We’ve all had those days where we got home from a long day at work with no motivation to cook dinner. Instead, we simply picked up our smartphone and searched, “best pizza near me.” Here’s where local SEO plays a big part in your business ranking for specific keyword phases.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation like this, you most likely clicked on one of the top seven search results to find an answer to your query. In fact, according to research, position one of local search rankings receives 23.81 percent of all clicks, while every local ranking past position seven receives fewer than 2 percent. That’s because results toward the top of the SERP are most relevant.

Why is this important? Because if you’re a local business owner, you want to appear toward the top of local search rankings to receive more organic traffic and potential sales. To achieve this, you need to focus on local SEO. Whether you own a local plumbing business, restaurant, or nail salon, refer to  this guide on the four things you need to know about local SEO to become the winner of the SERP.

What is Local SEO?

Before we dive into the four things you need to know about local SEO, it’s important you know exactly what local SEO is. Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a component of digital marketing where the main goal is to increase online visibility of a website to gain new customers through organic results.

Local SEO Tips

Organic search results, also called unpaid or earned results, are the page listings you see underneath paid listings, which often say, “Ad” next to them. Ranking high for organic search results on search engines is important because it means your page listing is relevant to the user’s search query, which search engines like.

While there are many search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, it’s best to focus on Google. That’s because Google has a whopping 92 percent of the search engine market share. While it’s essential to optimize for other search engines, starting off with Google will yield the best results.

Promoting your products or services to customers at the exact time they need it can be done through a variety of local SEO tactics. Keep reading to find out which methods you should implement to be seen by consumers in your area.

1. Focus on Optimizing Your Content

Content is king when it comes to local SEO. When you write content, whether product pages for the items you sell or articles written for your blog, it’s important you optimize your content with appropriate keywords, title tags, headers, URL, and your meta description. Optimizing these components of your content will tell Google what your page is about and whether it’s relevant to a user’s query. Here’s the importance of each element:

  • Keywords define your content. Relevant keywords will tell Google what you’re trying to rank for and will attract organic traffic to your page if optimized correctly.
  • Title tags are the clickable headline for a result on a SERP. The title tag should always include the keyword you’re trying to rank for, such as “electrician.” Your title tag also tells Google what exactly your page is about.
  • Headers make it easy for readers to follow along as they read your copy. This creates a better user experience, which is a ranking factor for Google. Heading and subheading tags make it easy for search engines to crawl your content, look for structural issues, and understand your content.
  • The URLs to the pages on your site should also be optimized in order for Google crawlers to understand what your pages are about. The URL structure to each page should be concise, contain relevant keywords, and contribute to your site’s hierarchy.
  • Meta descriptions are the snippets, usually 155 characters long, that summarize a page’s content and appear under the header on the SERP. Crafting an optimized meta description with appropriate keywords can boost click through rate and improve on-page SEO.

2. Claim Your Google My Business Listing

Claiming your Google My Business listing is crucial when it comes to improving local SEO. GMB boosts the visibility of your website and is a top-ranking factor for the Google Snack Pack box, which is the boxed area that first shows up on Google when a local online search is conducted. The Snack Pack box usually contains the top three local business listings that Google deems most relevant.

As you can see here from this Snack Pack box, when searching for a “moving company” in Clemson, South Carolina, Undergrads Moving, along with 2 other relevant companies are listed. It’s clear that Undergrads Moving claimed their Google+ MyBusiness page and filled out all the required information in order to optimize it to be found by searchers.

Google My Business

Claiming your GMB listing is free and can help you boost your online presence. All you have to do is:

  • Create a new business or claim an existing one
  • Type in your address and claim your exact location
  • Choose a business category
  • Enter your company’s phone number and website
  • Verify your listing
  • Upload photos, your store hours, and a description.

Performing these steps will significantly enhance your local SEO and bring in more organic traffic. This is because 86 percent of users look up the location of a business by using Google Maps, while 72 percent of users who conduct a local search choose a business that’s within five miles of their location.

3. Improve Mobile UX

Let’s face it—we’ve all clicked on a website that took far too long to load. When this happens, we quickly hit the back button and go to another site in hopes of finding an immediate answer. This can lead to a major loss of sales. In fact, a page that takes 1 to 3 seconds to load has an increased bounce rate of 32 percent, while a page that takes 1 to 10 seconds to load has an increased bounce rate of 123 percent.

Improve Mobile UX

Because most local searches are conducted on mobile devices, it’s important your user experience is second to none. Mobile-first indexing is one of the latest SEO trends this year, so creating a mobile-pleasant website will keep Google happy. Along with improving your site speed, you can improve your mobile UX by:

  • Adding directions
  • Including contact information and a clickable phone number
  • A clean and minimalistic design
  • Use only a few font sizes and larger text for easier reading
  • Put larger spaces between buttons for easier clickability
  • Make it easy for users to search with multiple search options

With improved mobile user experience and mobile interface, customers will stay on your page longer and be more inclined to take action or make a purchase.

4. Start a Link Building Campaign

When it comes to SEO, there are two types of links you should be aware of: internal links and external links. Internal links are hyperlinks on a webpage that go from one page to another. Improving your internal link structure will enhance website navigation, create a hierarchy of pages, and place page authority on each page. Improving your internal linking structure will help Google understand your website and give more authority to more valuable pages, such as your domain.

However, you also want to focus on external links. External links, or outbound links, are hyperlinks that point to another domain. So, if another website links to your website, you’ll have an external link to your site. Why is this important? Because the more external links you have from credible sources, the more trustworthy Google deems your site.

To earn more external links, you can start your own link building campaign. To achieve backlinks, write content, such as a blog post or longform article, and include a link to your site attached to a keyword, such as “bakery.” Once you’ve written an optimized article, determine outreach targets who may be interested in posting your article. Reach out to these websites via email and see who accepts first. Writing guest posts for other websites is a great way to earn external links.

Other link building strategies include creating shareable content such as infographics, graphs, and charts, looking for broken links on other websites and asking them to replace them with your own links, or searching for websites that mentioned your business but didn’t link to your website and ask them to do so.

Final thoughts

Local SEO can help you outrank competitors in your area, increase your brand visibility, and grow your small business. With this guide on what you need to know about local SEO, you’ll be on your way to climbing the SERP and converting organic traffic into lifelong customers.


Advanced Web Ranking | StatCounter | GO-Globe | WordStream | Google/SOASTA Research, 2017

Author Bio

Spencer Johnson is a content writer from San Diego, CA currently writing for 365businesstips.com. With a Bachelor’s of Art in Secondary Education and History and a Master’s of Art in Educational Psychology, Spencer has a passion for educating readers on a variety of topics. He has over a year of experience in the content marketing industry and enjoys writing about business, education, wellness, technology, finance, marketing, and tourism.


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