Feel like you forgot to check something?
Whether you’re the client or the consultant, you need strong intel-sharing for your consultation on local SEO to amount to more than a hill of beans. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to local rankings/traffic/visibility/business woes. If you’re sick, the doc needs to diagnose you. If your car makes a new squeak, the mechanic will ask you some questions. Similar deal here.
For me to do a good consultation and maybe figure out what my dance partner needs to do next, I need to ask a LOT of questions. Some of the more-basic, “name, rank, serial number” questions I try to get out of the way first with my preliminary questionnaire, so we don’t eat up time on those during the call, and so I might do a few minutes of fact-finding beforehand.
Whether or not there’s an exchange of basic intel before your call, the “Eureka!” moment will probably come only once you’ve discussed a pretty short list of super-important questions. Those questions shed light. Whether you’re the local SEO-er or the person who just paid one for a consultation, you should hit on as many of these points as possible:
1. Did you book a consultation with me because of an incident that concerns you, or because you just want to see how to keep improving?
This question can help narrow the scope of the conversation, sooner rather than later. It may expand into other topics again, even if there’s one specific problem you try to figure out, but at least you’ll start with a clearer goal in mind.
2. IF there’s been a drop-off in rankings or traffic, has it corresponded to a drop in customers and/or leads?
For starters, this one gives a sense of how dependent the business is on search-engine visibility.
3. What do you see in Google Analytics?
Helps to determine how bad a possible drop-off really was, or whether.
4. How do you currently get most of your customers / clients / patients?
5. What SEO work have you done so far? If you hired an SEO company, what work did they do, specifically?
You need to know of skeletons in the closet.
6. What are you working on now, exactly?
7. What work do you plan to do, but haven’t gotten around to yet?
For instance, “I know I need to rustle up some good links, but am not sure where to start.” This question is always telling.
8. Are there any activities you’ve stopped or slowed down on?
Sometimes the best move is to resume X and not to bother with Y.
9. Have you changed any of your basic business info? Name, address, phone number, or URL?
Changes like those can jostle your rankings, particularly in Google Maps.
10. Have you recently redesigned your site, or do you plan to?
Visibility / traffic rarely improves after a redesign. Usually it’s followed by (a) more of the same or (b) a drop-off. This is a good time to run down my quick checklist.
11. What’s been your process for earning links?
You may want to bring this up very early in the call. It’s usually one of the problems – if not the problem. Especially if a big goof-up is not apparent.
12. What’s been your process for encouraging reviews?
Bad reviews or a lack of reviews often explains (at least partly) why the rankings see-saw but business is always down. See this. Rankings without reviews don’t amount to much, usually.
13. Does one location outperform the other?
Often one location uses a more-ideal landing page, or has more/better reviews, or significantly cleaner citations, or more good links relevant to it.
What questions do you think are the most crucial?
What’s a “Eureka” moment you had during a consultation?