We understand that SEO can be a challenge for Small Business owners BUT choosing your SEO partner shouldn't be. Here is a list of things you need to consider before you choose your SEO provider:
1) Are they even a local business?
When you are searching for an SEO company on Google you should check the contact details on the listing, if you are based in Australia you need to ensure your SEO company is based here so they can easily understand the local market rules and regulations here in Australia. It's beneficial for you for them to provide local support in your own timezone. First you should check their phone number if it starts with +61, 02, 03, 04, 07 or area codes you know and understand there is a good possibility they are based here in Australia. If the code is +1 they are based in the US. +91 is India. +62 is Indonesia. If you're not sure what the area code is you can easily Google it.
2) Are they paying for their own traffic?
Chances are if an SEO is paying for its own Google listing they aren't that good at SEO. Why would you employ a company that specialises in Google traffic if they need to pay for their own traffic? Check out this list of Local SEO companies:
I personally wouldn't employ any of these to manage my Local SEO because:
a) The top 2 aren't even based in Australia
b) The 2 that are based in Australia need to pay for traffic to get listed
c) They are all paying for this Ad as you can see by the Ad symbol at the start of the add.
3) Are they Ranking on Google Maps?
They are so many international overseas SEO companies all trying to win your business but if you want to find someone in your local area then I recommend going to Google Maps and running a local search. Not only will this tell you if they are actually based in Australia it will also give you access to their Google reviews. Type Local SEO into Google but instead of using the traditional search method click on the Maps view to see local businesses and reviews. This method also separates the paid ads from the local ads:
4) Always read the Google reviews
Google Reviews have become a very important part of Local SEO this is one of the best ways to see if the company you plan to work are credible. Here are my tips for Google Reviews:
a) Check how recent the reviews are, if the reviews are recent you can see straight away Google places an approximate date you next to the stars.
b) Don't just rely on the good reviews, good reviews are great but they could have staff, friends or family writing them, the best way to find out more is check to see if there any negative reviews and if there are how did the company deal with them? If they have dealt with the negative review in well mannered customer focused fashion then a bad review isn't the end of the world, but no reply to a bad review shows they don't really care about their customers.
Generally if the company does have a lot of reviews you should expect them to maintain a rating over 4.5 stars, for only a few reviews you should expect 5 stars.
If a company seems to have a lot of bad reviews or only 1 or 2 stars with very few reviews, I would personally stay away.