Shaping Local SEO Strategies for Client Success | Webinar

Shaping Local SEO Strategies for Client Success | Webinar

Everyone knows there’s no size fits all when it comes to local SEO strategy, and each client has to have a carefully tailored strategy to meet their needs and goals. 

So how do you craft the best-fit strategy for each client? 

On this BrightLocal Webinar, Colan Nielsen (VP, Sterling Sky) and Elizabeth Linder (SEO Strategist, Kick Point) share their tips on creating a knockout strategy for every client. 

  • Prepare for your strategy
  • Find out what to include
  • How to track progress 

Watch the recording

Key takeaways

What are the top three questions you would ask a client when it comes to starting work on a new strategy? (08:35)


Number one is always goals, goals, goals. Be as specific as you possibly can. It’s easy to say ‘more business’ but you want to be more specific. Making sure you’re specific with goals helps with tracking to see if the strategy is working or not. Secondly, ask who are your top competitors? Who do you think your competitors are and who do you want to compete with? The last one is to ask them to describe their best kind of clients, rather than asking their target audience. This makes content and updating the site a little more targeted towards the customer journey and the people they really want to drive to the business.

Liz Linder, Kick Point

Does it make sense to do the strategy? The next question that would follow would ask if we have done something similar in the past, specifically with a business in the same industry as this client, or is this something that we’ve tested before? Have we done this and did it work well? How would Google feel about the strategy is also a good question to ask. Does this particular strategy break any of Google’s guidelines?

Colan Nielsen, Sterling Sky

What decisions do you need to make upfront, before you start executing the strategy? (22:13)

Who’s going to be working on this? Who is the best person to do this? Budget is also incredibly important to decide what works best for the client and do they have the amount required for the complete strategy. More on the client-side, who’s going to be part of the project and strategy? We always like to work directly with the subject matter experts, so who is that going to be? Who are the decision-makers internally?

Liz Linder, Kick Point

How do you set targets and manage each client’s expectation on the results they’ll see? (26:12)

Before starting to work with a business, perform a local SEO audit. It gives you the opportunity to understand this business owner better, their behavior, their expectations. You’ll figure out pretty quickly if doing an audit if they have unrealistic expectations. Don’t over-promise or under-promise. Be realistic about the situation and be very candid about the risks and threats with any strategy. Give yourself a margin of safety so in case something goes wrong, they’re not surprised.

Colan Nielsen, Sterling Sky

There’s a really big problem of not educating [clients] about how things work. Explain that this is Google, this is search engines, things change every day, and algorithms change. Having that conversation takes time, but them knowing they’re not in the dark helps manage that expectation. Tell clients this is how it is, and this is how it works.

Liz Linder, Kick Point

Are there any go-to tactics that tend to appear in every strategy regardless of client goals? (38:16)

The first one that comes to mind is internal linking. Whether GMB or the website itself, internal linking is always top of mind for us.

Colan Nielsen, Sterling Sky

I always start with keyword research. After discovery, you already know what’s going to be included, but keyword research is good to confirm exactly what changes you need to make or future content updates. Google Business Profile optimization, making sure you’re taking advantage of all the features and making sure your profile stands out. Include better photos, utilize messages, use the request button, questions and answers. I never see anyone using all the features, but make sure you make the most out of your profile.

Liz Linder, Kick Point

How do you know when you need to adapt your strategy, and how do you go about making the necessary changes? (48:25)

As long as we know we have tracking set up correctly and we know the KPIs, we can see if it’s going flat or going down. If it’s not meeting the goal we originally talked about or isn’t doing as well as we planned or going in a downward trend, that’s when we start to ask what’s not working. Was there an algorithm update? Was there a big change or did something happen in Google? Every time you implement something, give it a couple of months, or at least 30 days. If it’s a big content change, it might get indexed straight away but nothing happens for another three or four months. Give it time and communicate that stuff takes time, it’s not an overnight success.

Liz Linder, Kick Point

It goes back to the data, first and foremost. With some strategies, an important thing in terms of having them come to fruition or get to the point where things have worked out, it’s important to remove personal bias and emotions from the situation. For example, you might really love new styles of things that you want to implement. The data tells you one thing, but it’s important to remove yourself from the emotions and focus on the data. When you’re in the testing phase, you’re still figuring out what’s going to work. When you roll it out, you’ll still see different things happening all the time in the testing process. That’s when we’d circle back and retest, or create a second test on a specific thing. It’s a case of having an organized process of testing, rolling it out, then going back to the drawing board and not being afraid to fail. It’s the only way you’ll figure out new stuff.

Colan Nielsen, Sterling Sky

What are your go-to tools for planning, organizing, and tracking the performance of your strategy? (1:01:07)

First and foremost the tool I use most would be a geo grid rank tracker. Especially in light of the Vicinity update, proximity is such a dramatic ranking factor. If you can’t look at your market you want to be ranking across, and understand what that looks like at a keyword level, it becomes really challenging to put an effective strategy together. For project management, I really like Asana and Slack. Make sure you’ve got goals set up correctly in Google Analytics. Have a good system for monthly reporting, phone calls, and client meetings.

Colan Nielsen, Sterling Sky

Make sure you communicate in the best way the client likes to be communicated with. If that’s a phone call once a month or bi-weekly do that. If it’s a board on Asana, track action items, where things are at. If it’s a local dashboard report, send that out. Do what works best for the client.

Liz Linder, Kick Point

Our Expert Panel

Colan Nielsen Headshot
Colan Nielsen

Colan is the Vice President of Local Search at Sterling Sky, as well as a Faculty member at Local U. Having been in the industry since 2010, Colan is a Google Business Product Expert, forum moderator at the Local Search Forum, and go-to for everything local. 

Elizabeth Linder
Elizabeth Linder

Elizabeth is the SEO Strategist at Kick Point agency and specializes in all things local SEO. She’s nicknamed ‘Defender Of Google My Business Listings and the Protector Of Small Businesses’ and is an expert at building links, monitoring client citations, and much much more. 

Myles Anderson
Host: Myles Anderson

Myles is Founder and CEO of BrightLocal. He has worked in the local search industry since 2009 and has been a major contributor to the Local Search Ranking Factors Study. Myles has also written a regular column for Search Engine Land and has spoken at SEO conferences such as Brighton SEO and Inboundcon (Toronto).

Jenny Bernarde
About the author
Jenny looks after the BrightLocal community, through managing our social media channels, connecting with our community, and producing our online webinars.