Ultimate Guide on Mastering local SEO

Having an online presence has now become one of the pre-requisites of running a local business. Before buying from local brick and mortar businesses, people look for products, services, and recommendations online.

By Chris Porteous
#1

What is Local SEO?

#2

Local SEO Ranking Factors 2020

#3

Content Marketing for Local SEO

#4

How to Get Local Backlinks?

#5

How to Get Reviews for Your Local Business?

#6

NAP Consistency - How to Build Accurate Citations for Local SEO

#7

Optimizing Your Google My Business Profile

#8

Enterprise Local SEO: A Quick Guide

#9

Local SEO Tools: How to Choose the Best Ones for Your Local Business

#10

Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses

Introduction

Having an online presence has now become one of the pre-requisites of running a local business. Before buying from local brick and mortar businesses, people look for products, services, and recommendations online.

If you’re not doing local SEO, your business stands to lose out to competitors who understand the importance of this essential online marketing strategy.

Local SEO is a strategic approach to helping your business get in front of a local buyer looking for a solution online.

This ebook will help you learn how to execute local SEO and get your business to feature among the top of Google’s search engine results.

This guide will give you a complete know-how of building an impeccable reputation and online presence that fetches repeat customers for your business.

Learn the basics of Local SEO, it’s benefits, and core elements. Get an understanding of Google’s search ranking factors. What makes and breaks the deal for your business website in the local search arena.

Find out why and how you need to build backlinks for your local business. Understand how to build a local brand through community participation and event sponsorships. Get to know how online reviews work and how to get those excellent reviews and ratings on your online business profiles.

Learn about the best SEO tools and how they can make your life simpler, get you higher rankings, and qualified leads.

Know about the local SEO best practices for multi-location businesses and large enterprises. Get tips on how to get off the ground with your social media marketing efforts. Learn how social media marketing is good for local branding and local SEO.

Are you looking to master local SEO and make your local business stand out? Do read this comprehensive local SEO guide from My SEO Sucks.

If you’re running a business that caters to a local audience, local SEO might be the best way to market your products and services. For those who’re new to the concept, here is a simple definition of local SEO marketing:

Local SEO is an online marketing technique that helps your website to rank for location-specific Google search queries. The optimization technique helps local and multiple location businesses to reach out to prospective customers in their business location.

Local SEO helps you attract new business from local searches on search engines such as Google, Bing, Apple, and Maps.

Benefits of Local SEO

Whether you own a restaurant or a salon or fashion store, local SEO helps you generate leads for a business. Here are some interesting statistics about local SEO:

46%of all Google searches are local.

28%of local searches result in a purchase

70%of consumers will visit a store because of information found online.

97%of consumers search online for a local business.

Every month, Internet users visit

1.5 BILLION

locations related to their Google searches.

  1. Improve your business’s visibility by getting on top of Google’s local search results.
  2. As more people click on your search listing, you get more website traffic, leads, and sales.
  3. Enhance your business’s visibility in Google Maps.
  4. Build an impeccable online reputation—vital to generate long-term sales and revenue.
  5. Stay ahead of the competition by conquering this critical online marketing channel.

What Kind of Businesses Need Local SEO?

While local SEO is a powerful online marketing channel, it works for specific business types only. The nature and structure of every business are different. For instance, a SaaS company selling software may not need to focus on local SEO—they would look to target search terms on a national or international level.

But it’s not the same for small businesses targeting customers for a specific city such as Houston or New York or Ottawa. Let’s look at business types that need local SEO:

Law Firms

Most people who’re looking for legal help, start with a simple online search. Plus, a large percentage of new queries for law firms come from online searches. If you have a law firm or you’re an independent attorney, local SEO is a great strategy to get leads.

You must have a local SEO optimized website and a Google My Business profile. You can target keywords based on your area of specialization. Take a look at these sample search terms:


  1. divorce attorney in florida
  2. real estate lawyer in philadelphia
  3. family lawyer in ottawa

If you type ‘real estate lawyer in philadelphia’ in the Google search bar, you’ll find that Harper J. Dimmerman’s website shows on top of the search results.

Plumbers and Plumbing Companies

As a plumbing business, you’re looking to target homes in your area, and hence local SEO is the best way to get in front of potential customers.

When they have a clogged dishwasher or a drainage pipe issue, people often type search queries like plumbers near me or plumbers in my area, to look for the right person to help.

Whether you’re an independent plumber or a plumbing company, local SEO is a great way to start building a connection with potential customers.


Medical Services

Doctors, medical practitioners, urgent care clinics, and healthcare service providers can benefit from local SEO. Your medical services business can rank for local search terms, but you have to do the groundwork first.

You need to get your website up and running, make it user-friendly, and start publishing content that helps your community.

Local Restaurants and Bars

Imagine yourself planning an outing with family or friends. You would look up Google for the ‘best places to eat’ in your area. Or check out Yelp reviews of popular local restaurants, right?

That’s what most people do, and that’s why local SEO is such a perfect strategy for restaurants and bars.

Search Engine Land reports that 72 percent of the consumers trust reviews as much as they do recommendations from friends and family.

List your restaurant in the best of directories, and work on getting incredible customer reviews—these are two essential local SEO strategies for your restaurant business.

Real Estate

The real estate needle may be slow to move, but things can be different with local SEO. As an agent, investor, or a broker, local SEO can help you promote yourself. As a real estate professional, the key for you is to target long-tail search terms by starting to focus on home buying in your closest neighbourhood. A hyper-local SEO strategy can help you lay the foundation for bigger goals and markets. Take a look at some of these narrow, long-tail search term examples:

  1. buy home in beverly hills
  2. homes for sale in brentwood los angeles
  3. house for sale in santa monica

Another way to rank for local searches is to list your business or property on prominent real estate directories such as Zillow and Trulia.

How to Do Local SEO?

Local SEO works like the usual search engine optimization. But in the case of local SEO, the focus is on a specific location. Getting your website to rank for local search terms involves a good deal of strategic effort. Let’s look at some of the critical elements of local search engine optimization:

  1. Content Marketing For Local SEO

  2. Prospective customers often use search queries to look for information that’s about a specific region. Create content that meets the informational needs of online searchers, and they’re likely to land on your website.

    You need to create content after doing thorough research on local search terms. Delve into the intent behind these keywords and create content that best meets the needs of your audience.

    Localized content speaks to a community of individuals who belong to a specific region. This type of content caters to local needs and finds its way into SERPs. Here are local content ideas that can fuel your local SEO strategy:

    Content related to local news stories and their impact. Industry content that’s unique to a location. A content piece that attracts local media attention. Content that answers location-specific queries. A story that covers a local event. Interviews of experts and community leaders from the said location.

    Content is an integral part of a robust local SEO strategy. You need to create and publish localized content with the intent of adding value to your target audience.

    Did you know?

    My SEO Sucks has helped 1,000s of brands scale up their content marketing strategy?

    Let us help you. Schedule a demo at myseosucks.com today.

  3. Local Backlinks

  4. Local backlinks help a site to achieve local relevance as opposed to site authority. A local link offers an opportunity to get a link to your site to reach a local audience. Studies reveal that local link-building is the most sought after SEO tactic by local SEO marketers. Here are some tasks that help you to get local backlinks for your site:

    1. Build a list of citations and correcting the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number).
    2. Create valuable local content and research that attracts links.

    Local backlinks play a vital role in helping you establish a substantial presence in SERPs for local search queries. The strategy helps earn rankings for geo-targeted search terms and a presence in Google’s local pack.

  5. Google My Business Optimization

  6. A Google My Business profile helps you list your business on the world’s largest search engine. Google My Business is a free service from Google—it allows you to create and manage your online presence. It lets you add essential business information, such as opening hours, category, address, and reviews.

    Since Google has over 90 percent of the world’s search engine market share, creating and optimizing your Google My Business profile is an essential local SEO strategy.


    Here are some ways in which a Google My Business profile can help you:

    1. Showcase accurate information about your business and make your search listing a lot more professional.
    2. Display photos of your office, team, products, and services.
    3. Get your customers to post reviews about your products and services.
    4. Run location-based ad campaigns while running Google PPC campaigns
  7. Customer Reviews

  8. Search Engine Land reports that 72 percent of the consumers trust reviews as much as they do recommendations from friends and family.

    As a local business, your primary target is Google’s local pack. The local pack shows the top three map-based results for any local search query.

    More and positive reviews on your business listings ensure you a place in Google’s local pack, which is the same as Google’s top local search results.

    Work hard on making your customers happy—get them to give you good reviews and ratings, and it will make a world of difference to your local SEO efforts.

  9. Website Optimization

  10. Optimizing your website for search and user experience is a core activity for local search engine optimization. You need to make sure that you’re optimizing your landing pages for local search terms.

    Optimized URLs, page titles, and meta-descriptions play a critical role in getting you more clicks on your website pages—a higher click-through rate gives a positive signal to search engines.

    Showcase local relevance by including your business’s NAP details as a crawlable HTML text on your site.


    To get local search rankings, create an impeccable experience for your visitors. Make it easy for visitors to navigate the site and find the relevant information. In short, have a robust internal linking structure that adds to website-usability and helps page-authority. A mobile-friendly website is necessary for local SEO success.


Chapter 2

Local SEO Ranking Factors 2020

Having an online presence has now become one of the pre-requisites.

Search engines, especially Google, make sure that users find the best information related to their search queries. Google’s complex algorithms filter out sites that don’t offer a relevant user-experience to online searchers. A set of ranking factors govern which site will get to the top listings in Google’s SERPs.

Being aware of local search ranking factors paves the way for small business owners like you to optimize your site for higher rankings. Let’s learn about some of the key local SEO signals that affect website rankings:

Distance

By their very nature, local search queries have local intent. Google ranks those businesses that are located nearest to the searcher’s physical location. The search engine checks for NAP citations to understand which company would best meet an online searcher’s current requirement.

Relevance

Google is looking to rank sites that are most relevant to a search query. For instance, if a user is looking for the nearest nike shoe store, the search results will showcase only those selling Nike products. Optimizing your website, GMB profile, and social media pages with the most relevant search terms is the best way to display relevance.

Prominence

There are quite a few parameters that measure a business’s prominence in a niche within a locality. If your company has excellent reviews, higher website authority and CTR, more social shares, higher user-engagement, it’s better off than its competitors. The bottom line is that you need to have a solid web presence—overtake your competitors, and Google will pay you in terms of higher local search rankings.

Entity Authority

“Entity Authority” is being seen as the key local SEO ranking factor for the year 2020:

How much do people know your business?

Let’s say your business is a part of many discussions on social media or local communities; those things add to your authority. An easy way to fetch more brand mentions is to produce audience-centric local content. Add value to the audience in your local area, and earn a good reputation for your business.

Business Engagement

Another key aspect of “Entity Authority” is business engagement. Are people saving your business’s contact information on their Android phones? Are they looking up for your business’s location in Google Maps? Google will be tracking user engagement data from Gmail, Google Chrome, Android, Google Maps, and Google. The search engines track if the audiences in a specific location love your business, and move it up in the search results.

Overall, local search rankings depend on the quality and worth of your products, services, and content.

Voice Search

More and more online searchers are using voice to perform a search.

More than 50% of search engine use to include a voice or image search by 2020.

A study by BrightLocal revealed that restaurants, grocery stores and food delivery are the top three local businesses that people search for using voice.


There were over a billion voice searches a month, as of January 2018, and 40% of those mobile searches had local intent.

Considering that many users have switched to voice-search, businesses need to optimize their web presence for conversational and voice search-terms.

Besides optimizing location-specific keywords, you need to focus on long-tail keywords. Voice queries are usually longer than text searches.


While the queries may be longer, you’ll benefit from offering your users concise answers to their voice-search questions.

Backlinko’s study says Google prefers short, concise answers to voice search queries. The typical voice search result is 29 words in length. Take a look at this example:


By optimizing for voice search, you’ll have a greater chance of showing up in Google’s featured lists such as Knowledge Graphs, Rich Answers, and Featured Snippets.

Voice searches are in vogue and form a large part of how local searchers find products, services, and information. That’s why voice SEO is a significant ranking factor in 2020 and the times to come.

Mobile Optimization

Nine out of ten smartphone users conduct local searches on their mobile devices. Since most online users and local searchers are mobile, a mobile-friendly website is an essential prerequisite for local search rankings.

Make sure that the user experience of your website is consistent across devices and browsers. Ensure that your website loads fast across mobile devices. 29 percent of smartphone users will switch to another site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs.

Tap into a searcher’s micro-moments and optimize content and experiences to meet prospect needs in the best way possible.


A local consumer is increasingly going mobile—for purposes like learning, buying, and visiting places. Mobile optimization is, therefore, a key local SEO ranking factor.

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