How To Improve Local SEO: 10 Experts Share their Best Advice

Amy Brueckman    By under Local SEO.

With an estimated 90% of purchases taking place in physical stores, it can be difficult to cash in on your local audience. It's especially tough for online businesses to improve their local presence if they don't have a physical storefront that your community can see as a part of their landscape.

So how can you fit in and stand out among the businesses in your neighborhood?

This month we asked the experts: What is your best tip for improving local SEO?

Here's something you will never find in a course or openly shared by a local SEO 'guru':

1. Leverage existing user-generated content (e.g., customer reviews from Google, Yelp, Facebook, any other source) and
2. Turn them into images (this can be done for free in Canva with a set of nice typography and graphics)
3. Geotag these images using your business' exact GPS coordinates, then
4. Upload images to your GMB as photos and use as GMB updates

To go one step further, include your business' name, address, phone number (as per your GMB listing) on the image. That is, physically add it onto the image.

Daniel Cheung
Daniel Cheung: Analyst @ Daniel K Cheung

Daniel K Cheung

My tip would be to get your local citations sorted. Citations are online mentions of your business name, address, and phone number. They are usually presented in directories and social platforms, so having business citations in local directories will give your local SEO a nice boost.

The key to making sure local citations work is by making them consistent. Your business details need to be exactly the same across all citations otherwise it can cause confusion for both Google and potential customers. This confusion can negatively impact local rankings and misdirect customers.

Before you create local citations, decide how you want your business information to be formatted. A good rule of thumb is to match how the information appears on your website. This will result in consistent citations and the best possible results.

Emma White
Emma White: SEO Coordinator @ Multi Layer Media

Multi Layer Media

 

If you haven't already, get your local business listed on Google My Business. This is hands-down one of the best ways that you can improve your local SEO. Once your listing is verified, Google will recognize your business in the local area and begin to rank your business higher in local search results.

The next best thing you can do is optimize your site content around relevant local search terms. Do some keyword research on your local competitors to see what kinds of terms they're being ranked for. Then pursue those same or similar local keywords with your blog content and integrate those keywords on your site in a number of areas.

With those steps taken care of, we'd recommend that you start to engage in link-building activities whenever possible. The more quality back-links that you receive from relevant websites, the stronger your domain authority will become.

Niles Koenigsberg
Niles Koenigsberg: Jr. Digital Marketing Specialist @ FiG Advertising

FiG Advertising

According to Google research, queries with the modifier "Near Me" have exploded in the past few years, especially with the rise of voice search and smart assistants. Other modifiers include "near me now", "near me tonight/today", "open near me", which signal strong purchase intent.

Be sure to use these terms in your page title, headers, and body copy, where applicable. While the data does suggest users are querying less zip codes and other local modifiers, we still include them on local city pages.

While these certainly help bring in long-tail traffic to the site, alongside other local modifiers like county and neighborhood names. While it is certainly true that near me queries are hot and on the rise, there is also tremendous growth in queries that do not include the phrase, because users are coming to expect that search engines return results that are local, without explicitly stating so.

Alex Miller
Alex Miller: Marketing Manager @ Up Hail

Up Hail

 

I see link building for local SEO as extremely important. But merely building directory links on local newspapers isn't going to be enough - it needs to be more strategic and with a direct focus on relevancy.

Are there other local businesses that are non-competing and are perhaps in an adjacent industry that would be willing to link to you? Are there any local associations, local council/government websites or even local colleges/universities that would link to your site or to a specific resource?

Not only are the links relevant in terms of locality (which will improve your rankings), if you get your targeting exactly right, you'll also be able to drive very relevant, direct referral traffic.

Amit Raj
Amit Raj: Owner @ Amit Digital Marketing

Amit Digital Marketing

See what keywords people use to search in your area. Use those keywords on your website. It helps keep up with the trends. Google has many great webmaster/SEO tools to track keyword trends.
Check out where your competition hangs out. If they're part of an online community focused on your industry, you should be there too! Interact and pick up some tips from them. (You'd be surprised at how willing competitors are to sharing knowledge)
Have customers give you a shout out on social media! A quick @ can get a few clicks, for sure. Enough of seeing that and people start looking at you as an authority on your profession. Search engines notice too.
Name drop alternate names or smaller areas in your city, not just the city name, proper. Someone may search for "fondue restaurant Clinton" instead of the broader "fondue restaurant Hells Kitchen". (Hell's Kitchen aka Clinton).

Jerome Williams
Jerome Williams: Web Developer @ JWorks Studios

JWorks Studios