You will pair the Google Search with Ahrefs to determine where a company is ranking. In general, we just want to get somewhat of an idea. Since you’re not doing specific SEO work, you only will need to understand their relative rankings from a high level standpoint.
Don’t get too wrapped up in the weeds and don’t spend too much time. Ultimately, we want to use these tools in order to have these takeaways:
- Can we be competitive for this client? Can our SEO actually work for them?
- If they are in a super competitive niche that also is not a high margin industry, we likely cannot be successful.
- Is the niche and area considered low hanging fruit?
- If not, we should likely stay away unless it’s a highly established company that is wanting us to maintain their search presence.
- What are the biggest holes in the client’s online marketing presence?
- Is their GMB review count too low?
- Have they maybe never done SEO?
Criteria we’re looking for:
- Cities with population between 50,000-250,000
- High margin niches
- Stay away from lawn mowing, landscaping, and low barrier to entry niches
- There should be at least 10 GMBs in the local city
- The Map pack should not have the largest company with more than 50 reviews.
- The higher the review count, the more competitive it is – on average.
- Ideally, the top ranked company in the map is NOT also the top ranked organic result. If so, this typically shows that the company has somewhat of a monopoly on the area.
- One caveat to this is if there is one 1 company that is far and away better than everyone else. This means there is a 2nd place available for someone to still do well.
- Ads should be running in the local area. This tells us there is competition
Times when we don’t care about the criteria as much:
- Established companies – If a company is big and has a good sized budget
- If a company is already ranking decently high and we need to push them just a little bit higher