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10 Local SEO Strategies to Dominate Local Search Results

Julia McCoy
Tuesday, 19th Mar 2024
Julia McCoy
5 min read · Jan 11 2022
local seo

Ever felt like your local business was playing hide and seek with potential customers online? It’s a common tale. But what if I told you there’s a way to make sure it’s more “seek” than “hide”? Enter local SEO.

Did you know that searches including “near me” have skyrocketed by 150%? That statistic alone underscores the monumental shift towards local discovery — a trend businesses can’t afford to ignore.

Whether you’re the cozy café on the corner or the quirky boutique down the street, getting noticed locally is key to growing your business.

Let’s talk about how you can use local SEO strategies to shine bright in your neighborhood, connect with locals, and make your mark online.

Table Of Contents:

What Is Local SEO?

Ever wonder why some businesses pop up on the first page of Google when you’re hunting for a local spot? That’s local SEO at work.

Local SEO is all about making sure your business gets seen by people looking for what you offer in their area.

A big player here is your Google Business Profile. Think of it as your digital storefront. You want it to look appealing and give people all the right info so they can find you easily. This profile shows up across Google services — like Maps and Search — and helps locals discover your brick-and-mortar store.

To nail your Google business profile, make sure every detail from opening hours to contact information is accurate. Add photos and respond to reviews to boost engagement and show Google that you’re active online.

A well-optimized profile means better visibility and more foot traffic — virtual or otherwise.

local seo serp

Why Every Local Business Needs to Prioritize SEO

If there was ever a time not to sleep on local SEO, it’s now. With smartphones glued to our hands day-in-day-out, people are always looking up places “near me”.

Here are three reasons why you should invest in local SEO for small businesses:

  • Grow Your Visibility: Simply put: if they can’t find you, they won’t visit you. Being visible where folks are searching gives you an edge over competitors who are not online.
  • Pump Up Engagement: When locals see how lively and loved your business is through stellar reviews, they’ll be more eager to check you out.
  • Foster Trust: Spotting your business easily on reputable platforms like Google builds trust before customers even step through the door.

Let’s face it – today’s savvy consumers rely heavily on web searches before making moves offline. If you’re not tailoring your online content for those ‘near me’ queries, you’re losing a significant opportunity to connect.

To keep up and stay relevant, make sure your online presence is strong and ready to meet potential customers right where they are searching.

97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else

Key Components of Local SEO

Local SEO is particularly important for businesses with physical locations or those targeting specific geographic areas. When users search for products or services with a local intent (e.g., “restaurants near me” or “plumbers in Los Phoenix”), search engines aim to deliver the most relevant results based on the user’s location.

Key components of local SEO include:

Google My Business (GMB) optimization: Optimizing your GMB profile is crucial for local SEO. This involves providing accurate business information such as address, phone number, business hours, and website URL. Regularly updating your GMB profile and encouraging customer reviews can also improve local visibility.

Local keyword optimization: Researching and using relevant local keywords throughout your website’s content, meta tags, headings, and URLs can help improve visibility for local searches.

Local content creation: Creating high-quality, relevant content tailored to your local audience can help attract local visitors and improve search engine rankings. This can include blog posts, articles, case studies, and guides focusing on local topics or addressing local needs.

Pro tip: You can still use AI even if you’re creating localized content. But don’t use ChatGPT which is a generalized chatbot that produces generic text. A specialized AI writer like Content at Scale is what you need for local content creation as this app is trained specifically on SEO.

NAP consistency (Name, Address, Phone number): Ensuring consistency of your business’s name, address, and phone number across all online platforms is essential for local SEO. Inconsistent NAP information can confuse search engines and negatively impact local rankings.

Local link building: Acquiring high-quality backlinks from local websites, directories, and chambers of commerce can boost local SEO efforts. Engaging in local partnerships, sponsorships, and community events can also help attract local backlinks.

Mobile optimization: Optimizing your website for mobile devices is crucial for local SEO as many local searches are conducted on smartphones. Ensuring fast loading times, a responsive design, and a user-friendly mobile experience can improve local search visibility.

Now let’s break down each of these tactics to help your business improve your visibility in local search results, attract more local customers, and ultimately drive more foot traffic and sales to your physical location.

content at scale

How to Optimize Your Business for Local Search

Optimizing your business for local search involves several key steps to ensure that your business appears prominently in local search results.

1. Claim Your Google My Business Listing

Gone are the days when a Yellow Pages listing was all you needed. Now, Google My Business is your new best friend. Start by heading over to Google My Business and claim your spot. Fill in every detail — from opening hours to photos of your storefront.

Source: Ahrefs

2. Create Location-Specific Pages on Your Website

If you’ve got more than one location or serve different areas, creating dedicated pages for each can be a game-changer. Think of these as mini-homages to each community you serve — showcasing not only what services/products you offer but also demonstrating an understanding and appreciation of the locale itself.

3. Build Local Citations and Directories

A local citation is like a digital shoutout of your business data online. Every time someone mentions your business on websites, social media profiles, or business directories, that’s a local citation.

Citations help surface local businesses in online search results. It’s all about making sure when folks are searching for services you offer, your name pops up front and center.

How to build and manage effective citations:

  • Audit Your Current Situation: Start by seeing where you stand. Use tools like Whitespark or Moz Local to quickly scan your current citation profile. Look for any NAP inaccuracies or key sites you’re missing out on.
  • Dive into Business Directories: Getting listed on relevant business directories is a no-brainer. Sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and even LinkedIn count as valuable real estate for building those crucial citations.
  • Maintain Consistency: This can’t be stressed enough — keep your NAP information consistent across all platforms. A mismatch in details can confuse both your prospective clients and search engines.
  • Pursue Quality Over Quantity: Not all citations are created equal. Focus on authoritative sources within your industry or locality — they pack more punch in boosting visibility.

4. Create Local Content

Publish content that specifically caters to the interests, needs, and preferences of your local audience. This content helps you connect with your community on a deeper level and establishes your business as a valuable resource in the area.

Here are some ways to create local content:

  • Cover Local Events: Highlight local events such as festivals, fundraisers, or community gatherings. Write blog posts, create videos, or share social media updates about these events, including details like dates, locations, and activities.
  • Feature Local Businesses: Showcase other local businesses in your area that complement your offerings. You could write profiles or reviews of these businesses, collaborate on joint promotions, or even interview their owners for your blog or social media channels.
  • Share Local News and Stories: Keep your audience informed about relevant local news, developments, and stories. This could include updates on infrastructure projects, new businesses opening in the area, or success stories of community members.
  • Provide Local Tips and Guides: Create content that helps locals navigate and enjoy their surroundings better. This could include guides to the best restaurants, parks, hiking trails, or hidden gems in the area. Share insider tips, recommendations, and insights that only locals would know.
  • Address Local Issues and Concerns: Address topics that are relevant to your local community, such as traffic issues, environmental initiatives, or local government policies. Offer your perspective, insights, and potential solutions.
  • Celebrate Local Culture and Traditions: Celebrate the unique culture, traditions, and heritage of your community through your content. This could involve sharing historical facts about your town or neighborhood.
  • Offer Location-Specific Promotions: Develop special offers, discounts, or promotions that are exclusive to residents of your local area. This could incentivize locals to engage with your business and build customer loyalty.
  • Engage with Local Influencers and Contributors: Partner with local influencers, bloggers, or content creators who have a strong presence in your community. Collaborate on content creation, events, or promotions to leverage their reach and credibility.

By creating local content that resonates with your audience and adds value to their lives, you can strengthen your connection with the community, enhance your brand visibility, and attract more local customers to your business.

5. Optimize On-Page SEO Elements

Let’s talk about jazzing up your website’s first impression with on-page SEO. Think of title tags and meta descriptions as the opening act. They’re not just there to look pretty; they work hard behind the scenes.

Title tags are like handshakes — firm, inviting, telling a story in less than 60 characters. It’s what stands between you and that coveted click from Google’s search results.

And guess what? Pages in Google’s top 10 results have their keywords snug right in their title tag.

Now, onto meta descriptions — these are your elevator pitches. With up to 160 characters, it’s where you sell your page’s content with flair. Make it catchy, because while they might not directly boost rankings, an enticing description sure as heck boosts clicks.

Moving on to the main show: Your on-page content.

  • Craft compelling headlines: First impressions matter so get creative but stay clear so folks know what they’re getting into.
  • Pack punchy paragraphs: Keep them short and sweet but loaded with value because nobody has time for a marathon read online.
  • Sprinkle those keywords: But do it like seasoning food — just enough without overpowering the dish itself.

Research and incorporate local keywords relevant to your business and location throughout your website’s content, meta tags, headings, and URLs. This helps search engines understand your relevance to local search queries.

Source: BrightLocal

6. Promote Your Local Business on Social Media

Let’s be real. In today’s world, if your business isn’t on social media, does it even exist?

Think about it. Everyone and their grandma are scrolling through feeds, liking posts, and following brands that catch their eye. This is where the magic of enhancing brand awareness kicks in.

When you engage on social media, you’re not just posting pictures or updates; you’re inviting people into your world. By sharing the distinct charm of your local enterprise, you’re giving folks a reason to take notice and get involved.

Ever thought about making your GMB profile more lively? Well, integrating social media posts with GMB is like hitting two birds with one stone.

  • Show off those rave reviews: Got glowing testimonials on Facebook or Instagram? Share snippets in your GMB posts to let potential customers know what they’re missing out on.
  • Promote events or offers: Hosting a sale this weekend? Or maybe there’s an event at your store? Use GMB to broadcast these happenings directly from your social feeds.
  • Increase engagement: When folks see fresh content popping up in both places, guess what happens? Engagement goes through the roof. People love seeing businesses that are active and responsive online.

This strategy doesn’t just boost visibility; it builds trust too. No one wants to dine at a restaurant that last posted in 2015.

Not all links are created equal. Some just have that magic touch, boosting your site’s authority like nothing else. But how do you snag those golden opportunities?

  • Sponsorships or Partnerships: Ever thought about sponsoring a local event or partnering up with other businesses in your area? Diving into sponsorships or partnerships isn’t just about spreading goodwill — it’s a strategic move to acquire valuable backlinks.
  • Educational Institutions: Remember, .edu sites are the bee’s knees in the domain authority world. By either providing scholarships or teaming up on initiatives, you can unlock access to coveted connections.
  • Create Share-Worthy Content: If there’s one thing people love, it’s sharing incredible content they find useful or interesting. Hit that sweet spot, and watch the backlinks roll in.

Gone are the days when SEO was all about sitting behind a screen tweaking website codes. Nowadays, immersing yourself in local happenings is a dynamic way to enhance your network and fortify your online presence.

Taking part in — or better yet — organizing community events doesn’t just get you out of the office (finally!). It puts you right where meaningful connections happen: face-to-face interactions.

These real-world connections often translate into online benefits like inbound links from local news outlets covering the event or partnerships formed during these gatherings.

Here’s an insider tip: Don’t forget to document these moments. A post-event blog post featuring participants and linking out to their websites encourages reciprocal linking.

8. Optimize for Mobile

With over 60% of global web traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s no wonder Google shifted gears towards mobile-first indexing. What does this mean for you?

Simply put, if your website isn’t optimized for smartphones and mobile search, you’re practically invisible.

Start by creating a responsive design — that means your website looks good whether on a desktop or a 4-inch screen.

Next, speed things up. A slow-loading page is the fastest way to lose reader interest. Remember, patience is a virtue that most mobile users just don’t have.

User experience (UX) on mobile can make or break your online presence. Think about it: when was the last time you stuck around on a site where links were impossible to click without zooming in?

  • Simplify navigation: Keep menus short and sweet.
  • Tappable elements: Make buttons big enough for thumbs.
  • Faster load times: Compress images and leverage caching.

Incorporating these changes might seem small but they pack a punch in improving UX dramatically — which directly impacts how well your site performs in search results.

9. Encourage Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are a critical aspect of local SEO and reputation management for businesses. How can you encourage your clients to leave feedback?

  • Provide Excellent Service: The foundation of garnering positive reviews starts with providing exceptional products or services. When customers have a positive experience, they’re more likely to leave glowing reviews voluntarily.
  • Ask for Reviews: Don’t hesitate to ask satisfied customers to leave a review. You can do this in person, through follow-up emails, on your website, or via social media. Make the process as easy as possible by providing direct links to review platforms like Google, Yelp, or Facebook.
  • Timing Matters: Try to time your review requests strategically. Ask for reviews when customers are likely to be most satisfied, such as immediately after a successful transaction or upon completion of a service.
  • Incentivize Reviews with Caution: While it’s generally not recommended to offer incentives in exchange for reviews due to guidelines set by review platforms, you can still incentivize customers to leave feedback by offering entry into a prize draw or a small discount on their next purchase, regardless of the sentiment of their review.
  • Respond to Reviews: Show customers that you value their feedback by responding promptly to all reviews, both positive and negative. Acknowledge and thank customers for positive reviews, and address any concerns or issues raised in negative reviews professionally and constructively.
  • Monitor Review Platforms: Keep a close eye on review platforms where your business is listed. Set up alerts or notifications to stay informed whenever a new review is posted. This allows you to respond promptly and appropriately to customer feedback.
  • Promote Positive Reviews: Showcase your best reviews on your website, social media channels, or marketing materials. Positive reviews serve as powerful testimonials and can help build trust with potential customers.
  • Address Negative Reviews Offline: For particularly sensitive issues or dissatisfied customers, consider reaching out privately to address their concerns offline. Offering a personal apology and a solution can often turn a negative experience into a positive one.

By actively encouraging and managing customer reviews, businesses can not only boost their visibility in local search results but also build credibility, trust, and loyalty with their audience.

10. Track and Analyze Performance

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. That’s gospel truth in the world of local SEO.

Let’s talk about tools that can be game-changers in transforming your local SEO from meh to marvelous.

  • Whitespark Local Citation Finder: Imagine a tool that finds all the places your business should be listed but isn’t. That’s Whitespark. It helps you track down those elusive citation opportunities to boost your local visibility like never before.
  • Screaming Frog: This one sounds more like a punk band than an SEO tool but Screaming Frog is one of the best tools for identifying problems that could be hurting your rankings. Broken links? Duplicate content? Screaming Frog spots them all.
  • Local Falcon: Want to see how well you’re doing on Google Maps? Check out Local Falcon. This tool gives you a bird’s-eye view of where and how you rank across different areas – perfect for nailing down those map pack rankings.
  • GMB Spy: If ever there was a ninja move in understanding competitors’ GMB categories, it’s using GMB Spy. It sneaks into their profiles, letting you gather priceless intel with ease.

But having these powerful tools at your fingertips is only half the battle. You gotta know what metrics really matter. Here are some key players:

  • Visibility: The core of your existence online. How many eyeballs are seeing your listings? If this number’s low, you need to pump up those numbers.
  • Engagement: This tells you if people actually care about your business. Click-through rates and review responses fall under this category.
  • Citations Accuracy: A complete no-brainer yet often overlooked. Your name, address, and phone number (NAP) must match everywhere. It’s fundamental but missed by many.

Source: LocaliQ

Conclusion

Those days of putting up posters, distributing flyers, and getting listed on the Yellow Pages are long gone. If you want your brick-and-mortar establishment to thrive, local search engine optimization is the way to go.

By optimizing your online presence for local search, you can ensure that your business stands out in the digital crowd and attracts more customers in your community. From claiming your Google My Business listing to creating compelling local content and encouraging customer reviews, every step you take toward local SEO excellence brings you one step closer to success.

But why stop there? As you embark on your local SEO journey, consider leveraging the power of AI to scale your content creation efforts even further. With an AI SEO writer like Content at Scale, you can generate engaging, location-specific content consistently — freeing up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.

Sign up today and discover how AI can revolutionize your approach to local content creation, helping you connect with your audience in meaningful and impactful ways. Don’t just compete locally — be the talk of the town with the help of AI.

Written by Julia McCoy

See more from Julia McCoy
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