Local SEO

How to get local SEO clients for your marketing business

Including proven tricks and shortcuts to building a list of qualified local SEO leads

Joshua SaxonMarch 13, 202411 min read
Quick Summary
  • Pinpointing businesses in need of your services is only the first step to getting local SEO clients.
  • You need to showcase your local SEO expertise to convince business owners and marketing managers to retain your services.
  • Semrush Local streamlines your lead generation process, making it easier to identify and get local SEO clients.

You may have the skills and experience for the job, but how do you convince companies to trust you with their local SEO? Simply cold calling companies in your area or niche requires a mountain of effort for minimal returns. And even then, it’s hard to guarantee long-term client relationships. Getting local SEO clients requires research, expertise, and tangible evidence that you can help businesses grow.

With the right approach, SEO agencies and freelancers can quickly build lists of companies that need better local visibility. And by leveraging affordable tools, there’s no limit to how far you can take your local SEO business.

Why it can be hard to find local SEO clients

Agencies and freelancers around the world inundate businesses offering local SEO services. And in such saturated markets, it can be hard to stand out and get local SEO clients to pay attention to you. For example, many business owners don’t understand the benefits of local SEO or how it benefits them specifically. They might be skeptical of digital marketing investments because of past negative experiences or confused by the technical aspect.

Local businesses, especially small ones, often operate on tight budgets and may prioritize other expenses over SEO. They might view SEO as a nice-to-have, especially if they're unaware of its potential return on investment (ROI).

Local SEO is a long-term strategy that rarely delivers instant results. However, many local business owners expect quick fixes and immediate increases in traffic and sales. Proving the ROI of local SEO can be difficult, especially in the short term. Businesses want to see how their local SEO translates to more leads, customers, and, ultimately, revenue. Tackle these challenges head-on and you’ll better position yourself to get local SEO clients in saturated markets.

Objection handling: Use Semrush Local’s powerful suite of tools to demonstrate value to potential SEO clients. Run audits, identify opportunities, and easily explain exactly what you can do for them.

Identifying and contacting your target local SEO clients

The first step to attracting local SEO clients is pinpointing who your ideal clients are. This involves a deep dive into demographics, trends, and online behaviors. Begin by assessing the industries or sectors where you have the most experience and success. Are you best suited to serving local retailers and restaurants or professional services like law firms or dental practicesRecognizing your strengths can help you pinpoint the types of businesses that would be most receptive to your proposals.

Then, gather data to understand the local business landscape for your target market better. This includes analyzing the size of the businesses, market presence, and online visibility. Industry-specific reports can provide valuable insights into your target audience’s needs and what they’re up against. With a clearer view of who you should be working for, create a targeted list of potential local SEO clients. Use Google, chambers of commerce, and business directories to find the most qualified local SEO clients online.

A Google search for local SEO clients for an agency that specializes in dentists.

A Google search for local SEO clients for an agency that specializes in dentists. 

Active participation in local business communities and professional networking groups gives you direct access to potential clients. This allows you to understand the challenges local business owners face and find SEO clients at the same time. The next step is to refine your outreach to engage your potential clients effectively. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, tailor communication to address their specific challenges based on your research.

It might be tempting to accept the first client that comes along and get a new local SEO client on the board. But make sure the prospect is the right fit for your business and that you’re confident you can deliver them results. When reaching out to potential clients, focus on offering value first. Demonstrating your ability to solve their specific problems sets your SEO company apart. And the best way to highlight how your experience will translate into tangible benefits for them is to show them.

Problem solver: Quickly identify gaps in target clients’ local SEO with Semrush Local’s free audit tool. Pull up valuable local listings data so you can approach them with a specific game plan for success.


Demonstrating your expertise to get local SEO clients

Now you know how to find local SEO clients, it’s time to impress the decision makers that will determine your growth. Clients want to see that you can get them results, so start gathering your best charts that show what you’re capable of. For example, healthcare marketing agency WebServ can prove a dramatic local engagement boost over just two months. Using reports from Google Business Profile, they are able to quickly show clients what they can expect for their investment.

Google Business Profile performance insights that an agency uses to get local SEO clients.

Google Business Profile performance insights that an agency uses to get local SEO clients.

The agency credits Semrush’s Listing Management for helping them boost high-converting local traffic for their clients. “It’s always nice to show new clients some quick results while other long-term strategies are in play,” explained CMO Preston Powell. 

Bring specific SEO opportunities to potential clients and even show them how competitors are already taking advantage of them. For example, ClickReady Marketing uses Semrush’s Listing Management tool to identify directories their clients haven’t submitted to. By signing them up and distributing their information to said directories, ClickReady has significantly improved the online visibility of several clients.

  • A national shredding company saw their visibility scores rise to 70-80%.
  • A pet products franchise earned 60-70 leads per month through local search.
  • An Atlanta family law attorney now receives 100 leads per month following a visibility boost.

With results like this, it’s not hard for ClickReady to attract new business. Leveraging case studies from past clients, particularly those in similar industries, builds credibility and trust. A good case study sets out the problem the client faced, what you did to solve it and the results you achieved. 

Also, don’t forget to keep yourself and your team up to date with the latest in local services. Semrush’s free webinar Unlocking Agency Growth: Integrating Local Services with Expertise is a great place to start for those looking to refresh their knowledge, but also add them into their services portfolio. Learn some new tactics for building a local presence or enhance the strategies you’re already actioning.

Visual presentation: Attract clients by showing what you can do for them with Semrush Local’s powerful reporting tools. Quickly generate PDF reports you can attach to client emails and get your message across.

Tools for local SEO client lead generation

The right local SEO tools can massively increase the conversion rate of your local SEO proposals. Google Trends is invaluable for understanding local search interests over time. Use this free tool to identify emerging trends, pinpoint hotspot areas to target, and inform local content marketing strategies.


Local search trends from Google.

Local search trends from Google. 

Build a targeted list of local SEO leads in minutes with Semrush’s Lead Finder tool. Part of the Agency Growth Kit, Lead Finder is your fast track to a more robust client portfolio. Salesforce helps agencies manage client relationships, track leads, and measure the success of their outreach through reporting tools. With this CRM, you can easily create compelling email pitches for multiple local SEO prospects at once. 

Social media marketing is invaluable for identifying and engaging with potential local SEO clients. Focus on LinkedIn, which allows you to connect with business owners and decision-makers directly through messaging. Also join some of the platform’s relevant industry groups and engage with the community to demonstrate your expertise.

SurveyMonkey allows agencies to gather useful feedback directly from local companies and customer groups. Discover pain points and customer preferences you can use when pitching your strategy to get local SEO clients. Struggling to get a prospect to commit to a meeting? Use Loom to record your screen and create personalized pitches or walkthroughs of SEO audits. That way, they can watch your proposal at their leisure while your competitors’ emails go unread.

A mockup of a Loom presentation.

A mockup of a Loom presentation. 

Figma helps you create and share web designs with potential clients. A well-structured website is crucial for local SEO, and with Figma, you can easily make eye-catching suggestions. Semrush Local aids agencies in identifying businesses that haven’t fully optimized for local search. By showcasing gaps in a potential client's local SEO strategy, agencies can approach them with tailored solutions.

Spy on competitors: Presenting clear data on competitors is a sure-fire way to get local SEO clients’ attention. Use Map Rank Tracker to quickly pull up rival data and let prospects know you’ve got your eye on them.

Building long-term local SEO client relationships

Building long-term relationships with local SEO clients isn’t just about achieving high rankings in search results. You need to establish trust, demonstrate continuous value, and adapt to the evolving local search landscape.

Ultimately, client retention comes down to the results you get for them. Marketing agency Stratedia uses Semrush Local to simplify local SEO processes and make their clients happy. The team has been able to secure top rankings for 94% of their clients. This resulted in a 95% client retention rate, retention that has bolstered their yearly revenue and strengthened their client portfolio in the long run. 

Setting realistic expectations helps manage client satisfaction over the long term. Educate clients about the nature of local SEO as a continuous process rather than a one-time effort. Highlight the need for ongoing optimization and adaptation to changing search algorithms, as well as market conditions.

Regular meetings are an opportunity to show a deep understanding of your client's business, challenges, goals, and competition. This allows you to tailor your strategy effectively and demonstrate how your efforts align with their broader business objectives. Focus reports on metrics that matter most to the client, such as local search visibility, foot traffic, and conversions.


A local visibility report generated with Semrush Local.

 A local visibility report generated with Semrush Local.

Encourage feedback to show you value the client's perspective and that you’re committed to getting results. Act on comments promptly to demonstrate responsiveness and dedication to client satisfaction. Stay ahead of the curve by proactively suggesting new strategies, tools, or platforms. This reinforces your expertise and commitment to their success.

Upsell local SEO clients by offering advice on broader digital marketing strategies. Provide insights into customer behavior and market trends as a trusted advisor. This holistic approach makes your agency an essential part of their business growth. Recognize milestones and successes in your client's SEO journey. From top rankings to boosting local foot traffic, celebrating victories reminds them of your value and strengthens the relationship. In fact, a focus on organic strategies (which tend to be less expensive) can help you build trust for selling paid methods. Therefore, local SEO can really ease you into selling more expensive services, should you manage to show great organic results. 

Always watching: Reassure your clients by showing them you have Semrush’s Listing Management on your side. The tool keeps a constant eye on their search presence so they know there’s nothing to worry about long-term.
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Semrush Local: How to get local SEO clients the smart way

Semrush Local simplifies the process of acquiring and managing local SEO clients by providing you with the necessary tools to plan and execute your strategy. With its robust suite of tools, you can also demonstrate value and win new clients that will stick with you.

Quickly grow online visibility

A key component of a strong local SEO strategy is the consistency of business information across the web. Semrush's Listing Management tool can help you automatically distribute your accurate business details to up to 150+ globally supported directories. By ensuring information is consistent, agencies can improve local rankings, making it a compelling selling point for potential clients.
Detailed view of the Listing Management feature on Semrush Local

Optimize online reputation

Semrush's Review Management consolidates feedback from multiple online sources, giving you a holistic view of a business's online reputation. By analyzing these reviews, you can identify common themes, customer pain points, and areas of excellence. With visuals proving you can elevate the reputation of a business, you’ve got a compelling pitch to get local SEO clients with.
Overview of the Review Management section in Semrush Local

Leverage competitor data

Position yourself as a strategic partner in your target clients' success in the marketplace with Semrush Local. The Competitors Review Report is a powerful tool in the local SEO pitching process. This detailed view shows how a business is doing against competitors and can be a compelling argument in favor of your services.
A Semrush Local competitive data screenshot

Track your progress

Map Rank Tracker allows agencies to visualize their performance on Google Maps across different locations. Present potential clients with a clear picture of their current visibility, highlight gaps in their strategy and propose solutions. Map Rank Tracker also allows you to monitor up to 100 keywords per location so you can clearly see if your local efforts are paying off. Export your data and wow prospects with easy-to-understand visuals that let them know exactly where they stand vs. competitors.
A screenshot showing Semrush’s Map Rank Tracker
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