This guide is for anyone trying to start a new local service or grow their business.
You could be a marketer/owner working for a development store, UX agency, or web design store. Or even someone who runs a marketing consultancy. At the end of this article, we want you to take an actionable strategy out of it and use it to grow your business.
A few years ago, organic strategy meetings were commonly used to discuss things like “Hey, this keyword is easy – let’s get our traffic here” and “Hey, this keyword has no competition, let’s target it”.
Fast forward to 2019 when you have to fight for every keyword and do almost anything you can to rank. It seems that we no longer have weak competition. And building a scalable SEO-based business is only possible if you wait a year with almost zero returns.
The good news is that you can still be a growing business despite stiff competition. What most marketers look at is competition at the surface level. But we will go down a level and you will see that there are gaps everywhere to be filled.
Some of these gaps can be used to create multi-million dollar deals.
Because it’s extremely effective, yet one of the most underrated strategies in the service landscape. Some companies capitalize on these simple strategies and spend less than $10,000 to earn $3 million or more each year.
The idea is clear and simple. You dominate and exploit the way Google thinks.
Specifically, we would focus on the following:
For your SEO strategy, keep in mind:
- Niche sites rank faster than broad targeted sites
- Niche sites rank while keeping investment costs low
|Related: Besides focusing on niche sites, don’t forget about niche marketing!|
When service providers build their organic strategies, they end up making common mistakes such as:
- Random content marketing that is not aligned with organic goals
- Organic strategies that focus on vague metrics to rank for keywords (like domain rating)
- Choosing the wrong keywords, like best marketing company or best software development company, and realizing that the competition is too high
- Focus on keywords that require significantly higher capital than expected
- Fuzzy timelines of ranking versus lead generation goals
When SEO uncertainties kick in, it becomes difficult to exceed budgets and justification. How much capital and time do you need to invest? For how long should you invest?
For someone trying to generate $1 million in less than a year, you just can’t waste your first five months without leads or business. In most service-based businesses, you get paid in full 2-3 months after work begins. And if you don’t generate business in less than five months, you won’t be able to generate anything for at least 6-7 months.
It’s not good for you as a trader or as a business owner.
To summarize, where this 1 million dollars SEO Strategy not only starts to start from the second month, but you get a return on investment in the period of five months!
Now let’s move on to strategy.
Don’t be global, be local first
Suppose you work for a software services company. And I guess you just launched a site, or you have a site with minimal work.
The Challenge of Global (or National) SEO
When you check the competition for keywords that rank nationally (US), you see something like this.
Notice the top 10 ads. Do you think a brand new site, or a low authority site, can outrank these in the next few months?
The SERP position ranking chart confirms that the volatility of keywords in the top 10 is almost zero.
Now note that these companies are most likely large companies that have been in operation for 10+ years, they have the domain age, authority, content, a ton of endorsements, social signals, PR, etc., to show Google that they deserve this place.
A quick look at their web footprints shows the following:
Obviously, competing with these types of sites would take you months to generate content, trust, and backlinks. While most marketing teams create less than two quality backlinks per week, or around 1-2 pieces of content per week, this won’t help you scale either.
This way, it will take you more than eight months to get close to it. All this while your competitors are investing heavily in SEO with new entrants competing with you.
You will need over $100,000 in organic investment to compete. And imagine, spending that money from now on and being stuck in a job in your twenties.
Let’s quickly move on to an alternative solution instead.
Generate $1 Million with Local SEO
Let’s take a random city, say Chicago.
Our buyer keyword is: Custom Software Development Chicago. Let’s explore what the SERP results look like, the difficulty metrics here.
Search volume is low, CPC is good, metric also shows less competition. The keyword shows a high degree of volatility – which is a good sign.
Let’s see who ranks in the top 10 here:
If you ignore these directories, you will end up with websites that have less than 1,000 backlinks, around 150 pages per domain, and target more or less more keywords. The opportunity becomes even clearer when you realize that these are broad level domains, targeting over 20 topics.
Creating a domain that pushes total link equity to 1-2 keywords versus sites that dilute link equity to 20+ topics will make it even more appealing to you. Once you have reviewed all these competitors, estimate their site structure, content, and backlinks. You will notice that the competition is actually low if you focus your SEO on a few keywords. Search volumes are going to be a bit lower, but it will help you drive the revenue numbers you’re looking to achieve.
On average, you will get 10-20 quality leads, 2-3 of which will sign you up. That’s 2-3 x $50,000 = $100,000-150,000 per month, which is over a million dollars. Even at the end of the day, you choose $30,000 projects and you’re still breaking $100,000 a month. This type of growth makes an impressive marketing resume for you, right?
Now, to make a quick estimate in terms of timeline, you can see that the local ranking for Chicago would take around 2-3 months after you pass Google’s sandbox.
How much would it cost to build such a site?
The total cost of building such a site and growing it to rank is less than $10,000. It also heavily depends on what parts of SEO you can handle in-house and what you can comfortably outsource.
Typically, these websites require the following expertise:
The cost of outsourcing local SEO work is often around $1,000-3,000. While content should cost you around $1000 for 10 pages.
Now you are expanding your business further. Develop on a national scale, but keeping the same approach.
You build your business in one city, then move on to acquiring a few more. This way, you evolve into an MVP phase and only evolve the acquisition when you have fully learned how to do so for a specific city.
SEO has never been so safe, fast and fast for service businesses. Here’s what a local service site empire would look like:
Want to know more about SEO? To get started, check out SEO vs SEM and the best SEO software on the market.