10 Local SEO Tips to Improve Your Results

Do you want to attract local customers?

Local SEO provides a rare opportunity to create your own little niche within your local community.

For example, every town needs a hardware store, but you don’t need to have the most revolutionary hardware options on the market.

Your location is the niche, and embracing that with your SEO is crucial to pulling in more customers, because people make their local purchasing decisions based on one recommendation source: Google.

I figured it would serve as a handy tool if I put together a shortlist for everyone to print out and check in with on a regular basis.

Since brick and mortar businesses live and die based on their local marketing efforts, use this as your small business SEO cheat sheet. But for more information check out our Local SEO guide.

10 Actionable Local SEO Tips

I have listed the ten major elements of a successful local search campaign including tips on:

    • Leveraging business listing portals
    • Creating a blog
    • Social media
    • Leveraging your local media
    • Search engines
    • Spying on your competitors keywords
    • Improving your business website

1. Fill Out All the Local Listing Pages

From Google My Business to Yahoo Local, optimized local listing pages are a quick way to create an identity at the top of the search engines. Not only that, but these local listing pages link to your websites and improve your SEO.

Sometimes you have to make a page, but in general you simply have to claim the pages. I would recommend searching for directories focused just on your industry as well.

Google My Business
The ultimate goal is to have the best Google My Business listing. For local businesses, it could mean having your business show up on the first page above some of the organic search results.

To get started, add or claim your business on Google My Business. When you create your profile, fill out as much information as possible and upload supplementary photos of your business.

Once your listing is live make sure to encourage your customers to write reviews of their experience on Google My Business. Each positive review helps to solidify your place in the local market as an authority in your industry.

Funnls. Local
Our local business directory has clean and verified information for businesses. We organize our listings by geographical location and industry. Allowing our customers the opportunity to effectively offer another trusted data point for search engines and clients to reference.

Yelp
Yelp is one of the most well-known local search directories. You can add or claim your business listing for free and add photos and lots of additional details beyond just your contact information. Listings on Yelp have a positive effect on search rankings for Bing, Yahoo and Siri.

YP.com
Yellow Pages allows businesses to add or claim free listings that include an extended description of their business, multiple categories and a link. You can also add additional photos for the business listing.

Bing Places
Bing Places allows you to add or claim a free listing with up to nine photos for your business.

Yahoo Local
Yahoo Local is an important piece to your local citation mission. You can add or claim a basic listing for free.

Foursquare for Business
Foursquare has over 50 million people use their platform to discover local businesses and share what they love about them with others. A more modern twist on Yelp with an easier user interface but worth the effort to claim your listing.

Beware of Duplicate Listings
Your business address or phone number might be connected to another business online. Partially because everything is recycled from time to time. Also if you have a business which has multiple employees, like a law firm, you might have numerous people connected to your physical location. The best way to find this out is to search your phone number or address in Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

2. Create a Blog and Talk About Your Community

Do you run a local flower shop? Why are you not publishing articles about the coolest things to do in your neighborhood this summer? It may not relate directly to flowers, but it connects to your business because your company is an integral part of the community.

Not to mention, these articles can get huge shares on social media and lead to lots of visitors on your website.

3. Locate the Best Local Keywords for Your Business

A Keyword Planner is a wonderful tool for figuring out the right keywords to target. When people search for local companies they generally type in the town first and then some words relating to your business. For example, you might do well with Naples Dentists vs. Dentists Naples FL.

Want to try some other ways to get keyword ideas? Try typing in your keyword ideas in Google search, then scroll down to the bottom to see the related searches. Find these keywords and make a list of the best performing ones.

4. Use These Keywords to Optimize Your Entire Website

Don’t overstuff your website, but start to scatter the best performing keywords throughout your site. Your website content should be more than a list of keywords. Instead, use your primary keyword in merely 2-5% of your conversation.

Especially if it is a long-tail keyword.

How many times can you really use a keyword like New York air conditioner repair in a sentence after all without sounding stodgy and boring?

Most blogs hear the idea of keywords and think more is better. Like everything else, moderation is best. Google has slammed a lot of blogs who just stuff keywords into everything they write.

Back in the early years of search engines, a business could easily manipulate page ranking on Google’s SERP with keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is now considered a black hat tactic. If you run into trouble, check your competitors keywords for tips.

5. Reach Out to Local Publications to Write About You

Every town, country, city and village has publications that are looking for stories. If you released a funny new flavor ice cream at your ice cream parlor, share this with the local newspaper.

I would highly recommend seeking out travel blogs or websites that focus on your area. These are usually easier to land stories on and the good ones have huge followings – often times more than your newspapers.

Its the medias job to constantly cover new and upcoming news. You are actually doing them a favor by bringing topics to the attention. Building a friendship with the local media can help you in the future promote your business.

6. Test Your Website on all Browsers and Devices

Mobile responsiveness is a huge part of your SEO strategy, so make sure you’re using a website theme that morphs into viewable components when seen on a tablet or smartphone. Check to see how the site works on browsers like Chrome, Safari and Opera.

7. Ask Customers to Leave Reviews on Your Site and Listing Pages

Having a positive rating can help lift your business in search results, especially on sites that allow visitors to sort businesses by positive ratings.

Only legitimate reviews are going to help your SEO, but it’s not a bad thing to ask your customers to leave you honest reviews on sites like Yelp, Google My Business or even Angie’s List.

Ensure Your Contact Information is Consistent on All Pages Online

This is one of those strange parts of SEO that doesn’t seem fair, but it must have your attention. All of your websites and directory listings must have your contact information like the business name, address and phone number.

It gets weird in that it must remain exact across all sites. So, if you have Maple Street on one site and Maple St on another, this could hurt your SEO.

8. Select Social Media Used by Your Local Customers

Social media is great because you can test it out for free. Do your customers love you on Pinterest but never interact on Facebook? Get rid of Facebook and put all your energy into Pinterest.

Optimize Facebook for Local Search

The best advice I can give you to optimize your Facebook page for local search is to make sure you set up your page as a local business. This might seem simple to some but Facebook gives you several options when creating your page. But if you are interested in local customers then create your Facebook page accordingly.

After your Facebook page has been set up as a local business, make sure to completely fill out your contact information, street address and business hours. If you have a home based business just include your City, Sate and Zip code.

A complete profile gives you more credibility with search engines and helps to create a clear consistency with your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number).

9. Fill Your Website and Listing Pages with Visual Content

Visual content plays a huge role in SEO, since it improves the user experience, and search engines can detect when a customer is bored or not interested in your content. 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. And viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them.

Fill your website and directory pages with images, videos and even audio clips if they relate to your business. If you need help sourcing visual content check out sites like 123rf.com. They have a great selection of royalty free images to fit any budget.

10. Schedule a Time Every Six Months to Test and Check

Nothing ever get done unless you put in on the calendar, so keep this page handy and remind yourself to check your SEO every six months.

It is not unusual for consumers search habits to change or for search engines to launch a major algorithm update. Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500 times.

While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a “major” algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways.

Bonus Tip: Embed a Map

If you enter an address on Google Maps, you can get an HTML embed code to add the map to your website. Just click on the link icon to get the code.

You can also click on the “customize” link to choose sizing and other features for your map before embedding it on your website.

Copy and paste the HTML on your website.

This is a great way to help visitors to your website find your location easily, and it tells a Google search bot more about your location.

Local SEO Recap

  1. Claim local listings pages
  2. Create a blog
  3. Locate local keywords
  4. Optimize site with local keywords
  5. Contact local publications
  6. Test your website
  7. Ask customers to leave reviews
  8. Select social media used by local customers
  9. Fill your website and listings with images
  10. Check your efforts every 6 months

Conclusion

Keep in mind when doing local search and social optimization is that it takes time to see the fruits of your labor.

Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions about this handy little cheat sheet for local business SEO practices.

Would you add anything else to the list?

About Charlie Rose

I am the founder of SEO Mechanic. I have 20 years of experience helping multinational corporations and small businesses take the guesswork out of SEO. You can find me on Twitter.

61 responses to “10 Local SEO Tips to Improve Your Results”

  1. […] Charlie Rose offers guidance on building a successful local SEO campaign by focusing on listing portals, social media, and the quality of your business’s website. […]

  2. […] The 10 Elements of Successful Local SEO: Does Your Business Have Them Covered? […]

  3. Nice post! Helped me understand many things.
    Thanks

  4. mike says:

    Thanks for the great help Charlie

    • Charlie says:

      Hey Mike, Thanks for taking the time to read it and leave a comment! What areas do you need help with? – Thanks, Charlie

      • mike says:

        Trying to get my new website on the first page of google in my area..I took your advice and have been registering with all local business listings..Still need more help…but am perservering..
        Appreciate all your help and depth of knowledge Charlie

  5. Madhushalini says:

    Actually from my observations what is missing here is Citation Authority vs number of Citations. A site that has less citations can actually out rank one that has many more, if the citations have a higher page authority.

    Essentially you could do a backlink campaign on your citations that could boost their overall authority, which in turn could boost your rankings.

    Another thing I don’t see mentioned is the actual URL. From my experience, URL can play a big role in local SEO. An example could be a Chiropractor that also has the city name in the URL.

  6. Jeffy says:

    Wow! Agreed. This is a great list. Thanks!
    There are sponsorship links that, unlike all others, are SEO optimized and goes way beyond your typical charity sponsored links! Also great for local businesses because it includes a citation.
    Probably good to mention that with charity sponsor links, while it may cost you some, you are giving back, and, besides the good feeling you get inside knowing you are helping, you also get good karma and a tax writeoff.

  7. Sumit Mishra says:

    Definitely a great guide who is looking to start and improve local seo of their business . Using local keyword in content and meta tags will be very helpful in ranking for local keyword consumer searching for.

    And yes listing to local directories and local information services website surely boost in brand awareness and of course in ranking.

    Great work!!!

  8. We are noticing that seeing ranking results, even local ranking for a keywords is taking longer. We often tell our clients that it may take 6-12 months to see first page rankings.

  9. sarah Tapp says:

    Hello I Run A Mobile Massage Business In Queens NY, Body Massage Spa,Im Showing Up On The First Page On Google For A Lot Of My Keywords In Queens But Only A Few In Manhattan Where Most Of The Business Is, What Can I Do To Rank More Keywords In Manhattan?

  10. Arthur Green says:

    Thanks for share with us an important article . we have learned a very powerful tips from your site.
    Thank You . keep going .

  11. Vihan Ohm says:

    All the 10 factors are really great.. thanx men.. i m going to try on seo ranking using this factors.. i want more info..please suggest me more idea..?

  12. Priyank says:

    Great post on seo ranking factors! Really enjoyed reading!! Please suggest me with more ideas. One can also check Digital Marketing Course Jaipur for more information on seo.

  13. Sandy Sudan says:

    Nice post on SEO ranking factors. All factors are very helpful.I will apply these factors in SEO. Thanks for sharing this information.

  14. Jenny says:

    Very practical tips, truly an eye-opener. Search engines are actually giving more priority to local searches as opposed to global searches. One way to leverage this shift is to claim our Google places listing and optimizing it properly. Complete it to the max and one should find it much easier to get a nice spot in the rankings.

  15. Great post. I am looking for a tool which will manage all local search. Directories like Yell etc. I have seen something Yell has and it looked interesting. It would scan your site and then scan the internet for directors and social sites with your business content. It would then not only grade the content but point out errors of mistakes.

    • Charlie Rose says:

      Hey Paulina, Yes there are a few different tools that do that. They are all super useful for sure! Which one are you using? – Charlie

  16. Simon James says:

    Really helpful post Charlie. Well thoughtout and constructive.

    Keep up the good work buddy

    Simon

  17. Local says:

    This blog is really informative and has helped me a lot to focus on my SEO needs as well. The tips are good for a small business to get higher rankings in search engines. I suggest readers to go through this post to get better results in SEO rankings.

  18. amit Kumar says:

    Amazing post,
    i will follow your instruction.
    Keep up the good work!

  19. Navnit Verma says:

    Really all seo ranking factors are good for small business .it’s helpful for all seo beginners also for me.
    waiting for next post.!

  20. Dhanny says:

    Very Useful and practical tips. According to me, everyone should follow these tips.

  21. Smith Watson says:

    Interesting seo ranking factors you share here for us. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

  22. Sara McPee says:

    Backlinks are also the key to having a tangible position on search engines. This post is totally helpful for anyone who is trying to get on the highest positions on top search engines. Continuous case studies is where you learn the most! So keep yourself abreast of the digital world of marketing and you’ll come a long way. Kudos to this article.

  23. This is what I was actually looking for. I totally agree with all the points to gain ranking at local listings. Thanks!

  24. vinay singh says:

    very important information local seo thanks

  25. neatgist says:

    Great article, really helped me to grow my site http://www.neatgist.com

  26. Techysupport says:

    thanks for sharing this information,
    But I have one question
    In starting My website citation flow was above 30 but as my keywords and backlinks increase my citation flow goes down. Can you please suggest me how can I handle it.

  27. […] SEO Mechanic: How to Rank Your Local Business in Search Engines […]

  28. […] an SEO marketing plan will help you better understand your online presence and identify steps you can take to improve your traffic and search ranking. If you don’t have one its hard to […]

  29. jemma says:

    great guide for someone who is looking to start and improve local seo of their business

  30. […] Your Location: If you are a local business, try adding your location into your domain […]

  31. […] the name suggests, local SEO is the optimization of a website for local results in search engines. Local SEO is different than a […]

  32. […] a companion to this post our 10 Local SEO Ranking Factors explains the ranking factors and providing tips and advice on […]

  33. Ujwal Pandit says:

    Have to believe that Charlie you have managed to cover almost all things about LOCAL SEO optimization. and it’s really nice post. I will surely bookmark it for my future reference.

  34. Shaan malik says:

    Amazing post thanks for sharing

  35. […] their search engine questions I offer a free SEO reporting tool. Scan your site in 45 seconds and see critical SEO ranking […]

  36. Jane James says:

    Thanx CHARLIE, for sharing these ideas.
    i hope they may be very helpful for all SEO’s.

  37. […] SEO Mechanic: How to Rank Your Local Business in Search Engines […]

  38. Jitendra says:

    Thank you for the article and the suggested useful tips.

  39. Lynne Rose says:

    Amazing top 10 tips about local SEO ranking factor for local business. This very effective tips and I applied for my local business website. All of your tips good result and ranking show me. Thanks for share this information.

  40. Jane Brewer says:

    Hey Author,
    I found all these points and information for local SEO ranking factor was worth reading and learning for me. thanks this

  41. I’m really impressed with your article, such great & usefull knowledge you mentioned here

  42. Robert D says:

    Hi Charlie,
    Great blog on Local SEO Ranking factors! I like the Bonus Tip -“Embed a Map” in your website. Generally, people don’t add embed map in their site.

  43. […] Your Location: If you are a local business, try adding your location into your domain […]

  44. […] Organic – Traditional search results from Googles search engine. We discuss more below about the algorithm that determines these rankings. […]

  45. Sathya online Shopping says:

    Interesting information and attractive.This blog is really rocking… Yes, the post is very interesting and I really like it.I never seen articles like this. I meant it’s so knowledgeable, informative, and good looking site. I appreciate your hard work. Good job.

  46. Jamie Luke says:

    I read your full article and I really liked your way of writing. You explain all points in very simple way,it will really helpful to local business marketing.

  47. […] any business can take advantage of local SEO’s benefits. As Google grows more sophisticated and users start demanding even more individualized […]

  48. Renish says:

    Nice article! However, I would also like to suggest adding the local address of your business in the footer area to make it more relevant. Also, adding a Geo sitemap can also help.

  49. Thanks for sharing this stuff with us! I’m absolutely enjoying your blog

  50. I am so thankful for such a perfect post. Your data is extremely useful for our business SEO Sydney. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing with us.

  51. […] any business can take advantage of local SEO’s benefits. As Google grows more sophisticated and users start demanding even more individualized […]

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