Can you do Local SEO yourself?
I have been working with over 400 clients, working to make sure they rank locally above position 10, ideally, ranking in the local 3-pack, for some time now. I am often asked the same questions, “what do you do”, “how do you do it”, “can’t I just do this all myself”? The simple answer, in theory, is “yes”, but the answer actually isn’t so “simple” after all.
I started working in SEO back in 2014. I came into a budding industry and brought all my sales and product knowledge, hoping I can make an impact. After 5 years, I know the ins and outs of the product, and have a solid grasp of what is required to get a local business to rank, especially, in areas with heavy competition. What I learned more than anything is, Local SEO is not a one-and-done practice. It takes constant upkeep, attention and ingenuity. There is an ebb and flow to SEO, and just when you think you have it right, Google makes an update to their search algorithm that can take you back to square one. In short, what worked yesterday, won’t necessarily work tomorrow.
Today’s Local SEO options are reliant on so much more than when I started in this industry. I recall the days of having a website, a verified Google Places page and some citations was really all it took to be competitive on Maps and Search. When a backlink was only for organic results and “mobile friendly” was just a thought. Running a website as non-secure was no problem and adding keywords and geo-modifiers on the Google listing wasn’t against google policy. You could even create a custom category via the old Google Mapmaker. It seemed the possibilities were limitless, but unfortunately, Google was aware of these “flaws”.
Starting in April 2014, Google Places was completely revamped and became Google My Business…. then in September 2014, Google really pressed some major algorithm updates. These updates secured the product and removed many of the aforementioned custom options for SEO Specialists and Developers. It didn’t take long for Google to throw another curve ball. Google released the dreaded Mobilegeddon Algorithm update in April 2015.
This effected so many clients it was shocking, but not unexpected. Mobile searches were growing fast, and users were turned off when they had to pinch and zoom and scroll left-to-right when they found a website on their phone. The user experience was failing, and Google had to correct it. So as of April 2015, if your website wasn’t mobile-friendly, your rankings would drop. Every year since then, the updates keep rolling out. SSL Certificate requirements, Schema coding and Mobile-first indexing are just a few of the latest incantations Google’s wizards of search came up with. And with every update Google pressed out, we, as local specialists had to research and dig to find out what these changes were, and how to correctly update our listings to continue to rank.
In order to stay ahead, continue with consistent new content, keep up with Google updates and optimize the client’s business, the client would have to hire help for these specific tasks or stop running their business to do it all themselves. Local SEO is a full time job and it requires a level of expertise to continue fulfillment of a client’s expectations.
So we go back to the same question, “can’t I just do this all myself”? My final answer is “No”.
MiceBots Founder and CEO
Search wisely my friends!