What Is Local SEO? Your Guide to Boosting Visibility

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a critical part of online marketing since the earliest days of the Internet. That hasn’t changed, although the techniques used to generate online visibility have evolved greatly.

Once upon a time, the goal was to cast the widest net possible. The more traffic you bring to your website, the better. Today, that’s not the case. It’s all about capturing hyper-targeted traffic, and if you’re a local business owner, that means getting your business name in front of people who live, work, and shop in your geographic area.

What I’m talking about is local SEO, and if it’s not part of your marketing toolbox, you’re probably not seeing the success that you should. What is local SEO, though? How does it work? What should business owners know about it? I’ll answer those questions and more in this post.

What Is Local SEO?

Simply put, local SEO is the art of boosting your visibility to local customers searching for products or services like those you carry. Local SEO is the process of improving search engine visibility for local businesses, primarily those with brick-and-mortar locations. 

By following local SEO best practices, businesses can improve organic traffic from searches performed by customers in nearby areas.

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Why Local SEO is Important

Let’s address a major question before I get too far into the discussion. 

Does local SEO truly matter to your success? Yes, it does. 

If you try to market a local business without geographic-specific keywords, you quickly find that you’re competing with businesses worldwide, which does your local shop little good. To further drive home the point, consider these local SEO statistics:

  • 46% of all Google searches are for local information.
  • 87% of people searched for local businesses through Google in 2022.
  • 30% of all mobile searches are location-related.
  • 54% of smartphone users search for business hours, and 53% search for directions to local stores.
  • 72% of consumers who conducted a local search visited a store within 5 miles.

As you can see, local SEO is critical to your ability to reach potential customers in your local area. But what should you know about it?

The Core Components of Local SEO

While SEO is a vast topic, local search can be broken down into a few core components that add up to better visibility and expanded reach with the people who matter most to your business. The components you need to know include the following:

  • Claim your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). Make sure to fill out the profile completely, including business hours, address, contact information, etc. It’s important to ensure NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency across all online listings, too, or you’ll get mixed results from a Google search.
  • Optimize your website with geographic terms and accurate keywords, and include your address and phone number. Create great content that answers your customers’ questions and includes relevant keywords and geographic terms. That content can include blog posts, articles, case studies, product descriptions, and so much more.
  • Pay attention to customer reviews across the Internet. That includes Google reviews, Yelp reviews, and those on other platforms. Almost all consumers read customer reviews before buying from a local business, and this is one of the most critical steps.
  • Handle any duplicate business listings. That can mean different things depending on the listing. For instance, if the listing is outdated and cannot be updated with current information, try to remove it. If the listing can be updated, then do so and make sure to use the correct NAP information, as well as your geo and search-related keywords.
  • Get active on social media. Create accounts on Facebook and other social networks that your customers use. Your business name, logo, and contact information should be the same as on your website and your Google profile. Then get active. Make organic posts, build your audience, and engage with your followers and fans.

Mistakes to Avoid with Local SEO

Making the most of local search is imperative, but mistakes can derail your success and give the edge to your competition. Here are some of the most important mistakes to avoid:

  • Using non-localized keywords – Always take the opportunity to create localized versions of your primary keywords and use them where they make the most sense. However, don’t overoptimize your content either because that will backfire. Google hates keyword spam (and you should, too).
  • Failure to put customer reviews front and center – Your customers want to know what others think of your business. Collect genuine customer reviews and showcase them on your website.
  • Ignoring negative reviews – Every business will receive at least a few negative reviews. Don’t ignore them. Reach out to the customer and find out what you can do to make things right. They might just take their review down or change it to a positive one.
  • Not including contact information on your website – Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes a business look less legitimate than not having contact information on your website. If you run a local business, include your phone number, email address, and mailing/street address.
  • Not having location pages – If your business has more than one physical location, each location should have its own page within your larger website. This helps consumers and Google differentiate between the two and lends weight to your online presence. Each page should have relevant contact information (don’t use the same phone number and address for business locations in different areas).

How to Measure SEO Success

Measuring local SEO success is not merely an option; it’s an absolute necessity. It’s not about throwing darts at the way, it’s about understanding the data to steer your digital ship in the right direction.

You should keep a close eye on the following KPIs or Key Performance Indicators:

  • Start monitoring your website traffic. It’s your digital foot traffic. Know where and when visitors are coming from and engaging with.
  • Track your SEO keywords. They reveal the effectiveness of your content.
  • Customer reviews and rating, especially on Google Business Profile, are the pulse of your local SEO health. Positive reviews and a stellar rating often translate to greater local visibility and trust among potential customers.

These KPIs are your compass to help you fine-tune your strategy. 

What My Local SEO Strategy Would Look Like

In the world of SEO, speed is the name of the game. Firstly, I’d rev up your website’s loading time.

If it’s crawling like a snail and driving visitors away, you might as well kiss your local SEO dreams goodbye. Take a page from Google and run a PageSpeed Test right now. Once you’ve seen the issues, make those adjustments and move on to your GBP.

Your business’s name, address and phone number need to be accurate down to the last digit. It’s your digital business card, and you cannot afford any typos. 

Once your Google Business Profile is dialed in, start pumping out content on this platform, and I mean at least three times a week. The secret to GBP is to sprinkle those keywords in every post that leads visitors back to your site.

Next, uncover the keywords that will make your website a local legend. Optimize your content with these keywords and start creating content your audience can’t resist.

The last step is to unleash the social media beast. Post at least three times a week. Sprinkle in related articles, don’t just post about you all the time.

And pick the social networks that are tailor-made for your business. Don’t spread yourself too think being everywhere for everyone. Focus your firepower on the ones that give you the most bang for your buck. 

It’s Time to Conquer SEO

Local search is the key to ensuring your business shows up in the SERPs for customers in your local area. It’s a powerful tool that can yield major results. However, it’s also important to avoid critical missteps that can reduce your visibility and traction. I understand how important local SEO is for businesses like yours, as well as the essential best practices to make the most of it while avoiding key mistakes.

Contact me to learn how I can help you build a thriving business and conquer local search.

Questions About Local SEO?

Local SEO is the neighborhood superhero of digital marketing. It's the art of optimizing your online presence to dominate your local market. Think about it: when someone Googles a service, say a coffee shop, they're likely looking for options nearby. Local SEO ensures you're the first choice that pops up.

By tailoring your online strategy to your immediate geographic area, you become the go-to for locals seeking your services.

  1. First up, I optimize your website – fine-tuning it to scream local relevance with location-specific keywords, content, and metadata.
  2. Then, there's Google Business Profile – your local storefront on the digital street. Optimize it with accurate info, killer photos, and glowing reviews.
  3. Lastly, local citations – these are online mentions of your business that Google uses to verify your legitimacy. Consistency is key here.

Any business aiming to conquer its local market needs the prowess of local SEO. It's not just for the mom-and-pop shops; it's for everyone in the game. Whether you're a trendy coffee shop, a law firm, a boutique gym, or a service provider, local SEO is your secret weapon.

Local SEO isn't a luxury; it's a necessity for any business wanting to dominate its neighborhood and turn online searches into real, local customers.

Picture of Jonathan @Neur

Jonathan @Neur

After nearly two decades in the world of web design and development, I've raced head first into the thrilling realm of local SEO. My passion is ignited by the fusion of strategic finesse and creative flair.

But here's the kicker – your website isn't just another project to me. I'm fully vested, treating it with the same dedication as if it were my own.

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