USA’s Best Local SEO Companies 2018

There are over a thousand SEO companies in the US; therefore, choosing the right local SEO company amongst them can be a daunting task, unless you’re an SEO pro.

Why? Well, here are several reasons:

  • Local SEO is not the same as SEO;
  • Not all agencies showing up at the top of Google rankings are necessarily the best;
  • The evaluation procedure to find the best company involves evaluation of many factors.

So, we decided to simplify this task.

We’ve designed a unique procedure to analyze, evaluate, and rate over 100 local SEO companies. (Check our evaluation methodology here)

Here are the results sorted with the best company on the top.

CompanyDescriptionServices OfferedReview scoreVisit Site
Thrive Internet Marketing Agency

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency is run by a group of dedicated SEO specialists. They offer a proactive, client-driven approach with thorough and regular progress updates. Furthermore, this SEO company has unrivaled customer support and attentiveness.

  • Web Design & Development
  • PPC Management
  • Content Writing
  • Search Engine Optimization
$100 - $149 /hr Learn More
2 Social SEO

Social SEO

Social SEO has an agile team that excels in all aspects of eCommerce SEO and offers smart SEO solutions for any business. If your goal is to drive conversions, earn traffic and relevant customers, and maximize your financial success, Social SEO is the company for you.

  • PPC Management
  • SEO
  • Social Media & Email Management
  • Content Development
  • Reputation Management
3 InFlow

InFlow

InFlow is a one of the best eCommerce SEO company examples. They offer excellent value for the money and transparent communication. Clients work directly with industry veterans and specialists in SEO, enabling them to boost brand awareness, optimize conversion rates, and effectively meet deadlines.

  • PPC
  • SEO
  • Marketing Automation Services
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
$150–$199 Learn More

Finding the Right Local SEO Company

Evaluation Methodology: The Analysis Behind the Table

As mentioned earlier, finding the best agency is complicated. We followed a meticulous procedure to analyze each and every one of the local companies presented in the table above.

We will explain our evaluation procedure because we want you to be able to do your own research and make a more informed decision when choosing a local SEO firm.  

Let’s cut the chase and get into the real business.

First and foremost, before deciding to hire an agency for local SEO, you should set your goals, objectives, and KPIs. This will, in turn:

  • Help you shortlist the companies;
  • Help you set up the right targets for your company, both in terms of goals and deadlines;
  • Help the company run the strategies smoothly.
Avoid These Myths or Beliefs
The best local SEO company for Google is always the best

The local SEO company that ranks best on Google isn’t necessarily the best in terms of conducting SEO services for your business. Look at it this way: the best in the industry are probably already busy optimizing their clients’ websites, so they don’t manage to optimize their own.

The local SEO agency has to be close to you

The city’s specific characteristics and its cultural aspect can help in the execution of the strategies, as well as organizing some local events. However, the events and core SEO principles the company follows are far more important. So, you can choose a quality company that is not closest to your business but works with an in-house team which delivers outstanding results.

Cheap is always good (or bad)

The price of the services offered by the SEO company doesn’t necessarily indicate that it is a good or a bad company. It’s important that the company explains what will they do, how much time will they spend, and how much will that cost you. Don’t freak out if the final price is below your budget frame – it doesn’t necessarily affect the quality of a good company.

The company has a “secret weapon

Marketing tactics like webinars and presentations are not necessarily bad, but making a decision solely based on them is not the way to go. Also, some of the local SEO agencies may try to attract you by promising to use their “secret answer” for all your SEO needs. The reality is, SEO is a matter of hard work and a good strategy, and there’s no such thing as a secret weapon.

Local SEO Checklist
Basic Research

Company Reviews

The first step in choosing the best local SEO companies is reading their customer reviews.

What to look for in the reviews:

  • Whether the reviews are from real people. Look for reviews written by someone with a real name, style, and personality.
  • How positive is the company. The SEO company that has a good reputation is more likely to live up to your expectations and deliver the best SEO services and positive results.
  • Whether the company has experience in your niche. Choosing an SEO company focused on what you need is crucial.
  • Whether the reviews are just from the happy customers. Every company will have at least one negative review (even the best ones). If all reviews are positive, they have been most likely curated by the company.
  • Whether there are any potential issues. Look carefully whether customers mention issues with a specific service. If such issue appears repeatedly, it’s time to start looking for another company.
  • How is the company responding towards complaints on the forums. A good SEO company should give its brand a voice but never attack customers who complain about it on a public forum.

Discussions about the company. They say a lot about the company’s customer service and project management style. Results on sites like Upcity can be really helpful

Sample Reports & Case Studies

The best way to gain thorough information about the SEO agency in question is by reading sample reports. They will give you an idea about:

  • The things that the company does to rank you higher in search results

Looking at the agency’s sample reports will help you understand what types of businesses it serves and what techniques it employs. They contain specific examples of the company’s performance, proving their expertise and skill.

  • The company’s efficiency in task execution and project management

Look how experienced the agency is in working in your niche. The reports will show exactly how the company helped other SMBs achieve the desired success. If the agency’s sample report spans across a wide range of industries, check its success rate. If the previous experiences show good results, it means that the agency is versatile and has the ability to adapt.  

  • The transparency of the company

From the sample reports, you can get the bigger picture of the company’s transparency. You can see how ready they are to adapt the campaign to the client’s changing business and be honest about how they’re going to get your website ranking.

On the other hand, reading the case studies of the company will give you insights on:

  • How knowledgeable is the company

The documented reports show best how successful the SEO company is. Reading about their previous work and the success rate will help you develop a more informed opinion.

  • The creativity of their strategies

When checking the company’s case studies, you can look for clients who had the similar business models and goals as yours. The records will show how creative their strategies have been and what approach did the company take.

  • The organization of the work

Case studies will give you an idea of how the company organizes the work; what’s their first step and how they proceed after that.       

  • The efficiency of the company

Apart from the strategies, it’s important to know the efficiency rate of the company. Case studies will uncover whether the client’s goal was successfully met and what improvements were implemented.

After these basics of evaluation, we go to the technical aspects of the shortlisted companies.

Backlinks

Backlinks used to be key players back in the past. Today, they are just one of the many influential factors.

There are quite a few small unprofessional local SEO firms out there that are running businesses revolving on the concept of building blog networks, getting crappy links with automation, buying packages from forums, and buying guest posts or another form of links.

What to Remember: TF and CF are not metrics to rely on because Google is much smarter than these tools which aggregate the data.

Evaluation of the company’s link building is crucial and here’s how we do it:

  • We examine their portfolios to find out how and what kind of links the company is building.
    Specifically, we consider:
    the relevancy of the links;
    the authority of the linking blogs or websites;
    how genuine the websites are (whether the website or blog belong to a real company or a blogger).
  • We look for the number of ways in which links have been built. There are a few white hat methods which can be used. We also take into consideration the variety of links because having only one method to get links is not healthy; the more – the better.
  • We analyze how natural the links look.
    We’ve removed all local SEO companies that use spammy methods to build links and those that focus their strategies on link building only. They are not real SEO companies but rather link building services. We only listed companies that follow white hat methods, make their links look natural and have multiple ways to build links.
Keywords

Choosing the right keywords can help you rank higher in search results. Keywords in your domain name or the URL of a page also play a role.

However, you cannot always rely on tools for keyword research in local SEO as the industry standard keywords are not typical and usually get lost between low volume searches in tools. What’s more to it – some keywords are so industry-specific that even tools cannot pick them up!

  • Is the SEO company really aware of things like LSI and local keywords?

Another important thing to consider is whether the company you choose is proficient in local keyword research and the ever changing trends in keyword inclusion after algorithms updates.  

The LSI keywords, also known as supporting keywords to the primary keywords, are important as they help Google determine the content and quality of what’s on your website.

We have only listed companies that showed the ability to optimize the pages for LSI keywords.

Optimization Beyond GMB and Bing Places

Citations are one of the most influential local SEO ranking factors in Google – the number of citations your business accumulates, as well as the accuracy of the data they feature, signal to Google that the website can be trusted, which boosts the chances for ranking well.

Aside from that, citations themselves also have a positive impact on consumers. Accurate citations help people discover your business which will ultimately result in increased traffic and conversions.

So, naturally, our next point of evaluation is to discover whether the company is good at optimizing the website with citations.

  • We check for consistency

Before Google entered the business, there were other top websites for local businesses to promote themselves online, such as Yelp and BBB.

Consistency in the data presented to your customers is important! Having the same information displayed on all websites and directories will prevent confusion for both the users and Google.

  • We consider the multi-channel optimization

Google My Business is not the only channel you can get your traffic from.

Organic results below Google Local Pack can have a big impact as well. In fact, organic results are still the results with highest CTR.

But most of the time, local directories with business in the location and the niches come up.

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is the backbone of a successful SEO strategy. On-page optimization will help you rank higher in the search engines but it will also ensure better user experience by improving the readability of your website.

Here are some important factors we took into consideration when compiling the list of the best SEO companies for small business:

  • How good is the company with meta title and description optimization.
    The meta title and description can be deciding factors between someone clicking on your link or going elsewhere.
  • How good are they with the CTA  button optimization. CTAs can make or break your conversion rate. That’s why it’s important to choose a company that will ensure people see and understand your call to action and follow through with it.
  • Usability analysis and optimization. Your agency should be good at advising you how to ease the way for your customers to reach you and easily get the information they need.
  • Whether they have any case studies on A/B testing for local SEO. A/B testing will help you decide which areas are worth the further investment and identify the pages that need improvement.
Speed Matters

Google has indicated that site speed is one of several ranking signals.  

Additionally, a slow page speed prevents search engines from crawling all your pages which could negatively affect indexing.

Finally, page speed impacts UX; the longer the load time – the higher the bounce rate.

Source

  • Optimize your database;
  • Optimize the videos and images;
  • Design a simple yet effective design theme;
  • Minimize HTTP requests;
  • Prioritize asynchronous loading for CSS and JavaScript files.
Mobile Optimization

Mobile optimization is more important than ever. The key reason behind this is the rise of mobile usage. More and more people use mobile to search for local businesses while they are on the go.

In fact, recent SEO statistics show that 60% of all searches are made on a mobile device. Not optimizing your website for mobile could mean you’re missing out on potential customers and affecting SEO negatively.

Also, Google’s mobile-first indexing ranks the SERPs based on the mobile version of the page, even when customers are searching from a desktop.

The best local SEO company will take into consideration the following factors:

  • The video and image content should be optimized  for mobile devices;
  • The content should be readable without requiring users to zoom or scroll horizontally;
  • Clickability and interactivity optimization is important – mobile versions should use larger buttons and customized dropdown menu layout;
  • Pop ups should be minimized – they annoy users!
Voice Search

Voice search is the future. Especially for local businesses!

According to voice search stats, 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year.

When choosing the best local SEO agency, consider whether the company has the capacity to optimize the pages for conversational and question-type keywords, as well as “near me” keywords.

Furthermore, content should be optimized to actually answer those questions.

More importantly, the page should be optimized for structured data.

The next step of our evaluation is to check whether the company is using Schema for their clients’ websites.

As Google continues to build a more semantic web, Schema has become more valuable in effective Internet communication.

The company you hire should be aware of this structured data vocabulary that defines actions and relationships across the web, helping search engines to understand the meanings behind the subject matter.

Apart from improving the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs, Schema also optimizes the user experience.

The local SEO marketing company you choose should be aware of using such semantic web technologies.

Here is a template for a schematically optimized local business:

Rich snippets also help with better conversions because they enable shoppers to see products relevant to their search, as well as compare prices and read reviews – all in one place.

In fact, according to studies, having a rich snippet can increase CTR by 677% and drive 20-40% more traffic.

Checking whether the company implements them is one of the main steps in our evaluation process.

Local SEO Guide
Further Considerations

How data-driven is the company

Data-driven SEO is the process of making the qualitative and quantitative data accumulated a central part of strategy development. A data-driven company will use such data to gain insights, innovation, and improved decision making.

How the company manages reviews and reputation management

Customers appreciate when businesses can reach out and help regarding any questions. They are also more likely to trust a brand which has gained a recognition on the Internet.

Fun fact: 80% of consumers would avoid a business with a negative reputation.

Since regular interactions on social networks are crucial to your business success, the best local SEO company should offer reputation management in order to monitor your online standing and social media activity.

Having a positive online reputation will also increase your conversion rates, build credibility and a positive brand image.  

Your SEO company should:

  • Have a good approach in dealing with different customers;
  • Help clients understand better your products or company;
  • Observe your competitors;
  • Help you get reviews (and respond adequately to both good and bad ones).

We evaluate if the company is proficient in using analytics to get a broader customer understanding and develop strategies based on the data.

Converting consumer insights and big data into a concrete action will ultimately result in market growth.

Whether the SEO company does conversion optimization

Traffic is not enough. Real profits comes from conversions.

Plus, conversion optimization is one of the primary signals these days

Once you appear in the top 3 spots, the CTR is the key to give RankBrain a signal that you are a better-performing business than the rest, and you will be pushed to a higher position.

Local SEO results from local pack conversions are a two-step process.

Step 1:

Step 2

The company you are to hire should be capable of optimizing your results to convert well for this two-step process.

Whether they offer ratings service & review generation

Online reviews impact purchasing decisions for over 93% of the consumers.

The highest-rated companies can be filtered on both Google and Yelp and people do trust them.
Needless to say, the company which is providing services with ratings is always a better deal.

A top local SEO company should have a review generation strategy and service.

What are they offering in terms of assets

Partnering up with an SEO company means you’ll work with their team to develop an effective local SEO strategy. So, before committing, check whether the company offers the following specialists:

A dedicated manager

An SEO manager is responsible for the technical website optimization, coordination of the creation and submission of website content, and building an online community and backlinks. The SEO manager is a crucial part of a company’s team because he will monitor the project from start through completion and analyze it to determine the effectiveness of the campaign.

A local SEO consultant

A person in charge of analytics and conversion optimization is also a valuable team member. Usually, they will also design and implement new website features and troubleshoot web errors. Also, they will create mockups for new website content and carry on A/B testing.

SEO designer and developer

Web design can either make or break your SEO campaign. That’s why a good SEO company comes with a skilled web developer who will plan how your website will look, feel, and be used. He will also be responsible for turning the designer’s ideas into a dynamic and functional website.

Copywriting services

Engaging your audience and informing them about your business is important. But, unless it’s done well, you risk losing your audience’s interest. That’s why you should look for an SEO company that offers copywriting services. Your copywriter will shape your text in a way that will keep your audience’s interest and, consequently, drive more leads to your page.

What are their communication skills

An SEO agency should be an extension of your team; hence, a transparent communication is a must!

First and foremost, the team should present you with a detailed strategy and the steps that they will be taking to achieve your goals.

It important that the local SEO expert gives you initial reports which will allow you to measure results later on. Then, they should provide you with ongoing weekly reports that are used to track the progress and ensure that the SEO team goes in the right direction.

The SEO agency should report the progress in a timely manner and always be ready to talk and attend to your concerns.

Process Evaluation and Project Management

Process evaluation is the key to evaluating the company. Strategies can be effective only when executed well. How are they executed depends on the company’s project management capabilities.

You should consider:

  • How agile the team is;
  • Whether they plan first and let you know;
  • If they are good with KPIs and plan to achieve them.
How fair is the pricing

A SEO company which invests in their business practices won’t be charging high for the service they are offering, considering the industry standards.

More Things to Consider Before Hiring a Local SEO Company
Will the company focus on user-generated content?

User-generated content enables the consumer to become more involved in the marketing and sales process. Taking into consideration that 88% of consumers trust online reviews written by other consumers, it’s safe to say that user-generated content is one of the key components of a successful SEO strategy and you should definitely go for an SEO company that offers UGG.

Will the company optimize your business for Google Maps?

Optimization for Google Maps has quickly become one of the essential parts for local SEO. Being atop the Google Maps listings (both in the local 3-pack and Maps SERPs) will drive highly-qualified local traffic and help you stand out from the rest. Beyond marketing, Google Maps displays general information such as hours of operation, physical location, reviews, and driving directions which will make you more relevant to search queries. Hiring a local search marketing agency will help you do this the right way.

Can they suggest competitive pricing of your products or services?

Offering competitive prices is one of the strategies that will keep your business afloat. The SEO company should monitor your competition’s product offering and their pricing. By gathering such information they will be able to suggest value-added services or price adjustment.

Can they provide citation services?

Citations are a key factor in local search rankings. They account for approximately 25% of all local ranking factors. When hiring an SEO company consider whether they provide such services and whether they can build powerful citations with a reasonable turnaround time.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I measure local SEO success?

  • Traffic

Comparing month by month how many prospects are converted to money will give you a good idea of the effect of your SEO efforts. Google Analytics is a very useful tool for tracking such data since it provides you with comprehensive information about the traffic, channels from which it comes, and more.

  • New customers

Measuring new vs returning visitor ratio is also an important aspect of your SEO strategy. This shows how many new audiences have you attracted and which of them stayed loyal to your business.

  • Reviews

Local businesses with a significant number of reviews can easily jump to the top of the search results, thus establishing your brand image and assuring people your business is trustworthy. A good number of honest reviews can take your business further.

  • How many customers searching for generic keywords have landed on your website

Determining user intent and search path will give you an idea of how many customers have the keywords that best describe your products or services.

  • How many keywords is your website or business ranking for

Use a tracking tool to determine the number of keywords for which your site ranks in Google. Such data will help you determine which keywords you should focus on in the future and which keywords have been most relevant to your business.

  • Regularly check your Google ranking for target keywords

By checking your ranking for target keywords, you will get insightful information about how well they are performing and whether there’s need for improvement.

  • Conversions

Tracking the revenue on a monthly or annual basis can help you determine the conversion rate and compare it.

2. Why should you hire an agency?

Local SEO is complicated and time-consuming, and since you already have a business to manage, it may be a good idea to bring in a local SEO company. What’s more to it, local SEO is rapidly evolving – the biggest change is the rise of voice search – so it can be really hard to keep up. Knowing the essential elements of local SEO is not enough – going beyond the basics is key.

3. I cannot afford an agency, can I optimize my website for local SEO?

Although not the best option, if you can afford to spend your time learning the tools of the trade, you can probably get it done. You can also opt for a local SEO software which will provide you with a variety of tools which perform different SEO functions.

Here are some SEO fundamentals to remember:

  • Google My Business
  • Listing in local directories
  • Reviews
  • Backlinks    
  • Local News

4. What are the legal things to remember while hiring an SEO company?

  • Pricing
  • Safety of your account passwords
  • Details of changes they do to the websites and providing information to the client
  • How safe is the data with the company?

5. How is local SEO different than organic SEO?

Location is an important factor in both types of SEO but it has a dominant role in local SEO. The main difference is that with organic SEO, search engines focus on quality content, while with local SEO the emphasis is on location. Also, organic SEO is concerned with links to increase ranking, whereas local SEO relies on citation.

6. Should I only look for an SEO company near me?

Considering only SEO companies that are closest to you is not the basic criteria for choosing the best one. However, if you want to have meetings in person, as well as SEO specialists that will be at your disposal, you might want to go for it.

7. When do I need local SEO?

Local SEO is crucial when you decide to promote your business’ visibility on location-based searches.

8. Why did Google change 7 pack to 3 pack? What are its impacts?

Google wanted to improve UX by providing users with more relevant information for searches that have multiple results for a location and serve better mobile users. This change has made local SEO more important than ever, as the number of featured organic results is now smaller. So, if you are still contemplating whether you need to hire a local SEO company, our advice is – go for it!

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