The Complete Guide to Local SEO for Your Small Business

To learn more about how we can help your business grow, please contact our local SEO agency.

Local SEO is one of the most efficient marketing strategies for small businesses. It has helped millions of business owners achieve further success.

Your competitors are using it to try and outrank you right now.

And unfortunately:

It won’t be long before they do if you don’t try to catch up.


What exactly is local SEO? And how can you use it to attract more leads and grow your business?

That’s what you’ll learn in this guide.


What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your site to attract local visitors through Google or any of the other search engines. It focuses on a minority of nearby customers with local search intent.

Local SEO

Local SEO is mainly practiced by small businesses with local audiences. 

For example:

  • Brick-and-mortar stores
  • Medical services
  • Dentists
  • Contractors
  • HVAC
  • Roofing
  • Plumbers
  • Restaurants
  • Law offices
  • Financial Services
  • Real estate 

It’s a great strategy for growth in competitive industries.


Because it focuses on much smaller markets based on the location, and on top of that, the customers it brings are all ready to buy from you.

Almost half of all Google searches are local.


If you’re not doing local SEO, you’re wasting endless growth opportunities for your business.

How Does Local SEO Work?

To understand how local SEO works, we must first answer this:

Why are local customers a gold mine to small businesses?

Here's the deal:

Local customers are easier to attract and more likely to convert. So, local SEO focuses on engaging local audiences and converting them into clients. 

For example: 

Someone might be looking for a plumber to fix his sink. 

The first thing he's going to do is type on Google: "plumbers near me" or "best plumbers in Brooklyn."

Google will then show this potential customer results based on the location. 

Local SEO Map Pack

The customer then gets to choose from the best-rated ones available at the moment.

The best thing about it all?

According to Google, 55% of local buyers are ready to purchase within the hour.

Which means:

Local customers have much higher buyer intent. They’re ready to spend money on your products and services as soon as they need them.

With the right local SEO strategy and optimization, you’re guaranteed to take your business to the next level.


What is the difference between SEO and local SEO?

Both local SEO and national or global SEO can help you grow your business.

If you do them right, you'll attract many more customers than you can handle.


The difference is in the targeted locations and growth strategy.

Global SEO focuses on ranking on a worldwide scale and attracting new global visitors.

On the other hand:

Local SEO aims to bring only local customers.

Now, you must be wondering:

Global SEO will bring me more customers, shouldn't I focus on it instead?

For small businesses, that's not the case.

Global SEO is super competitive. It's hard to do when there are thousands of businesses like yours trying to do the same thing. 


It's more expensive to start with and keep up with for a long time. And that's why you should focus your marketing efforts on local SEO.

How to Improve Your Local SEO Rankings

Despite the many differences, local SEO is a lot like global SEO.

You’ll apply lots of global SEO practices to attract more organic local customers.


There’s still a lot of uniqueness in local SEO ranking factors.

For example:

You’ll inform search engines of your availability and operating locations. And you’re going to prove the authenticity of your products and services with reviews.

Now, we’ll share with you six local SEO techniques to dominate your local market.

Let’s get started.

1- Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is Google’s official business listing that allows local businesses to rank locally. 

It’s the first step in doing local SEO.

HighMark SEO Local Pack

By creating a GMB account, you’ll manage how your business appears in Google search. You’ll expand your local presence and attract the right customers for your business.

We have a complete guide on how to get started with Google My Business.

You’ll learn how to create your account and get it verified. And we also share essential tips on how to keep your GMB profile optimized.

The important thing to know here is this:

Always keep your business details updated. And, be sure to use consistent information across the web.

2- Business Directories and Local NAP Citations

NAP citations are essential to improving your local rankings.

They establish you as an authority in your industry and make you look more authentic.

So, before we get to how you can do that: 

What is a NAP citation?

A NAP citation is an online reference to your main business details, including your business Name, Address, and Phone number.

That's where the term NAP comes from.

NAP information

NAP citations improve your local business rankings in the SERPS. That's because Google uses those details to identify your business across the web. 

The more citations your business has, the higher it's credibility.


Since your company is listed in many business directories, you'll get lots of direct customers to your website.

Now, to build business citations, you must submit your company to online directories.

The popular online business directories are:

  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Apple Maps
  • Whitepages
  • BizJournals
  • TripAdvisor
  • Manta
  • Foursquare
  • Yellow Pages

You can also search for local business directories and get listed there.

Be warned:

Your NAP information must be consistent across all business listings.

Use the same business name, address, and phone number.

The only way for search engines to identify your company is through those details. Changing them many times across different websites will cause trouble for your maps listing.

Don’t sacrifice your rankings and local SEO efforts due to such minor mistakes.

3- Mobile Friendliness

The majority of local search queries come from mobile. Thus, mobile-friendliness is a important ranking factor.

Ask yourself:

When was the last time you came across a website in the search results that wasn't mobile friendly?

You probably can't remember the last time.

Your website must be mobile-friendly to offer your visitors the best user experience.


Google offers an easy tool to help you test the mobile-friendliness of your site.

First go to: 

Mobile-Friendly Test, then enter your website.

Mobile friendly website test

Within a few seconds, you’ll get your results.

Mobile friendly site test
If your website is already optimized for mobile, then excellent! 

You can move to the next step.

If not:

Check the report on the page to identify the errors and issues with your website. Then, you can hire a web developer to help you optimize it to support mobile devices.

4- Google Reviews and Customer Testimonials

Reviews make a huge difference when it comes to local SEO. They’re one of the first ranking factors for search engines.

On top of that:

They encourage potential clients to work with you once they come across your services.

Reviews are a critical trust factor that consumers consider when searching online.

Potential clients will often choose who to call or who to visit based on review history.

Positive Google Reviews for Local SEO

So, work on getting more reviews on your Google My Business listing.

How to do that?

Just ask.

When you finish working with a customer, ask them nicely to leave a review about the service you provided. But, make it super-easy to do so.

For instance:

You can send them a direct link via email that they can use to access the review page.

You should also know that replying to reviews is essential. It proves you care about your customers.

So, try to reply to any reviews you get, whether positive or negative.

5- Local Backlinks

Local backlinks tell Google that you are popular in the area. And they’re more effective because they’re specific to the location you operate in.

The secret to succeeding in this technique is:

Build good relationships with local businesses in your area.

Start with the ones you already know. Then, try reaching out to others that might be into collaborating.

You’re an expert who will bring value to the local community. Everyone will want to work with you on creating insightful content.

Here are some other ways you can build local backlinks:

  • Write guest posts on popular local magazines or blogs
  • Sponsor local events in your area
  • Land guest appearances on local podcasts

6- Local Content

This might seem obvious.

Yet, the majority of local business owners aren’t doing it.

Content will always be the solution to growing your company. It helps you rank better and attract more visitors to your website.

All you have to do is share your expertise and knowledge with local audiences. 


Be sure to apply the best on-page SEO practices. And keep your content organized into a clear text hierarchy. 

Begin by publishing valuable content that helps people overcome their challenges. Then, make it appealing to local audiences by targeting local keywords and search terms.

And remember:

Consistency is key.


Local SEO is the best way you can grow your business in today’s economy. Yet, it may not be long before your competitors use it to dominate your local market.

So, what are you waiting for?

Start today by applying what you learned in this guide.

Need help expanding your local presence with SEO?

We’re at your service. Don’t hesitate to call us at 800-280-2749.  

Date: 4/23/20

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