What Is Local SEO? Local Business SEO Guide

Local SEO is the process of enhancing and optimizing your online presence to attract customers within a specific geographic area. Become the top Google search result for locals!

Finding your place online as a local business can be tricky. There was once a time when you might have been the sole ice cream shop in town, and it was easy to draw in local customers. Fast forward to today, and not only are there more local and national competitors in your physical vicinity, but the digital space is even more crowded. So, how do you cut through all the noise and rise to the top where local customers can find you?

Well, the answer lies in local search engine optimization. By optimizing your online presence, you can appear for local search results in your area.

Local SEO works. It isn't just fluffy digital marketing jargon; it's an organic marketing strategy to ensure local businesses appear where it matters. It involves optimizing for the search queries that your potential customers use and keeping our Google My Business profiles in good shape to be easily found.

Our team at Adept Agency has been helping local businesses show up in local search results and Google Map packs for years, and we have some surefire local SEO tips to get you started.

Brief Explanation of SEO

SEO is the no-frills path to organic online visibility. It’s a data-driven strategy for identifying what your customers are searching online and optimizing your online presence to show up in the SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages.

What is Local SEO

Local SEO, or Local Search Engine Optimization, is the ongoing process of enhancing and optimizing your online presence to attract customers within a specific geographic area. The ultimate goal is to become the top Google search result for locals seeking your products or services.

Importance for Local Businesses

For local businesses, the significance of Local SEO cannot be overstated. It's the digital compass that guides the right people to your door, boosting foot traffic, sales, and community engagement.

How Local SEO Differs from Traditional SEO

While traditional SEO casts a wide net for a global audience, Local SEO zooms in on a local area and connects businesses with the people in their neighborhood through the language of online searches.

Local SEO vs SEO: Which Is Right for You?

A broader SEO strategy is different than a local SEO strategy. Both of them have their place in boosting your organic channel and boosting your online visibility as a business. If you’re wondering which strategy is right for you, it all depends on your business and its offerings. Below are key indicators that you would benefit from a local SEO strategy:

  • The business has a physical location or storefront for customers.
  • The business serves customers in specific cities or areas.

Key Elements of Local SEO

Google My Business Optimization

Creating and Claiming Your Business Profile - Begin by claiming your turf on Google My Business (GMB). This is where the online magic begins. Here you can flesh out all your business details, including your services, contact information, operating hours, and more!

Navigating the Dashboard

Explore the GMB dashboard – your command center for managing how your business appears on Google's search results. This dashboard now operated almost exclusively from Google Search itself. From here you can edit your business information, post updates to engage with your customers, publish attractive images that represent your business, and respond to customer reviews.

Importance of Accurate Business Information

The devil is in the details! Ensure that your business information is accurate and up to date. That includes your business name, address, and phone number. This builds trust and helps customers find you effortlessly.

Local Keyword Research

Identifying Relevant Local Keywords

Think like a local! Beyond listing yourself as a local business, the way you’ve optimized your site with keywords is another local search ranking factor. What words or phrases might your potential customers type into Google when searching for businesses like yours?

Being in this industry, I’ve worked with a handful of clients that have a description of their product or services that, unfortunately, is not the way users are searching for that product or service. Having the expertise and SEO tools (think: Google Search Console, ahrefs, MOZ, SEMrush, and more) to think like your customers and apply that to your website and Google Business Profile is key to a successful SEO strategy.

Incorporating Keywords Naturally

By incorporating these local keywords naturally throughout your website content, you send signals to Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. It's like speaking the language of your customers.

There is such a thing as over-optimizing with keywords. Going overboard can flag you for what we call keyword stuffing. Not only does this look spammy to Google, which could give you the opposite results, but your customers could find this spammy as well. When optimizing a webpage or GBP, keeping it natural is best.

On-Page SEO for Local

Optimizing Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Crafting optimized titles, H1s, and meta descriptions for your webpages that not only describe your business but also entice locals to click through can improve your CTR and appearance in organic search results.

Localized Content Strategies

Create SEO content that resonates with your local audience. Share local stories, events, and news related to your industry.

Service Pages

Depending on your offerings, building out individual service pages can strengthen your site signals and improve your relevance for local service searches. Keyword research and competitor analysis are important for any type of SEO content or content marketing strategy.

Local Link Building

Link building is the process of acquiring links back to your website from external sites, like local directories, local businesses, and more. Backlinks are a search ranking factor that influences your search engine rankings. To Google, a quality backlink acts as an online vote of authority and trust for your website. Acquiring backlinks as a local business can do a lot for your online visibility.

There are ways to acquire these naturally as a local business:

Gaining Local Citations

One of the first ways small businesses gain backlinks is through local directories. These citations can help boost the credibility of your local presence, often reaffirming your business name, address, and phone number.

Build Relationships with Local Businesses

Are there small businesses in your area that would make sense to partner up with? Building relationships with other business owners can open many doors.

Participate in Community Events

Participating in or even putting on your own local events can attract attention, giving you plenty of opportunities to grow your partnerships and customers. What’s more, you have more potential for local mentions in online articles and local news. Those are HUGE wins that can have massive impacts on your SEO ranking!

Quality Backlinks Matter

All that said, it’s important to note that not all backlinks are built the same—it matters where they come from, whether they’re dofollow vs. nofollow links, and more. Poor link building can start to look spammy and has the potential to set you back from your online competitors.

Online Reviews and Reputation Management

Google Reviews and Yelp

Google reviews are like digital gold for your business's SEO. Positive reviews not only enhance your reputation but also play a crucial role in influencing your search engine ranking. Google values user feedback, and businesses with more positive reviews are often considered more trustworthy and relevant to serve in local search results.

Additionally, other review-enabled sites, such as Yelp, can be leveraged to strengthen your SEO. Reviews on Yelp and Facebook can appear in your Google Pack Results and local listings, further boosting your trust and authority. Additionally, having a Yelp profile with reviews can serve as a valuable backlink.

Local Restaurants, Bars, and Coffee Shops

Leverage all your reviews! If you offer delivery through UberEats, GrubHub, or DoorDash, those reviews can appear in your Google Local Pack results. The more “evidence” you have to show search engines your value to customers, the better.

Encouraging Positive Reviews

Happy customers are your biggest advocates. Encourage them to leave positive reviews, as these serve as digital testimonials. Remember to make it easy for customers to leave reviews. You may have satisfied customers, but they just need a simple prompt or reminder to leave their feedback!

Responding to Customer Feedback

Engage with your customers through reviews. Responding, whether the feedback is positive or negative, shows that you value their opinions.

Local SEO Tips and Best Practices

Keeping Information Consistent Across Platforms

Consistency is the secret sauce. Ensure your business information is the same across your website, social media profiles, and online business directories.

Utilizing Local Structured Data Markup

Embrace structured data markup to provide search engines and crawlers with more information about your business. It helps search engines understand and display your content better.

Mobile Optimization for Local Searches

Many local searches happen on mobile devices. Make sure your website is not just mobile-friendly but optimized for a seamless user experience.

Measuring Local SEO Success

Tracking Key Metrics

Keep a watchful eye on key metrics such as local search rankings, website traffic, and conversion rates. These indicators offer insights into how well your local SEO efforts are paying off. Your Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Google Business Profile are integral tools to tweak and build marketing strategies.

Adjusting Strategies Based on Performance

Flexibility is key. Don't hesitate to adjust your strategies based on what's working and what’s not. It's an ongoing process of optimization and refinement. Changes in SEO and consumer behavior are inevitable, from Google Core Updates to algorithm updates and keyword intent shifts. Ensure you have a dedicated strategy to keep up!

Common Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid

As a beginner in SEO, you may come across areas you don't have much expertise. That's OK! It takes time to learn and avoid SEO mistakes and setbacks. Below are key practices that you shouldn't let fall to the wayside.

Ignoring Google My Business

Your GMB profile is the heartbeat of your local SEO efforts. Ignoring it is like leaving your business in the dark.

Neglecting Online Reviews

Reviews are your digital word-of-mouth. Ignoring them is akin to turning a blind eye to the opinions of your most vocal customers.

Not Outlining Products and Offerings

If you make the effort to drive more traffic to the site, don't let it go to waste! Ensure your site is easy to navigate and very clear about your offerings.

Make It Easy to Get In Touch

Ensure customers know how to reach out to you for services or contact you with questions about your products and offerings. Open and easy communication not only could land you a new customer, but it also builds a trusted and respected business.


Local SEO is the strategic process of connecting you to local searchers of your products and services. It's not just about having an online presence; it's about becoming the go-to place in town and online. Here's to your success on this exciting journey of local SEO! May your business become a beloved local gem!

Need Local SEO Services?

Ready to illuminate your business locally but need help getting started? Adept Agency has extensive experience in building winning local SEO strategies. Our SEO services take a data-driven approach, identifying your unique needs to grow your online visibility. Get in touch today for a free consultation.