Local SEO Checklist - 25 Tips To Get You Ranking Locally

You know what local SEO is, and you know it is a crucial aspect of the success of your company’s online marketing strategy.

Making local SEO work for you, however, seems like a daunting and even overwhelming task. You’re not sure where to start and are unsure exactly what to do once you do get started.

How can you utilize local SEO to your advantage to boost your online presence and increase local foot traffic and sales?

In this guide, we will answer that question by offering 25 tips to help increase your local online rankings.

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What Is Local Listing SEO?

Local SEO stands for Local Search Engine Optimization and is an excellent way to promote your local business online to people who are searching for your service at their actual locality.

To put it simply, local SEO is a way to improve your website—and online presence—by being creative with some of the technical facets so that your site will appear toward the top of the list in local searches.By optimizing your presence online, more traffic can be channeled to your website from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Local SEO For Beginners - Why Is It Important?

With the advance of technology and the world wide web, just about everything is available quickly at our fingertips. 

Millions of people search the web daily for products or answers to their questions.

Because of this information warehouse, competitive marketing strategies are more vital than ever.

The following statistics give evidence to the importance of local SEO:

    • Google receives an average of 3.5 billion searches a day. 46% of these searches are from people doing local searches.
    • 67% of search engine clicks are made on the first five results. 
    • 50% of people who do a local search visit the store/facility within a day.
    • 60% of American adults use their smartphones or tablets to run local searches.
    • 33% of searches take place just before walking into the store.
    • 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a physical place within 24 hours. 
      • 28% of those searches result in a purchase.

Local SEO Activities - How Can They Benefit Your Business?

SEO activities for local business can benefit your company in the following ways:

  1. Increased web traffic – Local SEO drives searchers directly to your website, increasing traffic.
  2. More Visibility – SEO uses various keywords so that your website shows up over and over again making your business more visible. 
  3. Competitiveness – Local SEO searches will reveal your company website along with others who offer the same service or products.
  4. Customer growth – Getting people to visit your website is not the only goal. You also want customers to walk through your doors. Local SEO can be crucial to having local customers walk through your doors and return again and again.
  5. Profitability – Local SEO searches are performed by many customers who are motivated to buy, so having your website rank high in the listings can bring paying customers to your location.
  6. Imparting information – Customers looking for services in their area receive more than an address. Being directed to your website helps them find other information they are looking for.

Trust – Websites that rank high can garner more trust than those that rank lower.

Local SEO Checklist 2020 And 2021 - 25 Essential Tips

Local SEO and organic SEO are similar in that they both include keywords, links, and significant content. 

However, since local SEO deals with a particular locality, there are additional strategies to consider. 

Below are 25 tips to increase your productivity with local SEO.

Tip 1: Register Your Google My Business Page

Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses. . . to manage their online presence. . . .”  

Google My Business allows businesses to manage their Google listings and makes them more visible when customers use Google Search and Google Maps.

Registering your business with Google My Business is the first step and can be done easily online.

Tip 2: Optimize Your Google My Business Title

Your business title is the first thing your customers will see on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), so make it count

Avoid generic words. 

Instead, use keywords that describe your business, and make sure to include your location in the title.

Tip 3: Include Keywords Throughout Your GMB Description

Using excessive keywords can make your description seem contrived and phony.  

Instead, naturally sprinkle keywords throughout your description that adequately inform your reader.

Tip 4: Include A Local Phone Number

Make sure you include a local phone number with a local area code rather than an 800 number. 

This ensures that those considering your business know that you are a legit local company.

Tip 5: Ensure Your Correct Address Is Listed

Be sure your address is 100% correct and consistent across all sites. 

If your address is 100 North Main Street, don’t list it with complete words in one location and with abbreviations elsewhere. 

If you want to list your address as 100 N. Main St., then make sure to use those exact abbreviations every time.

Tip 6: Include Images With Geotags At Your Business Address

Including images are important for visual variety but can also be another tool to get customers to your location. 

When including photos or other images, use geotagging that includes coordinates to your physical address.

Geotags help verify to Google that your business is really located where you say it is.

Tip 7: Beef Up Your On-Page Local SEO

On-page SEO refers to the content and HTML source code of a page on your website. Off-page refers to links and other external prompts and is also discussed below.

Strong on-page SEO helps search engines clearly understand your content and determine its relevance to a searcher’s query.

Tip 8: URL Structure

Since your URL (Uniform Resource Locator) may be the first thing your customers and Google will see, you want to get it right. Getting this right may take a little time and thought, but it will pay off.

An effective URL provides the initial context on the subject matter on the web page.

In general, you will want to include pertinent information in the URL so your readers will know what the page is about simply by looking at the URL.

Tip 9: Title Tag

Because title tags play a significant role in search engine algorithms, they are extremely important for directing customers to your page and into your business.

Here are a few things to consider when creating your title tag:

  • Use unique titles that spark interest.
  • Length matters. Choose a shorter tag over a longer one, but choose words that will stand out in the SERPs. 
  • Use keywords, but don’t be excessive.

Make the tag relevant. It should introduce the content the reader will find on the page.

Tip 10: Meta Description

The meta description is the short piece of information that appears just below the title tag on the search results page and provides a summary of what the page is about. 

Having an effective meta description can lead to more clicks on your link which can result in a higher ranking.

Below are a few things to remember when writing your meta description:

  • Write a separate, unique description for every page of your site.
  • Remember that factors like screen size, type of device, and other technical components affect how the search results appear on a device. Keeping your description to around 150 characters is a general practice.
  • Including a value-add in your meta description will give the reader a reason to click on your link.

Be relevant and honest. Your reader will appreciate finding that the information in your description and on your website match.

Tip 11: Header Tags

Use header tags that are thought out and SEO-focused.

Header tags break up the text and make your content easier to navigate and more enjoyable for the reader.

Use header tags as a way to:

  • Provide structure
  • Break up your text
  • Include keywords
  • Add interest

Tip 12: Keywords

Using keywords effectively is critical to receiving high rankings and increasing your visibility to potential customers.

Consider the following when thinking about keywords in your content:

  • Keywords should be specific and detailed.
  • Use long-tail keywords. A phrase like “massage therapists in Portland” is considered a long-tail keyword.
  • Correct spelling and grammar are essential.

Highlighting keywords in your content helps to boost your rankings.

Tip 13: Links

Links to additional content on your website and links to external websites can add credibility to your content.

Internal Links

Internal links are links that direct the reader to another page of your website for supplemental  content and should be a part of your local SEO strategy. 

Internal links also help Google understand how your website is structured and establishes an information hierarchy on your site—giving more link value to the most important pages.

External Links

External links are links that redirect the reader to a URL that is outside of your website

External links provide increased credibility and authority to your content.

Tip 14: Online Presence

Creating an online presence for your business is literally at your fingertips. 

Consider the following:

  • Pay attention to details. Make sure your business name, address, and phone number are exactly the same on all platforms.
  • Take advantage of a variety of business search avenues available including Google My Business, Yelp, and Bing.
  • Use social media to your advantage to create an expanded online presence.

Tip 15: Get Your Business On Yelp

Yelp is a company that “publishes crowd-sourced reviews about businesses” on its website and mobile app.

Since many customers are using Yelp to find information about businesses, to rate them, and to leave reviews, listing your business on Yelp can help boost your SEO rankings.

Tip 16: Create A Social Media Presence

Social media promotion can be another key to boosting your rankings.

If your business is ranking high, others are more likely to promote your website on social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In addition, you can add the following to your strategy to create an online presence:

  • Post frequently.
  • Use collaboration posts to your advantage.
  • Offer giveaways.
  • Be personal.
  • Link your social media profile to your website.
  • Advertise promotions.

Tip 17: Bing Local Optimization

By now, Google is a household name. 

Even though Bing may not be as well known, it is playing a very important role in online searches. 

Knowing how Bing works and having a Bing strategy can lead to huge SEO wins for your business.

Google and Bing have several similarities but have distinct differences

Here are a few things to keep in mind to rank high in Bing:

  • Have a strong homepage because Bing’s SERP results are based more on homepages than internal landing pages.
  • Keywords need to be exact to increase your ranking on Bing.
  • Bing places a lot of weight on meta descriptions, so to rank well on Bing, make sure to use a strong and relevant description.

You can increase your online presence by using Bing Places.

Tip 18: List Your Business In Local Directories

Create listings for your business in as many local directories as possible.

Some free suggestions include:

  • Google My Business
  • Bing
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Apple Maps
  • LinkedIn
  • Yellow Book
  • MapQuest
  • Hubspot
  • Super Pages
  • Thumbtak

Tip 19: Locally Focused Content Creation

With all the more technical details mentioned above, don’t forget about the actual content on your site.

Content matters!

While naturally including keywords into your content, make sure your content is rich and beneficial to the reader. 

Write content that your potential local customers will want to read.

Tip 20: Locally Focused Content

When adding content, make sure it is locally relevant and focused.

Some ideas include:

  • Using local images throughout your content
  • Writing about local events
  • Including local news stories
  • Focusing on topics that are particular to your area

Tip 21: Provide Value To The Reader

Your audience will be able to see through keyword stuffing. Adding value is critical.

Make each word count.

Your potential customers are searching because they want information, so you should give them solid information that is going to benefit them.

Tip 22: Boost Local Reviews

Reviews can help your business rank higher in Google searches and should be included in your SEO strategy.

Online customer reviews indicate to search engines that your business is reputable and trustworthy.

Encouraging clients to leave reviews—and interacting with your reviews—is just one more way to increase SEO for your business.

Tip 23: Use Google Place IDs

A Google Place ID is an identifier that is particular to your business.  

Google Place IDs provide direct links that satisfied customers can use to leave positive reviews.

Tip 24: Optimize Your Site For Mobile

More than 50% of online searches are performed using mobile devices.

If your content is not mobile-friendly, it may be overlooked. Google rankings may also be lower if your website can’t be viewed well on a mobile device. 

Not only that, if a potential customer has trouble reading your website content on their mobile device, they will probably not visit your site a second time. 

In this case, you will most certainly be missing out on new customers.

Tip 25: Don’t Forget About Voice Search

Siri and Alexa are quickly becoming our most convenient and practical friends, so consider ways to optimize voice search in your SEO strategy.

BONUS Tip 26: Know When To Bring In a Professional With Proven Results

Maybe you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with all this SEO talk. 

Sure, the tips are great, but doing SEO—and doing it well—seems like a monumental task, and you don’t feel like it’s one of the strong tools in your personal business owner toolbox.

Let Portland SEO Growth assist and serve you. 

Here’s what you need to know about us:

    • Your goal is our mission. 
    • We are focused on results, and we’re happy when we get our clients incredibly mind-blowing results.
    • We never take on a client we can’t help. If we can’t help them, we don’t take their money. Simple as that. 
    • We share transparent and honest reporting. If we’re not doing what we promised, we’ll let you know.
    • We celebrate your success, not our own.
    • We can start by giving you a free SEO audit.