Do you want to know the most effective local SEO strategies for promoting local businesses?
In this local SEO guide, I’ll share the top local SEO marketing strategies to rank on High on Google.
What You Will Learn –
How to optimize and rank in google 3 snack packs.
How to Analyze your Local SEO Competitions
How To Optimize Your Location-Based Pages Landing Pages
How To Acquire Reviews and Backlinks For Local Business
and a lot more.
So stick with me here.
What is Local SEO?
Actually there are various types of SEO, but if you have a local business, then you must focus on the local SEO.
Local SEO is a way to promote your products and services to potential customers at the right time they are looking for them.
Local SEO is the practice of promoting the business locally for location-specific customers.
Local SEO strategies help your business to increase local business presence in local search results.
According to stats, 46% of all Google searches are local. 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results.
And local searches result in purchases 28% of the time.
Therefore, if you have a local business you must invest in local SEO to attract more customers to your business.
How does Local SEO Work?
When a user searches on Google, its algorithm analyzes the patterns of the search term.
And based on those terms it shows the results.
Google algorithm looks at various ranking factors to determine the value of the web page before showing in the search results.
Therefore, to optimize your site for local search results you need to follow some best local SEO best practices.
Reviewing Local Search Results
For the local search query, Google displays mainly two types of search results.
- Google Local 3-Pack (Businesses who add their business to GMB)
- Organic Results
Google’s local SEO 3-Pack and organic SEO results that appear on the first results page when a local search is made online on Google.
As you can see in the above image, the business name with the STAR ratings.
And these are Google’s local 3-Pack search results that you will only see for searches that have local search intent.
And you will only see 3 results in the 3-pack local listing which are more relevant and proximity to the searcher’s location.
Also, a study found that 33% of clicks go to the local 3 snack pack results, and 40% clicks go to regular organic results.
And one interesting thing is that 56% of businesses haven’t even claimed their GMB listing,
Verify your business on GMB listing (Google My Business) and it will help enhance your business local ranking in Google search and Google Maps.
Hence optimizing your business for local SEO, pay attention to both local 3-Packs and organic results to get more eyeballs to your business.
Understanding Local SEO Ranking Factors
If you have a local business, getting more new customers in your area is always challenging.
Gone are the days when people relied on traditional marketing.
Nowadays digital marketing is the most effective way to market a small business locally.
There are various techniques and strategies in digital marketing you can use to take your small local business to the next level.
But as a local small business owner, you must pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO) or local SEO, which helps increase your local business presence online.
Let’s start with Local SEO ranking factors.
Below I’ll share the top local SEO ranking factors which help influence your website ranking dramatically.
#1. GMB Listing (Google My Business)
GMB listing is one of the top local SEO ranking factors for ranking your business in google 3-pack local snack packs.
How to optimize your GMB Listing?
Add the Correct Business Information –
Optimize your local listing by adding all the NAP information accurately.
Include your address, phone number, and hours of operation.
Most of them are looking for this information while doing local searches.
Verify and Claim Your Business Listing –
Claiming ownership of your GMB listing is one of the ranking factors which helps improve your business listing ranking in Google.
Add Related Photos –
After claiming the business listing, add your business product, shop, or service related photos.
As images are always better to capture the attention of the viewers.
Use attention-grabbing images that give them a sense of your product or services.
Earn Customer Reviews –
Strengthen your (GMB) Google business listing profile by earning customer reviews. Reviews help build trust in your business.
More google reviews and positive ratings will most likely help to improve the business’ local rankings.
Ask and encourage your customers to leave reviews about your product or services.
#2. Location-Based Keywords
Keywords are another top-ranking factor in local SEO.
To rank locally, you need to show the search engines that your page is relevant to that search term.
Select the right search terms for your webpage content and metadata to rank your site high in search results.
Find the keywords and terms that your user types when they look for the services you offer.
Add location (city) to your Meta tags and content to give them more weight to the targeted location and keywords.
#3. Localized Content
Write the content by keeping your mind about your local customers.
Create content about your city and your targeted local area. You need to write the content centered on your business and unique to your area.
You can even answer local questions in your content. “Best Places to shop in ‘Location’”.
And while writing content, add local keywords in Title and meta description but add these terms to webpage content.
To rank local businesses, add local-specific keywords inserted into the content.
#4. Local Business Directories
Submit your website to the top authority ‘Quality Local Business Directories’ sites.
Many top local business directory sites rank at the top of the search results pages.
Submit your site to these citation sites to increase your local business presence.
When submitting to your website, make sure the business name, address, and phone no. should be correct.
Wrong NAP gives favors to your competitors instead of your website.
Therefore, make sure to audit your citations and claim your business correct NAP on these local online directories is worth it.
Links are the key to success in SEO. Not all links are equal.
You need to build the links carefully. Building the authority of your website in front of search engines and backlinks is crucial.
Quality over quantity when your website gets links from quality sites, it tells the search engines that your site is reputable and reliable.
The quality of links from relevant sites helps increase your ranking in search results.
Nowadays reputation is the key to success in a local business.
Online reviews correlate with higher local rankings. Higher STARS reviews with positive ranking are the ranking factors in local SEO.
In Brightlocal study, they found that 3/4 of consumers contact the business or visit the website after reading positive reviews.
So it is a good strategy if you ask your happy customers to give a positive review or feedback about your business.
The number of Google reviews for the business affects its search position on Google.
So try to earn more google reviews on your GMB listing, but don’t add fake or false google reviews.
As soon as you get caught by google search positions will also be dropped from your GMB listing.
Keyword Research for Local SEO
Keyword research is crucial for the success of your local SEO campaign. And finding the best keywords is not as hard as most people think.
But for local businesses to reach out to more potential users, local SEO keyword research is an essential part.
So, what is local keyword research?
Keyword research is the procedure to identify the search terms which people use to find an answer to a query.
In the keyword research process, we need to figure out which specific queries or keywords people are searching for.
And then, we need to inject these terms and keywords into the webpage content to make our content user and search engine friendly.
So that it could appear on the top of the search results when people search for those keywords.
For local keyword research, you need to find generic business keywords and add a city location name with them to provide more relevancy to your location-specific pages.
For people who perform local searches, intend to take action or make a purchase right away.
For example, if you search for “Pizza in Bangalore” the search engine will show you only the results from near your physical location, not from whole India pizza providers.
Therefore personalization is one of the Google ranking factors that show you the results based on your physical location.
That’s why while doing local keyword research, make sure to find the best keywords with local search intent.
How to do Local SEO Keyword Research
The very first step while doing local keyword research is to know what keywords you should target and for what location.
At first, don’t go for location-specific keywords, first identify your generic business keywords.
Start with Generic Keywords
Make a list of these generic business keywords by doing a Google search.
For example – If you are a painter and provide painting services.
Now the first step is to identify the generic terms.
Let say if you are providing “Commercial or Residential Painting Services”.
Make a list of these terms –
“commercial painting services, commercial painters, residential painters, residential painting services”
Now you can create more keywords by adding locations with these keywords.
“Painters in Melbourne, Residential painters Melbourne, commercial painters Melbourne”
Head over to Google Enter your generic business terms and look for auto suggestions.
If you find any keyword related terms, add them to your keywords list.
Now hit the enter and on the search results page look for BOLDED terms and copy them into your keywords list.
At the end of the page look for related searches, and if you find any relevant search terms add to your keywords research sheet.
Research Local Keyword Modifiers
Keyword modifiers are the words that are used to describe the quality, type of product and services and people use the modifier to find more relevant search results.
Keyword modifier example –
Keyword modifiers help improve your webpage click-through rate and these words help your listing stand above your competitors.
Include Location-Based keywords
This is the last step while looking for keywords for your local SEO campaign.
Adding the location into your keywords is crucial because people prioritize the local business which is close to their location.
Thus it’s important to use location city, suburbs in the meta tags, and on-page SEO to make the webpage relevant to the local searcher.
Spy on Your Competitor’s Keywords
Spy on your competitor’s keywords to find what they are doing and what is working for them.
They are already in business and they know more than you.
So it is always an excellent idea to look at your competitor’s keywords and which keywords are bringing them leads and conversion.
Use tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to spy on your competitors.
How to choose which keywords to use
Choose the keywords wisely. While selecting keywords always gives priority to search volume, competitions, and keyword relevancy.
Always look at the SERP results and check the competitions and if your website is not enough, strongly build the authority of your website first.
To beat your competition, focus on on on-page SEO, link building, and social media to build authority and a solid foundation for your website.
Pro-Tip – Find question specific keywords and use them in your content to bring more traffic and make engaging your content.
Use tools like Answerthepublic and questionsDb to find question-keywords.
Review Local SEO Competitions
Every business industry niche will already have your competitors who are generating leads and getting good business.
These are the competitors who know the industry very well and know the business secrets. But they won’t disclose the industry secrets with you as no one wants their competitors to get ahead of themselves.
But nowadays in the digital world it is not as difficult as it was previously.
These days there are a lot of SEO tools and competitors spy software in the market.
By which you will get all the information from keywords, backlinks of your competitors, and how much brand value your competitors have.
You just need to spend a few dollars on them and in your competitions all the details will be in front of you in seconds.
Semrush, spyfu, and Ahrefs are great examples of these tools.
In the ahrefs enter your domain and head over to the competition tab and it will show all the competing domain lists.
You can even manually do this by entering your generic search term on Google and doing this for your main keywords 4 to 5 times.
Also, make a list of the top 10 search results. Look for repetitive domains in search results, these are all your primary competitors.
On-Page SEO For Local Businesses
On-page optimization is one of the most important parts of SEO. On-page SEO should be strong enough to rank at the top and beat your competition. Follow this on-page-seo checklist to start optimizing your website.
#1. Optimize your Site Structure To Rank Location Pages
The very first in on-page SEO is your site structure.
Make sure your site structure should be search engine and user friendly.
Your site design and structure should be easy to navigate.
To make your local business website structure and design nicely ensure the functionality and navigation of the website should be smooth which provides a good user experience.
If you serve multiple locations and want to rank at the top of the page for these locations, you need to build multiple location landing pages.
Look at the example below-
They have created landing pages for each targeted location and they are ranking for the locations landing page which they want to rank on the first page.
They have created separate location-based landing pages to target local customers.
But only create location-based pages where you are serving and you have a physical location address.
Let’s say if you provide services in Melbourne now, just create a single landing page for Melbourne only.
Don’t create landing pages for each suburb like Carlton, Docklands, etc.)
This will not help you to rank. The disadvantage of this tactic will be that the link equity will be distributed in useless pages.
By default, the Homepage will become stronger and will start ranking for your location-based keywords.
Look at the example site –
They have created separate location-based landing pages. But the Home Page is dominating for location-based keywords.
Thus you should avoid it at any cost. Set up location pages where you have physical location addresses and avoid creating landing pages for cities or suburbs.
#2. Optimize Your Local Landing Pages
URL Structure – While creating location-based landing pages, keep the location name in the URL. Keep the URL short and clean.
Example – abc.com/location
Optimize Heading ‘ Keywords’ – Use proper headings and optimize for location keywords. Use all the target keywords in the heading tags.
Write Enough Content – Content should be one of the top priorities for writing good content while keeping in mind local searcher intent.
Testimonial/Reviews – Add testimonials or show reviews on the location landing pages to provide social proof.
Opening Hours – Mention opening hours/ Local NAP on the landing page.
#3. Create Localized Content
Use Regional Words – Creating localized content means adding regional words to the content so that your targeted visitors can understand your content easily.
Don’t be too technical while writing. Write the content in such a way so that your local customers can understand the message you want to convey.
It must match language with your audiences.
Design and Format Content to improve readability – Good design and well-formatted content help improve readability.
Nicely formatted content is easier to read and easier to understand and easier to remember.
Not everyone reads the content the same way. There are multiple types of readers: Scanner, skimmer, intensive and extensive.
It should match the style and formatting of the content with the style of the readers.
Cultural Sensitiveness – As a local business provider first, understand the cultural attitudes and behaviors of your targeted audience.
It should include visual elements and colors in your design and content.
By attracting consumers to local markets, you need to offer a more culturally relevant connection with your local customers.
Keep in mind these three important things while writing content for your regional audiences.
#4. Craft Perfect Title and Description Tags
The title and meta description should be unique, eye-catchy, and keywords optimized.
Search engines give more preference to metadata. And these meta titles and description tags are shown in the SERP.
After seeing the information in the meta title and description, the user clicks on your SERP Listing and lands on your webpage.
Writing Tips for Effective Meta Tags –
#1. Use your primary keywords in the Meta Tags
#2. Keep the ideal length of Title between 50 to 60 characters and Meta description under 160 characters. As google counts character in pixels.
You can use this tool to check the Pixel width.
#3. Add call to action in the meta tags to encourage the user to take action in your listing in SERP.
#5. Optimize Heading Tags
The heading tags are from H1 to H6. The H1 is bigger and H6 is smaller.
Head tags are used in the content to detect the headings and subheadings within your content.
H1 is used in the content as the main heading of the page. And from H2 to H6 tags are optional tags and used to systematize the content for easy navigation.
Heading tags make the search engines easy to understand and crawl the content easily.
Heading Tags Best Practices –
#1. On each page, use only 1 H1 Tag and give it a unique H1 title.
#2. Use the H2 to H6 by using secondary keywords. But it is not mandatory that you should use all the tags in the content. It will depend on your content structure.
#3. Write unique heading tags with keywords optimized but don’t overdo it.
#6. Sitemap creation
After setting up your location pages to create a sitemap and submit all your URLs in the google search console. If you are new to the Google search console, read this.
You need to fetch the sitemap in the search console to make indexation fast of the pages.
Ensure that when you create a new webpage, fetch the URL in GSC to make the crawling process faster for that page.
Schema for Local SEO
Schema is used to provide more information to the search engine about your content page.
By containing schema (structured data) on the page it indicates to the search engines what this is about.
The goal of the schema is to help search engines to better understand the content and display data.
By applying schema markup it helps your webpage appear for carousels, rich snippets, and even for answer boxes in the search results pages.
To gain traction in SERP and to take a competitive advantage, you must apply the schema on your webpages.
Follow the Google Structured Data Guidelines
But before applying schema structured data, make sure to read and follow these google structured data guidelines.
Structured data shouldn’t be spammy otherwise google will penalize, for using spammy structured data.
Google’s chief goal is to provide the user with always better search results and always keep the search engine results spam-free.
Thus follow the structured data implementation guidelines and avoid your markup considering spammy.
How to Apply Structured Data to Your Local Business
There are two ways to apply structure data –
- Google Structured Data Markup Helper
How to set up schema with Google Structured Data Markup Helper –
Click on “Local Business” Enter your webpage and click on start tagging.
Your webpage will be open to visual an editor.
Right-click on the page elements and select your markup from the list.
Mark up all the important elements for your local business schema markup for example – “Telephone, email, address, Opening Hours” and you can even add reviews.
Once done, click on “Create HTML” select JSON-LD and you will see the code snippet below.
You need this code to be inserted into the Head Section of the page.
But before you insert the code, test them against the errors.
Go to the Rich Results Test Tool to enter the Code, and it will show if the page is eligible for rich results or not.
If there are any errors or warnings this tool will notify you.
Fix any errors or warnings and update this structured data JSON-LD code in the Head Section of the webpage.
Schema.org Local Business Schema Code
Head over to schema.org in the search box, enter Local Business and select your local business.
Scroll down for Examples selected in JSON-LD, now copy this schema and fill out all your local business information in this schema code.
But before adding the code to the site, make sure to test the schema code in the Rich Results Test Tool as I tested above.
Once done, make sure to fetch the URL in GSC so that search engines can index your webpage quickly to show rich results in search engines.
Mobile-Friendly Website For Local Businesses
A mobile-friendly website means the text is easily readable, navigation and links are clickable.
Your website design is mobile-friendly and visitors are smoothly accessing your website on their mobile devices.
That’s why to optimize your website for mobile devices.
According to google mobile traffic stats –
30% of all mobile searches are location-related.
Over 50% of web traffic comes from Mobile.
60% of smartphone users have contacted a local business directly using the search results.
Still, are you thinking of making your website mobile-friendly?
If you are not optimizing your website for mobile devices, you are likely leaving a lot of money on the table.
Since Google moved to Mobile-First Indexing, it wants to serve users with mobile-friendly webpages.
Therefore google mainly uses the mobile version of the webpage for ranking and indexing of the site.
Thus make your website optimized for mobile visitors.
First, test your mobile responsiveness using Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.
If it shows your website is mobile-friendly, then it’s fine, but still, there will be some errors.
Look at the snapshot below, look carefully for any errors, and fix those errors to make the mobile user experience better.
FAQs For Local Businesses
Frequently Asked Questions are general questions about any subject, products, or service that give basic information for users of a website.
And for local small businesses, I found that they are not taking the benefits of using FAQs on their website.
FAQs help improve your website ranking by providing all the information that helps the user to make the right decision.
For example, I am looking to buy an electric bike online.
I entered the term “electric bicycle Melbourne” now scroll and look for People Also Ask (PAA).
The search engine is showing them because these questions are often searched and these questions are the most general which people search often.
Now you can use these questions into your webpage and take the benefits for FAQs.
After adding FAQs now to generate FAQs schema, see the enhanced results for your listing in SERP.
Take the benefit of adding FAQs to your local landing pages to generate more traffic and improve your ranking for your local business.
NAP Citation Building
What is Citation?
Citation building is in the process of submitting Names. address. Phone no. of the local business to the local business directories online.
Citations help the user find local business information online. It also helps in the local search engine rankings.
Citations are one of the ranking factors in the local seo to rank your site high in organic and local 3 packs.
The importance of Consistency in citation
Consistency is the key to success; the same rule applies in citations building to improve organic ranking and on Google Local 3 packs.
Build citations on your website constantly.
Consistency helps build momentum as the search engine will slowly start taking signals from these authorities’ local citation sites.
As soon as you start seeing improvements in the organic and google local 3 packs.
Get Listed in Local Directories
There are a lot of local business directories sites to build citations, but we have to work only on quality sites.
Start with the following citation sites first –
- Google My Business
- Bing Maps
Keep NAP consistent across the web
This is one of the most important things you should keep in mind while building local citations.
Keep the (NAP) Name. Phones and Addresses are accurate on all local business directories sites.
Inaccurate NAP will harm your local ranking, but removing the wrong NAP is a daunting task.
Create a GMB Listing Profile
Setting up your business profile in “Google My Business” is important as it is one of the top-ranking factors for both organic and local snack pack results.
Let’s start –
Create Your GMB Listing Page
Click here to follow the steps below.
#Step 1. If you are setting up a GMB listing for the first time, enter your business name. But don’t add the keywords with your business name.
For example – If you have a painting business in Melbourne. Then just add your main Brand Name, not the keyword with the brand name.
Look at the example of “women at work” if you search for “painters in Melbourne” you will see their listing on top of the Google 3 Local Pack.
But if you look at others, some of them are using keywords in the GMB Listing but they are not ranking, many other factors influence the position on the local map.
But I want to show you that keywords optimized GMB listing don’t help influence the rankings in local 3 packs.
Look at the highlighted Listing in Google Maps. They have included the keywords in the business listing.
Even so, they are not in the top 3 local snack packs.
Thus use the exact brand name in Google My Business and don’t try to include keywords in the GMB profile.
#Step 2. After adding the Business Name, select the category that fits your business best.
#Step 3. If you provide services at your business address, select Yes. Enter your address here.
#Step 4. Now click on next and position the marker on the exact spot on MAP.
#Step 5. If you serve outside the location Click on Yes and the area you serve.
#Step 6. Now add Contact details Phone No. & Website URL & clicking on the next click on Finish.
#Step 6. Once you are done, it will ask you to verify your (GMB) Google business listing. Or if you don’t have authority, leave it to verify later.
To provide services at your business address, click on No. and select the areas where you serve your customers.
Enter the contact details you want to show your customers: Phone No. Website URL.
You need to enter at least one thing, either website or phone no.
After that click on Next and click on finish.
#Step 7. You will now ask for your mailing address to verify your listing.
If you’re authorized to do so, just fill out the address and if not then you can verify the listing later.
The next step is to select the services your business provides.
Based on your selected category, it will provide you with suggestions. If you are not able to find a suitable category, you can still add your custom categories.
Next steps: Add your description.
Next, add photos of your business to your GMB listing.
Your GMB listing is now ready.
Acquire Backlinks For Your Local Business
Importance of Backlinks
Backlinks are the most important ranking factors to rank in google on Top of the SERP.
A link from other sites to your site’s search engine considers this as a vote.
But not all links are equal, some backlinks are more valuable than others.
And it all depends on the other site where you are getting links.
Backlinks are not the only signals Google takes into account when ranking webpages.
But Google considers over 200+ ranking factors while ranking a webpage in the SERP.
However, as the backlinks volumes and number of links pointing to a page indicate the google about the target webpage.
Google gives more credit to the number of incoming links on any page, but the source of the links matters too.
Build Relevant Backlinks
Try to acquire quality links from other high authority sites. Build backlinks from relevant matched theme sites. So that they pass the relevancy and credibility to your targeted pages.
Relevancy is important while building links.
If you are in the health niche thus you should avoid acquiring links from non-relevant (example – Finance and Technology) niches. Therefore, always consider the relevancy while building links for your local sites.
Building links is harder than earning backlinks. But earning the links is not that easy.
To earn backlinks, your priority is to create content that would be anything from articles, blog Infographics or videos, etc.
But it shouldn’t be just ordinary content. Your content should be what your target audience wants.
Write epic, engageable, well-researched content, only that content can help you earn more backlinks.
Now put more effort into your backlink building strategy and which will you rank better & drive more traffic to your content.
Review and their impact on local SEO
According to a local consumer survey, it shows that 91% of consumers trust reviews.
They trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Thus the more reviews you have, the more consumers believe in you.
Online reviews are directly associated with the consumer’s trust.
Online reviews don’t affect your ranking directly. But reviews impact consumers’ trust and their shopping behaviors.
So winning the heart of your consumers by showing off-website reviews is a good idea to attract more customers.
You can take the benefits from top online directories and review sites like – Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and many more top online directory sites.
For example, if you search for “auto repair Melbourne” you will see the Top Online Directories sites dominating the search results.
Encourage the user to leave reviews based on your products and services.
38% of the people after purchasing do not leave reviews, according to Pew Research Center.
Therefore you should take advantage of these sites by submitting your site to these top online directories and ask your customers to leave reviews.
Even negative reviews are also better for your business.
Reevoo research found that consumers spend five times as long on a site when they interact with bad reviews with a 85% increase in conversion rates.
Thus remember that not every review created equal consumers are influenced by both negative and positive reviews.
Encourage people to leave reviews but as well as respond to negative reviews and complaints it shows other peoples you are taking care of your customers and helps make your brand image good.
Multiple Location SEO
- One page for one location creates a separate page for each targeted location.
- Optimize the NAP (Name, Phone, ‘address’) for each location page.
- Embed the google on the pages.
- Add location-specific content meta title and Meta description.
- Submit all the location pages to google in a sitemap.
Optimize your Google My Business Listing for All Location Pages
- Optimize your Google My Business Listing for each location.
- Add each location page to your business profile.
- While optimizing GMB listings for each location using the same listed business name.
For example – If your business name is Swift Shoot, then use “Swift Shoot” it shouldn’t be “Swift Shoot Melbourne”.
Ensure your NAP should be consistent in all the online directories and as well in the GMB.
Your inconsistency with NAP can hurt your local seo and affect the ranking of local snack packs.
I hope this post will help you learn something new.
Let me know in the comments which areas in local seo you focus most important to rank on top of your competitions.