If you are among local business owners and have read or heard about local SEO’s impact on your organic search results, you have come to the right place.
Based on our years of experience in the SEO industry and dealing with local businesses, we will share with you proven local SEO hacks that work every time for our clients.
1. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
While this will seem like one of the most obvious local SEO hacks, its importance can’t be understated.
Creating a Google My Business Profile is the first thing you should work on if you are an established local business with a business location and address.
If you are unsure that your business already has a Google My Business account created, then let’s verify it with a single Google search.
In your browser, open Google and search for your business name.
If the right side of your browser screen shows the actual business listing in Google My Business, then this means that you already have a business profile created.
In the image below you can see an example of a perfectly optimized GMB profile of a dentist which that had dental SEO work done on their GMB and website.
Before moving to the SEO stage of your GMB profile, we need to check if you have claimed your business listing.
You can quickly check this after you have searched for your business name on Google.
If your business has a GMB listing created, but there is a text showing either “own this business?” or “claim your business, ” there is a need for you to claim your listing.
To make sure that’s the case for real just head over to the Google Business Profile page and click on ‘Sign in.’
Choose your Gmail account that you think is associated with your GMB listing, and if that’s the case, the Google My Business Profile manager page will appear.
If you are the creator of the GMB page, but your listing is not claimed, follow the steps and provide the necessary information to claim your business.
If your business is already claimed by yourself, then let’s move to the second Local SEO hack on the list.
2. Keyword Targeting for Your Local Business
A proper local SEO strategy doesn’t get organic search results without supportive local content.
If you have never worked on your website’s local SEO, then start by doing keyword research.
Free and paid SEO tools will help you find relevant keywords to target with your website’s content.
We have a complete keyword research resource guide to help you get started if you’re interested in searching for local keywords by yourself.
An important thing to keep in mind when doing keyword research is prioritizing keywords that target your specific location of business operation.
The next step is to create local content based on relevant keywords that you found and start ranking for keywords related to your niche.
This way, you’ll benefit from your local content and trigger local pack rankings with your website.
The top local search rankings will help you get monthly organic traffic and attract more potential customers to your business door.
If you already have content on your website, we will need to ensure that the content targets a specific keyword, especially for your site’s service location pages. One way to determine what pages on your website have SEO value is by doing an SEO content audit.
After we’ve managed to rank for relevant local results and attract your target local audience, we move on to the next point of our local SEO hacks.
3. Schema Markup Code of Your Website
This local SEO hack is part of the more technical side of things, but very important to include in your website’s code structure.
The Schema.org markup code helps search engines understand your content better and provide more accurate local search results to users.
Search engine ranking indicators work based on algorithms that rely mainly on code, and the structured data markup helps them showcase extra information in Google search results such as:
- Star reviews,
- Details of the reviewers,
- Pricing information,
- Accurate location-based search results.
Adding schema markup to your website is essential in local search rankings since it indicates where local businesses should appear when users search for location-based queries.
4. Build Local Citations for Your Website
If you run a business with a physical location, then building citations to your website is a necessity.
Citations are online business directories where you can register your business in your industry.
As part of the business listings, you can include a business name, description, address and phone number, website, services you offer, your business hours, and sometimes even the logo or images of your business.
Local citations will help your website get exposure from local searches since people can find you directly from the local directories.
The benefits of online directories also include a higher chance of conversion rates and an increase in your website’s authority.
Higher Conversion Rate
When you get your website listed in directories, you should expect every direct traffic you get from there to be closer to the conversion stage.
People that look for local listings directly in directories to fulfill their needs usually want to find a quick solution.
That’s why it is essential not to lose out on opportunities to get more local customers to your business.
Increase Website Authority
An additional benefit that local citations have to your local SEO strategy is by increasing your website’s authority.
Search engines check a website’s overall authority based on the number of inbound links from third-party websites.
The more authority the third-party website has, the more authority it will pass on to your website.
When building citations to your website, aim to get your website listed in top business directories; thus, the inbound links will impact your website’s authority more.
5. Do Link Building for Your Website
The importance of link building for a website’s SEO success; can’t be emphasized enough.
If you have already worked on the points mentioned above then link building should be your next item among the local SEO services that will help you skyrocket your website’s organic traffic.
There isn’t a more impactful ranking factor than building backlinks to your site.
While local citations help get inbound links and increase your site’s authority, link building is a more targeted strategy requiring much more effort, time, and resources.
Since search engines rely on a website’s backlinks to provide more accurate local search results when building links, kindly ask prospects to use some variation of your business location as an anchor text.
This will help search engines such as Google rank your website for the most relevant local results.
One thing to remember when choosing anchor texts for link building is not to overdo them by including your business location. Try including the location in anchor texts occasionally.
Google might consider over-optimization of your anchor text as spammy and thus negatively impact your rankings.
6. Optimize Your Google Maps Geographic Coverage
The online world of search engine optimization is a broad space with many hacks to work on before achieving the desired success.
One of the other local SEO hacks that need our attention is optimizing Google maps to ensure we get impressions and clicks from potential customers.
Some people go straight into the Google maps app and search for the solutions or products they need.
If our GMB profile is not optimized properly, we will lose out on potential customers.
To strengthen your business’s online visibility, make sure to work on your GMB profile by optimizing the following:
- Business description,
- Services and products offered,
- Get more Google reviews,
- Include images in your GMB listing.
If you want a more detailed list of things to work on to optimize your presence in Google maps further, check out our Google My Business SEO audit guide, where we also offer a free checklist for your needs.
7. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
Nowadays, searches come mainly from mobile devices, especially from local searches from users looking for local businesses.
Optimize your website for mobile devices if you want to become part of the top search engine results pages for local searches.
A quick and convenient way to check your website’s mobile friendliness is by going into Google’s PageSpeed Insights free tool and typing your website’s domain into the search box.
After you hit ‘Analyze,’ you will get speed test results for mobile and desktop with scores from 0-100.
If your score is below 90 for either mobile or desktop, then note that you have some work to do.
If you are unsure what the metrics on the test results indicate, then scroll down to the ‘Opportunites’ section and click on each to get a detailed overview of the issues you need to fix for both the mobile and desktop versions of your website.
If you are not tech-savvy and want a technical SEO expert to look at your website’s technical issues and fix them feel free to contact us for help.
Another critical thing to look at when running your website through the PageSpeed Insights tool is checking if your site passes the “Core Web Vitals Assessment.”
Google’s latest algorithm updates indicate that Core Web Vitals impact your site’s rankings.
If your site does not pass this assessment, note that there are elements that are slowing down your website and need fixing.
8. Get Featured in Local Online Journals
A healthy local SEO ranking strategy should include a digital PR campaign, a.k.a local link building.
Search for a breaking news story with local coverage and create a story worth pitching to the local news sites.
News sites generally have a high authority since other sites link to them.
This allows you to increase the count of your inbound links and strengthen your site’s backlink profile.
Search engines might look at these links as locally targeted and thus give your rankings an extra local boost.
The local SEO hacks mentioned in the article will get you as far as ranking on the local pack search results.
If you followed systematically and worked on every local SEO hack mentioned, you could start seeing results immediately after a few days.
Since some local SEO hacks require a continuous workflow, it could take a bit more time to see results, but the achievements will be significantly more remarkable.