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8 Local SEO Strategies for Higher Search Engine Rankings
- Local SEO is the process of trying to get your business to show up higher in local searches.
- You want to appear higher in rankings to boost online visibility. This increases your reach to a targeted audience – locals looking for a solution.
- For searches with local intent, you want your business to appear in the local pack and the organic results. The local pack is a collection of three businesses that Google believes best fits the user’s search intent.
- There are various local SEO strategies to implement, including:
- optimise and claim your Google Business Profile
- Collect positive reviews
- Optimise for mobile use
- Use local keywords
- Prioritise local link building
- Practice social listening to inform content
- Create content with a local focus
As a local business owner, how do you attract customers in your area?
Relying on word of mouth or advertising to raise awareness of your business offering can only take you so far.
To catch local customers’ attention, investing in local SEO is worthwhile.
Implementing your local SEO strategy can be an effective way for local businesses to increase their online visibility by ranking higher on search engines.
We know this value from our everyday lives – we all use search engines regularly to find local solutions.
Therefore, any strategies you can implement to ensure your business shows up in local search results will improve your reach, possibly leading to a significant increase in traffic to your site and potential customers for your business.
What is the difference between SEO and local SEO?
Any business owner should be aware of search engine optimisation (SEO).
On-page and technical SEO strategies essentially improve your site for search engines. By optimising your site for search engines, you help it appear higher on search results pages when users search for various search terms.
This increased visibility, in theory, should lead to increased sales as you’re more likely to get your offering in front of your target audience.
So, what is local SEO?
To understand the purpose of local SEO, we need to know what local search means.
Local search is when somebody uses a search engine to find something related to a specific location. That something could be local businesses, products or services, local events, or any other relevant information nearby.
The search intent is to find something “near me”.
Local search is distinct from a more general Google search, like asking Google for a word definition or the age of a celebrity.
Local search optimisation (Local SEO) is, therefore, the process of getting your business to show up higher in those local searches.
Optimising your local SEO efforts to appear higher in local rankings helps your business because:
- it boosts local search visibility
- appearing higher in search results improves your credibility
- it should attract targeted traffic – local searchers more likely to convert
- it brings more potential customers through foot traffic to your physical location
Local Searches: Local Pack vs Organic Results Listings
Before we dive into our guide to local SEO, it’s important to understand the layout of the Google results page for a search with local intent.
The local pack, sometimes called the map pack, is a collection of three local businesses that Google believes best match the user’s search intent.
These three local businesses appear above the organic search results.
The best local SEO strategies will target several local SEO ranking factors to please the Google algorithms.
Get this right, and you’ll appear in both the local pack and the organic search results, increasing the chances of getting your business seen.
Tips For a Local SEO Strategy in 2022
Let’s dive into some local SEO basics and some of the more intricate local ranking signals.
1. Optimize Google Business Profile
The first simple step in any local SEO strategy is to claim and optimise your business listing.
You just need to set up a Google My Business account and provide all the necessary information about your business. Your Google My Business account verifies your business online.
- Your business’ full, correct name
- Your local business address and phone number
- Your exact location on Google maps
- Your business category
- Your website (if you have one)
However, these are the bare necessities. You can optimise your business listing by adding further information to your Google My Business account.
You should also upload photos of your business and provide details of your hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, and the products you sell.
Within your Google My Business account, you can also encourage customers to review your business and respond to those reviews.
All these actions boost your reputation with Google, increasing the chances it will bump you higher in local searches.
2. Don't forget Bing
Google My Business should be your first port of call since Google is by far the most popular search engine worldwide. However, Bing still holds a small market share.
Don’t neglect those local searches through Bing – set up your Bing Places for Business, Bing’s equivalent of Google My Business.
3. Collect positive reviews
Easier said than done, we know.
However, the point here is that collecting authentic, positive reviews is one of the key local SEO ranking factors that can get your business featured in the local pack.
Google will crawl your website, business directories like Yelp, social media, and your GMB account to track what people say about your business.
The more genuine, positive reviews you have, the more credible Google deems your offering to be, making them more likely to push your business up the local rankings.
So, the benefits of people saying positive things about your business are twofold.
First, collecting positive reviews is great social proof that your business offers fantastic products and services. We know that seeing numerous positive reviews can be an x-factor element that pushes a potential customer to choose your business.
Second, collecting those positive reviews has an extra local SEO benefit, giving you an extra incentive to encourage customers to write up their reviews.
4. Optimise for mobile
Mobile search may well be the future, with many people using their smartphones regularly to carry out mobile searches for local businesses.
Optimising for mobile is vital for SEO generally but could be especially crucial to local SEO. Many users are out and about using their mobile devices, looking for immediate solutions while they’re on the go.
The trickle-down effect of this relatively new behaviour is that businesses must ensure to optimise their sites for mobile screens.
Follow these basic guidelines to optimise your site’s performance for mobile:
- Ensure a quick loading time
- Use bigger, easy-to-read fonts
- Concise use of images and copy
- Intuitive UI for a great mobile experience
The better your site performs for mobile usage, the more favourable Google will view your site’s relevancy. Google now indexes all websites using the Mobile First Index.
Without going into the nitty-gritty of what that means, the long and short of it is that your website must be mobile-friendly to rank highly. A local business website with a poor mobile user experience has no chance of ranking highly in local SERPs.
5. Use local keywords
Using a keyword research tool is vital to any SEO strategy. These help you target keywords that resonate with your audience.
If we follow the logic, targeting local keywords will resonate with a local audience.
You can use local SEO tools to hone in on the relevant keywords to your location. Once you have a list of keywords for your given region, you should look to sprinkle these throughout your website content.
An example of this may be references to local sites and landmarks in your location. For instance, businesses in Sydney may want to reference that they are near the Sydney Opera House in their content.
6. Create local content based on news and events
If the nature of your local business lends itself to it, feature hyperlocal content on your website.
Writing helpful, educational content with a local focus can be a great way to provide value to people in your area. This localised content can be a great local SEO tip as Google recognises the relevancy of your content to local people carrying out their online search.
An example of this would be a real estate agent creating different local landing pages for each neighbourhood within a city.
Alternatively, you could sponsor local events, even writing up news stories showcasing what’s happening in your area.
Most local businesses look to impact the local community in some way positively. Demonstrate this on your website with content featuring plenty of targeted local keywords that reflect your relevancy to the community.
Again, you can find many keyword research tools that will help you identify local keywords that are great for local SEO.
You’ll find that Google will reward your efforts.
7. Prioritise local link building
Link building is a mainstay of any SEO strategy.
Link building means building hyperlinks from other websites back to your own. When Google sees that many other websites link to your site, it deduces that your site is a quality, relevant source of content.
However, not all links are created equal, and links from websites with a higher domain authority are worth more than smaller websites.
It can all get quite complicated, but the basic formula is that you’ll climb higher in search rankings with more good-quality backlinks.
What makes link-building for local SEO important is the need for location-relevant links.
You want to target valuable backlinks from high-authority local sites.
Reach out to institutions in your area to enter into partnerships, offer to write guest posts for local news sites, or get your business featured on a prominent local listings site. Remember, the focus is to attract links to your site.
These local links from high-value local sites will send a signal to Google as it crawls these pages. The fact that your site is worthy of these local citations impresses Google and should lead you to higher local search rankings.
8. Pay attention to locals
Sometimes local SEO tips can feel a little formulaic or mathematical, as if you’re ‘tricking’ Google into giving your business a higher rating.
It’s worthwhile to remember that the focus of any SEO strategy should be well-written, relevant content that speaks to your audience.
Any tinkering with SEO tricks will amount to nothing if there isn’t an excellent foundational base of engaging content.
So, how do you write engaging content?
You need to know your audience.
Practice social listening to get a feel for your customers’ views of your business. Is there anything putting potential customers off? What do they like about your establishment? How do they feel about your competitors?
Perhaps they are put off by your prices. Maybe they love your service. Maybe there’s a place around the corner that consumers prefer because of a striking, new refurbishment.
If you take the time to gather these insights with thoughtful market research, you can use your findings to inform business decisions.
In turn, as you evolve your business, share photos of new products on your GMB, include testimonials on your site, write about a redecoration project, share helpful tips with customers, or advertise an enticing offer.
You could also build a content strategy based on your customers’ needs – what would provide value to them?
You’ll find that ensuring you have relevant content in the first place will provide an enhancing boost to all your other local SEO efforts.
Local SEO Campaigns
At Bough Digital, we can help advise and implement effective Local SEO campaigns that drive local traffic.
Our tried and tested approach will help you find your local audience. We’ve been helping local businesses with their Local SEO strategies since 2010, and our industry experts can bring that experience to tailoring a plan that works for you.
Reach out to hear how we can help devise an effective Local SEO campaign for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Local SEO Strategy?
Local SEO is a search engine optimisation strategy that aims to improve your ranking on local search results on Google. Any business with a physical storefront or serving a geographic area can benefit from local SEO to target local consumers.
What is a local search ranking?
Local search ranking refers to the position you appear in for a local-based query in the organic Google search results. Local SERPs usually also feature a local pack featuring three local businesses that best match the user’s search query.
Why is local SEO important?
Local SEO is important because it is a free way to increase your online visibility. By appearing higher in local search queries, you make your business more discoverable to local consumers.