reply to all reviews in a timely manner
- Add offers, special events and relevant content that will help your users and potential customers
- Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) are consistent on Yelp, FB, GMB, Twitter, Yellowpages, etc.