6 Local SEO Tips To Improve Your Local Rankings [Infographic]

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From small businesses to larger enterprises, you need local SEO if you own a brick-and-mortar or online local business. Though local SEO (search engine optimization) is a long-term strategy that takes time to grow, you can do a few things right now to reach your target audience. Let’s explore why local SEO is different from global SEO.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO represents the optimization of webpages for geographic-based searches and is a crucial part of a local digital marketing strategy. This type of optimization focuses on improving your business visibility in local search results, such as Google’s Map Pack, also called the Local Pack. In addition, organic searches for keyword terms related to location can also position your business in the top rankings, providing you with another opportunity to be seen by your target audience through online searches. 

Why is Local SEO Important? 

Ensuring people in your community are aware of your business is one of the most important things you can do to improve your company’s digital visibility. Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar location or maintain a local service area, here are a few stats to consider when investing in local SEO services. 

  • Close to 46% of all searches include a location such as a city, state, or “near me.”
  • About 97% of people using search engines look for local businesses.
  • 40% of small businesses outsource all or some of their local SEO operations. You don’t have to be an expert in marketing!
  • Reviews account for 15% of the local SEO pack rank, also known as Google Business Profile and Google Maps listings.
  • Around 76% of consumers use voice search to look for local businesses once a week or more.
  • 28% of local searches result in a purchase.
  • Approximately 78% of mobile local searches prompt an offline purchase.


What Does a Local Search Look Like?

Google understands that people want to find relevant, local information quickly and efficiently. The search algorithms are tailored specifically for local business ranking to accommodate these needs. According to Google, the three main categories determining local rankings are relevance, distance, and prominence. All three factors combined help form a complex algorithm that ensures quality search results for local businesses are delivered every time.

1. Proximity: Distance comes into play when determining if the results match a person’s geographical area. Locations are often ranked nearest to furthest depending on the searcher’s current location. This is especially helpful with mobile searches.

2. Relevance: Relevance is a key factor in deciding how well a local Business Profile matches what a person is searching for. To appear in search rankings as a relevant option, a business’s profile must use accurate keywords and location information to provide customers with the most useful results possible. For example, a plumbing company should categorize itself as a plumber.

3. Prominence: Prominence focuses on how well-known a business is outside its website by evaluating online citations such as positive reviews or social media presence.

Keep reading to learn six local SEO tips that will help improve your local search rankings. 

6 Local SEO Tips to Improve Your Local Rankings

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6  Local SEO Tips 

1. Claim, Set up, Verify, and Optimize Your Google Business Profile

A Google Business listing, formerly Google My Business, is an absolute must for all local businesses, whether you have a physical location or not. Before setting up a new profile, it’s crucial to ensure you don’t already have one created by another member of your business or auto-generated by Google. 

An easy way to check if you already have a profile is to search for your business on Google Maps, which is connected to Google Business. If you locate an existing profile for your business, claim it so you can own it and modify its information to ensure accuracy. 

If you cannot find an existing profile, it’s easy to create a new one. Follow the steps provided by Google to complete the setup.

Claiming an existing business profile or setting up a new one will require verification. Verifying your Google Business Profile proves to Google you are a legitimate business owner. Once you’ve confirmed your listing, you can update your business name and other information on Google.

There are several Google Business verification methods, depending on various factors, including profile age and any recent changes to business information (such as the address). The time required to verify your listing will depend on the method used.

Once your Google Business Profile is set up and verified, you can optimize it. To learn how to fully optimize your Google Business Profile, view our Local SEO guide here

Over the last few years, voice search has grown rapidly. It’s crucial to optimize your site for how users ask questions when speaking into mobile search versus typing their questions into search engines. 

Consider integrating common FAQs that voice searchers may ask about your website, including questions like:

  • Where is your business located?
  • What areas does your business provide service? 
  • What products or services does your business offer?
  • What are your business hours? 
  • Is your business open on holidays? 

3. Collect Positive Reviews 

Consider how often you rely on customer reviews to guide your purchasing decisions as a user.

Online reviews are paramount for local SEO. Not only are they a local ranking factor, but they help your business stand out against the competition. Likewise, they signal to search engines that your business is trustworthy and authoritative. 

Collecting reviews is easy. Simply ask your happy customers to provide feedback on sources like Google Business. You can even add a link to do so on your website.

Be sure to respond to all reviews, letting your customers know you appreciate their feedback.

Don’t let the possibility of receiving negative reviews deter you from asking your customers to leave feedback. If you receive a bad review, do whatever you can to make things right with that customer. 

Consider these stats:

  • 95% of customers read online reviews before buying a product
  • 89% of consumers make an effort to read reviews before buying products online
  • 49% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendation


4. Improve Your NAP Consistency 

To make it easy for people and search engines to find your business, you must ensure you have a consistent NAP (name, physical address, and phone number) across all platforms, including your website. 

Your NAP details should read exactly the same on all platforms. If your business name includes LLC, Inc., etc, this needs to be included everywhere your business is listed online. If your listing details change, such as your address or phone number, you must update this information across all platforms. Consistency is absolutely vital here. 

5. Utilize Local Directories 

Local directories and citation building are highly effective ways to ensure you’ve optimized your website for local SEO.

Many business directory sites are available for you to list your business for free, like Yellow Pages, Manta, and more. While adding your business to as many directories as possible can be time-consuming on your own, a variety of local SEO tools can help speed up this process. We recommend Moz Local

As you must have a consistent NAP, your business information must be the same across all platforms, including local directory listings.

6. Add Hyperlocal Content to Your Website

Incorporating hyperlocal content is one of the most important steps when optimizing your website for local search. Leveraging local keywords that include geographic identifiers such as “dentist in [CITY, STATE]” can increase visibility and ranking of your website in search engine results specific to your area, which can be particularly helpful when someone searches for businesses near them with terms like “dentist near me.” This type of local-focused content built into your website copy significantly impacts local SEO and should not be overlooked when crafting strategies for online visibility.

Partnering with a Local SEO Agency 

While there are a lot of great Local SEO tips you can implement on your own, the best way to set your local business up for success is by working with a seasoned local SEO agency.

SMA Marketing is a local SEO agency that knows what it takes to grow your organic traffic. Our team has helped dozens of local businesses get found by potential customers looking for their products and services. If you are ready to help your local business stand out and give your SEO strategy the boost it needs, contact us today!

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