How can I improve my local search rankings?

If we had a dime for every time we’ve been asked this question… we’d have about $107.50. (pause while you do the math…)  

This question reflects the single-most asked question among small service-based business owners about enhancing their visibility in local search results. Local search ranking is crucial for attracting nearby customers, and business owners often seek guidance on optimizing their online presence, local SEO strategies, and Google Business Profile (Formally “Google My Business”) optimization to ensure they appear prominently when potential customers search for services in their local area.
  • 97% of people in the United States use Google Search when searching for a service in their local area.
  • 86% of those users choose a business through Google Business/Maps, or the Organic Search Listings (not Paid Ads)
  • 42% of those people choose 1 of the first 3 businesses listed. That’s huge.
Long story short, if you’re not among the first 3 options for potential customers who are searching for your services, you’re missing out on over 40% of the leads…. and not just any leads, FREE leads! Add the fact that potential customers who choose a business through Google Business/Maps are more likely to contact the business than customers who click on a paid ad, and that’s a double-ouch!
Business owner frustrated by local search ranking
Local Search Engine Optimization

Comprehensive Local SEO

So how do you position your local service-based business prominently in Google Business/Maps so that you can get the lion’s share of those higher converting free leads?
Is it “easy”? No. Is it “possible”? Absolutely.

We have outlined below the 10 most important steps to optimizing your Google Business Profile that you can do to improve your ranking in Google Business/Maps. These are all things you can do yourself that don’t require you to pay a dime.

How to Improve Your Local Search Rankings:

A Comprehensive Local SEO Guide for Small Businesses

In local digital marketing, small businesses prioritize boosting search rankings. This comprehensive guide outlines key strategies: optimize local keywords, manage online reviews, and leveraging your Google Business Profile for visibility. Consistency and a positive online reputation help navigate the digital landscape, attracting nearby customers and thriving online.

Recognizing the importance of local search rankings, this guide offers a wealth of insight for the “DIY’er” to help give your business a strong presence in local search results. If you’d prefer the benefits of a one-on-one consultation and professional insights, please feel free to meet with an Account Manager.

1. Optimize Your Google Business Profile (GBP) Listing

To maximize the impact of your Google Business Profile, start by ensuring that all information is complete and accurate. Double-check critical details such as your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) to build trust with potential customers and search engines alike. Regularly update your operational hours, ensuring accuracy, and consider adding special hours for holidays or events. Providing a working phone number and a direct link to your website facilitates seamless communication and access to additional information.

Visual content plays a pivotal role in engaging potential customers and providing a preview of your business. Take advantage of this by uploading a variety of high-quality images showcasing your establishment, team, and products or services. Clear service listings with relevant keywords enhance discoverability in local searches, so be sure to clearly and comprehensively list the services you offer. Craft a compelling business description that succinctly highlights what makes your business unique while incorporating keywords that align with common search queries.

Selecting relevant categories on your Google Business Profile is key to optimizing its visibility. Carefully choose a primary category that accurately defines your business, influencing how it appears in local search results. Explore additional categories that represent the full scope of your services, ensuring your business is visible in a diverse array of relevant searches. Regularly review and update these categories to align with any changes in your business offerings.
Key Points:
  1. Complete and accurate business details, including NAP, build trust.
  2. Visual content, including high-quality images, enhances engagement.
  3. Clear service listings with relevant keywords improve discoverability.
  4. Carefully choose primary and additional relevant categories for broader visibility.
  5. Regularly review and update categories to stay aligned with changes in business offerings.
Effectively optimizing your Google Business Profile is essential for small businesses aiming to stand out in local searches. By following these best practices—ensuring accuracy, utilizing visual content, and strategically selecting categories—you can enhance your online presence, engage with potential customers, and drive local business growth.
Optimize Google Business Profile

2. Acquire and Manage Customer Reviews

To bolster your online presence and local search rankings, actively seek and manage customer reviews on your Google My Business (GMB) profile. Encourage satisfied customers to share their positive experiences by actively requesting reviews. Positive reviews significantly impact local search ranking algorithms, constituting a notable 10% of the overall algorithm. By proactively seeking feedback, you not only enhance your online reputation but also boost visibility in local searches.

Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, is a crucial aspect of customer engagement. Show appreciation for positive reviews by acknowledging specific aspects of the customer’s experience, demonstrating a commitment to personalized service. Address negative reviews professionally, responding promptly and offering solutions to showcase your dedication to issue resolution. Incorporate primary keywords naturally into your responses to reinforce your business’s relevance to specific search queries and help Google understand your authority on relevant phrases.
Reputation Management
Key Points:
  1. Actively request positive reviews to enhance online reputation and local search visibility.
  2. Respond to positive reviews with genuine appreciation and personalized engagement.
  3. Address negative reviews professionally, showcasing commitment to issue resolution.
  4. Incorporate primary keywords in responses to reinforce relevance to search queries.
  5. Aim for concise yet thorough review responses (4-7 sentences) to contribute to a positive online image.
Effectively acquiring and managing customer reviews on your Google Business Profile is a vital strategy for improving local search rankings. By actively engaging with customers, addressing feedback professionally, and incorporating primary keywords, you not only enhance your online reputation but also send positive signals to search algorithms, ultimately boosting your business’s visibility in relevant local searches.

3. Local Keyword Optimization

Elevating your local search presence involves strategic local keyword optimization. Start by conducting thorough research to identify region-specific keywords resonating with your local audience. Integrate these keywords seamlessly into various elements of your online presence. Your website content, meta tags, ALT-img tags, image titles, captions, and the “About Us” section in your Google My Business profile should all reflect these location-specific terms.

To maximize the impact, create dedicated landing pages for different service areas you cater to. Tailor the content on these pages to address the unique needs and preferences of each location, emphasizing specific services, promotions, or events relevant to the local audience. Optimize the URL structure with relevant keywords for improved search engine visibility. Each landing page should feature a clear call-to-action (CTA) to guide visitors on the next steps, whether it’s contacting your business, scheduling an appointment, or learning more.
Key Points:
  1. Identify region-specific keywords through thorough research.
  2. Seamlessly integrate local keywords into various online elements.
  3. Create dedicated landing pages for different service areas.
  4. Tailor content on landing pages to address unique local needs and preferences.
  5. Optimize URL structure and include a clear call-to-action on each landing page.
Strategically incorporating local keywords into your online presence and creating location-specific landing pages aligns your business with the search behavior of your local audience. This not only enhances visibility in local searches but also delivers a tailored user experience. By embracing these best practices, your business can thrive in the competitive landscape of local digital marketing, connecting effectively with local customers and optimizing your overall online presence.
Research Local Keywords
0 %

of search engine users search online to find a local business.

0 %

of local customers choose a business through Google Business, Maps or Organic. (Not Paid Ads)

0 %

of consumers trust businesses with recent positive reviews.

4. Mobile Optimization

Enhancing your local search rankings involves prioritizing mobile optimization, recognizing the pervasive use of mobile devices in local searches. Start by ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, employing a responsive design that seamlessly adapts to various screen sizes. This is crucial, considering that 58% of local searches are conducted on mobile devices, making mobile-friendliness a necessity for meeting user demands.

Implement mobile-specific SEO strategies to further optimize your online presence for mobile users. Given the increasing prevalence of voice search, tailor your content to voice queries, integrating conversational and natural language. Craft content specifically tailored for on-the-go users, focusing on concise and easily scannable information, quick-loading pages, and addressing immediate needs or queries. Prioritize mobile optimization in your SEO strategy, considering Google’s mobile-first indexing approach, where the mobile version of content is predominantly used for indexing and ranking.
Optimize your website for mobile users
Key Points:
  1. Prioritize mobile optimization for an enhanced user experience.
  2. Recognize that 58% of local searches are conducted on mobile devices.
  3. Tailor content for voice queries and on-the-go users.
  4. Prioritize mobile optimization in your SEO strategy for Google’s mobile-first indexing.
  5. Acknowledge Google penalties for poor mobile experiences, affecting search rankings.
By prioritizing mobile optimization, businesses align their online presence with the preferences of a substantial portion of their audience. A mobile-friendly website not only boosts local search rankings but also contributes to a positive user experience. Recognizing the significance of mobile optimization and implementing these best practices ensures your business remains visible and engaging in a mobile-driven landscape, fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty.

5. Local Link Building

Boosting your local search rankings involves strategic local link building to enhance your website’s authority and community relevance. Start by acquiring high-quality backlinks through local citations from websites, directories, and community organizations. These citations serve as endorsements of your business’s credibility and relevance within the local context, contributing to the boost in your website’s authority in local searches. Collaborate with local businesses for cross-promotion, identifying mutual backlinking opportunities. Establishing partnerships with businesses sharing your target audience expands your reach and increases the likelihood of attracting local customers interested in your products or services. Explore strategic alliances with community organizations, chambers of commerce, or local events. Participation in local initiatives not only strengthens community ties but also provides opportunities for valuable backlinks, particularly through local sponsorships.
Key Points:
  1. Acquire high-quality backlinks through local citations for credibility.
  2. Collaborate with local businesses for mutual backlinking opportunities.
  3. Explore partnerships with community organizations and local events.
  4. Prioritize relevance when acquiring backlinks for significant local search impact.
  5. Aim for a diverse link profile from various local sources.
Active participation in local link building strategies is a cornerstone for enhancing local search rankings. By securing local citations and forming partnerships with local businesses and community organizations, your business not only strengthens its authority but also establishes a robust network within the local community. This network contributes significantly to the visibility and credibility of your business, increasing the likelihood of prominent placement in local search results.
Get backlinks through citations and local business directories

6. Content Creation and Localization

Content creation and localization play crucial roles in effective local SEO, fostering a deeper connection with the audience. By tailoring content to address local topics and utilizing community language, businesses can significantly enhance visibility and engagement. Creating relevant blog posts and articles is a pivotal strategy in local content development. Addressing local events ensures that content resonates with the community, ultimately improving the business’s standing in local searches.

Another essential aspect is optimizing landing pages for specific service areas with local keywords. This targeted approach tailors content to highlight offerings that are directly relevant to each local audience, contributing to a more aligned and personalized search experience for users in those regions. Resonating with local culture involves adjusting content to use language and tone aligned with cultural nuances. The incorporation of local colloquialisms not only adds authenticity but also enhances user engagement by fostering a sense of familiarity.

Crafting content that demonstrates an understanding of community-specific concerns is a testament to a business’s active engagement in the local fabric. Encouraging user-generated content further emphasizes the local experience and authenticity. Additionally, providing content in multiple languages is a considerate step toward inclusivity, broadening the business’s reach within the diverse local community.

In summary, prioritizing content creation and localization in local SEO aligns businesses with the interests and language preferences of the local audience. By creating culturally resonant content, businesses enhance user engagement and establish themselves as integral parts of the local community.
Content Creation and Localization
Key Points:
  1. Develop localized content to address local topics.
  2. Optimize landing pages with local keywords for specific service areas.
  3. Use local language and colloquialisms to resonate with the community.
  4. Craft content reflecting community-specific interests.
  5. Consider multilingual content for a diverse local audience. Aim for a diverse link profile from various local sources.
Content creation and localization are integral components of a successful digital marketing strategy. Businesses that invest time and resources in creating compelling, culturally relevant content not only expand their reach but also build a brand that resonates with diverse audiences. By understanding the unique needs of local markets and adapting content accordingly, businesses can foster meaningful connections and establish themselves as trusted entities in the hearts and minds of their target consumers.

Did you Know?

A whopping 58% of consumers use Voice Search when doing a search for a local business, and “Near Me” searches have increased 500% over the last 2 years. It’s estimated that over 90% of local-based small business websites are not properly optimized for vocal search. (psst! looking for a competitive edge? 😉)

7. Voice Search Optimization

Voice search is rapidly becoming a dominant force in the world of online search, with the increasing popularity of virtual assistants and smart speakers. To stay ahead in the digital landscape, businesses need to adapt their online presence to cater to the nuances of voice search. Unlike traditional text-based queries, voice searches tend to be more conversational and long-tail, reflecting the way people naturally speak. To optimize for voice search, businesses can implement several strategies to enhance their visibility in this evolving search landscape.

Understanding the nature of voice search queries is essential. Users tend to phrase voice searches in a more natural, conversational manner. Therefore, businesses should focus on long-tail keywords and phrases that mirror how people speak in real-life scenarios. This shift in keyword strategy helps align the content with the user’s intent, increasing the chances of appearing in relevant voice search results.

Moreover, schema markup plays a crucial role in voice search optimization. By structuring data in a way that search engines can easily interpret, businesses provide clearer context about their content. This not only helps search engines understand the relevance of the information but also enhances the likelihood of being featured as a voice search result.
Key Points:
  1. Prioritize long-tail keywords and conversational phrases in your content.
  2. Implement schema markup to provide structured data for search engines.
  3. Create content that directly answers common questions related to your business or industry.
  4. Optimize for local voice search by including location-specific information.
  5. Regularly update and refine your content to align with evolving voice search trends.
Optimizing for voice search is no longer an option but a necessity for businesses aiming to stay competitive in the digital realm. By understanding the dynamics of voice search queries and adapting content accordingly, businesses can ensure that their information is readily available to users seeking answers through voice-activated devices. Voice search optimization not only enhances search visibility but also improves the overall user experience in an increasingly voice-centric world.

Pro Tip: Make sure your business is accurately listed in all the main Vocal Search Interfaces such as Google Home, Siri, Bixby, Amazon Alexa and Cortana.
Optimize your website for vocal search

8. Consistent NAP Information

NAP consistency, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, is a critical aspect of local SEO strategy for businesses. Maintaining accurate and uniform information across various online platforms and directories establishes trust with search engines and users alike. When there is coherence in your business details, it reinforces your credibility and helps search engines understand that the information provided is reliable. Inconsistent NAP information can lead to confusion among potential customers and hinder the effectiveness of local search efforts.

Businesses should regularly audit and update their NAP information on online platforms to ensure it aligns with the details provided on their website and Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). Inaccurate or conflicting information may negatively impact local search rankings, as search engines prioritize businesses with consistent and reliable data. Furthermore, NAP consistency is not only essential for search engine algorithms but also for customer experience. Inconsistencies can lead to missed opportunities and frustrated customers who may struggle to contact or locate the business.
Build NAP Authority through business directory citations
Key Points:
  1. Regularly audit and update NAP information on all online platforms.
  2. Ensure alignment of NAP details across the business website and GBP listing.
  3. Correct any discrepancies promptly to maintain trust and accuracy.
  4. Monitor and update information on third-party directories and review sites.
  5. Educate staff members to use consistent NAP details in all communications.
NAP consistency is a foundational element of local SEO that contributes to improved search engine rankings and enhances the overall customer experience. By prioritizing the accuracy and uniformity of business information across online channels, businesses can establish trust with both search engines and consumers, ultimately boosting their visibility in local searches.

9. Google Business Posts

Google Business Posts have emerged as a valuable tool for businesses looking to engage with their audience directly on the search engine results page. These posts, which appear within a business’s Google Business Profile (GBP) listing, allow for real-time updates, promotions, and announcements, providing a dynamic way to capture the attention of potential customers. Let’s explore the significance of Google Business Posts and how businesses can leverage this feature to enhance their online presence.

Google Business Posts enable businesses to share timely information, such as new product launches, special offers, upcoming events, or any updates that they want to highlight. These posts appear prominently in the knowledge panel when users search for the business, offering a snapshot of the latest happenings directly in the search results. The real-time nature of these posts makes them an effective way to communicate with the audience, keeping them informed and engaged.

To maximize the impact of Google Business Posts, businesses should focus on creating compelling and visually appealing content. Posts can include images, videos, and calls-to-action, providing a rich multimedia experience for users. Given the limited character count for each post, concise and attention-grabbing messaging is key. Regularly updating posts keeps the GBP profile fresh and relevant, signaling to both users and search engines that the business is active and involved.

Key Points:

  1. Google Business Posts provide a dynamic way to share real-time updates and promotions.
  2. Posts appear prominently in the knowledge panel on Google search results pages.
  3. Utilize multimedia content, including images and videos, to enhance post engagement.
  4. Craft concise and compelling messaging to capture user attention within the limited character count.
  5. Regularly update Google Business Posts to keep the GBP profile current and engaging. It’s recommended to post unique content 2 to 4 times a month.

Google Business Posts offer businesses a direct channel to communicate with their audience and stand out in search results. By leveraging this feature effectively, businesses can not only keep their customers informed but also create a more engaging and interactive online presence. Regular updates through Google Business Posts contribute to a dynamic and relevant GMB profile, reinforcing the business’s commitment to providing valuable and timely information to its audience.

Weekly Google Business Posts help local SEO

10. Monitor and Analyze

In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing, the adage “what gets measured gets managed” holds true. The process of monitoring and analyzing data is a cornerstone of any successful online strategy, enabling businesses to gain valuable insights, refine their approach, and ultimately drive meaningful results. Let’s explore the significance of monitoring and analyzing data and how businesses can leverage this practice to optimize their online presence.

Monitoring involves the continuous tracking of various metrics related to a business’s online activities. This includes website traffic, user engagement, social media interactions, conversion rates, and more. Implementing robust monitoring tools, such as Google Analytics, allows businesses to collect and visualize data, providing a comprehensive overview of their online performance. Regular monitoring is crucial for identifying trends, patterns, and areas that may require attention.

Analysis complements monitoring by delving deeper into the collected data to derive actionable insights. By analyzing user behavior, demographic information, and the performance of specific marketing channels, businesses can make informed decisions to enhance their strategies. A data-driven approach enables businesses to understand what works well, identify areas for improvement, and allocate resources effectively. Moreover, analysis facilitates the identification of key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with business goals.
Monitor analytics for local SEO
Key Points:
  1. Implement robust monitoring tools, such as Google Analytics, to track various online metrics.
  2. Regularly monitor website traffic, user engagement, and social media interactions.
  3. Dive deep into data analysis to derive actionable insights and refine marketing strategies.
  4. Utilize A/B testing to experiment with different approaches and measure their impact.
  5. Identify and prioritize key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with business objectives.
The practice of monitoring and analyzing data is not merely a task but a strategic imperative for businesses in the digital age. By adopting a proactive approach to data-driven decision-making, businesses can refine their online presence, enhance user experiences, and stay ahead of industry trends. The combination of monitoring and analysis empowers businesses to adapt and evolve in a rapidly changing digital landscape, ensuring that their online efforts are not only visible but also impactful.

Congrats! You made it to the end! 🎉

As you navigate the ever-evolving realm of local SEO, we trust that the insights provided in these tips will serve as a valuable guide in enhancing your online presence. The implementation of these strategies is not just a matter of improving search rankings; it’s a pathway to solid revenue growth and increased visibility within your local community. By optimizing your Google My Business listing, refining local keywords, and fostering positive online reviews, you’re not only improving your search engine standing but also creating a more compelling narrative for potential customers.

At our website, you’ll find a wealth of solutions designed to address the challenges of modern digital marketing. From comprehensive SEO services to content creation, authority building and reputation management, we offer a suite of tools to help you navigate the complexities of the digital landscape. We understand the demands placed on small businesses in today’s competitive market, and our goal is to lighten that load for you. Our team is dedicated to providing tailored solutions that align with your unique needs and goals.

Feel free to explore our website to gain a deeper understanding of the services we offer and how our expertise can be a valuable asset to your business. Whether you’re looking to revamp your online presence, explore new marketing avenues, or simply seeking guidance on the next steps, we’re here to assist you. Don’t hesitate to schedule a meeting with an Account Manager – let’s work together to ensure your business thrives on Google and in your local market!
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