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When you want to find a restaurant or a nearby car repair shop, what do you do? You search for it online! You may not know it, but you’re probably quite familiar with the local search already. You’re not the only one. As of 2022, 78% of consumers look up local business info online at least once a week. So if your business has a physical store or location, make sure those consumers can find you! To do that, local search engine optimization (SEO) is what you need.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is a digital marketing technique that focuses on enhancing a business’s visibility in local search results. It involves optimizing website content, business listings, and citations to reach potential customers searching for products or services in a specific location.

When a user includes the name of a city in their search, or the search engine infers a location from the user’s device, they can get results based on that area. An example of a local search phrase would be “car dealership in Los Angeles, California”. To optimize for these local searches, you’ll need to utilize various techniques and tactics. Doing it successfully will improve your business’ position on local search rankings.

Why should my business care about local SEO?

If you have a business that serves a particular town or area, local SEO matters a lot. And it’s likely to become even more important in the future. Even if you’re already engaging in an organic SEO strategy, it’s worth the effort to get more local visibility. People nearby are your potential customers, so you don’t want to miss the opportunity to get their attention.

On top of improving your overall online brand awareness, local search is a significant driver of leads, sales, and in-store traffic for local businesses. A better question might be “Why wouldn’t your business care about local SEO?”. The only real argument against investing in local optimization is the effort and possible costs involved. But that’s not something you need to worry about —depending on the keywords and tactics you’re using; you may be implementing a local SEO plan already without realizing it!

How does local SEO works?

Local SEO is essential for businesses targeting a specific geographic area, such as a city or region, to attract local customers. 

Local SEO primarily revolves around three key factors: relevance, distance, and prominence.

  1. Relevance

Relevance in local SEO refers to how well a business’s online information matches a user’s search query. 

To improve relevance in local search marketing, businesses need to ensure their online listings, website content, and keywords are optimized for their target location. 

It includes using location-specific keywords and creating valuable, localized content on their websites. 

For instance, if you run a local SEO blog, you might focus on providing tips and strategies related to local SEO optimization to engage your audience and improve relevance.

  1. Distance

Distance plays a vital role in local search optimization. Search engines like Google consider the user’s location when providing search results. 

Businesses that are physically closer to the searcher have a competitive advantage in local search engine marketing. 

To improve distance-related rankings, companies should ensure their business information, including the address and contact details, is accurate and consistent across various online platforms and directories. 

Local search engine optimization services can help maintain this consistency and optimize the information.

  1. Prominence

Prominence refers to how well-known and authoritative a business is in its local area. 

It is influenced by factors such as online reviews, backlinks, social media presence, and citations from reputable sources. 

To boost prominence in local SEO, businesses can actively encourage customers to leave positive reviews, engage in local link-building efforts, and maintain an active presence on social media platforms. 

A local search engine optimization company can assist in managing these aspects of your local SEO strategy to increase prominence.

Take advantage of these local SEO tactics

To utilize a local SEO strategy for your business, start with these steps:

  1. Localized website content
  2. Claim your Google Business Profile
  3. Fill out listings and directories online
  4. Capitalize on customer reviews
  1. Localized website content

One of the main local search engine optimization tactics is to create content on your website that shows your location. There are several ways to go about this. First, make sure your name, phone number, and address are easily found on your website. Most businesses include this information in the header and/or footer of a website, as well as on the Contact page.

Next, you can create a website and blog content focused on local keywords. For instance, if you were a dentist and wanted to rank for the term “NYC Dentist,” you could work this phrase into your service page content. Adding locations to your keyword optimization is one of the most important parts of local SEO.

Be warned: keyword stuffing is not allowed! Many professionals who launch a local SEO strategy for the first time make the mistake of stuffing too many keywords into their pages, blog posts, and online listings. Search engines see this practice as spammy and tend to demote content and listings using this technique. Instead, work the keywords into your content naturally. Remember to add them to your page title, headings, meta description, and image alt tags, as well, for the best results.

  1. Claim your Google Business Profile

Google holds a massive 92% of the search engine market share, making it the most popular search engine used worldwide. It is crucial that you claim and optimize your free Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). This listing is what appears when a user searches for your company name, location, information, or relevant local keywords on Google. These listings also appear in Google Maps.

To make the most of this free map listing and Google account, include as many details about your business as possible. At a minimum, users need to know your name, address, and phone number. This is referred to as your “NAP” information. Besides your contact information, Google Business Profile also allows you to include vital business details like your website, opening hours, reviews, and more.

To complete your Google Business Profile to the fullest, use this guide from the Search Engine Journal.

  1. Fill out listings and directories online

The internet is brimming with listing sites and business directories. These sites are online lists of businesses within a specific niche, location, or category. These websites display your address and other local business information for interested users, so they can be beneficial for connecting with nearby customers.

Just as you did with your Google Business Profile listing, be sure to complete these listing and directory profiles as much as possible. Again, always include your name, address, and phone number. Some popular listing sites you might want to join include Bing Places, Yelp, Whitepages and Foursquare.

  1. Capitalize on customer reviews

Did you know that 49% of local consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? It’s easy to see how online reviews factor into a successful local search engine optimization strategy.

As local SEO tactics work to increase your visibility on search engines and map listings, you want to put your best foot forward. You don’t want to be at the top of the search rankings and make a poor first impression, right? 75% of users report feeling positive about a business when they see reviews describing positive experiences, so it helps to generate authentic customer positive reviews.

Bear in mind, that your reviews are not confined to just Google. Some businesses focus on getting reviews on popular websites such as Yelp and Facebook. However, there may be other niche sites your business can take advantage of too. Consider asking customers to place reviews on industry-specific or targeted review websites. For instance, you could direct customers to TripAdvisor if your business is a hotel or a restaurant. Or if your business is related to weddings, try getting reviews on The Knot. Do some research and find out which review sites work best for your business.

In addition to greater exposure online, these review sites all contain links back to your website. These backlinks help drive traffic to your website and improve your authority online, which works to accomplish your local SEO goals.

Local SEO tools and services

Here are six prominent local SEO tools and their contributions to local SEO strategy:

Google My Business (GMB):

Google My Business is a fundamental tool for local SEO. It allows businesses to create and manage their online listings on Google, including their business name, address, phone number, and operating hours. GMB listings appear in local search results, Google Maps, and Google’s Knowledge Graph, making it a vital asset for local search engine optimization services. Properly optimizing and maintaining your GMB listing is a critical component of local SEO optimization.

Bluehost Pro Services:

With Bluehost Pro SEO services, you’re not just hiring an SEO tool; you’re gaining an entire team of SEO experts committed to propelling your brand forward. Whether you’re looking to enhance your on-page content or seeking robust off-page SEO strategies, we’ve got you covered. It doesn’t matter where your site is hosted; our expertise ensures it’s finely tuned for optimum performance. To bolster your site’s authority, we populate vital business directories and secure referral links. And if you’re keen on maintaining a persistent edge in the digital sphere, inquire about our ‘Pro SEO Support Plus‘—a promise of sustained search engine superiority

Google Search Console:

Google Search Console provides valuable insights into how your website performs in Google’s search results. It helps you monitor website traffic, detect crawl errors, and understand how Googlebot interacts with your site. By analyzing this data, you can fine-tune your local SEO strategy, optimize your website for local search, and ensure that your website appears prominently in local search engine marketing.

Yext:

Yext is a comprehensive local SEO tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across various online directories and platforms. It ensures that your business information, such as name, address, phone number, and business hours, is consistent and up-to-date across the web. This consistency is crucial for local search optimization, as search engines value accurate and reliable business information.

Synup:

Synup is another tool that helps businesses manage their online presence and local listings. It assists in tracking and monitoring customer reviews, which are a significant factor in local SEO. Synup allows businesses to respond to reviews, analyze customer sentiment, and improve their online reputation, a vital aspect of local search engine optimization.

BiQ:

BiQ is a multifaceted SEO tool that offers features for keyword research, content optimization, and rank tracking. For local SEO, BiQ can help businesses identify local keywords, optimize their website content for local search, and track their rankings in local search results. It is a valuable resource for businesses looking to enhance their local search engine marketing efforts.

Other local SEO best practices

  1. Optimize for mobile: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as a large portion of local searches occur on mobile devices.
  2. Utilize local structured data markup: Add structured data markup (schema.org) to your website to provide search engines with specific information about your business, such as address, phone number, and business hours.
  3. Build local backlinks: Establish partnerships and earn links from reputable local websites, directories, and organizations to enhance your local authority.
  4. Engage with local community and influencers: Participate in local events, sponsor local organizations, and collaborate with influential individuals or businesses in your community. Engagement can lead to partnerships and links!
  5. Leverage local sponsorships and partnerships: Sponsor local events, sports teams, charities, or community organizations. This not only supports your community but also increases your local visibility and potential backlinks from their websites.
  6. Monitor and respond to customer reviews and feedback: Regularly monitor online reviews and respond promptly, whether they are positive or negative, to show your commitment to customer satisfaction.
  7. Optimize for “near me” searches: Optimize your website and content for “near me” searches by including location-based keywords and phrases. This helps you capture the growing trend of mobile users searching for businesses in their immediate vicinity.
  8. Encourage user-generated content: Encourage customers to create and share user-generated content (UGC) related to your business, such as photos, videos, and reviews. This not only fosters engagement but also provides fresh and authentic content that can improve your local search visibility.

Track your local SEO results and keep optimizing

Local SEO is an ongoing process influenced by various factors, causing your site’s local keyword rankings to fluctuate regularly. When your rankings decline, it can lead to a decrease in site traffic, potentially impacting your business negatively. 

To mitigate this, monitoring your local SEO progress is crucial. One effective approach to monitor and improve local SEO is by employing Position Tracking. 

This tool allows for precise local keyword tracking, even down to the ZIP code level, and includes tracking of SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features. 

By continuously tracking your rankings and adapting your strategy accordingly, you can stay ahead in local search, maintain or improve visibility, and drive valuable local traffic to your website, contributing to the overall success of your business.

Conclusion: Launch your local SEO strategy

Now that you understand why and how local SEO can help your business succeed, it’s time to plan and execute your strategy! Begin with our tips and continue to monitor your local search visibility.

Have you worked on a local SEO plan before? What tactics did you use? Share your experiences with the community in the comments below.

Common local SEO questions

What does “local SEO” stand for?

“Local SEO” stands for Local Search Engine Optimization. It refers to the process of optimizing a business’s online presence to improve its visibility in local search results. This strategy aims to attract nearby customers by targeting specific geographic locations.

What is the definition of local SEO?

Local SEO is a digital marketing technique that focuses on enhancing a business’s visibility in local search results. It involves optimizing website content, business listings, and citations to reach potential customers searching for products or services in a specific location.

How does local SEO differ from regular SEO?

Local SEO targets specific geographic locations to attract nearby customers, while regular SEO aims to improve overall organic search visibility. Local SEO heavily emphasizes factors like Google My Business, local citations, and customer reviews, which are not as critical in regular SEO.

Why is local SEO important for businesses?

Local SEO is crucial for businesses as it helps them connect with their local audience. It boosts visibility in local searches, drives foot traffic, and increases online conversions. This targeted approach also enhances brand trust and authority within the community.

What are the key components of a successful local SEO strategy?

A successful local SEO strategy involves optimizing Google My Business profile, local keyword research, on-page SEO with location-specific content, NAP consistency, local citations, customer reviews, and mobile responsiveness.

How can I optimize my website for local SEO?

To optimize your website for local SEO, focus on including local keywords in title tags, meta descriptions, and content. Create location-specific landing pages, ensure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) is consistent across all platforms, and encourage customer reviews.

Are there any best practices for managing local business listings and directories?

Yes, managing local business listings and directories requires consistency. Ensure accurate NAP information across platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and Bing Places. Respond to customer reviews and engage with your audience to build a strong online reputation.

What tools and resources are available to help with local SEO efforts?

Several tools can assist with local SEO efforts, such as Google My Business for managing business listings, Moz Local for citation management, and SEMrush for keyword research. Additionally, local SEO blogs and guides provide valuable insights and tips for successful implementation.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    Education
    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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