Chapter 2: Local SEO for Beginners [Getting Started]

How to Implement a Local SEO Strategy [Local SEO For Beginners]
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    If you want to get your business seen by locals, then you need to optimize your brand for local search. This can be a little bit tricky if you’re not familiar with Local SEO (search engine optimization), but luckily we’ve got a guide to help you get started. 

    In this chapter, we’ll cover some of the basics of local SEO so you can start getting your business seen by the people who matter most.

    What are the Most Important Local SEO Ranking Factors

    The first thing you should know before implementing a local SEO strategy, are the ranking factors that will impact you most. 

    The most important local SEO ranking factors are: 

    • having accurate, consistent information about your business across the web
    • optimizing titles, headers, and meta descriptions on your website
    • creating content related to the geographic area of your business
    • building high-quality backlinks from reputable sites within your industry
    • utilizing local schema markup
    • acquiring positive reviews and responding to all reviews

    Accurate NAP

    Having accurate information about your business is paramount in achieving higher rankings. This includes having consistent NAP (Name – Address – Phone) information throughout all the sites where you have a presence including directories and social media profiles. 

    Inconsistent NAP info can confuse search engines leading them to think you may be multiple businesses or not legitimate at all.

    Titles, Headers, and Meta

    Optimizing titles, headers, and meta descriptions with location-based keywords specific to your business is another important factor for local SEO ranking. Include your city as well as relevant keywords related to the service or products you offer when crafting these items on homepages, blog posts, etc.

    Localized Content

    Creating content related to the geographic area of your business will help signal relevancy for local searches. Writing about nearby attractions, events going on in town, or even how-to articles related to services you offer can be beneficial in showing the relevance and boosting rankings. 

    Local Backlinks

    High-quality backlinks from reputable sites within your industry are necessary for increasing visibility locally. These links strengthen the trustworthiness and relevance signals sent by search engines which can increase rankings significantly over time. 

    Local Schema Markup

    Finally utilizing local schema markup is essential for telling search engine crawlers factual details about a particular business such as an address, phone number, hours of operation, ratings & reviews, etc., as well as helping potential customers find you faster by clearly displaying snippets of info right in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Including this data will provide an additional level of credibility with search engines which could improve rankings in local results pages

    Customer Reviews

    Customer reviews add credibility to your business because it shows that people are not only utilizing your services/products but that you delivered such a great experience that they felt compelled to share their feedback with others. Having positive reviews is only half the battle, because, in most cases, no matter how stellar you are, you’re likely to see some not-so-positive reviews. Regardless of the review sentiment, it’s important to respond to all of your reviews. This shows your audience that you care about their experience and will provide them with the support they need when the time arises.

    How to Get Started with Local SEO in 6 Steps

    Now, let’s get into how you can optimize your brand presence for each of these important ranking factors.

    As we discussed in Chapter 1: What is Local SEO and Why is Local Search Important, you don’t need to have a website to start implementing a local SEO strategy. However, having a company website will create more opportunities for you to optimize your online presence and earn top rankings. Below, we’ll provide a mix of tactics you can implement with a website and some you can do without one.

    Step 1: Ensure Your Local Citations are Accurate

    The first that business owners should take to start optimizing for local SEO is to ensure their NAP is consistent across all of their local citations.

    This can either be a daunting task with a lot of manual work or a fast process powered by automation — the choice is yours.

    If you’d like to streamline NAP consistency, the best approach is to use a local SEO platform, like Direction Local.

    Direction Local is a third-party data management platform that submits business information to a network of 100+ website directories, maps apps, voice search tools, reviews platforms, and more.

    All you have to do is create an account and add your location data to our system, which takes about 10-20 minutes. From there, our auto-sync feature will submit your information to all the sites in our network, which does a few things:

    • Corrects any NAP inconsistencies, ensuring your business information is properly displayed online
    • Removes any duplicate listings you might have; for instance, an outdated Yelp profile
    • Cleanses your data for a fresh start
    • Creates local listings on sites that you might not already be listed on; for instance, Judy’s Book and Better Business Bureau.

    Once your business data is synced with our network, data cleansing APIs will constantly run in the background to ensure that your data is always updated and accurate.

    Additionally, if you’re using Direction Local and need to make a small update to your listings, like changing your hours of operation, you can do that right from our platform — the data will be submitted in bulk, correcting all of your listings without the need to manually login and update each one individually.

    With that being said, if you do not want to use a local SEO software to update your NAP, you can login to all of your local listings manually to make changes. The best way to find outdated listings is to search with your business name and “+ [old phone number],” “+ [old address],” or “+ [business name variation].”

    How to Run a Manual NAP Audit

    Though this approach is effective at finding listings that need to be updated, there is room for error, which is why we recommend using a local SEO software.

    Step 2: Update Titles, Metas, and Headers on Your Website

    The next step to optimize your business for a local audience is to update titles, metas and headers on your website.

    This process can include changing or adding page titles, meta descriptions, header tags, and other on-page elements to ensure that they are keyword-rich and accurately reflect the content of the page.

    When updating titles, metas and headers it’s important to make sure that the keywords you use are relevant to your target audience and location.

    By using geo-specific keywords you can help signal to search engines which areas your business services and provide more accurate results for local searches.

    Additionally, it’s important to make sure that all of these elements are unique for each page so as not to confuse search engine crawlers.

    In addition to incorporating local search terms into titles and meta tags, businesses should also consider optimizing their website with schema markup information related to their industry such as reviews, address information, opening hours etc. This helps search engines properly index businesses in relation to their geographical area as well as providing more detailed information about them within the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

    When it comes down to actually making changes on a website, it’s important that businesses don’t just swap out existing text but instead take care in crafting page titles and meta descriptions that accurately reflect the content of each page while still keeping targeted local SEO terms in mind.

    This will help ensure that search engine crawlers understand what each page is about without hurting its ranking potential by over-optimizing the pages with irrelevant keywords or phrases.

    Finally, one last detail businesses should consider when updating titles, metas and headers is linking between pages within their site using targeted anchor text.

    As long as they keep their anchor texts relevant while avoiding keyword stuffing potential risks they can help improve overall rankings by linking from one webpage to another with localized keywords related to their industry or geographic area.

    Step 3: Publish Localized Content

    Publishing localized content on a website is an effective strategy for businesses to better position themselves to rank in local search results. To do so, they must first perform keyword research to determine the exact terms potential customers are using in their searches. This will help ensure that any localized content produced is optimized for those keywords.

    Once the relevant keywords have been identified, the business can then proceed with producing localized content that incorporates them.

    This could include creating pages specifically tailored to a particular locale, such as a city or region, and including geo-specific language like “near me” or “in [city]”.

    The content should be written with local details such as descriptions of landmarks and attractions. Businesses should also make sure to include information about their core services, products, and special offers that pertain to the location.

    Here’s an example of local ranking results we produced for Concealed Coalition by producing hyper local state content regarding gun laws, reciprocity, and concealed carry licensing.

    All in all, we created 50 unique state pages that are all interlinked — this led to massive local rankings across their entire domain with the majority of website traffic coming from their target market in the U.S.

    Local Keyword Rankings for Concealed Coalition

    Hyperlocal topics such as relevant events and news stories can be included as well to provide further context for readers.

    By optimizing the content for local search results and creating hyperlocal content that is tailored to each locale, businesses can greatly improve their chances of ranking higher in local search engine results pages (SERPs).

    Additionally, this type of localized content allows businesses to get more creative in how they engage with potential customers by adding a more personalized touch; which may help give them an edge over competitors who do not use localized content strategies.

    By providing relevant information about their services and offers, businesses can increase trust among customers while also helping elevate their brand’s presence in regional markets.

    Finally, businesses must stay on top of any updates or changes in SERPs algorithms since this might require tweaking some elements of the website’s optimization or localized copywriting approach.

    Monitoring performance regularly will allow adjustments or optimizations if needed – ensuring that businesses remain competitively positioned within SERPs and reach even more potential customers through an effective localization process.

    Step 4: Acquire Local Backlinks

    Acquiring local backlinks is an essential part of gaining visibility in local search engine results.

    Local backlinks are links from other websites to your website located in the same geographical area as your business, and they play a crucial role in establishing trustworthiness and improving online visibility.

    Link building, or the process of acquiring links from other websites to your own, is one of the most effective ways of improving a website’s ranking in local search engine results.

    Local backlinks from reputable local businesses, organizations, and publications will help establish domain authority and credibility with local customers, helping build trust with potential customers that would be more likely to visit your site instead of a competitor’s.

    When engaging in link building, it’s important to focus on acquiring quality links from relevant sources that have some sort of connection to your business or industry.

    It’s also important to focus on getting links from authoritative sites within the same geographic location as your business. Having quality, relevant backlinks will help improve not only rankings but also organic traffic for a website.

    When it comes to acquiring high-quality local backlinks there are several different approaches businesses can take.

    The first approach is by leveraging existing relationships companies may have with other businesses or organizations in their city or region such as chambers of commerce or industry associations. Establishing partnerships with these types of organizations can provide great opportunities for mutual benefit; for example, if you are a restaurant you could partner with a local food delivery service or media outlet for link exchange opportunities.

    Another strategy that can be used when looking for local backlinks is creating content geared towards a specific target market using keywords related to their geographic location (Example: ‘best restaurants in [city]’).

    Quality content related to topics relevant to your business and industry is always beneficial when it comes to SEO; however, adding geographical information into the mix can make it even more valuable as it helps establish relevance specifically within that region which may result in both increased rankings and organic traffic due to higher relevance within those searches.

    Finally, businesses should consider reaching out directly to websites they want their link featured on by offering them something they want – this could be anything from providing

    • exclusive discounts
    • early access to products/services/events, etc.
    • offering discounts/freebies/giveaways exclusively through their website, etc.
    • sponsoring events/programs hosted by other organizations, etc.
    • providing free content such as articles/reviews, etc.
    • organizing workshops, etc.

    All these methods can help increase exposure within the same geographical area as well as add additional credibility for search engine crawlers which may lead to higher rankings for those keywords related to those areas specifically.

    Step 5: Use Local Schema Markup

    Implementing local schema markup on a website can be an effective way to improve a business’s visibility in local search results.

    This is more advanced local SEO, so is important to understand what local schema markup is, and how it works, before attempting to implement it on a website.

    Local schema markup is essentially structured data that can be added to HTML pages or other web page elements.

    This metadata provides additional information about the page and its content, which helps search engines better understand the context of the page.

    Chapter 2: Local SEO for Beginners [Getting Started] 1

    When implemented properly, this additional information can help the page rank more prominently for relevant searches.

    The process for implementing local schema markup begins with identifying and gathering all of the necessary data that will be used in creating the markup structure.

    This includes basic details such as store location, contact information, hours of operation, and so on.

    In addition to these basic details, it is important to include any unique features of the business that could potentially draw more attention from potential customers searching online; for example, if offering delivery services or having multiple locations might be useful details to include in local schema markup.

    Once all of the relevant information has been collected and inputted into a plan for structuring the markup language code, then comes the actual implementation process.

    To ensure that everything works properly when implemented on a website’s source code, proper testing should occur before full deployment across all required pages to avoid any errors or issues with performance once live on the website itself.

    Finally, after testing is complete and all necessary adjustments have been made (if any) then the full implementation should occur across all applicable web pages where it was identified that applying local schema markup would be beneficial for SEO purposes.

    Once done correctly and deployed fully across applicable pages within a website’s architecture – regular maintenance should occur to keep this structured data up-to-date with any changes occurring at a business such as changes in address/contact information or additions of new services offered by the business.

    In conclusion — implementing local schema markup on a website can be an effective tool used by businesses trying to improve their visibility locally within search engine query results while making their websites easier for crawlers/bots from popular search engines like Google & Bing – allowing these bots/crawlers to better understand each web page’s specific context faster & easier than ever before thanks to the integration of structured data via application of local schema markups!

    Step 6: Manage Customer Reviews

    Customer reviews have a significant impact on local rankings for businesses.

    By acquiring and responding to customer reviews, businesses can improve their visibility on search engine results in pages and reach more potential customers, ultimately increasing the number of leads and sales.

    When it comes to acquiring customer reviews, there are several strategies that businesses can implement.

    For example, they can ask customers directly for their feedback through email surveys or in-person follow-ups after a purchase or service is completed.

    They can also leverage online platforms such as Yelp and Google Reviews, which allow customers to provide direct feedback about their experiences with a business.

    Once businesses have acquired customer reviews, it is then important for them to respond to them promptly.

    Responding promptly gives customers the impression that you care about their feedback and that you take the time to listen to them.

    Additionally, responding directly allows you to address any issues they may have experienced while using your product or service. Doing so shows potential customers that you are dedicated to providing quality service and working towards improving customer satisfaction levels.

    Search engines algorithmically analyze review data collected from different sources such as Yelp and Google Reviews when ranking local business pages in organic search engine results pages (SERPs). As such, having more positive reviews correlated with your business than negative ones will most likely result in higher search engine rankings from these review sources and overall increased visibility of your business page in SERPs.

    In conclusion, acquiring and responding to customer reviews is essential for businesses looking to improve their local rankings in organic SERPs due to its direct correlation with search engine algorithms’ analysis of review data from various sources such as Yelp and Google Reviews.

    Acquiring customer reviews should be done by asking customers directly via email surveys or in-person follow-ups after a sale or service is completed as well as by leveraging online platforms like Yelp and Google Reviews which allow customers the ability to provide direct feedback about their experiences with a business without any additional effort required by the business itself.

    Finally, responding quickly and appropriately once these reviews are acquired demonstrates dedication towards improving customer satisfaction levels which further impacts local rankings positively due to its association with better SERP visibility through algorithmic analysis of review data by search engines.

    Key Takeaways

    While there are many factors that contribute to a strong local SEO ranking, the above list covers some of the most important considerations.

    Be sure to keep your business information accurate and consistent across the web, optimize titles, headers, and meta descriptions on your website, create content related to the geographic area of your business, build high-quality backlinks from reputable sites within your industry, utilize local schema markup, acquire positive reviews and respond to all reviews.

    Doing these things will help you rank higher in search engine results pages for searches related to your business, which produce increased traffic and online conversions.

    If this still sounds like a foreign language to you, contact our team for a free local SEO consultation — one of our experts will run a local SEO audit for your business and provide direction on how you can start impacting local SERPs.

    About The Author:

    Connor Wilkins

    Connor Wilkins

    Connor Wilkins is the Chief Marketing Officer at He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 following studies in marketing & the media, editing & writing, and audience psychologies. Connor is an avid writer and researcher who specializes in learning consumer personalities and engaging those interests through thought-provoking content.
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