If you’re a business owner who needs more local visibility, you want to make sure the person helping you has all he/she needs to deliver the goods.
Or, if you’re a local-SEO pro, you want to make sure you have all you need to deliver the goods.
The questionnaire I send to potential clients helps do both of those things. It tells me what I need to know in order to be able to help, and to be able to say up-front how I can help. Oh, and it helps me avoid mistakes.
I’ve refined my questionnaire over several years. My experiences – smooth and rough – have taught me what info I need before I can or should do any work.
In 2010 I didn’t have a questionnaire (tsk, tsk…bad idea, Phil). In 2011, it was maybe 10 questions. Last year it was 14-19. This year…well, I’ll let you count ‘em if you want to.
Below are all the questions (I can think of) that the person working on your local SEO – even if that person is you – will need the answers to before any work is done:
1. Best email address and phone number at which to reach you:
2. Official / legal name of your business:
3. Other DBAs you may have used in the past or are using now:
4. Business name you currently use or plan to use for your Google+ Local page (AKA Google Places page):
5. Full physical street address of your location. Please include suite #, if applicable. (Note: Using P.O. boxes, UPS boxes, or “virtual offices” for any of your locations is NOT allowed in Google. Please let me know if your address is any one of these.)
6. Is that the only location of your business? If not, 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.
7. Do you share this street address with any other businesses, or do you use this address for other Google pages?
In either case, please specify the suite # of the Google page you’d like me to work on.
8. If I mailed a letter to this exact address, would you be able to receive it easily?
9. Where do you do business with your customers: at your address or at theirs?
10. Roughly how long has your business been located at that address? (2 years, 2 months, 2 weeks?)
11. Office phone number (should use a local area code):
12. Is this number for a standard landline – or is it a cell number, or does it forward, or do you track calls on it?
13. Do you use this phone number for any other locations or other businesses you own?
14. Do you use call-tracking numbers in any of your online marketing efforts? If so, please specify the number(s).
15. Other phone numbers you may have used in the past for your business:
16. Have you ever advertised with the online Yellow Pages, or with a similar service?
17. Your website URL:
18. Is this the only website you use for this business?
19. Do you have any other website URLs that “forward” or “redirect” to the above website URL(s)?
20. Do you currently have the ability to make changes to your website whenever you’d like?
21. Who bought your website hosting and domain name?
22. Has your website ever been penalized by Google? (If you’ve had sudden, dramatic drops in traffic, you probably were penalized.)
23. Are you currently considering revamping your site or building a new one in the foreseeable future?
24. Has your Google page ever been “suspended” or otherwise penalized, to your knowledge?
25. Do you currently have access to your Google+ Local page? (In other words, could you make edits to your page right now?)
26. What are 1-10 local search terms for which you’d most like to get visible in Google? (These are only to give me an idea of your goals; I’ll let you know which terms I think you can get visible for.)
27. If you had to pick ONE most-important service or local search term to get visible for, what would it be?
28. What is the specific city / geographical area you’d like to be visible in, ideally?
29. How do you currently attract most of your customers / clients / patients? (E.g. word-of-mouth, AdWords ads, etc.)
30. Does your site have any page-one “organic” rankings on Google, as far as you know? If so, please specify a few of them.
31. Have you ever listed your business on third-party directory sites (e.g. Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.)? If so, who currently has the login info for those sites?
32. If I said you that you should ask some of your customers / clients / patients to write reviews for you, how willing would you be to ask them? (Let’s use a scale of 1-10: 1 meaning you refuse to ask, 10 meaning you’re totally motivated.)
33. If I suggested that you write a few pages of information about your services, would you or someone in your company be willing to write those pages (with my guidance)?
34. Have you ever had a link-building campaign for your website?
35. Have you worked with any local-SEO companies in the past? If so, what was your experience?
36. What keeps you up at night? What’s been your biggest marketing challenge?
37. How urgently do you feel you need more local visibility?
(Let’s use a scale from 1-10: 1 being desperate, 10 being fairly comfortable.)
38. What made you want to contact me today?
(By the way, I also have a second questionnaire, which I send clients once I’m ready to begin work. The above questions are just preliminary.)
If the questions seem like a lot of work to answer – even though they’re not, and should take maybe 15 minutes to fill out – think of each one as hours, dollars, and heartache you’re saving.
Any questions on the questions? Any you’d add to the list? Leave a comment!