Since the Internet is “everywhere” you don’t have to hire the SEO firm down the street if you don’t want to. As long as they are US-based, feel free to work with the best SEO firm for you, even if they are in a different time zone. However, if you want to have that face-to-face interaction that comes with working with a local SEO firm, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Respect someone’s time
If you’re just shopping around, stick to the phone. You’ll be able to get all the information you want in an hour long (maybe even less) phone call. Most small, local SEO firms don’t have the manpower to spend all day chasing down leads that aren’t seriously looking to hire an SEO firm.
2. Focus on small/midsize companies
While larger SEO companies may look incredibly impressive, working with a smaller SEO firm means you’re more likely to work directly with an experienced SEO strategist that customizes your SEO campaign around your needs and goals.
3. Beware the sales rep!
A sales representative that works for an SEO firm, but doesn’t actually do SEO, will do and say just about anything to get your business. That is their job—to bring in new clients.
4. Go with your instinct
If the first local SEO company you meet with seems to be the perfect fit, don’t second guess yourself. You don’t have to drag three or four more companies through the pitch process just because you feel like you’re “supposed” to shop around.
5. Don’t trust “magic” solutions
Every SEO firm has their own process, but you should be hearing similar things from different companies. If an SEO company comes out of left field with the “magic pill” to all your online marketing problems, don’t drink the Kool-Aid.
6. Don’t expect upfront work before you’re a client
You don’t work for free, and neither do local SEO companies. While you have the right to ask questions about their process, don’t expect a full SEO campaign to be created before you hire them.
7. Respect the SEO company and its employees
The key to a successful relationship with your local SEO company is respect. If you want them to do good work for you, treat them like you would an employee or partner.
8. Be willing to change
Let your local SEO firm do their job! If you aren’t willing to take their SEO recommendations, why bother hiring someone in the first place?
9. SEO is not a commodity, it’s a service
There are plenty of “yes man” companies out there that will say whatever it takes to get your money and then run off with it (even if it is just the low, low price of $49.95 a month!).