Local SEO Pricing & How WE Price

How To Price Local SEOHow To Price Local SEO

How much should you be charging for local SEO? Honestly the formula is very simple. The image on the right shows how we price based on a locational competition times by industry competition formula.

For example in the UK there are multiple cities under 300,000 in population. Generally speaking these cities can be very easy to rank in. Building a local business to 7 figures through smart digital marketing is not only possible it’s also likely and relatively easy. As a result this only gets a 1X multiple.

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Cardiff Bloggers SEO Case Study

Cardiff Bloggers Case StudyI’m writing this post because I needed to do a link outreach campaign and I thought it would be interesting to make a case study about it (I’m a bit of a nerd about things like that.) So I thought it would be interesting to turn this into a little case study as its in my city and everything is out in the open. The technique was simple, I’d find some small Cardiff based bloggers and aim to get some local relevant backlinks to hqseo.co.uk. Idea was simple, budget (both time and cost was small) but let’s get going.

So the strategy:

Very simply we would be emailing blog owners simply asking to place a link in a relevant post (or sponsor their next post) in return for £20-150. Ideally the situation is a win-win. We get a nice relevant local link, although it will likely not be that powerful we are just looking for relevance rather than power. And the blogger themselves gets to place a link in an old article which doesn’t receive much traffic anymore & get’s a nice small cash sum. Win-win situation.

Stage 1: Finding bloggers:

To start I searched “Cardiff bloggers” and variations and just went from there. I didn’t really want to look for businesses here as generally even small businesses are highly corporate and £20-150 to a business doesn’t make much difference, to a blogger who potentially doesn’t generate revenue this pays for the domain for a couple of years at least and generates some income outside of ad revenue.

One issue that may be misinterpreted is £20-150 being the “value” of the blog, but we will if anyone gets insulted and how we can deal with that. Update: No one did as we rarely quoted prices, usually individuals had set prices in their head.

Stage 2: Email Addresses + tracking:

Now that we have our bloggers list, roughly about 35 in total, we need to get emails. This is pretty easy as bloggers are generally up for a chat so put their email on the homepage/contact page.

After going through the sites fully we’re down to about 20 that qualify, some are too small/large or simply not associated with Cardiff.

Note: Even after follow ups if no one gets back to me or we get no links I’ll still be posting the results and looking for some advice on how to improve in the future.

When collecting emails, names, interesting post URLs etc I also considered the strength of the domain (ahrefs) and then just made a note of the maximum I would pay for this link. Some of the domains were very strong, meaning if they turned round with a counter offer that was still reasonable we would probably take them up on this as generating local authority/relevance for a website is a pain in the a**!

Stage 3: Emailing itself

The script I used was essentially the below, I tweaked it slightly based on the individual but the baseline stayed the same.

Hi <<name>>,

I own a marketing company in Cardiff and found your post (xyz.com), I wanted to know if I could pay you a fee to place a link to our website on this? If you prefer we can also sponsor you to write a future post?

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,

Tom.

After sending the email I also tweeted some of the individuals just to let them know I was a real person and to get that open rate up a bit.

By this time we started emailing we were about an 90 minutes into the campaign.

And another 30 mins later we were done. 20 people emailed. BRB – Getting some coffee this sh*t is hard work!

Note: Anyone who doesn’t respond in 1 week I’ll follow up once but that’s gonna be it. Let’s see how this goes.

Stage 4 – Connections + back and fourth

During this process I didn’t want to simply get my link and be done, I’m pretty big on establishing connections where you live and in your business, as a result I wanted to build the connection along the way to the link too.

Anyway I won’t dive into the back and fourth of emails I’ll just get straight to the results. There was a lot of back and fourth with a number of different bloggers. Some politely declined, some were SEO experts in disguise and tried to teach me how to do SEO which was nice and others were seriously cool individuals.

Stage 5 – The Results

So before I get to the statistical results from the campaign I wanted to talk about some general results that interested me:

  1. Personal bloggers are generally really friendly & more responsive than cold emailing companies. Higher response rates, more positive language etc.
  2. Some are slightly touchy when it comes to talking about commercial interest in their blogs. Tending to over-value the asset in question, which makes sense as they’ve put a lot of work into it and we are trying to value it. This actually happened less than I think mainly because we were a small local business.
  3. SCARED OF GOOGLE – This was a real eye opener that actually interested me more than the entire process, so will outline it below.

“No follow” paid links

Now if you’ve been in the SEO for any length of time you’ll know the number one ranking factor is links. Brief lesson: No follow links carry “zero” ranking benefit whereas do follow links are great and are what you want. No follow links can be good in some areas to balance anchor text, get some additional relevance and make a site look like more of an authority. For example, all links from Wiki are nofollow but are still pretty handy to have.

Anyway, one of the strange things was a few of the individuals who responded early on mentioned no follow links in the first sentence, meaning they are very scared of “being banned from Google.” Although paid links are “bad and everything”, when done correctly its undetectable, but that’s a black hat story for another time. From my point of view, I found it very interesting how scared Google has made people in relation to this, it does show how well they have implemented their scare tactics.

But anyway, to the results themselves:

Response rate was about 60% – Which if you’ve done any cold emailing in the past you know that’s frecking awesome.

Of the 13 people that responded all were up for discussing a link further. Although about 3 mentioned “nofollow” which meant it wasn’t really worth it for the prices quoted (Around £80-100 in most cases.) A couple of others didn’t want to produce content for the niche, which is fair enough, seo is shady to the average person and on some blogs (say fashion for example) it just didn’t make much sense to do.

So we had about 6 warm connections. 3 of which we got links from. Costing about £170 in total. Below are the screenshot stats for 2 of these links, all links were just branded/URL:

Ahrefs Screenshots

Not bad for a £180 investment.

That’s it.

Explaining SEO Return on Investment (Barber & Hairdresser edition.

Selling seo is one of the most difficult things to do. Most of the time your selling to small or medium sized businesses with a relatively low marketing budget and all they usually care about is quick results and not what you can do for them in 12 months. Obviously seo is a bit different as it takes time to rank websites, especially local seo for new business sites. But once ranked the ROI is so much better than almost any marketing method!

The reason selling SEO is so difficult is 2 fold. The first point is that people receive spam emails daily from everyone and their mother about “I can get you to the first page of Google”, No sh*t, anyone can get you to the first page of Google for 1 15 word phrase! Heck, I could write 15 words in a row and then Google would rank me first! But anyway, these spam emails mean people have a negative perception of the industry and hence “You Are EVIL” before you’ve even started.

Reason 2 why selling SEO is difficult is because most of the time you can’t guarantee anything, at all! So your sales pitch goes like this: I might be able to get you ranked for these keywords, if you were ranked it would definitely make you money, How much? Well I’m not quite sure, but give me £500 a month for about 6 months and you might be ranked and get some return on this investment….. And guess what everyone says…. There is a better way where you can at least take out the “how much” element to the businesses and give them a monetary figure of what you estimate they will make once ranked. Although this is only an estimate, in my experience this method works pretty well and is quite accurate.

Calculate the Return on their Investment

I’m a big fan of calculating potential ROI for businesses. If you can explain to a business owner how much they cam benefit from your services they will usually pick up these services from you. As long as they believe you!! But that’s a totally new topic.

In this article I’m going to outline how to explain ROI or return on an seo investment to a hairdresser or barber. These are generally small businesses that can’t afford large scale SEO campaigns, but can benefit greatly from small local campaigns.

In this example I’ll be using a £300 per month local seo example. £300 a month is a lot of money for a small business so you need to explain exactly how you can make them more than this as quickly as possible. And the best way to do that is below.

I’m going to use Cardiff for this example, but you can do it for almost any city as long as there is a demand for your product or service.

The first aspect you need to know before all else is the lifetime value of a client or customer for the business type. For barbers let’s say this is £30, some people might become lifetime customers, others might only come to you once, so 30 is a happy medium and probably on the low side too.

This means we have to generate about 10 new customers a month for the business to break even.

The next step is to research how many customers we could potentially generate for the business once the website itself is ranked. Calculating this we have to use the Google keyword planner.

Choose all the keyword relevant to the business you are trying to rank. For example ‘hairdresser Cardiff’ ‘barber Cardiff’ ect.

Be sure to include those long tail keywords as well, these are super easy to rank for and make up a huge proportion of searches that most seo companies just ignore.

Once you have all your keywords put them in the keyword planner and find the monthly search volumes.

The next step is to estimate a click through rate from the serps. This is a more difficult estimate as even if you end up ranking first in the map pack AND top of the organic listings you will still only receive between 30-60% of the clicks.

For this example I will use a CTR of 25%. Mainly because in a 6 month period I believe I could rank any barber 1st for most of the keywords selected. If the city or industry had more competition then I’d use a more conservative CTR but in this case 25% is about right.

The next stage is to calculate a conversion rate. This is a conversion rate for the number of people who have visited the website who actually go to the business and become a customer. This varies from business to business but for this example I’ll use a relatively conservative conversion rate of 10%. That’s 1 in 10, if you have a conversion rate less than that for highly targeted organic traffic then you have a problem!

Example:

For our example then we have about 10-15 keywords with a total search volume of just over 3000 searches a month. This includes long tails as well which made up almost 300 monthly searches, which is why they are so important. You can see the larger keywords + search volumes below (remember to set your target location to the UK.)

Search Volumes

Using these numbers we can calculate exactly how much the business can make:

1.) Total search volume = 3,000.
2.) 30% Click Through Rate = 900.
3.) 10% Conversion Rate = 90.
4.) LVC 25 x 90 = £2,250 per month.

It’s also important to remember these are conservative figures. For another client we had 4 leads a month for a keyword that only generated 10 searches per month according to the keyword planner!! So take that data with a pinch of salt.

Minus the fee of 300 pounds a month this business would generate £1,950 pounds of revenue every month once ranked!

Judging by the competition it would only take 3-5 months to rank! And although in that time the ROI would be negative or around the 100-200% mark, once ranked the ROI is 600-700% a month, month after month. Would you make an investment of £300 a month if in 6 months that same figure made you £2,000 a month? Yeah thought so. And this is how you should try to explain it to the local businesses. Your services (if done right) really will make them money!

That’s the power of seo and how it should be explained to smaller businesses.

Over the course of the next few months I’ll be breaking down seo ROI and costings further. For both businesses and for seos.

If you’re a hairdresser or a barber feel free to give me a email [tom@seooasis.co.uk] as I am looking to prove this theory with a case study.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.

Geo-Tagging and the Importance of Media Rich Citations

The local seo formula seems to be over-simplifying in the last 6 months. It’s now possible to rank in Google Maps for almost any local keyword if you have the following:

  1. ​A Google Business page
  2. A website half optimised to a local keyword
  3. More citations that your competitors

Un​fortunately its not actually that easy.

2 aspects that can be the difference in local rankings are Geo-tagging and media rich citations, used correctly you no longer need to worry about having “more” citations than your competitor, you need BETTER ones.

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