Location does matter only if you are running a brick and mortar store or want to position yourself in a local market (speaking a language different from English).
In any other case, the actual location of the SEO service provider is irrelevant.
Different vendors across the world can handle targeting an international business with an English website. With that in mind, there are different considerations that small business owners keep into account when choosing among several SEO agencies.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Among SEO Agencies
- Price – US, UK, Australian-based vendors tend to be more expensive due to the higher cost of living and average salaries on-site. That’s often a leading factor for smaller businesses with modest budgets.
- Outreach – many offshore vendors employ large team handling business outreach. If you buy a new domain name with a public WHOIS register, you’ll likely receive 20+ logo and website design or SEO offers within the first week. It’s an entire business model that offshore vendors often exploit.
- Sales pitch – some low-cost offshore vendors aren’t completely honest with their intentions. They often promise to rank you on “the first page of Google” without even knowing your business. While this can happen for “the best cockroach exhibition for teenagers in the Chicago downtown area”, I’ll argue how possible it is for “real estate” or “business loan” terms.
- Black hat packages – some offshore vendors don’t shy from using a portfolio of black hat SEO tools and hacks that tend to rank the site fairly high in a short amount of time. If the SMB owner agrees on a short trial and finds themselves ranking well, they may be unaware of the shady techniques that may get them delisted and keep paying in the long run.
- Marketing – verifying the credibility of a random digital service provider is often tricky. This is why some testimonials, reviews, or even portfolio items may not actually be managed by the vendor. But an inexperienced small business owner may skip the due diligence anyway.
Most of those points have a generally negative connotation as compared to local providers.
Ways to Find SEO Agencies
In reality, it’s actually possible to find capable and expert SEO agencies anywhere around the world.
Some of our US and UK-born partners have moved to Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, India running businesses locally with external funding and modern processes. Also, finding talent in densely populated areas may be slightly easier if you’re paying a premium.
It’s not unlikely for an Indian or Pakistani team to employ several reputable contributors to HuffPost, Forbes, Entrepreneur India or other reputable outlets – along with some local high DA sites and numerous blogs. It’s also a viable business model that may work well without getting too much sales stuff there.
Moreover, small business owners use different mediums for finding a vendor. Browsing classifieds websites, Facebook groups or online blog posts may outline a list of different skilled vendors, including some that are offshore.
As a rule of thumb, I’d always recommend doing the right due diligence of these SEO agencies and their former case studies. Reaching out to existing long-term clients may be a good strategy as well. Contacting a reliable local SEO consultant who can verify their techniques and testify for the quality of their work could be a good safety measure as well.