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Google loves local businesses. Searchers love localized results. SEO firms will help you connect with the people who want to find your business. Unfortunately, connecting with the best local SEO company isn’t always a straight line. There are many pitfalls that can lead you astray when searching for the right company for you. Here are five to be sure to avoid.

5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Searching for the Best Local SEO Company

Pitfall #1: A Lack of Transparency – You need to know what your local SEO company is doing to improve your rankings – no exceptions. Certain SEO companies will try to hide their tactics. They may refuse to show you content they claim to create, they may fail to explain the changes they’ve made to your site, and they may attempt to mask their tactics by citing a “proprietary process.” All of these habits are problematic.

To help avoid companies that depend on a lack of transparency, focus on creating a complete and thorough contract. Make notes during the sales process on what types of deliverables the company can provide, and include them in the contract. Be specific about how the completed work is to be quantified and about which services you will receive on an ongoing basis.

Pitfall #2: A Lack of Access to Your Accounts – During the course of your local SEO campaign, a firm may create third party accounts for you. Google AdWords and other advertising accounts provide valuable historical data as well as allow you to monitor the money you spend on this aspect of your campaign. You need to be able to access these accounts. If your SEO firm won’t allow you to do so, it’s a problem. This is another pitfall that can be avoided by being thorough in your contract.

Pitfall #3: Poor Reporting Practices – Unscrupulous SEO firms may try to hide a lack of results behind purposefully confusing reports. These reports may be confusing or misleading, or they may be completely false. If you can’t understand what a report is telling you, or if a report doesn’t match up with reality, be suspicious.

Good local SEO firms provide clear and accurate reporting. Such reports are easy to understand and very clearly outline your results. Even if you aren’t experienced in SEO yourself, you can understand any legitimate report.

Pitfall #4: Guaranteed Results – Is a potential local SEO company guaranteeing you a spot at the top of Google, Bing, or Yahoo? Reputable SEO firms understand that they cannot guarantee results as Google is the judge. Understand that SEO is more art than science. While a great local SEO agency can help you reach more customers, they can’t guarantee top placement. Avoid companies that say they can.

Pitfall #5: Inexperience – New local SEO companies open up shop every day. A few of these entrepreneurs have great ideas. Many more have yet to develop the experience and skills necessary to get you the type of results you’re looking for. When you’re ready to improve your local rankings, look for a company with a record of success. There are plenty of them out there. Investing in a company that hasn’t proven it can get you where you want to go is simply a gamble that’s not worth making.

When looking for great local SEO companies, look for firms that offer transparency, access, and clear reporting, and avoid companies that are inexperienced or offer unrealistic guarantees.

David Moses and Max Helmer are seasoned executives who can help you grow your business. Please contact us to setup an evaluation with them.

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