Years ago, when I came into the online marketing space, I realized that we were going up against a huge challenge. So many online marketing agencies out there today had been focusing on Local SEO for a very long time and had huge, established brands and audiences. Years ago, when I got started I always knew that the Google’s algorithm was going to start focusing on the geo-location of the searcher so it dawned on me that there was going to be an opportunity from a digital marketing agency perspective. Now, after working with hundreds of franchise locations, small and medium sized businesses across North America, I’ve realized more than ever that there is a THICK line drawn in the sand between Local SEO and Local Paid methods like Pay Per Call (local only).
Snail Pace SEO
Local SEO, compared to paid methods can take months to accomplish correctly (see many of the Local Search Ranking Factors here). There are some verticals that may rank faster than normally but you should expect 2-3 months before truly getting a strong foothold against the local competition in your market. What are the advantages? We are talking about a long term plan here. Google is continuously trying to find the BEST result for the local searcher and if you’re, for example, a local Moving or Water Restoration company and you’ve done all of the LOCAL SEO best practices to ensure you’re the right pick, then you’ll reap the rewards….long term.
Instant Gratification Through Calls
Alternatively, you have Pay Per Calls…..on the local level. There are many ways to generate call leads but the most common is utilizing Google AdWords’ Call Only Ads. What local businesses should use Call Only Ads?
1: Have 24-7 access to answering their phone.
2: Have a call center structured into their business model.
3: Are currently using a CRM and have a mature follow up (email / marketing automation) process in place.
The big question: Pay Per Call vs Local SEO?
It all depends on how fast you want to grow and what resources you have at your fingertips. If you’re working with an agency, you most likely be able to do both simultaneously as long as they, the agency, are fluent in Local Search and paid call related advertising together. If you need revenue FAST, I suggest starting off with aggressive pay per call campaigns so you can have the revenue to re-invest back into your local SEO efforts. It also gives you good practice at seeing what messaging is working and what isn’t both online in ads and on the calls that come in.
For more info on pay per call marketing, chat with us today.