This guide is intended for anyone looking to build a new local service or grow their company.
You could be a marketer/owner working in a development shop, a UX agency, or a web design shop. Or even someone doing consulting for a marketing agency. By the end of this article, pick a viable strategy and use it to grow your business.
A few years ago, it was common for organic strategy meetings to have discussions like, “This keyword is easy, let’s get more traffic here” or “There is no competition for this keyword, so let’s target it.”
Fast forward to 2019 and you have to fight keyword by keyword and do pretty much everything you can to rank. Doesn’t seem like it’s any less competitive. Also, building a scalable business based on SEO is not possible without waiting a year with very little revenue.
The good news is that you can grow your business despite the fierce competition. What most marketers see is surface-level competition. But if you lower the level, you will find that there are still unfilled gaps everywhere.
Some of these gaps can be used to build multi-million dollar businesses.
This is a highly effective yet one of the most underrated strategies in the service industry. Some companies are making over $3 million a year for less than $10,000 using these simple strategies.
The idea is simple and straightforward. Control and leverage Google thinking.
Specifically, we will focus on:
For your SEO strategy, keep the following points in mind:
- Niche sites rank faster than broadly targeted sites
- Niche sites ranked while keeping capital costs low
|Related: In addition to focusing on niche sites, don’t forget niche marketing!|
Common mistakes service providers make when building an organic strategy include:
- Random content marketing that doesn’t align with your organic goals
- Organic strategies that focus on vague metrics (such as domain ratings) to rank for keywords
- You choose the wrong keywords, such as the best marketing company or the best software development company, and find yourself with too much competition.
- Focus on keywords that require significantly higher capital than expected
- A vague timeline of rank vs. lead generation goals
Adding uncertainty to SEO makes it harder to stick to budget and reason. How much capital and time should I invest? How long should I invest?
For someone looking to make $1 million in at least a year, they can’t afford to waste the first five months without leads or business. In most service-based business environments, he pays in full two to three months after work begins. Also, if you don’t generate business within 5 months, you won’t generate anything for at least 6-7 months.
This is not good for you as a marketer or business owner.
In summary, this million dollar SEO strategy not only starts in month 2, but it will reach ROI within 5 months.
Now let’s get into the strategy.
Go local first instead of going global
For example, let’s say you work in a software services business. We also assume that you have just launched your site or have a site with minimal work done.
Global (or national level SEO) challenges
Looking at the keyword competition that ranks at the national level (US), we see:
Notice the top 10 list. Do you think brand new or lesser authority sites can outperform them in the coming months?
Looking at the SERP ranking graph, the top 10 keywords have almost zero volatility.
Note that these businesses are most likely large companies that have been in operation for the last 10 years or more. With domain age, authority, content, tons of mentions, social signals, PR, and more, it shows Google that it deserves this place.
A quick look at their web footprint reveals:
Obviously, it takes months to generate content, credibility, and backlinks when competing with these types of sites. Most marketing teams create less than two quality backlinks per week. but I create about 1-2 pieces of content per week.
That would take us over eight months to get closer. All this while your competitor is heavily invested in his SEO and the newcomer is competing with you.
To compete, you need an organic investment worth over $100,000. And imagine spending that money from now on and sticking to the status of your 20s.
Instead, let’s dive right into an alternative solution.
Make a Million Dollars with Local SEO
Let’s pick a random city. Let’s say Chicago.
Our buyer keyword is custom software development chicago. Let’s see what the difficulty index looks like in the SERP results.
Low search volume, good CPC, and low competition from metrics. This keyword shows high volatility. This is a good sign.
Let’s see who makes the top 10 here:
Ignoring these directories leaves websites with less than 1,000 backlinks, about 150 pages per domain, and more or less targeting more keywords. The opportunities become even clearer when you realize that these are broad-level domains covering more than 20 topics.
For a site that dilutes link equity with 20+ topics, creating a domain that boosts overall link equity to 1-2 keywords makes it even more attractive. Go through all of these competitors and estimate their site structure, content and backlinks.When you turn your SEO focus on a few keywords you will notice that there is actually less competition.Search volume is a bit less but it will help you reach your target revenue numbers.
On average, you’ll get 10-20 quality leads, 2-3 of whom will end up signing you. This is 2-3 x $50,000 = $100,000-150,000/month, which is over $1 million. In the end, even if you choose a $30,000 project, you’re over $100,000 per month. This kind of growth makes for an impressive marketing resume, right?
A quick timeline estimate here would be that Chicago’s local rankings would take about 2-3 months after passing through Google’s sandbox.
How much does it cost to build such a site?
The total cost to build such a site and grow it to rank is less than $10,000. It also depends a lot on what parts of SEO you can handle in-house and what you are comfortable outsourcing.
Such websites typically require expertise in:
The cost of outsourcing local SEO related work is often around $1,000 to $3,000. Content, on the other hand, costs about $1,000 for 10 pages.
Now you can grow your business further. Expand nationwide, but keep the same approach.
Grow your business in one city and then move to get some more. That way, you can grow your acquisitions only when you grow in the MVP phase and fully master how to do it in a particular city.
SEO has never been safer, quicker and faster for service companies. This is what the local service site empire looks like.
Want to know more about SEO? For starters, check out SEO vs SEM and his best SEO software on the market.