BEST LOCAL SEO GUIDE

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Brick-and-mortar businesses wanting to win against competitors should make sure all the local signals across Google’s local search landscape are consistent and correct.

Search Engine Journal’s ebook, A Guide to Local SEO, tackles what you need to know about optimizing for local search.

Optimizing for local search is important, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses serving specific towns, cities, regions, and even states.

Read A Guide to Local SEO to learn:

Customers are searching for the best products and services near them – and they want answers… fast.

Content, on-page optimizations, and link building all with a focused, localized intent are part of these efforts.

Local search engine optimization is a branch of SEO that focuses on optimizing a website to be found in local search results.

Will your business show up at the exact time when local customers are looking? Will they pick you out of all the local businesses that offer the same products and services?

If you want to have a solid foundation on local search engine optimization, make sure to read SEJ’s A Guide to Local SEO.

Local search engine optimization requires a strategic and targeted approach that is distinct from general SEO.

We created this comprehensive guide to help local SEO professionals gain a better understanding of today’s local search landscape.

What is local SEO?

When done right, local SEO allows people to find information about your business quickly and easily, putting them one step closer to a transaction.

Why is local SEO important?

You can see that some US states search for lawyers over attorneys and others search for attorneys over lawyers. Using the location-appropriate keyword on your website is bound to give you some advantage in search.

We’ve already discussed two main sources of NAP information: structured data on your own website and your GMB listing. These two are huge. But there might be other directories relevant to your location. It could be huge platforms, like Yelp, Yellow Pages, or Tripadvisor, or it could be local directories serving your specific area, like a city-wide review platform or an aggregate marketplace.

If you are using a CMS, you might have certain types of structured data implemented by default or you might have an easier time implementing structured data with a plugin. Although it’s best to avoid plugins where you can — each of them is a drain on your page speed.

Apply structured data.

Another Rank Tracker keyword research method that might be useful is the Keyword Gap tool. If you know of other local websites that are successful in your niche, you can compare them to your own website and see which keywords you are missing:

Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) refers to your key business information. Basically, the more often these details are listed across the web, the more confident Google is about your business.

If you serve two or more distinct areas, consider creating a separate landing page for each area. It might be different neighborhoods, cities, states, or even countries.

Link-building is obviously a huge topic in SEO, and I don’t need to tell you to always build more. But I’m obliged to mention that for a local business at least a portion of your backlinks has to come from local websites.

Once you’ve tagged all of the essential information, you can download the markup code and add it to the code on your website.

In the screenshot above, I’ve used Google Autocomplete, Related Searches, and Related Questions research methods to find keywords related to los angeles plumber . I’ve discovered that other popular queries mention specific neighborhoods, like east los angeles plumber, west los angeles plumber, and woodland hills plumber, specific plumbing jobs, like hydro jetting , water filtration systems , and toilet repair , and cost queries, like how much does a plumber charge in la . All of these are great keyword ideas to be used on my local website.

Build local backlinks.

Feel free to add as many locations as you want. This is especially useful for those websites that serve several distinct areas and have corresponding landing pages.

Give this location a short name that will be displayed across Rank Tracker workspaces and click OK . Now you will be able to add this location to your rank tracking dashboard:

To create a listing, go to the GMB page and follow the directions from there. It is possible that Google already knows about your business and has created a listing for you. In this case, just google your business by name and claim it by clicking the Own this business? button in the listing.

Google My Business is a business directory to end all business directories. When you create a profile in GMB, the information from this profile feeds directly into Google index and makes you eligible for the coveted local pack placement:

Claim your GMB listing.

You could also send a follow-up email, attach a card to the delivery, or even ask your clients in person. If you want a more aggressive strategy, you can even offer small bonuses to all customers who have reviewed your business.

Or your case could be a little less glamorous. Say you are a caterer based out of a small town, but you serve a few nearby towns as well. Or you are an e-commerce website doing deliveries to certain locations. Or a plumber from a certain part of the city, but willing to travel to other parts of the city. All of these are good cases to create location-specific landing pages.

And then, you can simply highlight the elements on the page and choose what they are:

The best way to find local backlink prospects is to spy on your local competitors. To do that, launch SEO SpyGlass, go to Domain Comparison > Link Intersection , and enter a few of your competitors:

Structured data is a special markup that helps Google interpret your content. It’s basically a system of tags that you can use to tell Google what’s what on your page. For example, if you are posting a recipe, you can tag each ingredient, cooking time, calorie count, the number of portions, and so forth. Google will then be able to find this information on your page and use it to create rich snippets, like so:

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