Want Greater Local Search Visibility? Answer This Sample Questionnaire For Business Owners

  • Published
  • July 9, 2014
Intro image for local SEO company sample client questionnaire blog post
Thinking of hiring a local SEO agency? Expect trustworthy companies to ask the following questions.

If you’re a small business owner with an online company website, chances are you’ve been approached by a local search engine optimization company at one point in time.

These SEO firms might claim to specialize in “optimizing Google pages for local search” and promise top ranking positions for your Google+ Local, Google Places or Google My Business page.

Note: Click here if you need a refresher on the differences between these Google pages for local businesses.

But regular readers of my Local Search Tips blog series will know that such promises are impossible to keep, and the SEO agencies that offer them probably can’t be trusted.

However, there are certain industry experts out there who are legitimate authorities on local search, and they represent search marketing firms that can be trusted. By regularly contributing to online discussions on local SEO topics, individuals such as Mike Blumenthal, David Mihm from Moz Local (and previous founder of GetListed.org), Linda Buquet from Catalyst eMarketing, or newest Whitesparker Nyagoslav Zhekov are all highly regarded as leaders in the field.

I recently discovered (and started following!) another well-known local search expert: Phil Rozek.

Phil Rozek’s history with local search dates back to 2009. That was when he launched his LocalVisibilitySystem.com website and sold the first copy of his Local Visibility System kit. Both were created specifically for small business owners, and with one goal in mind:

“Guiding You to Better Local Visibility in Google & Beyond.”

Notice the use of the word “visibility?” That’s a positive indication of a trustworthy search engine optimizer! Because while promising top ranking positions is no longer acceptable, striving for greater search visibility is 100% acceptable today.

So why am I showcasing Phil Rozek in today’s blog post? Well, a couple weeks ago he sent out a sample questionnaire to his mailing list subscribers of 38 essential questions that every potential local business owner and client must answer. He believed that only when armed with all of this data would he be able to successfully help these businesses build and grow their local search visibility.

I think business owners such as yourself can benefit greatly from reviewing a questionnaire like this. And that’s why I have created a similar version for FS Local!

I recommend going through and trying to answer these questions. Because if you’re thinking about hiring a local search marketing agency to help build and optimize the perfect Google page for your business, then this is the kind of information you would be expected to provide. You probably didn’t know this, but things like getting your business name, address and phone number (a.k.a. your “N.A.P.”) listed correctly and consistently throughout the Web are crucial in achieving that greater search visibility that you seek. And so knowing the types of questions a trustworthy SEO company would ask could help you determine which ones don’t know what they’re talking about or can’t be trusted.

Sample Client Questionnaire

    About You

  1. What is the best email address and phone number to reach you?

  2. Your Business Name

  3. What is the official or legal name of your business?

  4. What other DBAs (“doing business as” or trade names) have you used in the past, or are using now?

  5. What is the business name you’re currently using (or plan on using) for your Google page?

  6. Your Business Address

  7. What is the full physical street address of your business location, including suite #s? (Note: Please indicate if your address is a P.O. box or a virtual office, as neither are considered by Google as a legitimate business location.)

  8. Is this the only location of your business? If no, please list the addresses of your other locations, as well as any old addresses. Please also indicate which locations, if any, are not physical addresses where you actually meet customers.

  9. Do you share this street address with any other business, or do you use this address for other Google pages? If yes, please be sure to specify the correct suite #.

  10. Are you able to easily receive a letter mailed to this address?

  11. Where do you do business with your customers? At your address, or at theirs?

  12. How long has your business been located at this address?

  13. Your Business Phone Number

  14. What is the official business phone number? Always provide a phone number with a local area code instead of a toll-free number where possible.

  15. Is this number for a standard land line? Is it a cell number? Does it forward? Do you track calls on it?

  16. Do you use this phone number for any other business location, or for other businesses you own?

  17. Do you use call-tracking numbers in any of your online marketing efforts? If so, please specify the number(s).

  18. Have you used other phone numbers in the past for your business? If so, please specify the number(s).

  19. Your Business Website

  20. What is your website URL?

  21. Is this the only website that you use for your business?

  22. Do you have other website URLs that “forward” or “redirect” to the above website URL(s)?

  23. Do you currently have the ability to make changes to your website at any time?

  24. Who bought your website hosting and domain name?

  25. Are you currently considering revamping your website, or building a new one in the foreseeable future?

  26. Your Current Google Status

  27. To your knowledge, has your website ever been penalized by Google? For example, have you experienced any sudden, dramatic drops in traffic?

  28. To your knowledge, has your Google page ever been “suspended” or otherwise penalized?

  29. Do you currently have access to your Google page, and are able to make edits?

  30. Your Business Search Terms

  31. In an ideal world, if you could ideally target any local search term(s) for greater visibility in Google, what would you choose? List between 1 to 10.

  32. If you had to pick ONE most-important service or local search term for greater visibility, what would it be?

  33. What is the specific city or geographical area you wish to target for greater search visibility?

  34. To your knowledge, does your site currently have any highly visible search terms that are showing up well in Google organic results? If yes, please provide a few examples.

  35. Your Past Advertising Efforts

  36. How do you currently attract most of your customers (e.g. word-of-mouth, AdWords ads, etc.)?

  37. Have you ever advertised online on YellowPages.ca?

  38. Have you ever listed your business on third-party directory websites (e.g. FS Local, Yelp, etc.)? If so, who currently has access to the login info for those accounts?

  39. Have you ever established a link building campaign for your business website, including hiring a dedicated link builder?

  40. Have you worked with local SEO companies in the past? If so, what was your experience?

  41. Your Future Advertising Efforts

  42. On a scale of 1 to 10, how willing are you to start asking your customers to write reviews on your business (with 1 meaning you refuse to ask, and 10 meaning you’re completely motivated)?

  43. If guidance were to be provided by us, would you (or someone representing your company) be able to write a few pages of information about the products, services, and brands offered by your business?

  44. What are your biggest marketing challenges?

  45. Final Thoughts

  46. On a scale of 1 to 10, how urgently do you feel you need greater local search visibility (with 1 being desperate, and 10 being fairly comfortable)?

  47. And finally, are you ready to start getting visible to more customers in local search results? If so, consider applying to be an Expert on FS Local!

Karina Shum

Search Marketing Expert at FS Local

Here at FS Local, Karina is the go-to person on all topics pertaining to search marketing, and is the resident WordPress expert. She supports buying handmade and enjoys befriending fellow local artisans at the Toronto Bead Fair, Creativ Festival, and One of a Kind Show. Her current love? The colourful jellybean houses of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

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