On-page local SEO acts as a guiding force, leading your business towards visibility, relevance, and triumph in local search results.
When it comes to boosting your online presence in the neighborhood, the usual suspects come to mind: Google Business Profile, local citations, and backlinks. And yes, they do deliver results.
But there’s a tactic that many overlook: on-page local SEO.
On-page local SEO is like the unsung hero silently working behind the scenes, stealthily influencing the search engines to elevate your local rankings.
While most people associate on-page optimization with higher organic rankings, its impact on MapPack results is equally profound.
What is On-Page Local SEO?
On-page local SEO refers to the practice of optimizing individual web pages on a website to improve their visibility and ranking in local search engine results.
It involves implementing various techniques, such as:
- optimizing meta tags
- incorporating relevant keywords
- creating location-specific content
- optimizing URL structures
- ensuring proper website structure and navigation.
On-page optimizations are a significant local ranking factor because they make it easier for search engines to understand what your website is about and where it is located, increasing the likelihood of your website being chosen by local customers in their search queries.
8 On-page Local SEO Techniques For Boosted Local Visibility
There are many effective on-page local SEO techniques we’ve been using to grow local businesses online.
Here are some proven tactics that are tried and tested by our team.
1. Display Your NAP... Accurately
As a local business, you absolutely need to have your name, address, and phone number (NAP) clearly present and indexable on your website.
You can list your NAP in the footer of your website so that it adds location relevance to every page that gets indexed.
Moreover, you need to make sure NAP is accurately displayed across all listings and directories you have ever submitted your business to. A single inconsistency in the spelling of your business name or address can hold you back. With a little due diligence, you can check the accuracy of these listings and make necessary corrections.
Pro Tip: Hyperlink your Google Business Profile to your address that’s either featured in your footer, local service pages, or on the contact page of your website. This will reinforce local relevance.
2. Enhance Key Page Elements
A major component of on-page local SEO involves foundational work with your page elements.
These are the evergreen techniques you should be starting with before you move to the more advanced tactics.
The <title> tag is by far the most important element of your page and the one that signals to Google what the page is about. Your title needs to be under 60 characters for best display in the SERPs.
Your main goal with the title tag is to keep it click-enticing and include your main keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
The meta description does not carry too much weight in terms of SEO — just make sure it’s related to the rest of your page. Meta descriptions are most often displayed on Google SERPs, so make sure they are click-enticing and contain attractive calls to action.
In some cases, Google might decide what meta description to display in the SERPs based on the context of your page, regardless of what you’ve specified. If you absolutely want to have some measure of control over how your content is displayed in SERPs, we suggest using local business schema to spice things up.
The H1-H6 headings carry a decent amount of on-page SEO weight. You need to set these headings up to explore keywords related to your main one.
Ideally, you have a landing page for each service or product you offer, and for each location you operate in.
Headings can help you structure the information about your service in each particular location and thus capture the most traffic from audiences at all stages of awareness. Even if keyword tools don’t return any volume for these queries, it’s a good idea to use them in your headings.
Here’s a set of example of headings that expand the semantics of each page:
- Reasons to get SERVICE in LOCATION
- Who is SERVICE in LOCATION right for
- Alternatives to SERVICE in LOCATION
- Top reviews for SERVICE in LOCATION
- SERVICE in LOCATION phone number
- Where to look for SERVICE in LOCATION
…and so on. Not all of these may be suitable for your business – see what makes sense for you and your model and use that.
Image Alt Tags
These are pretty straightforward – make sure they contain the main keyword each page is targeting. However, please avoid being spammy – don’t just stuff the same keyword into all graphic files’ alt tags you can edit.
Unique images of local landmarks can be useful too since Google always improves the way the bots view and understand images – tag these accordingly.
Image SEO is a large topic that deserves a lot of time and involvement if your content is image-heavy. If you are just using 2-3 images per page or a post – don’t overthink it, have your main keyword in one of them, and unique variations of location – service – image object name words.
3. Structure Your Website for Usability
This one is extremely important if you want to maximize the potential of all the content you will invest in.
Please make sure you run keyword research before working on your on-page, and map keywords to your posts and pages thoroughly. Remember that your page relevance matters a lot, and you can’t optimize a page for several unrelated keywords. Follow the general rule of having one set of related keywords per page or post.
So, for instance, if you are a locksmith you need to have a dedicated page for car locks, and another page for door locks, but you can’t expect to have one page rank for both. The competition will simply be way tighter topically, and SEO is a zero-sum game.
Each website is split into landing pages – by landing pages, we mean any HTML page, be it a blog post or a static page – SEO-wise these are all the same.
Now, the way you structure your site and its pages can have a huge impact on its performance. You need to have a simple structure where pages do not compete with each other (reach out to us if you need professional help with this).
Most local business websites have found this structure effective:
The above approach will help you cover the most amount of your local audience’s interests possible.
However, if you have too many locations and several very similar services, there is a danger of producing thin, duplicate content that will not perform. Pay extra attention to the quality of content on these service/location combo pages – and you may need to lump several locations or services into larger pages.
4. Localize Everything
As we wrote above, you should have your NAP details listed on every page of your site.
Same way, add links to your social media profiles and all the major listings like Yelp, Tripadvisor, and all the others.
This will increase your local relevance and send authority signals to Google. With time, your social media profiles will be displayed on your Google Business Profile listing.
Your contact page should by default be the hub of all of your listings, social media profiles, and locations. However, you can go beyond that and localize your service pages as well. Use embedded map snippets with relevant Google Business Pages to produce location signals.
5. Embed Reviews
Customer reviews are not just powerful conversion tools, but also local authority and relevance boosters for Google.
Embed reviews on your service pages, and link them directly to the review sources and author profiles.
The same goes for all types of local awards, contests, and events. Link out generously to any localized mentions of your business and Google will view you as a local authority more and more.
6. Use Natural Writing, Not Densities
Experienced on-page local SEO experts know that the higher the quality of writing you use the better it performs on Google. Search engines are getting better and better at detecting human writing and understanding not just what the text is about, but how well it is written and colored.
Good writing includes a lot of topically related keywords and sub-topics, some of them used to be called LSI keywords in the past.
These are the search queries that normally accompany each other in the human-written text. For instance, a text about bike tires would normally have a section on tire sizes — and it would mention tire materials and types of rubber as well.
When you get your local content from an experienced, thorough writer, these naturally related keywords come from the writer’s research on the topic.
We see over and over again how low-quality and cheap content fails to pick up the right amount of traffic.
Exact keyword densities used to be big in the past, but in 2023 you just need to write naturally. Your writers just need to make sure that the main keywords for each page get used on that page at least several times closer to the beginning, but that’s about as strict as it gets.
7. Use Local Business Schema
Local business schema is an on-page local SEO technique that utilizes structured data markup to enhance a website’s visibility and relevance in local search results.
By implementing local schema markup, businesses can provide search engines with detailed information about their name, address, phone number (NAP), opening hours, customer reviews, and more.
This additional data allows search engines to display rich snippets in search results, which can include star ratings, reviews, business hours, and images, making the listing more appealing to potential customers.
Schema markup also helps search engines understand the geographical context of the business, improving its local relevance in search queries.
Another clear benefit here is how local business schema can enhance voice search optimization. With the increasing popularity of voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa, having structured and easily understandable business information becomes crucial.
8. Interlink Relevant Content
Utilizing internal linking strategically can be a game-changer when it comes to optimizing your website for local search.
By incorporating anchor links and creative widgets, you can enhance user experience and search engine visibility.
- Anchor Links with City Names: As you add relevant city names to your on-page content, take advantage of them as anchor links leading to your service area pages. This not only guides users directly to the information they seek but also sends a clear signal to search engines about your local relevance and availability.
- Creative Widgets and Blocks: Get imaginative with widgets, lists, and blocks that showcase multiple links to your service areas on top-level pages. For instance, consider creating an enticing “metro areas we serve” block featuring the names, images, and brief descriptions of the various metro areas you cater to. Each entry should be a direct link to the corresponding location page on your site.
Take Your On-Page Local SEO by the Horns
A proper on-page strategy can truly take a local business to the next level with creative, outside-the-box promotion methods.
Local SEO is often about creative techniques targeting low-volume search queries that are hard to research or predict.
In many cases, local businesses have to become first movers with their websites since they need to accumulate first-hand stats to understand the true interests of their audience. Not all third-party tools can produce meaningful suggestions for local keywords.
With that in mind, the main focus of your local SEO on-page strategy should be to cover as many combinations of your products, services, deliverables, and target market’s problems in the locations you operate in. You need to follow the geographical logic here – start with the largest and the most populated areas and then narrow down to smaller areas.
If you need help, want to bounce some ideas off an experienced local SEO, or want to know your chances to rank in your area — get in touch with us and let’s talk!