Ensuring local customers find your business requires a unique set of SEO practices.
Consumers rely heavily on internet searches to discover nearby businesses and services, so local search engine optimization (SEO) has become essential for companies aiming to enhance their visibility, especially brick-and-mortar stores. To rank high in search results and be discoverable to local customers, you need a comprehensive local SEO checklist to ensure your website’s keyword usage covers all bases.
Read on to explore why local SEO is important, discover the ultimate local SEO checklist for better rankings, and learn to implement optimization strategies today.
What’s local SEO?
Local SEO is a specialized approach to search engine optimization that focuses on improving a business's online visibility for location-based search queries. Many consumers research online to find and compare stores, restaurants, and services in a specific geographical range, which means your organization’s website must not only appear in these rankings but also stand out among the competition.
Here are some key benefits of maintaining top local rankings.
The fundamentals of SEO help you attract highly relevant and targeted traffic, and local SEO narrows this focus even further. By optimizing your online presence for local search, you can home in on your target audience, reaching potential customers in your immediate geographical area who input keywords directly related to your service. These users are more likely to convert into paying customers seeking real-time solutions to their queries.
Strong local SEO enhances your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs), making your business more discoverable to users looking for products or services in your area. This increased web presence can significantly boost your online and offline sales by bolstering your business’s credibility and relevance to users’ needs.
When your business appears prominently in local search results, you're not just attracting any traffic — you're attracting the right traffic. People searching for local businesses are often further along the buying journey and more prepared to convert into customers as they enter the consideration stage of the marketing funnel.
Effective local SEO strategies provide a competitive edge in your immediate market. By appearing at the top of these searches, you stand out from competitors that have yet to leverage their SEO for local visibility. You need to ensure potential customers find your business — ideally before finding others — and that your place in the rankings outperforms competitors.
Compared to traditional advertising methods like complex marketing campaigns and paid advertisements, implementing local SEO is a cost-effective way to promote your business. It lets you target a specific demographic without wasting resources on efforts to reach a broader, less relevant audience. Tailoring your website to local SEO requires less time and resources than complex marketing initiatives that involve wireframing, UX testing, and design components.
Users frequently search for local services using their smartphones or other mobile devices. Consider the scenarios when you’d seek a nearby restaurant or shop — you’re often on the go, away from your desktop, and looking for immediate answers. Effective local SEO ensures your business is readily discoverable via mobile searches, online maps, and mobile review apps like Yelp and TripAdvisor to serve customers in real time.
Trust and credibility
Prominent placement in local search results enhances your business's credibility by verifying its relevance and showcasing the value of your service. Users tend to trust and engage with companies that appear on the first page of search results, so ranking high ensures they find your site and encourages them to convert.
Ultimate SEO checklist to rank locally
To learn how to rank locally, you must follow a well-structured local SEO strategy. Here are some tips for local SEO:
Claim and optimize Google My Business listing
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to manage your business’s online presence across Google, including in Google search results and Google Maps. If you haven't already, register your business with GMB and claim your listing. This step ensures your Google business profile is visible to locals who might need your services. Once you’ve claimed your listing, follow these steps:
- Complete your profile — Provide all the necessary details, including your business name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and relevant service categories. Keep these details accurate and up to date.
- Add high-quality photos — Upload high-resolution images of your business, products, and services. Enhance your listing by giving potential customers a captivating visual representation of your offerings.
- Collect and manage reviews — Encourage customers to leave reviews on your GMB profile, and respond to reviews promptly — positive or negative. Managing your reputation is essential for local SEO, as potential customers will compare your services and public image to competitors in the area.
- Use Google Posts — Share updates, promotions, and news about your business using Google Posts. These posts appear in your GMB listing and can engage potential customers directly in the search results.
- Monitor insights — Regularly run a local SEO audit in Google Analytics. This process evaluates your SEO performance, providing reports on user interactions and conversions on your site. Use these insights to guide your next steps in your local SEO strategy.
Keyword research and optimization
Using a keyword research tool like Moz or Semrush, identify common search terms relevant to your business and relative to your city or region. To maximize the impact of terms on your site, follow these steps:
- Prioritize on-page optimization — Incorporate these local keywords naturally into your website's content, meta description, headings, and image alt text. This strategy helps both search engines and the right viewers find your website. Ensure your content is informative and relevant to users’ immediate needs. Information gaps may prompt users to seek other services whose websites provide more useful details.
- Implement local schema markup — Local schema is a type of structured code that provides search engines with additional information about your business, such as location, operating hours, and contact details. Including this data in your content and metadata ensures both search engines and users can find and view crucial information at a glance.
Local content creation
A hallmark of a strong local online presence is engaging your nearby community. Here are some ways to connect with customers in your area and draw them to your business:
- Create location-specific content — Develop content that caters directly to your local audience, such as blog posts or guides that address local news and topics of interest. This strategy positions you as a community leader, increasing trust and engagement among local users.
- Use local landing pages — If your business serves multiple locations, create dedicated landing pages for each to ensure nearby customers find the correct details. These pages should feature location-specific content like hours of operation, contact information, and particular offerings.
- Optimize images for local search — When uploading images to your website, use filenames and alt text that include local keywords and location information. These tags help search engines discover and rank your page.
- Promote local events — If your business hosts or participates in local events like community fairs or fundraisers, promote them on your website and social media channels. This strategy generates buzz in your area and can draw in both new and repeat customers.
- Local backlinks — Quality link building from reputable businesses in the area boosts your local SEO ranking. When users see endorsements and referrals from other trusted local companies, they’re more likely to visit your website and give you their business. Build ties with well-known services in your community through positive vendor relationships, marketing partnerships, and mutual endorsements. These community connections can lead to valuable backlinks on their web pages, bolstering your reputation and your local SEO rankings.
Capitalize on customer reviews
Consumer endorsements go a long way in converting new customers. They vouch for your services and allow you to interact directly with your audience. Follow these tips to maximize reviews:
- Request reviews — Encourage customers in your target audience to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. These reviews give potential consumers a sense of what to expect from your services and inform their decision to convert. Make providing feedback simple by linking directly to review platforms.
- Respond to reviews — Respond to both positive and negative reviews so customers feel valued. Resolve reported issues by providing explanations, solutions for improved satisfaction, or special offers to compensate for subpar experiences. Thank customers for positive feedback to show you’re grateful for their support.
- Leverage reviews on your website — Showcase positive reviews on your site to highlight your good reputation and build trust with existing and potential customers. Create dedicated testimonial pages or display select reviews on relevant pages like specific product listings.
- Implement a review management strategy — Create and apply an actionable strategy for ongoing review management. This process involves consistently monitoring and responding to customer evaluations and applying feedback to future operations. An airtight system keeps critical feedback from falling through the cracks and saves you from losing customers and missing opportunities for improvement.
Along with fundamental basics of SEO and a content strategy, these tips can improve your visibility in local SEO results.
Optimize local SEO with Webflow
Empower your in-house team to develop websites and landing pages optimized for local SEO with Webflow, a visual web development platform made for teams of all sizes. Webflow offers user-friendly web design and development tools that help create and launch professional sites without needing coding expertise.
Using localization features, you can produce engaging landing pages and compelling content that resonates with your local audience, all within a visually intuitive interface. Watch your local SEO efforts drive your business's traffic, conversions, and growth with Webflow.