Local SEO

What is Local SEO? 6 Best Practices for Local Businesses

With the right SEO strategy, your business can reach anyone in the world. But what if you’re a local business that just wants to target clients in your area? Global reach is great, but it’s not helpful to all companies. 

For businesses looking to build relationships in their area, local SEO is king. With the right strategy, you can easily show up in local searches, connect with local customers, and become a leader in your city. 

In this post, we’ll show you what local SEO is, why it’s important, and the six best practices to help you appear in more local searches. 

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your business to boost local search traffic. If your business has a physical location or serves a specific geographical area, local SEO is essential to help you connect with local customers. 

Around 82% of people using Google have done a “near me” search, which relies on local SEO to show appropriate responses. Moreover, 97% of people use Google to find local businesses. If you’re not using local SEO, you’re missing out on a valuable untapped marketing opportunity. 

How Does Local SEO Work?

Google uses local search algorithms to help find the best matches for searches. On top of its usual ranking factors, local algorithms look for:

  • Relevance – how closely related is your Google Business Profile to the search query?
  • Distance – how far is your business from the user conducting the search?
  • Prominence – how important is your business to potential customers?

Using these ranking factors, Google displays two types of search results: the “local pack” and organic results. 

The “local pack” is the top through Google Business Profiles that appear in a separate box at the top of the search:

The organic search results are the blue links underneath that we’re all used to seeing: 

The local pack results have a 500% higher conversion rate than the normal blue links, so it’s crucial that your business shows up in that category for local searches. 

Why Does Local SEO Matter?

If you already dedicate time to boosting your organic traffic and SEO, you might be wondering why local SEO, in particular, is so important. But the stats are quite impressive:

Even so, around 58% of companies don’t optimize for local SEO, and only 30% have an actualized plan of capitalizing on local traffic. 

Google’s “near me” searches have grown by more than 100% year-on-year, while “where to buy” + “near me” keyword searches have grown by more than 200% – now is the perfect time to capture the local market and become the go-to in your area. 

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6 Local SEO Best Practices

If you’d like to improve your local SEO, here are six tried-and-tested strategies for getting the best results. 

1. Conduct Local Keywords Research

Start by conducting local keyword research to figure out what your customers are searching for. The goal is to rank for these search terms so you show up in more local searches. 

Head to Google and type in a broad keyword for your business. For example, “real estate agents in Arizona”. Google will give you suggested search terms and “people also asked” queries to help you build a keyword list. 

For more in-depth information, you can use SEO tools like the Google keyword planner or Ahrefs to analyze the best keywords and how competitive they are. 

2. Research Your Competitors

The easiest way to find effective keywords is to do a competitor analysis. Using keyword tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush, run a competitor analysis to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for. You can then optimize your strategy to compete for these terms. 

3. Optimize Google My Business Page

Without an optimized Google My Business Page, you won’t show up in the local pack. It’s free to set up a Google My Business Page, and it will significantly boost your local SEO efforts. 

Make sure to fill out all the information, including your business name, address, opening hours, and contact information. You can then add pictures, updates, and even a website if you need one. 

If you’re unsure how to set up your Google My Business Page, we have a full guide here

4. Invite Users to Leave Online Reviews

Google reviews are a ranking factor for local SEO, so the more positive reviews you can get, the better. But the trick is to get five-star reviews – even four stars can drag down your rating and send you to the bottom of the local pack. 

Reach out to previous clients and ask them to leave a five-star review on your page. You’re aiming to get more positive reviews than your direct competitors. 

Not only do they help boost your local SEO, but they also build trust and credibility with local customers, which will help you get more leads. 

5. Check All the On-Page SEO Boxes

It’s not enough to rely on your business being local to show up in local searches; you also need a well-optimized landing page to hit all of Google’s normal ranking factors. Here’s you’re on-page SEO checklist:

  • Optimize title tags with keywords (don’t keyword stuff). 
  • Write the title as an H1 tag and use keywords naturally where possible.
  • Include keywords in the URL slug. 
  • Write high-quality content optimized for readers, not search engines. 
  • Improve internal navigation with in-content links. 
  • Ensure you have a good page loading speed. 
  • Make your page mobile-friendly. 
  • Include high-quality, shareable graphics with optimized ALT tags. 

6. Build Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the most effective ways to boost your SEO. If you can get links on high-quality publications, your domain authority will increase, and your page will be seen as more trustworthy by Google, meaning you’ll show up in more searches. 

Of course, building local backlinks is also one of the toughest SEO strategies, which is why it’s so valuable. At Linkifi, we specialize in creating powerful digital PR campaigns that get you backlinks on the top publications on the internet. 

If local SEO is your goal, we can help you secure local publications that get your business in front of local audiences fast. Speak to our team today to find out more

Local SEO FAQs

What is the difference between local SEO and regular SEO?

When someone makes a search query on Google, the algorithm looks for whether a local search or a worldwide one is more appropriate. If you need a local business (restaurant, real estate agent, barber, etc.), Google’s dedicated algorithm will present the best local businesses based on search terms, location, and prominence. For general inquiries, location doesn’t factor in as significantly, so Google will present websites from anywhere in the world based on its general SEO ranking factors. 

How effective is local SEO?

Local SEO is incredibly effective for any business with a physical location. 98% of consumers use Google to search for local businesses, and around 28% of local searches result in a sale. 

Final Thoughts on Local SEO

If you own a local business and you don’t have a local SEO strategy, now is the time to create one. By following the six best practices in this guide, you can boost local traffic, build trust with local customers, and become the leading business in your area. 

Out of all the local SEO strategies, digital PR is one of the most effective. Head to our digital PR guide to learn more about this strategy and read some inspirational case studies from our previous clients!

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