Investing in the right local SEO package to improve online visibility is important for small business growth.
Whether you choose to work with a freelancer, an agency or to manage your local SEO yourself with software, it’s important to understand what you’re getting for your money.
Let’s break down everything that makes up a good local SEO package, so you can make the right choices for your business and avoid paying for unnecessary services.
Choosing the right local SEO package for your business is a big decision for your overall marketing strategy and one that’s worth doing your research on.
The first question most small business owners ask is who will actually be managing their local SEO:
Before you make a decision, get a clear understanding of what a good local SEO package looks like and which services you actually need.
For example, most agencies offer a lot of setup options that you may have already completed or that you feel comfortable managing yourself.
Then there are ongoing services, like regular SEO content creation, that you might already have a good freelancer working on.
Factor your business goals into your decision-making process, as well as your expectations for results.
An agency local SEO package usually begins with a full audit. This should include a technical report for your website, a list of keywords you currently rank for, and the status of your business listings.
Hiring a professional for your local SEO audit is a good idea for big or mature websites. They can assist with complex technical problems that you may find challenging to handle on your own.
But if you’re just starting out or your website is small, an agency local SEO package might not be necessary. A free local SEO audit could be what you need at this point.
Agencies often use local SEO tools to run audits, so if you’re looking to save money or be more tactical with your challenges, consider running an audit with a tool so you can better assess what your needs are, and the kind of packages that would work for you.
DIY local SEO: Not all small businesses have the budget to hire professional local SEOs. That’s why Semrush developed Listing Management , a local SEO package that guides you through the process and takes care of a lot of the busy work for you—all for one low monthly subscription.
Ultimately, the goal for local SEO is to outrank your competitors, so you’ll need to check out what they’re doing to inform your own strategy.
An agency’s local SEO package should include a competitor analysis report, breaking down their average ratings, review quantity and local positions.
Some data is available for free online, simply by searching for similar businesses in your area.
Competitor research can uncover lots of useful information, like the best directory categories, reasons customers leave bad reviews, and keyword ideas.
You can compile all this valuable data into a spreadsheet + hire an agency to develop it for you or consider using a local SEO tool to get ongoing fresh information. Your needs and level of experience should guide your decision.
Super spy: Is there a way to get a quick snapshot of your local SEO performance? Listing Management Premium Location subscribers use Heatmap to compare their positions and reviews with competitors using easy-to-read reports.
A good local SEO strategy requires thorough keyword research, which agency packages typically include.
Primary keywords like “[your industry] in [your location]” are a good place to start. But quality keyword research considers the whole customer journey and what they might search before they’re ready to buy.
Effective keyword research requires careful thinking about user intent so you can create appropriate content for them.
Semrush tags keywords with four search intent categories:
Thorough keyword research is the basis of all good local SEO strategies.
Small businesses can conduct their own keyword research for free with tools like Google Keyword Planner.
Paid tools like Semrush break down keyword suggestions into handy groups like questions and clusters. Semrush also allows you to take a peek at the keywords competitors are ranking for.
If you’ve never done keyword research before, it might be worth hiring a professional or agency as they will be able to address this step with the necessary sophistication to make a big impact. However, some agencies also offer this as a one-off service rather than part of an expensive local SEO package.
Google is the top player in local search. When looking at local SEO packages, make sure they include Google Business Profile (GBP) optimization.
GBP is what the search engine relies on to populate the Local Pack (the results listed under “Places” on the results page) and Google Maps.
60% of users get in touch with businesses directly from the results they find on GBP, so ensuring yours is as complete as possible is likely to pay off. You could also delegate this task to an agency or freelancer.
Optimizing your GBP is essentially a case of going through all the options in the edit screen until you have a nice green circle confirming your profile strength.
Once you’ve optimized your Google Business Profile, it’s time to move on to the other online directories to earn even more visibility.
A good distribution of listings not only gives your company exposure to new audiences, it also signals to search engines that your website and GBP are worth ranking.
But after all the work you’ve already put into optimizing your GBP, going through a similar process dozens more times can quickly get tedious—especially when you’ve got a business to run.
Local SEO agencies and freelancers can do this for you, putting in the hours to upload your details and make sure they’re all consistent. Listing management platforms can also easily upload your details to multiple platforms and allow for easy editing across all of them.
Fast track to prominence: With Semrush´s Listing Management , you can distribute your business listings to 70+ directories, including Yelp, Apple Maps and Bing Places, in next to no time. Plus, if there are any inconsistencies, you’ll get an alert right away so you can instruct the tool to take action fast.
Reviews are not only important for boosting your online reputation and building consumer confidence, they can also directly impact your local rankings.
Getting more reviews and increasing your average rating is a two-stage process.
The first stage is outreach: contacting customers and asking them to leave their opinion on Google, Yelp, Facebook or whichever platform needs a reputation boost.
The second stage is review management. This is where things can get a little harder to control. With reviews coming in from multiple platforms, keeping track of all the notifications and jumping from platform to platform to say “thank you” can seriously eat into your working day.
But responding matters. A Harvard Business Review study discovered that small businesses get a 12% increase in submitted reviews when they respond to feedback.
Review replies make a bigger impact if they’re coming from the people customers actually interacted with, so it’s worth considering keeping review management in-house.
Rapid replies: Replace review notification interruptions with Semrush´s Listing Management to gather your reviews into a single convenient interface. Benefit also from our AI replies feature, and answer all reviews faster.
Local SEO packages that include ongoing work usually include monthly content creation.
Content not only signals to Google that you’re regularly providing useful information for locals, it also demonstrates your expertise and authority in your industry.
Location landing pages are a good place to start with local SEO content. If you’re hiring an agency that includes content in their local SEO package, ask to see examples of this content type.
You can also include local keywords in blog topics. Address common pain points in your posts to put your business at the top of customers’ minds before they start looking for a specific local solution.
If you’re not a writer, consider hiring a professional freelancer or agency to make the right impact. But if you feel like your grammar is up to scratch and you can keep a reader engaged, feel free to save money on your local SEO package and write some content yourself.
Great content also attracts links from local resources and industry websites, which can boost your Authority Score. Reaching out for links can also work, just be sure you approach it from a place of offering value to the target website’s audience.
Beware of agencies offering too-good-to-be-true link building services. Generally, good links are built organically and the quality of the site linking to yours matters. If an agency promises a high number of links per month, they might not be worth having.
Social media content should also be part of your local SEO package. It’s another place to build links, engagement and reviews. Social media should be a showcase of your day-to-day business, so it might be better if your team uploads photos and posts directly.
Content guidance: If you’ll be tackling your own content and on-page optimization, you needn’t embark on the challenge alone. Semrush offers several content tools, from SEO content templates to an on-page SEO checker to help you optimize for your keywords effectively.
Before you start creating content and optimizing your website for local SEO, give your overall site health a checkup.
Agencies will analyze your website for key SEO errors that they’ll usually fix as part of their local SEO package initial setup.
Consider your keyword research and use it to inform your site structure. For example, a lawyer’s SEO strategy might include a top menu breaking down the services people typically search for so it's easy to navigate.
An agency should repair broken internal and external links. You can also use a Semrush site audit to identify basic issues that you can fix yourself.
Regular checkups: Semrush´s Listing Management subscribers get access to all of Semrush’s powerful tools, including Site Audit, which runs at regular intervals to flag issues and lists them in order of severity.
Attract more customers with listings in top local directories