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Mastering Local SEO Strategy for Small Businesses

In Conversation with Corinne Fisher

In this episode of E-Coffee with Experts, host Ranmay Rath interviews Corinne Fisher, the owner of Purely Digital Marketing. Corinne shares her journey of building her agency and provides valuable insights into local SEO strategy for small businesses. Learn how to optimize your Google Business profile, leverage Google Maps, generate positive reviews, and overcome challenges in lead generation through local SEO.

Simplifying the process for clients to leave reviews increases the likelihood of positive feedback and online reputation management.

Corinne Fisher
Owner of Purely Digital Marketing

Hey. Hi everyone. This is your host for the show, E-Coffee with Experts. Today we have Corinne Fisher, the owner of Purely Digital Marketing with us. Welcome to our show.

Thank you so much. Glad to be here.

Super. So Corinne before we start off talking about Local SEO strategy at large

Sure. Absolutely. So my name is Corrine and I own purely digital marketing based out of St. Augustine, Florida. I have had the agency now for about five years. And we’ve grown to a team of 10 people. We primarily specialize in working with local businesses in multiple different niches chiropractors, weight loss, painting, garage doors, and HVAC, and we provide local search engine optimization, Google Ads Services, website design and development, and Facebook advertising.

Great. Thank you for that Corinne. We know that you’re the owner of Purely digital marketing. As an agency owner, how difficult was it to set up the entire business with your first couple of clients and build up the team, how challenging it has been?

What has your journey been in setting up Purely digital marketing?

It’s funny because looking back I’m like, wow, I should have picked an easier business to start. Because it is there are a lot of facets involved because not only do you have to know how to market your own agency, but you have to then learn about all of your clients, their services, and how to market their services and what works best for their services specifically.

And then on top of that, you have to find people that can then fulfil all of those services unless you’re the one doing it yourself. And of course, when you start out, you usually do everything. Luckily I’ve been able to, over the years find, people who train them, but that comes with it building processes and finding those good people to provide those services within the agency.

So, it is not an easy endeavour by any means, but it has totally been worth it. I love what I do. I don’t feel like I work when I am working. And that’s the goal.

That’s great. And we also know that you coach agency owners and people about local SEO strategy.

How did that come through coaching your agency owners from a local SEO strategy perspective?

Yes, I would say out of all of the services that we do we definitely specialize in local SEO the other ones we’re very good at all of them, but specifically local SEO is one of those services that a lot of agency owners don’t really understand completely.

And just the general public doesn’t understand it. But even agency owners don’t know how to sell it and they don’t know how to provide the service. And they get sometimes can get a little bit scared about presenting it to their clients because they don’t feel confident in their knowledge and their ability in those services.

So the first thing that I do when I coach other agency owners is taught them how to sell it, first of all, and how to talk about local SEO so that they can be confident in those sales calls. And then of course working into fulfilling it. But I kind, I got into that because I discovered the need for it in the agency world.

A lot of people that I was running into were only providing PC or Facebook ad services, and as an agency owner and if you have other agency owners listening to this podcast we understand that Facebook and Google, you’re just at their whim especially when you’re providing paid advertising services.

If Facebook decides that they don’t want you to run ads anymore, for whatever reason, it could shut down everything. They could shut down your business page, your ad account, and your business manager. In order to mitigate risk, it’s important to be able to provide some other services to clients, or else your entire agency is shut down if that’s the only service that you provide.

So that’s where I came in to assist agency owners in expanding their services.

You must be as an entrepreneur who is specializing in local SEO as your kind of niche if we were to talk about, so you know, what your advice to small business owners who you’d be meeting day in, day out who are looking to improve the websites.

Local SEO might be your clients, or they might not be your clients, but what is the general advice that goes out of your current mind if you meet local small business owners?

Because we are focused on local SEO, our primary focus is Google Maps and showing up in the Google Map pack.

So we first, whenever we take on a client, that’s our first focus is optimizing their Google business profile. And I would say that in that Google Business profile, the most important aspect sounds very simple, but the most important aspect of your Google Business profile is the main category that you choose.

So one of the first things that I ask our clients is what service? Out of all the services that you offer, which one would you want to receive the most phone calls for? And that is what we choose as our main category. You obviously can offer more services, but Google prefers to pick the main category and really, have you showing up for that main category and the services surrounding that.

So we build out our campaign based on that main category. And then the other categories we still can focus on them, but that main category is going to be where your bread and butter is in regards to local SEOs specifically.

You did mention about category what if I what are some of the effective strategies for optimizing the question and answer sections to Google My Business profile?

For optimizing the other sections?

Optimizing the questions and answers section.

Questions and answers. So what we do is we build out we will typically create question and answer at least weekly on our client’s business profiles. But you wanna build out those questions and answers based around those services and what people are actually searching for.

So that involves conducting keyword research initially. We wanna figure out what are people actually searching for in regards to your services. Don’t just guess, don’t think to make up things and, oh, I think that they’re typing this in. I think this is what they’re searching for. You want to know how much volume, and surface terms have around them and what are people actually typing in locally for the services that you provide. So our entire strategy is built around that initial keyword research including the question and answers. So we will incorporate what people are actually searching for into those questions and answers in the Google business profile.

And talking about Google Business profile what do you feel are the key elements, you didn’t mention category, but apart from category, what do you feel are the key elements that you wanna have a look at while optimizing the Google business profile for any particular business owner?

There are several areas of the Google business profile that you wanna build out, and I would say that would be the services. So you wanna build out the services part of the Google business profile. Make sure that your name, address, and phone number are consistent and accurate. On the profile, your website, and any other listings that you have across the web, you wanna be consistent.

Post, you wanna post regularly onto the Google business profile including those keywords from your keyword research, containing links to your website. Just incorporate various assets into those postings. You also wanna update your photos regularly. And what we do, we also geotag photos.

Who knows if Google actually grabs all that geotag info? Hopefully but we geotag our photos, so with the location data, and build out the Google website as well. Nobody actually sees our client’s Google websites because they have their own websites, but Google does take that data and index it, and it goes into the overall strategy of the Google Business profile.

Nice. Every agency that I talked to they have its own strategies around building a Google business profile for its end clients. And, talking about maps which we obviously so frequently talk about when we talk about local SEO. Why do you feel that ranking in both the maps and the search is extremely beneficial for any small business?

That is primarily where most of your local traffic will come from for click-to-calls and click-through is to your website. Most people are searching on mobile these days and when you’re on your mobile device and you’re searching for a local business, Google Maps shows up first after the ads, obviously.

So that’s why it’s important to show up the highest or, first in Google Maps, in that top three pack because people can read your reviews and click to call when they’re on mobile.

It’s the first thing that shows up on your Google if you’re on your mobile impact if you’re on the go and searching for a business impact directions or whatever.

Talking about landing up on Google, reviews play a very tricky role out there. So what is your take on that? You know how to get those reviews if your client is unable to get those beat positive, beat negative. How do you land up getting those reviews?

Do you use any software, what is your process of going about it, and what is your take in general about the review section?

So you want, obviously you wanna make it as easy as possible for clients and to leave a review. So what we do is we set up our clients with a system where all they have to do is input the name, number, and email address of their clients or patients, and an automated text and email goes out asking how their experience was. So, it will link them directly to their Google business profile to leave that review.

So instead of asking in person, Hey, can you leave us a review? That almost never works. Because then that person has to one, remember to leave you the review two, search your business and hope they find it accurately, and then log in and then leave the review If you make it super easy for them by sending them a direct link.

They’re much more likely to leave that review.

Absolutely. You know what people feel is that is a good service. They’ve paid for it, so they deserve it. But if the service is not up to the mark in terms of their expectations, then absolutely make sure that they go back and put in a bad review.

So it is like a double-edged sword.

We do this for our clients that wish to, or express that concern like, oh, what if they leave me a bad review? We ask them how their experience was with a thumbs up, thumbs down. If they click thumbs down. It doesn’t take them directly to the Google link. Some people would say that’s called review getting which Google does not like, so you do have to be careful with that particularly. We’ve never experienced any issues with it, been doing it for a long time. And people do still have the ability to click on the Google link and go to it, even if they click thumbs down.

But that’s one kind of way around it. If they’re concerned about people leaving negative reviews. But also that should come back on the business owner. If you’re that concerned about people leaving a negative review, maybe you need to look at the services that you’re providing.

Actually work upon it.

And then doing the workaround. Great. Before we wrap it up Corrine one last one. So what are the biggest challenges this is from an agency’s perspective, right? So, from let’s say pure leader marketing perspective, what are the biggest challenges that agencies face when it comes to generating leads?

End of the day, these small business owners that’s their bread and butter, right? What would you like agencies to understand about lead generation through local SEO what is your take on that?

So I would say that a lot of people think that you can pick and choose like cherry-pick the type of leads that you can receive through local SEO, and it just doesn’t work that way.

It’s not like paid advertising where you can specifically target, I want this type of person, this demographic. It is more difficult to cherry-pick the type of leads that you receive through local SEO. However, I will say that 9 times out of 10, as long as you build out the campaign correctly from the beginning, as long as you pick your ideal service, as I mentioned before that you wanna tailor your SEO campaign towards, and you build it out properly, you’ll receive better leads via local SEO than paid advertising.

Absolutely. And about leads one follow-up question that I have you get a lot of leads through local SEO because you might end up landing up on a search, which I’m doing probably, which is not targeted towards your business, but while I’m doing that search.

How do you filter out those leads as an agency? What is your process of going about finding the right leads for your business owners or for your clients? Do you follow any processes there?

We don’t have that happen too often where they’re getting the wrong we don’t provide the service at all, but we’re getting a lot of leads for this service.

With SEO that doesn’t typically happen very often. If it does, we’ll build out a questionnaire. For the client where someone can select a dropdown like, I’m looking for blah, blah, blah, then we can fill, then potentially filter those out or send out automation like, I’m so sorry, we don’t provide this service so they don’t have to spend the time.

Then getting back with those leads that aren’t qualified. But I would say that we really don’t have to happen a lot where they get a bunch of leads for jobs that really just don’t apply to them.

Great. So Corinne thank you so much for sharing the insights that I’m pretty sure would be a lot of would bring a lot of benefit to agency owners or budding youngsters who are probably looking into SEO for their own businesses, small business owners who will be listening out to us tonight. Before we let you go we would like to play a quick rapid fight with you. I hope you’re game for it.

Okay? Sure.

Yeah. Great. Okay, let’s start. What did your first salary? Do you remember that?

My first salary. When I started my agency, I had a family, so I probably paid bills with it.

Okay. Your last vacation?

Two weeks ago.

Where was that?

The mountains of North Carolina. We went skiing and snowboarding.

Nice. And your favourite sport?

Tennis.

That’s nice. And where do we find you on Friday evenings post work?

With my family, I have three children and a newborn, so I don’t have time.

Thank you so much for taking the time for this podcast. It was really a pleasure having you on our show and we’ll try and get hold of you for another episode. Another detailed one. And yeah, thank you so much for taking the time for this. Really appreciate it.

Absolutely. Thank you.

Thank you.

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