The first priority for any business should be to dominate the local market first. It’s traditionally been easier to get clients on freelancing sites due to low competition, but those days are long gone. Nowadays, you either have to have a niche skill or offer your services at cut-throat prices. Clients have become very price sensitive due to the abundance of talent. However, pursuing clients locally has some key advantages. They are as follows.
- Clients are more trusting of people located close to them and are willing to engage in conversation. They feel a sense of connection to you just by being located nearby.
- Clients prefer face to face conversation over phone calls, emails and texts. It’s more personal and they get to experience your energy through your expressions and body language. The more positive the experience, the more convinced they are of working with you.
- It’s easier to maintain relationships with local clients and keep bringing in recurring work.
- By working in a local marketplace, you develop a network of clients and industry partners over time.
- All businesses are increasingly turning global. You can gain exposure to multinational companies in your area.
Now that you know the advantages, how exactly do you rank for local SEO? There are several ways but you should stick to white hat methods, so as not to anger the search engine gods. Following are the steps to get you ranked for local SEO.
- Get your business listed on Google Maps. Fill out all the details and always keep a complete and updated profile.
- Encourage people to review you on Google Maps. More reviews, greater ranking.
- Mention your city in title tags, descriptions and all other assets throughout your website pages, profile listings and other assets. Needless to say, don’t spam — only use them where appropriate.
- Make sure your website loads fast and that you have a good social media presence. This applies to SEO in general, as we all know.
- Publish articles relevant to your industry and geography, regularly. It can be on your own blog or other people’s blogs. Ideally, you should be publishing content in a myriad of places.
If you take the above steps, you should rank quite easily for your local SEO. It might be tougher in some markets, based on competition.
Getting International Clients
Once you have a healthy flow of local business, you can gradually branch out into other international markets. You follow the same steps you took above. If you have any reservations about these methods, just know that they have been tested by a reputable online marketing agency.
- The easiest way to enter a market is to set up an office there but such a move comes with a myriad of costs and might not be feasible for many. If you don’t have the means to do this, don’t worry, just read on.
- Narrow down one town or city you want to focus on. The ideal city will have decent demand for your product and a healthy amount of competitors. Don’t be turned off by many competitors, it’s just an indicator of a good market. Plus, your clients are likely well prepped to receive and understand your proposals.
- Once you have your city narrowed down, you should start researching local businesses and even the websites of your competitors. Start prospecting individuals from the several companies and reach out to them however you prefer — phone works better than email.
- You should reach out to your competitors and see if you can form an alliance. This usually comes in the form of commissions on referral. Or, even subcontracts of jobs.
- Once you have an understanding of this new market, start publishing content. Just like before, it could be your blog or someone else’s blog. The more content, links, and influencers you are able to acquire for your business, the better the ranking in that market.
Any good SEO expert will know that the key to ranking is to find good keywords. You are looking for keywords that have a lot of demand but not a lot of competition. Use keyword generation tools, look at results for local searches of your market and come up with smart content ideas. You only need a few good articles to start generating traffic. Once the momentum builds up, you will be unstoppable.