The [Complete] Guide to Local SEO: How to Optimize Your Site for Local Search

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Ines Maione

Ines Maione brings a wealth of experience from over 25 years as a Marketing Manager Communications in various industries. The best thing about the job is that it is both business management and creative. And it never gets boring, because with the rapid evolution of the media used and the development of marketing tools, you always have to stay up to date.

Local SEO

If you are looking to rank higher in local search, your site needs to be optimized. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of optimizing your site for local SEO. We’ll give tips on how to improve your site’s title tags and Meta descriptions, as well as discuss other key elements of SEO such as backlinks and content marketing. By following our guide, you can ensure that your website is visible when users perform a search for businesses near them.

Table of Contents

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of optimizing a website to increase traffic, leads, and brand awareness from local searches. It stands for Search Engine Optimization for local businesses. The main difference between local SEO and traditional SEO is that traditional SEO focuses on optimizing for national or global search results, while local SEO specifically targets searchers in a particular geographical area. To improve visibility in local search results, businesses must focus on creating local content, optimizing their social media profiles, and building citations from high-quality websites.

Optimize your Site for Local SEO – A Checklist

Local SEO is the process of making your website and online presence more visible to local search engine crawlers. This will result in higher rankings for your site in relevant local results pages and increased traffic. There are a number of ways to optimize your site for local SEO, and the following sections will teach you everything you need to know.

Step 1: Make sure your site is well-structured and easy to navigate

It’s important to have a well-structured and easy-to-navigate website, especially if you want good local SEO. You can make sure your site is well-structured by making it easy to navigate on mobile devices and by testing it on your own phone. You can also use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check if your site is mobile-friendly. Additionally, make sure your website looks good, regardless of where you rank.

Step 2: Optimize your site for the right keywords

To optimize your site for the right keywords, you need to do your research. Find out what keywords are most popular and relevant to your business, and then create content that is valuable and engaging for those keywords. On each page of your site, be sure to target a specific keyword and use an on-page SEO checklist to optimize your page properly. Homepage title tags are especially important for targeting the right keywords. And finally, don’t forget to target local businesses with well-optimized pages.

Tip: Get unique content for SEO

Local SEO Content Writing
Have your blog posts and company descriptions written by professional writers.

Unique content is important for SEO because it helps to distinguish your site from the competition. It also allows you to target a specific audience, which can result in higher traffic and conversion rates.

SEO Content Writing Services

Step 3: Make sure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) is consistent

If you want to optimize your site for local SEO, it is important to make sure that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) is consistent. This means that if you have multiple locations, you should create separate pages for each location and apply the relevant NAP information to each page. Inconsistent NAPs can lead to a dip in search visibility, so it is important to verify that your NAP is used correctly on each page of your website. You can use Alexa’s Site Linking In tool to find URLs linking to your site and verify that your NAP is used properly on each page.

Step 4: List your Business Location on Google My Business, Bing Places, and Apple Maps

To your business list on Google My Business, Bing Places, and Apple Maps, you need to first enter your business name and location. If you’re already verified on Google My Business, importing data will save you time. To get approved on Bing Places, you’ll need to enter your business name and location as normal. To get your business listed on Google My Business, Bing Places, and Apple Maps, you’ll need to create a business account. You will need to enter your business name, address website, etc. You can hide your address from search results if you want.

Google My Business

Google My Business

  1. Go to Google My Business
  2. Click “Manage now” in the top right-hand corner
  3. Enter your business name (If it’s already been claimed by someone else, you’ll be asked to choose another name)
  4. Enter the primary phone number for your business
  5. Select the category that best describes your business (You can choose up to 10 categories)
  6. Enter the address of where customers will find your business or service areas that deliver customers
  7. Choose whether customers can see the address of your business
  8. Click “Finish”
  9. Verify your business
Bing Places for Business

Bing Places

  1. Go to Bing Places
  2. If you have a Microsoft account, sign in now. If you don’t have one yet, create a new Microsoft account. You can also import your data from Google.
  3. Choose whether you want to manage this listing yourself or give someone else access. Then click Next.
  4. Enter the name of your business, along with a phone number and website URL where customers can find more information about what you do. Then click Next.
  5. On the next page, select up to 10 categories that describe what kind of business you have and what services or products you offer customers there. The more accurate and specific these categories are, the easier it will be for potential customers who are searching for businesses like yours to find you online. When you’re done, click Next at the bottom of the page.
  6. On this next page, enter the address where customers can find your business location or service area if it delivers to them instead (For example, if you’re a plumber who makes house calls, you’d enter your service area here). You can also choose whether to display your address in Bing search results. When you’re done, click Next.
  7. The last step is to verify that the information on your listing is accurate and that you are authorized to manage this business listing. To do this, select how you want to receive the verification code—either by mail or phone—and then click Submit.
  8. After you submit, we’ll send a verification code to the address or phone number you provided. Once you have the code, come back to Bing Places for Business and enter it in the space provided, then click Verify.

Apple Maps

  1. Go to Apple Business
  2. Click “Get Started”
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password
  4. Click “Sign In”
  5. Enter your business name, address, phone number, website, and category
  6. Click “Submit”

Step 5: Get positive Reviews from Happy Customers

The easiest way to get positive reviews is to simply ask your customers. You can do this in person, over email, or via text. It’s important to keep your requests polite, personal, and brief. You should also provide customers with a couple of options for leaving reviews (such as Google and Tripadvisor).

It’s also important to respond quickly and effectively to all reviews, both positive and negative. Negative reviews provide an opportunity to showcase your great customer service skills. Always aim to please your customers and turn one-star reviews into five-star ones by offering free samples or discounts.

Step 6: Promote your Local Resource

You can promote your local resource by writing about it on your website or blog, and sharing it on social media. You can also submit it to local directories and listings, and create business listings on Google My Business and other platforms. By doing these things, you will get more traffic to your site from people who are interested in your local resource.

Step 7: Link to high-authority Websites

Linking to high-authority websites can help improve your local SEO by increasing your prominence and trust. Sponsorship pages and events are great ways to build links with local businesses. Offer scholarships that are open to the public and focus on benefiting the community as a whole. Linking is an ongoing activity that’s worth pursuing. Reach out to existing connections and review your efforts on a regular basis.

Step 8: Keep your Content up-to-date

Keeping your content up-to-date can help optimize your site for local SEO in a few ways. First, using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body can help Google and other search engines find and index your content more easily. Second, consider highlighting customer success stories and case studies on your site—this can show potential customers that you have a track record of delivering results, which can be helpful in boosting conversions. Finally, by keeping your content updated regularly, you can ensure that your site is ranking well in search engine results pages (SERPs), which will drive more traffic to your site.

Local SEO Checklist by Semrush

What are the Benefits of Optimizing for Local SEO?

As a business owner, you know that search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for visibility and traffic. But what are the benefits of optimizing your website for local SEO? Let’s have a look.

1. Rank higher in Local Search Results

Optimizing for local SEO can help you rank higher in local search results. This is because when you optimize your website for a specific local area, you are more likely to show up in search results for people who are searching for businesses in that area. People should find you online and offline, including when they’re in the local area.

2. Attract more Customers from your Local Area

Optimizing your website for local SEO can help you attract more customers from your local area. By optimizing your website for a local audience, you can attract more customers from that area. Local SEO is done in a number of ways, and businesses of all sizes can benefit from it. Locally optimized websites can attract customers from your local area. There are a lot of ways to optimize your website for local SEO, including on your own site, using paid services, or working with an SEO company. Optimizing for local SEO is important not just for attracting customers from within your building, but also from nearby areas.

3. Improve your Online Visibility and Reputation

Optimizing your website for local search is a great way to improve online visibility and reputation. By optimizing your website for local search, you can put people one step closer to making a purchase. The right local SEO strategies can help improve online visibility and reputation. You can optimize your website on your own, but there’s a lot more you can do to get the most out of local SEO. There are a variety of ways to target your audience, including through online content, offline marketing, and location-targeted ads.

4. Boost your Website Traffic and Sales

Optimizing for local SEO can help you boost traffic and sales by making your website more visible to people who live in the same area as you do. Local SEO is about optimizing your website for certain search queries performed by a local audience. You can optimize your site on your own, but there are a lot of additional resources you can use to improve your online presence.

5. Improve your Customer Service and Support.

Optimizing your website for local SEO can help improve customer service and support. When customers can easily find information about your business, they are more likely to make a purchase. Including localized content on your website can help you rank higher in search engines, which can result in increased traffic and revenue.

6. Increase your Brand Awareness and Recognition.

Local SEO is a great way for businesses to increase brand awareness and recognition. By optimizing their website for local search, businesses can connect with highly motivated customers who are looking for their products or services. Local SEO is more relevant to customers, resulting in a competitive advantage.

7. Reach new Markets and Customers.

By optimizing your website for local search, you can connect with highly motivated customers in your area. Local SEO can help you reach new markets and customers, and grow your business.

Local Search Restaurant
Local Search for Restaurants in New York Park Avenue, near clickworker

8. Save Time and Money on Marketing and Advertising.

Optimizing for local SEO can help businesses save time and money on marketing and advertising. By creating high-quality content, using accurate keywords, and employing effective link-building tactics, businesses can improve their visibility in local search results. This increased visibility can lead to increased traffic and conversion rates.

9. Improve your overall Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy.

Local SEO is a great way to improve your overall SEO strategy. By targeting local leads and customers, you can improve website traffic, leads, and conversions. In addition, locally focused SEO can give smaller businesses an advantage over larger national brands.

10. Make your Website more User-Friendly and Accessible.

Making your website more user-friendly and accessible can be a benefit of optimizing for local SEO. By optimizing your website, you can make it easier for users to find the information they need and navigate your site. Making your site more accessible can also help you attract new customers and improve your search engine rankings.

How to start with Local Search Engine Optimization?

Are you looking to take your business online but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we have the following 8 steps for you.

Step 1: Understand what local SEO is and why it’s important

Local SEO is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in local search engine results. Local SEO is important for businesses that serve specific areas, as it allows them to connect with potential customers who are searching for relevant keywords. By improving their ranking in local search engines, businesses can increase their brand visibility and social media reach. Optimizing your website for local search is an essential step to succeeding with local SEO.

Step 2: Make sure to list your Business on Google My Business

To list your business on Google My Business, you’ll first need to either claim or create the page. You can verify your business by sending a postcard with a pin number. You may be offered other verification methods, depending on how confident Google is that the business exists at that location. Your business listing will live in your account dashboard or GMB app. You’ll need to include the following: a long and unique description, correct categories, photos, and more.

To get started, head to Google My Business and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account yet, you’ll need to create one. Once you’re signed in, click “Add new listing” and enter your business information. Be sure to use a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) across all platforms. Add local photos and opening times (if relevant), then click “Submit.”

Google will review your listing and may contact you to verify some of the information before it goes live. Once it’s live, encourage customers to leave reviews—this will help improve your ranking in local search results!

Step 3: Optimize your Google My Business listing

To optimize your Google My Business listing for local SEO:

1. Verify ownership of the business by claiming the listing. Include all requested information such as your logo, hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, product or service you sell, and images.

2. Encourage customers to review your business online by writing quality content and posts that are announcements of products, events, or special offers related to your business.

3. Use the Google My Business dashboard to manage your listing and make sure all information is up-to-date.

Step 4: Start building Citations

3 Local SEO Business Tips

To get started with building citations for your business, you can focus on local sites. The Link Intersect feature in Ahrefs can help you find local citations. Outreach conversion rates are usually high when targeting local sites. You can also build citations from competitor links. The first step is to take a batch of 2-3 competitors and pop them into the tool. The report will list all the sites that have linked to your competitors.

Citations are important for businesses to have on their website. Citation building and management are ongoing tasks. You can find citation opportunities by looking through the results of your link analysis and search engine optimization (SEO). Once a business’s initial online presence is tidy and correct, new citations can be built. List your business on mainstream and relevant directories. Be sure to list on sites that are relevant to your industry. There are a few different ways to build citations for your business, including doing it yourself or using a service like BrightLocal or Yext. Citations are cheap and straightforward to use and can be a good way to bulk out your citations. They can also help build credibility for your business

Step 5: Optimize your Website for Local SEO

To optimize your website for local SEO, start by ensuring your name, address, and phone number are consistent across all online sources. Next, engage with Google My Business and social media to spread the word about your business. Update your directory listings and citations, as well as optimize your keywords and descriptions. Perform a local SEO audit to identify any opportunities for improvement.

Some tips to follow for optimizing your website for local SEO include: updating website content regularly, claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing, and building location-specific pages on your website. Additionally, make sure your website is mobile-friendly in order to reach more people on the go. By following these tips and examples, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for locally-based searches.

Step 6: Generate positive Online Reviews

As a business owner, it’s important to increase visibility and leads by generating positive online reviews. Google My Business is a great way to get started with this. To get reviews on Google, simply search for your business name and “reviews.” If your business has listings on the first or second page of a Google search, you’re in good shape. You can also grow the number and quality of reviews by asking customers to leave them after they’ve had great service. It’s important to use different methods to generate reviews, for the maximum impact. You should also respond quickly and effectively to negative reviews – offering a free sample or discount can often turn a one-star review into five stars.

Step 7: Promote your Content and Business Website

To get started with local SEO, you need to focus on conversions and make sure your content is optimized for search engines. You can promote your content by highlighting customer success stories and case studies. You can also target your content geographically to attract more customers.

Step 8: Monitor your Progress and adjust your Strategy as needed

Local SEO is all about ranking higher on Google search results for your target keywords. In order to do this, you need to make sure that your website is of high quality and has plenty of backlinks from other high-quality websites.

You can track your progress by monitoring your rankings for your target keywords over time. You can also measure the effectiveness of your local SEO efforts by monitoring conversions (sales, leads, etc.).

To build more backlinks, participate in conversations with other local business bloggers. Avoid direct competitors, but mention any complementary or related posts on your blog. Be thoughtful in your comments and links, and aim to increase engagement with your readers.

You can use Ubersuggest to audit your competitor’s backlinks and see what kind of quality they have. You should also check the date of each link to see when it was first seen and last seen. This will help you adjust your strategy as needed to improve your own rankings.

Final Word

Local SEO is a powerful way to improve your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) for searches related to your business. By optimizing your site for local SEO, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in SERPs, generating more website traffic, and ultimately, growing your business.

FAQs on Local SEO

What are some common local SEO mistakes?

Some common local SEO mistakes include not setting up a canonical URL, using duplicate content, and not building links.

How can I create a Google Business listing?

To create a Google Business listing, you will first need to complete the business registration form and then provide information about your company such as contact details, website address, and description of your services. You will also need to provide information about your products and services, as well as images of your business premises and signage.

What is a citation, and how can I build citations for my business?

A citation is a reference to another source. When you write about your business or product, it's important to include citations for the sources of your information. Citations can help readers verify the information you present and can help your business's credibility. You can build citations for your business by using various resources, such as Google Scholar or Academic Search Premier.

What is a NAP, and why is it important for local SEO?

A NAP is a name, address, and phone number. It's important for local SEO because it helps you rank higher in search results when people are looking for businesses in your area. When you fill out your NAP, it's automatically included in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your area.

What is a map pack, and how can I get my business listed in one?

A map pack is a curated list of businesses that have agreed to be listed on a specific platform. Businesses are added to the map pack after they have been evaluated and approved by the platform's team. Businesses can then use the map pack to promote their location and reach a wider audience.

What are some other local SEO ranking factors I should be aware of?

Other local SEO ranking factors you should be aware of include: the quality and quantity of your website's content, the presence of keyword density in your titles and descriptions, the use of keywords throughout your site, the usability of your site's navigation and user interface, the accuracy and completeness of your website's data, and the level of engagement you're generating with your visitors.

How can I track my local SEO progress and search engine results?

To track the progress of your local SEO strategy, you can use free tools like Google Analytics and Google My Business Insights. You can track changes in traffic and revenue over time using a spreadsheet. BrightLocal provides reporting on local SEO progress and results. Tracking local SEO progress and results is more efficient than doing it manually.

What is a Local SEO Audit?

A Local SEO Audit is a detailed examination of your website's local ranking performance in comparison to your competition. This will help you identify any areas where enhancements can be made, such as improving on-page optimization, adding new local keywords, and making changes to your website's design.

How can I find my Local SEO Keywords?

There are a few ways to find your Local SEO keywords. One way is to use Google AdWords Keyword Planner. You can also try using keyword research tools like the SEMrush Keyword Tool.

What is Google Local Pack?

The Google Local Pack is a feature that includes information about local businesses. The pack appears in the top SERPs for certain search terms, such as 'local business'.