Small businesses can benefit from local search because 46% of all Google searches seek local information. If your business is set up for local searches, you could take advantage of potential customers looking to shop in your area. In short, local SEO is essential if you need your business to stay relevant.

We've put together a complete guide with tips and tools for the best local SEO to help you make your business more visible online.

By the end of the guide, you'll know exactly how to optimize your business to reach potential customers who use local search to decide which products or services they want to buy.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) makes local businesses more visible in search engines, especially those with stores. By following the best practices for local SEO, businesses can get more organic traffic from searches done by local customers.

When determining the best results for a user's local search, search engines consider signals like local content, social profile pages, links, and citations.

With local SEO, businesses can put their goods and services in front of local customers and prospects looking for them.

Local SEO Tips

  1. Optimize for GMB.
  2. Engage on social media & add posts to GMB.
  3. Check if your name, address, and phone number are always on the Internet.
  4. Optimize your online citations and directories.
  5. Perform a local SEO audit.
  6. Change the way your internal links work.
  7. Optimize the URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content.
  8. Add pages about places to your site.
  9. Create local content.
  10. Make sure your website works well on mobile devices.
  11. Get relevant and authoritative links coming in.
  12. Get involved in your neighborhood.

Optimize for Google My Business.

Google My Business is now the best local search tool there is. Google supports, checks, and shares a lot of its content, so Google My Business is an excellent way for your business to help Google meet its needs.

To make sure Google My Business works for you, you'll need to:

  • Make a GMB page and confirm it.
  • You can use Google Posts from your account.
  • Get your customers to write reviews and post them online.
  • Respond to reviews honestly and include the location. For example, "We'd like to know what you think about [product/service] in [city, state]. We value what you say and can't wait to work with you again. The [full company name] team thanks you."

If Google can confirm that your business is accurate, the search engine might give your business a sidebar spot in Google's local search results.

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Do more than just this to improve your SEO. Reviewing and ensuring your contact information and business hours are always up to date make it easier for potential customers to find you. Consumers need current information more than ever before because of how 2020 will change the way people shop and how businesses work.

Use social media and post about your business on Google My Business.

Google thinks that social media content is more important than it has ever been.

Now that you've made an excellent Google My Business page, please share it on social media to bring search and social media closer together.

Keep your contact information (email, phone number, and physical address) visible online at all times.

Making it easy for people and search engines to find you would help. You need to set up your NAP to do this.

What does NAP mean in local SEO?

The NAP is a business's name, address, and phone number (including the area code). Your NAP should be HTML text that can be crawled on your site so that Google can show it better in location-based search results.

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Pro Tip: Don't make the common mistake of only putting the NAP in an image. Search engines can't crawl images like they can HTML text.

The NAP is usually found in the header or footer of the site. You should also put your NAP on a page that says "Contact Us."

Optimize online directories and citations.

These four map data aggregators give Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google, Trip Advisor, and other US companies a lot of map data:

  • Express Update
  • Neustar Localeze 
  • Foursquare
  • Factual

Consistency is crucial, so check that your citations are the same and complete on all four data aggregators.

Misspellings, abbreviations, needing a suite number, or giving the wrong phone number are all things that can cause problems.

Google might only list your business in search results if it can determine which information is correct.

Pro Tip: If you find duplicate listings in online directories, get rid of them. And while you're at it, join the Chamber of Commerce in your area to get a link from the outside that is specific to your location.

Perform a local SEO audit.

Once you know the basics, you should put your foot on the brake. On the other hand, SEO is an ongoing process based on what you know. Doing a full audit of your website to find out where it stands and what you want to work on to reach your goals is preferable to stopping there or making minor changes to see what works. The following may be part of a local SEO audit:

  • Google My Business Audit: How does your local seo google my business look in the search engine results pages (SERPs)? Does the information make sense?
  • Google Search Console Audit: Can search engines find your site? Are there any mistakes that would make it hard to index?
  • On-Page SEO Audit: Does your site have all the on-page SEO elements that help it rank?
  • Citation Audit: Do all your citations in the top business directories have the correct information?
  • Competitor Analysis: How does your website compare to those of your rivals? Do you need to fill in any blanks? How do you compare incoming links, content, and design, and where do you stand in the market?
  • Website Audit: How well does your site work?

Improve your internal linking structure.

Even though links from other sites to yours are best (which I'll talk about soon), you can also improve your SEO rankings by changing how your site links to itself.

Why is it important to link to yourself? This is what it does:

  • helps people get around a website,
  • helps with the structure and architecture of a website
  • It helps other pages get a page's authority and ranking power.

If you need to improve your internal linking structure but need help figuring out where to start, check out The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Best SEO by Kissmetrics.

URL, title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and content should all be optimized.

Regarding content, every new blog post is a new page on your site that is indexed, a new page where you can target a geographic search phrase, and a unique chance to be found in the SERPs.

Whenever you create content, you want to optimize it for search engines by using high-rank keywords in the URL, meta title, header, meta description, and body. You should highlight customer success stories and case studies if you didn't think of any geo-targeted content.

Pro Tip: The more information you provide about these assets (especially for each address of your business), the better optimized "near me" local searches will be.

Add location pages to your website.

You should create location pages if your business has more than one physical location. Location pages tell people your name, address, phone number, store hours, a unique description of your store, information about parking and public transportation, special offers, and reviews from happy customers.

Local SEO Services

It would help if you also refrain from using content on multiple location pages. For businesses with only one location, make an "About Us" page that talks about the area. You can even get extra points if you put a Google Map on the page for your location on your website (s).

Create local content.

Google keeps getting more intelligent, which means that people who make content can now write more for people and less to please search engines. And while writing about general topics will bring in a large audience, Sometimes it's more important to narrow your focus and create local news to attract a local audience.

Be the local expert in your field by putting news, events, employees, and other educational content on your blog. Think of content at the top of the funnel that isn't about what your business sells.

For example, if you run a security company in your city and want to attract new businesses, you could create a resource that helps these businesses learn more about your city. Your persona may benefit from highly relevant on-page local signals such as a map of nearby service providers or a calendar of citywide events.

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

Local search and mobile search go together. 61% of all Google searches are done on a mobile device.

People often use your site on their phones to look up reviews, get directions to your location, and find your contact information. Searches on mobile for "near me" have gone up 250% since 2017.

Make it easy for potential customers and clients to use your site by making it mobile-friendly.

Get inbound links with relevance and authority.

Inbound links are a great way to improve your local SEO. Each one tells Google that you're a legitimate business, and they can also raise your domain authority. Read these ways to get links to your site:

  • Partnerships or Sponsorships
  • Guest Blog Posting
  • Scholarships

Start by contacting the people and organizations already in your spheres of influence, such as the Chamber of Commerce, BIDs, licensing offices, trade groups, distributors, and manufacturers.

Think about sponsoring a webinar or meet-up, holding a community event, promoting a local thing you love, and getting to know influential people. Become at ease contacting potential business alliances to request inclusion in a partner directory.

Being a guest blogger can also help bring in links. Talk to or about people in your field in a good way, and be a resource for the community. If you participate in community conversations, buzz about you grows through incoming links, more followers on social media, and media coverage.

Participate in your local community.

More digital PR will come your way the more you get involved in the local community. You can get press, brand awareness, and inbound links by working with a nonprofit on a campaign, having a volunteer day at your company, sponsoring an event (even an online one! ), or showing up in the local news as an expert in your field.

As an example, let's say that.

.edu links are the best for domain authority, so why not feature a scholarship in your area to get some links? It should be about your business, have school backlinks, and make you feel good. Moz made an excellent step-by-step guide on how to do scholarship outreach successfully.

Local SEO Tools

Now that we've talked about optimizing your business for local SEO let's look at these tools you can use to increase your ranking in the places that matter most.

  • Whitespark Local Citation Finder

If you find a local company's name, address, or phone number mentioned anywhere online, that is a local citation.

Whitespark Tool for Local SEO

Citations are important because they help local businesses show up in online searches. When local firms actively manage their sources to make sure data is correct, it makes online listings more trustworthy.

Whitespark knows this world inside and out. Whitespark helps you manage your local listings, tells you where to list your business, looks at your competition, and builds and keeps an eye on your citation growth, so your local search rankings go up.

  • Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog Tool for Local SEO

From an SEO point of view, this desktop program crawls a website's links, images, CSS, scripts, and apps. Do you have any 404 errors? Or are you worried about missing H1s or meta descriptions? Screaming Frog will look at up to 500 URLs for free, and in its paid version, it will look at as many URLs as you want.

  • Moz Local

Moz Local Tool for Local SEO

Moz Local is cheap than most of its competitors. It will ensure that your business listing on Google and Facebook has been verified and spread across the search ecosystem.

Moz Local will also work with data aggregators to help push listings, which will help people find your business.

  • Ahrefs