If you’re looking for help marketing and increasing traffic to your local business, doesn’t it make sense that you’d want to hire a local firm that understands the people, places, and pulse of Jacksonville?
Watch out, though! When you’re searching for a local SEO or internet marketing firm, many of the top Google results aren’t even companies based in Jacksonville. There are numerous national and regional firms that market toward local keywords, but they have no particular knowledge of the local market or what kind of competition exists for popular local keywords.
National SEO Firms
National firms may have some strengths that local firms don’t. They’re really good at helping to rank terms at the national level, but they’re unlikely to understand the nuances that help local business get the best return on local marketing efforts.
They’re also likely to be limited to online marketing. They’re less likely to have contacts in the Jacksonville media market, and they’re less likely to know about the businesses you’re trying to outrank.
Worst of all, many of them rely on large blog networks – which is exactly the type of “quick fix” that can lead to Google penalties and long time frames to undo the damage done. You’re also passing up the opportunity to make connections and network with other local businesses and professionals! That alone has a large value.
A national firm with a good reputation probably isn’t the worst choice, but it probably isn’t the best choice, either. Another factor to consider is if they’re based in a more expensive city like New York or San Francisco, they’ll have to charge prices that are appropriate for where they’re at. You’ll almost always get lower prices with a local SEO because the cost of living in Jacksonville is so low.
Outsourced SEO firms
Another potential red flag to watch out for in “local SEO” are with firms who outsource their SEO work to low cost countries. These firms may be familiar with the city of Jacksonville – and the owners may even live and work here – but a large part of their SEO work is done by low paid laborers in relatively poor places. Of course, this can mean some of the lowest prices around, but you get what you pay for:
As a result of extreme cost cutting, the quality of the work often suffers. Looking through their link profiles, you’re likely to see many spammy links from comments, forums, and social media profiles that carry little to no authority. While they might be able to convey some relevance in the short term, it’s likely to only be effective for very narrow search terms. You won’t build up the broad respect and authority that only higher quality links and references can provide.
Again, while these types of tactics can work in the short run, they can also cost you traffic in the long run as such low quality marketing tends to backfire eventually. Their methods may be ahead of the game right now, but Google is constantly catching up with new ways to fight spam and low-quality content.
What to look for in a local SEO
First of all, ask for references. Try to find a current or recent client who has had success with a specific SEO or internet market goal. Ask for details. Did sales go up 20%? 50%? Did they double?
Sometimes this information is confidential – and that’s OK. They should still have some personal project or sales pages that they can demonstrate success with. Extra points if the example project has a local component!
Also: Make sure the company is legally registered to do business in the state of Florida. You can review business filings at SunBiz, and it will even tell you if the company is incorporated in Jacksonville. JacksonvilleSEO.net is wholly owned by Future Florida Solutions, Inc., and as you can see at the link provided that it’s an active Florida corporation with headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida.
If they’ve got experience and local credibility, you should still ask more questions. What type of service packages do they offer? Are they willing to be flexible and create a plan that recognizes your company’s unique needs, budget, and other constraints – or are they trying to force you in to a one-size-fits-all situation that doesn’t really fit your needs?
Further: make sure you have a clear understanding of the timeframe and investment you should expect before seeing results. It can take up to 20 weeks for organic SEO efforts to reach their full return, so be wary of any firm that promises clean, organic SEO in a shorter time frame. There are, of course, advertising and social marketing tactics that can create organic traffic quickly, but make sure your potential provider is able to distinguish these things and speak honestly about what they can and can’t deliver.
Of course, if you’re in doubt, you can always call us! We’ve been doing SEO in Jacksonville since 2008, and we’re ready to start branching out and helping other companies succeed with the methods we’ve tested and proven time and time again.