By Valentina Izzo

7 months ago

Unlock the power of local SEO, transforming your local business into a community favourite and outshining global brands.

As a local business owner, sometimes it feels like your back is against the wall when trying to compete with global brands. You’re working with a limited geographical reach and‌ an even tighter budget. But what if you could take what seems like a disadvantage and flip it into your secret weapon?

That’s exactly the magic of local search. So, this is your sign to use your local focus as a strength (not a weakness) and level the playing field with the big dogs. In this article, we’ll explore seven simple ways to dominate local search, helping you climb to the top of Google’s first page and drive organic (digital and foot) traffic to your business. Let’s dive in👀

Table of content:

  1. What Is Local SEO?
  2. How to Dominate Local Search
  3. Wrapping Up

What Is Local SEO?

Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a tried and true strategy to help increase the online visibility of businesses in a specific geographic area. The goal? Convert traffic into paying customers.

Local SEO is particularly relevant for small and medium-sized businesses that operate on a regional level — rather than a national or global scale. In other words, it should be your go-to marketing strategy as a local business.

Here’s a simple example of what a local search looks like on Google:

Screenshot by Jeremy Moser.

So, how does Google determine local rankings? It focuses on three key elements:

  • Relevance: how well a local Business Profile matches search intent.
  • Distance: how far each result is from the location of the searched keyword.
  • Prominence: how well-known the business is to residents or visitors.

With these elements at the forefront of your local SEO strategy, you can appear on the first page of Google in two different ways: in the local pack or in organic search results.

Here’s the difference:

Screenshot by Jeremy Moser.

The local pack displays Google Business profiles and a Google Map. The pack appears below ‌sponsored ads but above ‌organic search results.

Organic searches are those blue hyperlinks that we know and love. In a non-local Google search, these tend to be our go-to sources for information. 

In fact, after analyzing over 4 million search results, Backlinko confirms that the first result on Google scores an average click-through rate (CTR) of 27.6%.

In the SEO world, any CTR above 3% is a homerun. So 27.6% is considered a world series title.

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and boost your traffic. Here’s a roadmap to kickstart your local SEO journey.

1. Make Your Google Business Profile Awesome

Think of your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) as your digital storefront.

It’s one of the first things users see when they search for services or products in your area, so giving it the attention it deserves is key to standing out. Oh, and Google mentions it’s one of the most important tasks on the local SEO checklist. So don’t skip this step.

Here are a few simple tips for optimizing your business profile:

  • Claim your listing. If you haven’t already, create and claim your Google Business Profile to take control of your business’s online presence.
  • Provide accurate information. Include all the vital details like your business name, address, phone number, website, and operating hours. Don’t forget a brief description.
  • Add high-quality images. A picture is worth a thousand words. Include high-resolution images of your products, services, or even your team to give potential customers a visual insight into what you offer.
  • Encourage reviews. Reviews act as social proof, building trust with potential customers.

Screenshot by Jeremy Moser.

2. Perfect Your Local Keyword Research

Keyword research is the cornerstone of any effective SEO strategy. If you’re unsure what your target audience is searching for, how can you cater to their wants and needs?

Start by identifying who your local customers are and what they’re actively searching for. What terms or phrases will they type into Google when looking for your products or services in your niche?

For instance, let’s say you own a flower shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. You’ll need to identify the specific needs and interests of your local Fort Lauderdale customers seeking floral arrangements.

Here’s an example of how you can identify terms or phrases they might use:

Target customers: individuals celebrating special occasions (like anniversaries, birthdays, or weddings), businesses needing regular floral arrangements, people expressing sympathy or love, flower enthusiasts, and holiday shoppers.

Search intent: fresh flowers in Fort Lauderdale, wedding bouquets, birthday flowers, sympathy arrangements, local flower delivery, and seasonal blooms.

Potential terms or phrases: By clearly outlining your audience and their specific needs, you might target keywords like:

  • “Fort Lauderdale florist”
  • “Fort Lauderdale flower shop”
  • “Wedding flowers in Fort Lauderdale”
  • “Same-day flower delivery in Fort Lauderdale”
  • “Flower shops near me”

Once you have a rough idea of the terms your target customers are searching for, you can leverage SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, and Google Search Console to understand the monthly search volume and keyword difficulty (KD).

These tools can also ‌inspire you with other keywords to target by looking at matching or related keywords. Here’s an example of related terms for “fort lauderdale florist.”

Screenshot by Jeremy Moser.

Pro tip: If this is your first time performing keyword research for a new website, look for long-tail keywords with at least 100 monthly search volume and a keyword difficulty under 20.

These criteria will give you the best chance of ranking in the search results, as the big players aren’t likely to target this low-hanging fruit.

And remember that keyword research is only the first step in the long game known as local SEO. You’ll need to strategically incorporate these keywords into your website and Google Business Profile for search engines to find you (and recommend you).So take a page from Watermill Flowers’ book for stellar on-page SEO. They incorporate variations of the Fort Lauderdale florist keyword throughout titles, meta descriptions, and product pages.

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That’s exactly what search engines are looking for. And it helps the user instantly know they’ve landed on the right website page for their search intent.

Follow this same method for your own website, and say hello to higher traffic and conversions. Music to any business owner’s ears.

3. Publish a Robust Library of Local Content

Content is king. In fact, at least 70% of marketers use content marketing in their overall marketing strategy.

And with a 91% success rate (according to Semursh), it’s worth dedicating time and effort towards content creation. What is the best way forward? Writing more content and publishing it more often.

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By focusing on building a library of local content, you’re doing more than optimizing for search engines — you’re connecting, engaging, and becoming a vital part of your community.

This approach helps your local SEO strategy and sets you apart as a business deeply embedded in the local culture. It’s a powerful way to dominate local search and forge lasting customer relationships.

So how do you go about weaving your business into the fabric of the local community? Use these simple tips:

  • Identify local topics of interest. Find out what your community cares about. Are there local events, cultural traditions, or seasonal considerations relevant to your business?
  • Create blog posts and expert guides. Focus on informative blog posts and guides that address these local interests. Whether it’s a guide to the best dining options in your area or tips on buying a house in your state, these resources can position you as a local expert.
  • Keep content fresh and updated. The local scene is always changing, and so should your content. Regular updates, new insights, and timely articles keep your content library fresh and relevant.
  • Balance evergreen and time-sensitive content. Cater to immediate local interests while also providing lasting value. Striking a good balance enhances your position in local and regular search results.
  • Feature local insights and stories. Share success stories, testimonials, or insights from local customers or clients. Real experiences resonate with local audiences and add authenticity to your content.

Now, let’s look at an example in action. Young and the Invested has generated 173,000 monthly organic traffic to its website.

Screenshot by Jeremy Moser.

The key to their success?

  • Prioritizing on-page SEO best practices like adding keywords to meta descriptions.
  • Finding the optimal equilibrium between evergreen and time-sensitive content.
  • Publishing expert guides that help young people improve financial literacy.
  • Featuring local stories and insights to spark community connections.

The result? A spot at the top of Google’s coveted first page for the competitive keyword “debit cards designed to help teens.”

Screenshot by Jeremy Moser.

By following a similar approach and targeting appropriate keywords, your business can enhance its online visibility and attract potential customers specifically searching for your products or services.

Remember, selecting the right keywords and optimizing your meta descriptions can substantially impact your local SEO success.

And if you’re ready to publish dozens of articles per month to achieve the same success as Young and the Invested, let Wordable do the heavy lifting for you. You can export Google Docs to WordPress with one simple click.

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And you’ll never lose the on-page SEO efforts you’ve worked so hard to incorporate. A true win-win scenario.

4. Add Specific Location Pages to Your Website

If your business serves multiple locations, adding specific location pages to your website is a must. Think of each page as a unique digital storefront tailored to a neighborhood or area.

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Start by creating individual pages for each location. Add ‌unique details like your address, phone number, hours, and even specific offers or testimonials from that community.

Don’t forget to optimize these pages with relevant local keywords that reflect the particular area, such as “best BBQ restaurant in [neighborhood name].”

And if you really want to stand out, take your static images up a notch and try adding video and live-stream productions to these pages to showcase the local vibe.

With pre-recorded videos, you can share behind-the-scenes details on how you created an award-winning menu. Or you can give a tour of a new restaurant that’s about to have a grand opening.

With a live video stream, you give your audience a real-time update on crowd levels and the current vibe to entice people to join the festivities. Or you can host virtual happy hours with special guests. The options are endless!

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Videos are worth over a thousand words and can amplify your community’s voice. Plus, it’s a fun and unique way to put a face to your brand. And stand out from the other local business vying for attention.

5. Leverage Local Structured Data Markup

Think of structured data markup as speaking the search engines’ native language.

Adding structured data to your website helps Google quickly understand and present your business information in local search results. And you have a better chance of appearing in those prized rich snippets.

Oh, and this markup doesn’t just improve your visibility. It enhances the user experience by providing concise and relevant information right where your customers are looking for it (read: right place, right time).

If all of this technical jargon went straight over your head, you’re not alone. Thankfully, WordLift has harnessed the power of AI and can do all of this for you. The best part? It doesn’t require any technical knowledge.

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You can sit back, relax, and watch WordLift improve impressions by 85%. That’s not a drop in the bucket. And you didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting. What’s not to love?

6. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Mobile optimization is a vital part of the local SEO puzzle — especially in light of the growing swarm of mobile users relying on “near me” searches. You must roll out the red carpet with a mobile-friendly user experience to capture this on-the-go audience.

Speed is the name of the game. We’re all busy people, and we (sadly) don’t have the patience to wait for slow pages to load. So keep things as zippy as possible. The first step is to upgrade your hosting provider. After you’ve got that out of the way you can get down to brass tacks.

Thankfully, the Google PageSpeed Insights tool spells out everything you need to do to help speed things up. Paste in your website URL and hit the analyze button. Within a few seconds, you’ll receive a passing or failing score. If your website passes, you’re off to the races.

If you fail, don’t worry. Fix the issues that Google highlights and try again.

Screenshot by Jeremy Moser.

An intuitive user interface (UI) also plays a significant role in mobile optimization. A clear and easy-to-navigate UI helps your mobile users find what they need without the hassle.

This simplicity translates into visitors sticking around on your website and taking the actions you want (making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, etc.). Plus, nobody likes a cluttered, eye-straining mess. It’s confusing and one of the easiest ways to lose trust in a brand.

And last (but certainly not least), adding features like click-to-call buttons and optimizing your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) are key touches in this mobile-friendly mix.

Screenshot by Jeremy Moser.

Click-to-call buttons simplify the process for mobile users to reach out to your business, increasing conversion opportunities. And a well-maintained Google Business profile with accurate information can boost your standing in local search results. It’s a win-win.

7. Vet Your Information Using Local Citations and Business Directories

As the saying goes: garbage in, garbage out. It’s the number one rule when you learn how to clean data.

And accurate data about your business is of the utmost importance to Google. Here’s a direct quote from their page on how to improve your local rankings:

Local results favor the most relevant results for each search. Businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.

You can vet that your business information is accurate in two key ways. You can verify your business with Google.

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Or you can leverage local citations and business directories to signal to Google that your business information is accurate.

Sometimes these are called ​​NAP citations or online mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP).

​​Why are NAP citations important? Google uses them to confirm the accuracy of your business details. They help cross-reference the information you present about your business online and ensure it’s genuine.

For example, you might see a NAP citation on a site like Tripadvisor:

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The principle here’s straightforward: the more Google encounters consistent NAP citations with your information, the greater its confidence that your business is authentic and reliable.

So, your goal should be to secure consistent citations across as many reputable websites as possible. This consistency not only builds trust but enhances your visibility in local searches.

Wrapping Up

You started as a local business owner feeling like the underdog, facing the Goliaths of global brands. But now, armed with these seven simple ways to dominate local search, you’re ready to level the playing field.

Embrace your local focus, and let it be your strength to drive organic traffic to your digital presence and physical storefront.

The big dogs have had their time. Now it’s your turn. Your community is searching for you, and these local SEO tips will help them find you. Keep local SEO on your bingo card in 2023. It’s ripe for the taking. 

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