A Comprehensive Guide to Selecting the Right Local SEO Agency

Best Local SEO Agency

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We Need a Local SEO Expert But How Do We Find One?

Presently, there are a countless amount of Local SEO firms in existence. With probably 20 agencies within 40 miles of you, right now. 

Are you seeking assistance with Local SEO? You’re probably eager to understand how to select a Local SEO agency, considering the vastness of the industry. The Search Engine Optimization Services Global Market Report 2022 indicates that the industry is projected to attain a $134.26 billion compound annual growth rate by 2026.

If you’ve ever ventured on the hunt for an agency, you’re well aware of how countless SEO agencies are vying for the market share. So, where does that position you, a business proprietor bent on attaining Google’s top rankings, generating viable traffic, and boosting sales?

Often bewildered and unsure of which path to take.

Amid this uncertainty, you’re likely pondering,

  • “How do I pick a superior Local SEO agency?”
  • “How can I identify an excellent Local SEO agency that doesn’t rely on ads to organically rank my website?”
  • “What should I look for in a Local SEO agency?”

Here, you’ll discover answers to these questions, along with a wealth of information about Local SEO agencies that surpass generic metrics and deliver tangible business results to aid your quest.

Before delving into that, I’ll outline what you need to do prior to initiating your search – primarily clarifying your objectives and desired outcomes.

Understand Your Objectives and Expected Results

Consider a scenario where you hastily book a last-minute flight from New York to attend a business meeting, and everything runs smoothly.

Upon arrival, the pilot announces the completion of your safe journey and welcomes you to Beverly Hills—only it’s the one in Texas, yet you intended to travel to Beverly Hills, California.

Wouldn’t that be a frustrating waste of your time?

Contracting Local SEO agencies is somewhat akin to embarking on that flight, as every agency can potentially enhance your site’s organic ranking. The first step before initiating the journey is to pick the right vehicle and embark on the correct route.

To select and onboard a Local SEO agency that suits your demands, you must:

  1. Identify your business objectives (your goals), and
  2. Clarify your expectations upon reaching your destination (your desired outcomes).

In the domain of Local SEO, pursuing diverse paths requires different vehicles (or agencies), which include:

SEO-enhanced content marketing
– Voice SEO
– Backlink creation
– Local SEO optimized map listings
– E-commerce Local SEO

Given the constant evolution of the digital marketing domain, online trends, and Google’s algorithm, this list is far from exhaustive and is poised for future alteration or expansion.

Regarding outcomes, you might aim to:

– Enhance the ranking of your entire website or specific keywords
– Increase viable traffic and leads, or
– Catalyze direct sales from organic searches.

Your specific business goals and outcomes determine the Local SEO strategies and measures you require. It’s vital to note that no agency universally suits all strategies, industry verticals, and company scales. 

Thus, familiarizing yourself with these basics paves the groundwork for your choice of partner.

Consider the Following Hypothetical Examples.

Example #1: SEO-Enhanced Content Marketing
Assume your goal is to appear on the first Google search results page when specific individuals use key phrases to search for information pertinent to your business.

What’s your envisioned outcome?

You desire to captivate this demographic, provide them with appealing content, and guide them into your sales funnel.

In this event, you require an agency specializing in Local SEO-optimized content marketing, coupled with a proven track record in aiding similar ventures.

Example #2: Boosting Your Domain Authority
Now, let’s suppose you’ve employed freelancers to generate superior content for your site, but Google isn’t assigning them high rankings for your target keywords. Content pieces of lower quality persistently crop up on top pages, while yours is confined to Google’s 17th page.

This issue points to your competitors likely having superior domain authorities or more backlinks funneling traffic to their highly-ranked content pieces. In this instance, to augment your website’s domain authority, secure relevant links redirecting to your content, and enhance your ranking, you should partner with a Local SEO agency with expertise in link building.

As observed from the scenarios above, being clear about your goals and desired outcomes simplifies selecting an optimal Local SEO agency.

Your Local SEO Goals Are Important

Beginning with a self-assessment and clarity on what you seek to accomplish can streamline the selection process. It ensures that you consider agencies with proven experience and expertise in navigating businesses towards your intended objectives.

However, the process doesn’t end there. Even with a small pool of potential agencies, picking the right one requires keenness in identifying characteristics that reflect their competency.

These qualities further help you scrutinize and choose a Local SEO agency perfectly suited to you. On that note, let’s look at some key attributes to check for.

Top 6 Traits of Outstanding Local SEO Companies

There are numerous, if not countless, Local SEO firms out there. To narrow down the options, consider the following characteristics when identifying the ideal Local SEO agency.

A Concrete Mechanism to Implement Local SEO Tactics

Nowadays, anyone with a computer, internet connectivity, and a blog hosted on WordPress might label themselves a Local SEO agency. 

However, this doesn’t invariably indicate their competence, nor does it guarantee they have a streamlined process to successfully execute a Local SEO plan.

An agency can make all manner of audacious claims, yet if it lacks the skills and processes to deliver on its promises, you won’t see positive results.

How Can You Verify an Agency’s Abilities?

You can do a quick Google search or browse their website to determine if they’re prominently featured in the search engine’s organic rankings. An essential trait of a reputable Local SEO firm is that they have firsthand experience applying Local SEO for their own needs, allowing you to spot them early on in Google SERP results.

Important note to consider is if they appear in what Google calls the “Top 3” which is a placement on the Google Maps box on the top of search results pages. If they have mastered this box listing then they should be able to easily rank you in the box as well.

Being #1 in the search results list is subpar compared to being listed as #1 in the “Top 3”.



A Broad Spectrum Team of Specialists

The process of transforming Local SEO concepts into higher rankings, web visitors, leads, and sales requires a diverse team of specialists.

If a Local SEO agency makes grand promises without revealing the team tasked with actualizing them, exercise caution. There’s a risk that they might outsource your project to freelancers on various digital platforms like Fiverr, leading to potential miscommunication and subpar performance.

However, with a well-established agency, a dedicated team of experts is at your disposal. From strategic leaders to managers and specialist teams to execute your strategy, the top Local SEO companies take pride in flaunting their incredible teams.

An Impressive Suite of Past Projects

Analyzing portfolios offers a straightforward method to gauge the caliber of an agency’s work. A robust portfolio signifies that they’re proud of the businesses they’ve supported and can back their claims.

By studying portfolios, you can also determine if an agency might suit your needs. Look at their typical clientele and determine if they’d be compatible with your industry. Then decide if their success aligns with your own ambitions.

Genuine Customer Testimonials

While self-promotion is generally appreciated, search engine optimization firms tend to focus more on promoting their clients’ websites and improving their online visibility, rather than excessively promoting themselves. By doing so it shows in their client reviews.

Designing effective Local SEO strategies, overseeing their implementation, and guiding teams towards their execution to foster results is challenging.

When a Local SEO firm dedicates itself to this tough work and delivers fantastic outcomes, their customers reciprocate with testimonials, expressing gratitude for money well-spent.

If you notice agencies sharing real-life testimonials from satisfied clients, you can trust them. If you wish for thorough scrutiny, look for prior work examples and case studies to evaluate the efficacy and past accomplishments.

Local SEO Boston

Authentic Industry Thought Leadership

Given the dynamic nature of Local SEO, it’s crucial to keep up with industry changes. This is achievable through a thought leader-affiliated Local SEO agency—that is, an agency renowned and respected in its field for expertise.

Such experts are always reading, learning, and sharing insights on outlets with clients.

A Distinct Company Culture

The top Local SEO enterprises don’t need a mammoth following on TikTok or copious blog posts; however, they should be proficient in their field and stay current with industry changes.

Inspect their website—are they keeping up with evolving Local SEO best practices and sharing sage advice to empower businesses to optimize their impact? Do they continually publish insightful content, share industry wisdom, and discuss upcoming modifications? Do they know and are they sharing the advantages of how AI content and AI SEO is changing the game? If so, these are the types of agencies who are staying up to date and are freely sharing it with clients.

Red Flags When Selecting a Local SEO Agency

During the process of selecting a Local SEO agency, certain red flags should be noted. Collaborating with a mistakenly chosen agency can result in exorbitant errors and wasted time, thus swiftly identifying possible issues is critical.

Here are some warning signs you should heed when picking a reliable Local SEO agency:

Promising Rankings

Avoid agencies that offer guaranteed results. Top-quality Local SEO takes time, and no reputable agency can make such assurances. Like all website owners, agencies are subjected to the constant alterations of Google’s algorithms. Any adjustment in the algorithms can negatively influence SERPs significantly. Therefore, no agency can convincingly promise specific website ranking outcomes.

Focusing On Quantity Over Quality When Building Backlinks

Be cautious of agencies employing ineffective black-hat techniques such as keyword stuffing or link farms. These practices can cause search engines to penalize your website, detrimentally affecting your online standing in the long run.

Exceptionally Low Pricing

Have you heard the adage, “You get what you pay for?” Well, it often holds true here. Low prices are not necessarily bad; it might merely suggest that the agency is just starting up and charging low rates to establish themselves.

Nevertheless, low pricing can also indicate the possibility of substandard quality or corner-cutting, leading to your site’s standing in SERPs being compromised.

It’s worth noting that certain agencies, such as MBDEV, prioritize supporting local community clients and small business owners by offering discounted rates. This approach aims to cultivate organic ‘word of mouth’ promotion within the community. 

At MBDEV, we firmly believe in transparency and adopting a work ethic that benefits the community as a whole. As part of our commitment to this philosophy, we extend discounts to local community business owners in exchange for client recommendations. 

This mutually beneficial relationship allows us to contribute to the growth and success of our clients while fostering a strong sense of community support

Lack of Portfolio or Customer Testimonials

Always comprehensively research potential Local SEO agencies before committing through a contract, particularly if they lack a portfolio or customer testimonials.

The absence of a portfolio or customer testimonials doesn’t necessarily denote a lack of competency. Still, it can raise concerns during your research process for potential Local SEO agencies.

When uncertain about an agency and there are no available testimonials, extend your research, scour online reviews, and ask for samples of their work.

How to Collaborate With a Local SEO Agency

Your choice of a SEO agency should be willing to operate as an extension of your in-house marketing team. Therefore, there are steps to understanding how to choose a Local SEO agency. These steps are critical as they can enable your alliance with them to be successful.

Let’s discuss the primary ones.

Prime Your In-house, Customer-facing Team

Before engaging with a SEO agency, ensure relevant teams in your company comprehend the reason behind hiring SEO experts and the impact this will have on your business. Also, designate individuals who will directly collaborate with the SEO agency to drive the results you want. These people will facilitate communication between your company and the agency.

Designating individuals to directly collaborate with the SEO agency is crucial for many reasons:

Effective Communication: Having dedicated individuals who serve as points of contact between your company and the SEO agency ensures smooth and efficient communication. They can convey your company’s goals, objectives, and requirements clearly to the agency, reducing the chances of miscommunication or misunderstandings.

Alignment with Company Culture: By designating individuals to collaborate with the SEO agency, you ensure that there is someone who understands your company’s culture and values. They can represent your brand effectively, ensuring that the agency’s strategies and actions align with your company’s identity and maintain a consistent brand image.

Objective Alignment: The designated individuals can bridge the gap between your company’s objectives and the SEO agency’s efforts. They can articulate your specific goals and ensure that the agency’s strategies are aligned with them. This alignment maximizes the chances of achieving desired outcomes and ROI from the collaboration.

Clear Expectations and Timelines: The designated individuals play a crucial role in setting clear expectations and timelines for the collaboration. They can communicate deadlines, deliverables, and performance metrics to the agency, ensuring that both parties are on the same page regarding project milestones and progress.

Overall, designating individuals for direct collaboration with the SEO agency helps establish effective communication, maintain alignment with company culture, ensure objective alignment, and establish clear expectations and timelines. This collaborative approach enhances the chances of a successful partnership and the achievement of desired results.

Local SEO Discovery Session

The objectives when working with a Local SEO agency could be improving the ranking for target keywords, driving more traffic, enhancing sales, or a combination of these. We ourselves, understand that choosing the right SEO agency for your business is a critical decision. While we believe in our approach at MBDEV Boston, we also encourage you to explore other options and consider what matters most to you.

When evaluating different SEO agencies, it is crucial to ensure that their principles and values align with yours. If another agency does not emphasize the same level of thoroughness and attention to detail during the onboarding process, it may be a sign that their overall approach and commitment to your success could be lacking. Transparency, open communication, and a willingness to invest the necessary time to understand your business are key factors to look for in an SEO agency. You deserve a partner that is genuinely dedicated to helping you achieve your objectives and tailoring strategies that fit your unique needs.

At MBDEV Boston, we pride ourselves on our meticulous onboarding process and collaborative approach. We take the time to understand your business inside out, allowing us to develop effective and personalized Local SEO strategies. We believe that this level of commitment is essential for driving exceptional results. Should you come across an SEO agency that does not share these principles, we recommend continuing your search. It’s essential to find an agency that not only has the expertise but also demonstrates a genuine commitment to your success and a strong alignment with your values.

Remember, choosing the right SEO agency can have a significant impact on your online presence and business growth. Take the time to evaluate your options, ask the right questions, and select a partner that you can trust to deliver outstanding results while upholding your core principles.

At MBDEV Boston, we strive to be that trusted partner, providing a collaborative and results-driven approach that aligns with your objectives. We are committed to earning your trust and exceeding your expectations every step of the way.

Research and Recommendations for Your SEO Project

Once you’ve given a Local SEO company all the relevant details pertaining to your business, monitor what they do next. Top-tier agencies don’t hastily send you quotes and invoices. They thoroughly research, using the information you shared to gain a comprehensive understanding of your business situation. This enables them to align with your company, target audience, business goals, and competition.

After conducting this research, they typically share their recommendations on what needs to be done to maximize results. Expect these insights to be communicated either through an emailed report or via a discussion call.

Contract with Deliverables

Upon conducting a discovery call and follow-up discussions, you should expect a contract stipulating deliverables from the Local SEO agency if it finds working with you to be a match. Make sure to share this contract with key team members, particularly those who will be working directly with the agency, to understand the meticulous terms and conditions of the agreement.

Additionally, have it reviewed by your legal team to avoid signing a contract that may adversely impact your company in the future.

Project Scoping, and Management

To work with you, a Local SEO company will likely request access to some of your digital assets. Depending on your project scope, this could include your website or blog passwords, your analytical tools login credentials, or even select in-house staff. Be sure to have all of these items available upon request before signing on with an agency. If you don’t there could be a slow start to a project and as we all know, time is money.

Upon initiating a working relationship with your company, Local SEO agencies usually conduct a detailed onboarding process. During this session, the scope of your project, delivery timelines, communication channels, and how both parties manage the project will be defined and communicated.


Is SEO Still Relevant in 2023?

While it is evident that SEO remains relevant in 2023, it is essential to acknowledge the challenges and advancements shaping the landscape. The Annual State of SEO report by Search Engine Journal emphasizes the impact of machine learning, AI, and changes to third-party cookies as significant factors influencing SEO strategies.

When selecting an SEO agency, it’s crucial to consider those that actively address these roadblocks and leverage innovative solutions to stay ahead. Agencies that embrace AI and machine learning technologies can provide a competitive edge by optimizing SEO strategies and delivering more precise and targeted results for their clients.

Implementing AI in SEO allows agencies to analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make data-driven decisions that enhance the effectiveness of SEO campaigns. This technology can assist in uncovering valuable insights about consumer behavior, optimizing keyword targeting, and improving overall website performance.

By choosing an agency that acknowledges these challenges and incorporates AI into their SEO approach, you position yourself for greater success. Look for agencies that demonstrate a commitment to staying abreast of industry advancements and are proactive in leveraging AI-driven tools and techniques.

At MBDEV Boston, we recognize the importance of adapting to the evolving SEO landscape. We actively explore and embrace technologies like AI to enhance our clients’ SEO plans. Our team leverages AI-driven tools to analyze data, optimize keyword strategies, and maximize the impact of SEO efforts.

When selecting an SEO agency, consider their ability to navigate these challenges and their willingness to embrace new technologies. By partnering with an agency that stays ahead of the curve, you can ensure that your SEO strategies are future-proofed and designed to drive long-term success.

Remember, SEO in 2023 is a dynamic field that requires agility and innovation. Look for an agency that not only understands the challenges but also proactively incorporates AI and other technologies to deliver outstanding results for your business.

Will SEO Exist in 10 Years?

While it’s challenging to predict the future with certainty, there’s no reason why SEO won’t continue to be prevalent. However, its form will continue to evolve, and anyone using SEO will need to adapt their techniques accordingly.

At MBDEV Boston, we recognize the importance of adapting to the evolving landscape of SEO. To stay ahead of the curve and help our clients achieve optimal results, we leverage the power of AI in the following situations:

  • Data Analysis and Insights
  • Keyword Research and Targeting
  • Content Optimization
  • Performance Tracking and Reporting

By harnessing the capabilities of AI in these situations, MBDEV Boston ensures that our SEO techniques are adaptive, efficient, and tailored to the evolving SEO landscape. We believe that by incorporating AI-driven solutions into our strategies, we can deliver improved results and help our clients stay at the forefront of SEO success.

As SEO continues to evolve, we remain committed to leveraging innovative technologies like AI to drive optimal outcomes for our clients. By embracing the power of AI, we adapt our techniques to the changing SEO landscape and help our clients achieve sustained visibility and growth.

What Is the Best SEO Strategy in 2023?

Expect the basics of SEO to remain consistent, such as ensuring your site loads quickly, optimizing for mobile, having keyworded content with a robust content strategy behind it, and repurposing content.

In 2023-24, the significance of technical SEO will likely continue to grow, and visual search will remain crucial. Additionally, typical Google updates throughout the year will require you to stay updated.

Do You Need to Do SEO Every Month?

Yes, you do. SEO is a continuous process rather than a one-time task. Regularly optimizing your site with SEO helps ensure your content reaches the right audience. With regular updates, you can keep up with changes in the industry and better understand which keywords are driving the most traffic.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Local SEO Agency

Local SEO results can take time. Expect to start seeing results from SEO in about 100 days. However, remember there aren’t any guarantees, and it’s not always a solo endeavor.

This is compounded by the reality that not all industries are the same. Some are more competitive than others, such as the medical or legal fields, or anything under the YMYL (your money or your life) umbrella. 

These might require a longer duration to see results compared to say, simple e-commerce or a service trade that has few to no competitors in the area.

Therefore, knowing how to find the best Local SEO company is crucial to success, but not all agencies are created equal.

Any company that promises overnight success is either misinformed about Local SEO or simply talking big.

In summary, effective Local SEO companies don’t make wild promises; they show you what’s possible and illustrate how they’ll work diligently to achieve it.

If you give them ample time, you’ll start seeing results—reliable traffic, leads, and sales. As things progress, it unfolds like a snowball effect, getting better as long as you continue to work with a top-notch SEO company.

At MBDEV Boston, we would love to show you why we can be your best choice. Our team is dedicated to delivering reliable traffic, leads, and sales through our comprehensive Local SEO strategies. We prioritize transparency, setting realistic expectations, and working closely with our clients to ensure their goals are met. With MBDEV Boston as your trusted partner, we aim to create a simplified yet growing Local SEO project plan, continuously improving your online presence and driving long-term success.

Choose MBDEV Boston, and let us demonstrate how our expertise and commitment can make a significant impact on your Local SEO journey. Together, we can achieve exceptional results and help your business thrive in the digital landscape.

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