For businesses trying to drive more traffic and sales online, optimizing for local SEO should be a top priority. Ranking higher in local search results can connect you with customers actively looking for your products and services in your geographic area.
This comprehensive guide will explore local SEO strategies and best practices to get your website found by nearby prospects and convert them into paying customers.
Follow these tips to maximize your visibility and boost conversions when people search for businesses like yours in your city and neighborhood.
Why Local SEO Matters
Here are some key reasons local SEO is critical for driving qualified traffic and sales:
- Reach local searchers – 50% of searches have local intent. Local SEO helps you connect with prospects in your city.
- Drive foot traffic – Ranking in the map pack can lead to phone calls, directions requests and physical store visits.
- Build local authority – Prominent placement establishes you as a trusted provider in your community.
- Beat competitors – Dominating the map pack pushes other local businesses down in the results.
- Capitalize on voice search – Local SEO also optimizes visibility for voice results on phones and smart speakers.
- Adapting to mobile – 70%+ of local searches now happen on smartphones. Local SEO is key to being found on mobile.
For any business with a physical location, targeting local keywords should be central to your digital marketing approach.
Key Local SEO Ranking Factors
Google uses multiple signals to determine which businesses rank for local searches and appear in the map pack.
Some of the key local SEO ranking factors include:
- Physical proximity – Businesses located closer to the searcher are weighted higher.
- Local relevance – How closely a business matches the searcher’s query and intent.
- Prominence – The overall visibility and reputation of the business online and offline.
- Google My Business – A complete, optimized GMB listing is foundational.
- Positive local signals – Reviews, links, citations from local directories and niche sites.
- On-page optimization – Locale-targeted pages with city and region keywords.
- Mobile optimization – A fast mobile site and local pages.
UI/UX – Easy contact forms, direction links, and clear calls-to-action.
Optimizing each of these critical elements builds local SEO authority.
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
The first step to ranking well locally is completing and verifying your Google My Business profile. This serves as the backbone of local SEO.
Fully optimize your GMB listing:
- Correct business name, address and phone number
- Precise map pin placement
- Response to reviews turned on
- Up-to-date hours marked open/closed
- Informative business description
Upload photos, create posts, add products and services, run promotions and leverage all GMB features to establish local relevancy signals.
Target Keyword-Optimized Landing Pages
To attract local searchers, create dedicated landing pages optimized around geo-targeted keywords like:
Have pages specifically targeting neighborhoods and areas within your city. Make content ultra-relevant for locals.
Build Local Links and Citations
Earn high-quality links from local sites related to your business and location like:
- Local newspaper and magazine sites
- City guides, blogs and niche sites
- Local chambers of commerce and business associations
- Relevant local events/orgs (niche specific)
- Local sponsorship pages and sports team sites
Create and verify citations on directories like Yelp and Foursquare with your NAP consistently listed. Cite local resources when linking out.
Optimize Content for Local Intent
Craft blog posts around topics involving your city and region. Mention nearby landmarks, neighborhoods and competitors.
Have author bios mention what part of town they live in. Quote and link to local personalities and influencers. Showcase involvement with local causes and events.
Get Customer Reviews
Positive online customer reviews are a significant local ranking factor. Prompt happy clients to leave 5-star reviews on Google, Facebook and other platforms.
Respond professionally to any negative reviews. Focus on getting more satisfied customers to share their experiences over time.
List Your Business Locally
Register your business name, address and phone number consistently across platforms where locals search:
- Local events calendars
- Relevant local apps and delivery services
- Local chambers and business associations
Ensuring your NAP details are correct reinforces your local authority.
Optimizing for Voice Search
More local searches now happen via voice. Optimize for voice results by targeting long-tail keyword questions like:
“Where is the closest coffee shop open now?”
“What’s the best burger place downtown?”
“Find a highly rated Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn”
Ranking in voice search results can help drive foot traffic from mobile users. Speak conversationally.
Local SEO presents a huge customer acquisition opportunity for businesses trying to connect with nearby prospects looking for your products and services.
Consistently executing an optimized local SEO strategy helps establish your brand as a prominent authority site searchers can trust.
To rapidly grow your local visibility and leads, leverage the steps outlined in this guide. Or check out our complete Local SEO Playbook here [link].
What local SEO tips have worked for your business? Share your thoughts in the comments!