The Ultimate Guide for Enhancing Your Local SEO

marketer optimizing site for local seo

July 9, 2024

Local SEO is a mighty tool for smaller-sized businesses that want to attract high-intent qualified leads, especially if they need to target people in their city, state, or region. The goal of local SEO is to increase a local business’s ranking positions in search results for a particular location.
To simplify it, think of it like a laser beam focusing on a specific area rather than a flashlight spreading over a wide area. Like anything else related to SEO, it’s not an exact science since technology and user behavior evolve, but there are strategies that improve local SEO.
With our local SEO guide, you’ll be able to enhance your positions in local search results by following these seven simple actions. Let's jump in!

1. Set Up and Optimize Your Google Business Profile

One of the most important things you can do for local SEO is to claim your Google business profile. Not only does this establish your business’s presence on Google, but it’ll also allow your business to show up on Google Maps and appear in search results on all devices.
Your business may even appear in the sidebar space (known as a ‘local pack’) of a Google search, which is prime real estate.
Here are some tips to optimize your profile:
  • Verify your listing
  • Include detailed, accurate, and up-to-date information
  • Add your logo, hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, the product or service you sell, and quality images
  • Ask customers to leave a Google review
  • Respond quickly and sincerely to customer reviews and questions
  • Create posts of news, offers, and product details
  • Perform routine maintenance checks

2. Encourage Customers to Leave Online Reviews

If your business doesn’t have any reviews, then potential customers are going to be much more hesitant to buy from or hire you. According to BrightLocal's online review statistics, 98% of people at least ‘occasionally’ read online reviews for local businesses.
Additionally, review signals make up 17% of Google Local Pack ranking factors. The takeaway: online reviews are really important!
Don’t be aggressive or overly repetitive (i.e. annoying) when asking customers to leave online reviews but in a non-pressure way you can:
  • Politely ask for a review in person after a purchase or service is completed
  • Send a post-sale email or text asking customers to write a review (but you might want to screen them via an internal survey so you don’t approach dissatisfied customers)
  • Courteously respond to existing reviews by thanking the reviewer and addressing complaints in negative reviews
If you’re getting more neutral and negative reviews than positive, it’s a sign you should pay attention to and see if there’s something you need to fix with your business. Receiving criticism is uncomfortable but take it as an opportunity to evaluate your business and make any necessary changes.

3. Optimize Other Local Business Listings

Google isn’t the only place where you can have a business listing — Yelp, Bing, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, and other local business directories should also be considered since they can drive more potential customers to your website. Having multiple local business listings will increase your organic search traffic and qualified leads.
Wherever you have a local business listing, it should include:
  • Accurate business name, address, and phone number consistent across all directories
  • A backlink to your website
  • A description of your business
  • No misspellings
  • Avoid using abbreviations or anything confusing
Having consistent business information across all of your listings will ensure people don’t get confused because they’re unsure which one to trust.

4. Ensure a Mobile-Friendly Website

According to Statista, mobile internet traffic accounts for almost 60% of total web traffic. The growth of mobile usage underscores the critical importance of a mobile-friendly website for local SEO, as well as overall SEO.
Here are some ways to optimize your website for mobile:
  • Create an intuitive design for a better user experience
  • Reduce page load speeds (e.g. optimize images)
  • Make sure the copy is easy to read
  • Use images and copy wisely (there’s less space on mobile screens vs desktops)
  • Add social media share buttons to make it easier for users to share pages or blog posts
Given the variety of mobile devices these days, it’s essential to have a ‘responsive’ web design so your website renders well across devices and screen sizes. Use a mobile testing tool, like Google's new Lighthouse available in Chrome DevTools, or another to ensure your site is mobile-friendly.

5. Optimize Your Website Content for Local Keywords

Update your website content to include keywords that are relevant to your local customers. Keep in mind that some local keywords are going to be more popular than others and also pay attention to what your competitors are targeting since what’s working for them might work for you.
Once you’ve compiled a list of local keywords:
  • Incorporate keywords into your content, meta descriptions, titles, and URLs
  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Use keyword variations and long-tail keywords
  • Weave keywords in a way that seems natural rather than spammy

6. Get High-Quality Backlinks

Backlinks are simply links that point to your site from another site. These link signals are an important factor for both local and organic rankings because they communicate to search engines that your website is trustworthy and valuable. While backlinks enhance your local SEO, their quality does matter.
How to get high-quality backlinks:
  • Create great website content so others will want to share and link to it
  • Guest blog on reputable sites — the higher the domain authority, the better
  • Engage with local influencers on social media or contact them through their website/blog or by email asking them to link back to you

7. Strengthen Your Social Media

Social media has an impact on local SEO which is you should strengthen your social media presence to appear more credible and trustworthy while also generating backlinks and targeted traffic. Social media, however, isn’t something you can set and forget. You need to be active in order to increase brand awareness and amplify your reach.
Some ways to boost your social media presence: 
  • Create content that's relevant, interesting, and useful to your audience
  • Incorporate visually appealing images, videos, and infographics
  • Monitor mentions, comments, and messages; and respond promptly and professionally
  • Encourage user-generated content with challenges, contests, or incentives
  • Partner with relevant influencers or thought leaders
Social media is an effective digital marketing strategy that can help increase your brand’s visibility and website traffic while strengthening your local SEO.

8. Utilize Voice Search Optimization

With the rise of smart speakers and virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, optimizing for voice search is becoming increasingly crucial. People use voice search differently than text search, often using more conversational phrases and questions.
Here are several key components of voice search optimization:
  • Focus on long-tail keywords and natural language
  • Optimize your content for question-based queries
  • Ensure your website loads quickly and is mobile-friendly
  • Provide concise and direct answers to common questions

9. Implement Schema Markup

Schema markup (aka 'structured data') is a type of code that helps search engines better understand the content of your website and provide richer search results. By implementing schema markup, you can enhance your local SEO and increase the chances of appearing in rich snippets.
Here are some types of schema markup to consider:
  • Local Business Schema
  • Product Schema
  • Review Schema
  • Event Schema

10. Leverage Online Communities and Forums

Participating in online communities and forums can help boost your local SEO. By engaging with local audiences on platforms like Reddit, Quora, and niche-specific forums, you can build your brand’s authority and generate high-quality backlinks.
Here’s how to leverage online communities and forums:
  • Provide valuable insights and answers to questions
  • Share your expertise without being overly promotional
  • Include links to relevant content on your website when appropriate
  • Engage with local community groups on social media platforms

Attract Leads and Customers Near You

As Google and other search engines continuously evolve their search features for local queries, it's crucial to be proactive with your local SEO strategy. With these 10 strategies, your business will not only improve its local search rankings but also boost its overall SEO performance, helping you generate more high-intent, qualified leads in your area.
Unlock the full potential of your business with our expert local SEO services. Schedule a free discovery call today to see how we can help you increase local traffic to your business! 
This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.  

Did you like this post?

Sign up for our Tips and Trends list and we'll let you know each week when we have a new one.

SMT Marketing Podcast


Web Design (26)
Web Development (35)
Misc. Website (21)
Search Engine Optimization (96)
Social Media Marketing (111)
Local Search Marketing (24)
Content Marketing (35)
PPC Advertising (32)
Digital Marketing (123)
Marketing Automation (26)
Sales Automation (21)
Company News (10)
Other (27)