There, I said it, something that nobody wants to say. In fact, all we hear other Atlanta SEO companies say is "I can take you to the top of Google". You are kidding I hope. If they called 20 companies in the same area and the same exact business, they would tell all 20 they could be number one. These folks are playing on emotion when they are attempting to snow you this way. We all know that is not possible but if they call enough businesses, they end up getting one that will believe.
The truth is that you just can not outgame the Queen. Queen Google. Google is really amazing in that they know that the companies that put in the work and energy, are the ones that will get rewarded. This is the way it should be.
The other thing about that is if you are local, you can beat out the bigger companies. A large company may have the money to pump out content but they can not be everywhere. If you have a little burger joint business in an area and there is a Mc'D's across the street, you could actually put up content on your site about what makes your place special, what is going on in the community, how you got in the business and why, what customers are saying, what makes the best burger, what makes the best fries, how your ingredients are more fresh, and so on. The big boys will not be putting content around that one little store. But you can.
Over time, what happens is that your content becomes the most relevant. Others in the community begin seeing your content and will actually link to it making it even more relevant in Googles eyes, and over time, you end up near the top of a search "best burgers in Small town USA". Yes there is a cost to spending time doing this or you can do it on your own a little at a time.
I liken it to building up your nest egg. If you never put away money, how long will it take you to grow that nest egg? Exactly. If you build on your website, it will take time but eventually you will end up with the nest egg of inbound marketing traffic. That traffic will ultimately help you to build your real life nest egg and that is part of why you are in business in the first place.