How to Spot Bad Local SEO Services

Your Search Optimization Company Might Not Be Getting Local Results

Bad Local Search Optimization Company

How Can You Tell If the Company You Hired For Local Search Optimization is Doing Good

Ask any small business if they want more customers, and the answer you’ll most likely hear is yes. More importantly, they want those customers to be local the market they serve.

To get more customers, a great strategy is to optimize your website content for local search. Many people hire an outside company to complete  this task.

Often, after months of paying for local search engine optimization services, you still don’t have the results you expected. You want potential customers searching for goods and services local to your stores or service areas to visit your site, and ideally, make a purchase or contact. If you aren’t capturing these visitors, you should check into how good of a job the company you hired is doing.

While any type of website optimization takes time for your site to index in the search engines and may require lots of content for competitive searches, there are ways to quickly see how the applied strategy is panning out. Local SEO 101.

An Overview Of Local Search Engine Optimization

Modern SEO practices are very complex. No keyword stuffing like the early days of search engines. Google uses over 200 ranking signals to determine their search engine results. I don’t even know them all as it is constantly changing and top secret.

An easy guide I’ve always used is to give search engines what they want: accurate information that answers their customers queries and makes the search engines money.

To create a content strategy (a service we provide) like that requires high level cognition and an understanding of the current marketplace.

Information needs to be properly categorized and accurate to rank in search engines. Having a properly optimized site can still yield immense profits for you and lower customer acquisition costs, and well SEO’d content is less expensive to purchase clicks and views for your marketing campaigns.

How to Tell If Your Local SEO Company is Doing a Bad Job

I see these occurrences all the time, even to sites I’ve personally optimized in my years as a freelance writer.

What usually happens is that I stop harassing communicating with my clients on a consistent basis. They either cave in to a telemarketer on commission that has never touched a website in their life, or they buy from a “expert” they met a local networking group that you have to pay to be a member in.

That’s just bad business. You should never hire someone to write your content/SEO that you can’t directly communicate with. Hire the service provider direct or have access to your writer.

Local Networking Groups like BNI or Chamber of Commerce that charge membership fees to be the exclusive “Website” guy or gal will ensure that you get acceptable service at best. It’s called “Rent Seeking” and is not merit based. It doesn’t work in government and for sure doesn’t work in business.

Here’s a simple way to find out if you’re being scammed:

Step 1: Open up a browser. Go to your site’s homepage and also your SEO providers site in a new tab. Open your analytics in a new window.

Step 2: In your analytics, pull up a visitor map of the country you’re in. We’re going to stick the United States

Step 3: Analyze the SEO and Analytics


If you provide services in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, your traffic map should look like this:


Good Local Organic Traffic

All the Search Traffic is Clustered Near the Local Service Area

This is a view of the search traffic visitors obtained from a local company I did an initial SEO writing years ago and haven’t optimized since. Set it and forget it. I could improve, and perhaps I should call her and let her know about my new company, New England Marketing & Efficiency.

Compare that to a properly optimized blog site such as Prixie Pets. It gets traffic worldwide and profits off of it, but focuses on the US, where more money is to be made:

Good Nationwide Organic Traffic

Good Search Engine Traffic for a Nationwide Company, Spread Proportionate to Population/Marketing Efforts – Bad for Local Companies


If your local company has a traffic pattern like above, you have a problem. Search engine traffic is coming from outside your service area is worthless, even costing you money. Every visitor to your site that cannot buy your service or benefit your cause is a freeloader, pissed off visitor, or your competition.

You have to use server resources for every visitor, and answer phone calls and emails for customers you might not be able to serve. Ouch.

Now, a nationwide traffic footprint doesn’t mean that your SEO company is stealing from you, it just means they aren’t effective. You should fire them.

By looking at your homepage meta title (words at the top of the browser), then looking at the the meta title of the page linked at the footer (bottom of your site, usually on every page) you can see if your are being ripped off by your SEO company. Most website production and SEO companies link to their site in footers for credit and link juice.

This is what prompted me to write this article. Here’s an example of the homepage meta title from a previous client of mine:

My near perfect SEO title was re-written to say roughly:

[Service], [Service], [Service], [Service]


and in the footer was a link to the local web development company’s homepage; located in New Hampshire (me too!), that read roughly so:

NH [WebsiteServices] | [WebsiteServices], [WebsiteServices], [WebsiteServices]


No mention of the service area on the homepage title of the client, but first keyword in the homepage title of the SEO provider.

As we say in New Hampshire, “Wicked Cool”.

Either the SEO company is incompetent, or, based on the location keyword in their homepage title, stealing from their client.

They must be purposely inflating the website traffic to justify their services, gaining more link juice from increased, irrelevant traffic, or both.

Regardless, they should be fired.



Lucky You – We Provide Search Engine Optimization Services


Founder of New England Marketing & Efficiency and EmissionsTax. Author of "Incentives and the Environment", Content Writer/Creator, and Small Business Consultant. Connect @RobertTanguay or