A Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO

Laptop Screen with SEO Concept.

What is Local SEO and Why It’s Important?

Local SEO is essential for businesses that operate in a specific geographic area and rely on local customers.

Optimizing a website for local queries, creating and configuring a Google My Business account, improving visibility on local directories and review websites, establishing local citations, and utilizing schema markup to assist search engines in recognizing the business’s location and service area are all common strategies used in local SEO.

local seo map

The goal of local SEO is to increase the visibility and prominence of a business in local search results, leading to more website traffic, phone calls, foot traffic, and ultimately, more sales and revenue.

Almost half of all searches on Google have local intent. 

If you’re a local business owner and haven’t optimized your website for local search, you could be missing out on a lot of business.

But how can you target local search results? 

Learn everything you need to know in this comprehensive guide to local SEO in 2023.

Why Is Local SEO Important?

local seo statistics

Four out of five consumers use google search to find local information. 

If your business isn’t optimized for local search, it could be missing out on 80 percent of potential customers.

It is indisputable that not tapping into 80% of potential customers is a huge missed opportunity.

If you haven’t taken steps to optimize your website for local searches, you could experience an increase in customers and profits.

How to Optimize Your GMB Listing

optimize gmb profile

Google continues to be the most prominent search engine, and their local search algorithm favors those businesses that are verified with the right information provided.

To verify your business, you need to create a Google My Business page.

Once your Google My Business page has been set up and authenticated, you want to make the most of it by updating your business description.

Start by updating your cover photo, add photos of the business and post to your GMB account regularly.

Encourage your customers to leave online reviews of your products or services.

Make an effort to respond to any reviews left on your Google My Business website

Highlight the location of the service or products to increase your SEO rankings.

For example, you might reach out and say, “thank you for reviewing the services used in (city, town).”

Including location in the customer’s review will help Google better understand where you’re located. 

In turn, your business will rank higher for relevant searches in those specific areas.

What Are NAP Citations?

nap citations semrush

NAP stands for “name, address, phone number.” NAP citations refer to where your company’s contact information is listed on external databases. 

Listings are important for local SEO because they help search engines understand the relevance and accuracy of a business’s information.

Some of the most popular places to find this contact information is:

  • Apple Maps
  • Google My Business
  • MapQuest
  • Yelp
  • Bing
  • Trip Advisor
  • Yahoo
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Facebook
  • FourSquare

Are NAP Citations Still Important?

Citations can help improve a business’s search rankings by providing search engines with consistent and accurate information about the business.

Improved search rankings

Business listings can help improve a business’s search rankings by providing search engines with consistent and accurate information about the business. Making search engines aware of the importance and trustworthiness of a business can result in better positioning for local phrases in search results.

Increased visibility

NAP citations can also help increase a business’s visibility in local search results. Having accurate and unified NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) details across multiple online services can help verify a company’s presence, which in turn will increase the likelihood of its appearance in local search results.

Trust and credibility

Consistent and accurate business listings can also help build trust and credibility with potential customers.

When a business’s NAP information is inconsistent or inaccurate, it can lead to confusion and mistrust, which can hurt the business’s reputation and ultimately, its revenue.

If there are inconsistencies in your NAP citations, it can cause ranking issues and can confuse potential customers.

The best way to ensure your number, address, and phone number are listed correctly is to do a manual check or you can use a service like Yext, BrightLocal, or SEMrush’s Listing Management Tool.

If you find that your listings are inconsistent, you can sign in to most of the individual sites and change them. In other cases, you have to report an error. 

Make sure you follow up on change reports by rechecking the listing after a few days.

Update Your Website to Be More Local SEO Friendly

There are many things you can do to make your website more SEO friendly

Many of these are the same as general search engine optimization or keyword research. The difference is you’ll target your efforts towards a specific location and primary category.

A few examples of ways you can update your website for local SEO purposes include:

  • Improve your internal link structure
  • Optimize your URLs and meta details (title tags, alt image tags, meta description)
  • Add location-specific pages for each of your physical locations
  • Ensure your website is optimized for use on mobile devices

If you update the information above, your website will be better optimized for local search.

Having a mobile-friendly website is especially important. 

Many people look for local information while on the go using their smartphones.

Create More Local Content

Google posts is one of the primary ways you can get people to your website. 

It allows you to offer valuable information your customers need. 

Each blog is also a new doorway into your website.

General topic blog posts are great. 

While you shouldn’t be doing away with those entirely, start focusing on producing local content also.

Local content might highlight nearby events or local-specific issues. 

You can even turn a general topic into a location-specific topic. For example, “Your Guide to Common Plumbing Issues” can become “Your Guide to Common Plumbing Issues in Tampa, Florida.”

A few topic ideas for local content include:

  • [general topic] in [city, state]
  • Highlighting a local event (especially one you sponsored or participated in)
  • Customer success stories
  • General information about your city, county, state (weather, attractions, history, etc.)

These are just a few ideas. Sit down and brainstorm a list of local SEO content topics

You’ll find there are a lot of local topics you could write about.

Create Inbound Links as a Sponsor

Local businesses can create valuable inbound links by sponsoring local events or meet-ups. 

As a sponsor, you can also make a difference in the community. 

Not only does it feel great to help others, but you’ll build an excellent online reputation at the same time.

The way this works for local SEO relies on sharing information. 

Other people will be sharing information about your event (including local news companies). 

Each share will create a valuable inbound link to your website.

Invest Time Into Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is another great way to create inbound links. 

It also allows you to set yourself up as an expert in your industry. 

Although it takes some planning, guest blogging is well worth the effort.

You start by finding websites that allow guest posts. 

These don’t have to be on the exact topics your industry revolves around. 

But, you should be able to connect a related topic to something the blog’s audience would be interested in.

Ensure you’re reading the guest blogging guidelines for each website. 

Sometimes you have to pitch a topic and get it approved. 

Other times, you’ll need to have the article written in advance to submit it for approval.

Each guest blog post you get approved will allow one internal link to a page on your website.

In rare instances, you’ll be allowed two internal links. 

Each of these inbound links will enable another door for website traffic to enter.

Is Local SEO Dead?

No, local SEO is not dead. In fact, it continues to be an essential component of a successful digital marketing strategy for businesses that rely on local customers.

Here are a few reasons why local SEO is still important:

Increased use of mobile devices:

With the increasing use of mobile devices, more and more people are searching for local businesses on their phones. Local SEO helps businesses reach these mobile users by optimizing their online presence for local searches.

Google Maps and Local Pack

Google continues to place a significant emphasis on local search, as evidenced by the Google Maps and Local Pack that appear at the top of many local search results.

Optimizing a business’s online presence for local search is essential for appearing in these prominent positions.

Competition

As more businesses move online, competition for local customers continues to grow. Local SEO can help businesses stand out from the competition and attract more local customers.

Voice search

With the rise of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, more and more people are using voice search to find local businesses. Optimizing a business’s online presence for local search is essential for appearing in voice search results.

By optimizing their online presence for local searches, businesses can reach more potential customers, improve their search rankings, and ultimately, increase their revenue.

With this high percentage, it’s obvious why local marketing is vital to your company’s success.

Our Local SEO guide will show you how to increase your reach to 80% of your intended audience through optimizing your website for SEO.

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