Several vendors have built their whole business around the model of monthly income from services related to local SEO. The fact that they are able to do this shows that for many businesses local SEO is not a one-time project. I would argue, however, that most aspects of it are one-time projects and very few should be ongoing. This contrasts with organic SEO which requires a constant effort, mainly in the form of content marketing, just to stand still.
A good example of a business built on a monthly cost model is Yext, one of many offering similar services. Yext is an industry-leading software tool designed to manage a business's location-related information on a multitude of directory websites throughout the Internet. In other words, it looks after your "citations". But the fact is that citations are less important than they used to be and once they have been set up or corrected they don't usually change. It is therefore much cheaper to monitor them than use a service like Yext.
Another example of on-going costs would be reputation management systems as they help with Local SEO. But here I would argue that reputation management is an integral part of any business. Those that pay for systems are doing so to gain productivity rather than purely for Local SEO purposes.
The best Local SEO efforts, and the most successful ones, will be ongoing. As will be discussed in later articles, things like page ranking and trending keywords are always changing, competing websites are always being created or being revamped. The landscape is always changing and businesses need to adapt.
Knowledge Graph – a measure of Local SEO success
One measure of a business's success in local SEO is whether it has a "knowledge graph" and whether the knowledge graph is conveying enough information to attract customers. The image below shows the MyLocal knowledge graph which appears on the right-hand side of the screen in search results when Google thinks your business matches the search. The more search terms for which your knowledge graph shows, the better your brand is recognised by Google.
3-pack – another measure of Local SEO success
Another measure of your local SEO effectiveness is whether your business appears in the top three results in a local search (the 3-pack). Most businesses should strive to get there for their main keywords and once there they can strive less, provided that they stay there.
Google rewards (improves your local SEO results) a number of aspects of your online activity such as
- engagement (not a one-time project)
- images (which should be added on a regular basis)
- video (similar to images)
- Google posts (should be done weekly)
- reviews (ongoing)
The key point to note is that Google cannot recognise any of this activity if you are not properly set up in the first place. It is the setting up and optimising of that setup which is the main cost involved in Local SEO, and that is a one-time project.
In summary, therefore, it is probably as well that businesses constantly monitor their local search results. They can then use their judgement as to whether or not more effort is required. It is often easier to do a little bit often than to find that you need to do a lot to correct a poor situation.
We work with your website designer to improve your ability to be found in Google and other search engines. Also, to look good wherever you may appear online. We specialise in local SEO and most of our work is off-site. But there still needs to be some on-site work undertaken by your webmaster to complement what we do. If you would be interested in finding out more, please use the Contact Form on our website.