Local SEO: a step-by-step guide to improving your local rankings

Local SEO effectively lets small and medium-sized businesses draw attention to their online presence. By optimizing your website and other digital marketing channels, you can rank higher in local search results. This way, customers can find your business easier, resulting in increased sales.

In this article, you will learn to improve your local SEO step-by-step. I will cover topics like creating and optimizing local content, claiming your business listings on review sites, and analyzing your competitors’ strategies. Let’s get started!

What are the 5 steps to improve local SEO?

1. Create a Google Business Profile Account 

Having a Google Business Profile (GBP) account is essential for improving your local SEO. A GBP listing allows you to create an online presence in the form of a business profile. 

Include business information in your profile

Your profile should contain crucial business information, such as name, address, or hours of operation. Photos and videos are also excellent visual illustrators that can enhance your business outlook. 

Furthermore, customers can leave reviews on this page, which helps build trust and credibility with potential leads. The more complete and accurate information you provide on the GBP page, the higher it will rank in local search results. 

Additionally, when users search for businesses near them using Google Maps or other location-based services like Foursquare or Yelp, they can find your business quickly if you have optimized it properly through GBP.

2. Optimize On-Page Local SEO 

The next step in the process is optimizing on-page elements. This involves using localized keywords, optimizing page titles and descriptions, and ensuring the content is relevant to the target region. 

Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that you have a geographically diverse backlink profile, as you can use it to help with your local SEO rankings. 

Add relevant keywords

When creating content for local SEO purposes, it’s important to include relevant keywords referencing your location to draw attention from users searching in that area. 

Include city or neighborhood names in your titles, headings, meta tags, and content throughout the page. Doing so allows Google to understand better where your business is and what you offer nearby customers. 

Optimize titles and descriptions

It’s also essential to optimize the titles and descriptions of each page on your website for local SEO. Ensure they are unique for each page but still include relevant keywords related to your location. 

You should also ensure these titles and descriptions accurately reflect the page content; otherwise, Google may consider them irrelevant and not rank them highly on its results pages. 

Tailor content toward a specific location

Furthermore, your should tailor your content toward a specific geographical region or city. This means including different types of information like attractions or events popular in that area and references to local businesses or organizations. 

Additionally, any images you use should be relevant to that location; this will help boost credibility for potential customers searching in that region. 

Build a solid local backlink profile

Finally, having a geographically diverse backlink profile can go a long way toward improving local SEO rankings. Google uses backlinks as an indicator of trustworthiness. Therefore, links from sources outside the immediate area will indicate to these services that you have an established presence within the community. 

You can do this by networking with other businesses nearby or partnering up with local influencers; both methods help create powerful backlinks that you can use for local SEO purposes.

3. Claim Your Business Listings 

Next, you need to claim your business listings. Having accurate and verified information about your business on reputable sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and even Facebook helps build credibility with potential customers while helping you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Pay attention to the details

When claiming these listings, ensure all the details are accurate. Double-check the business’s name, address, phone number, website URL, hours of operation, and product/service description. 

Additionally, you should add photos and videos that accurately depict your business’s appearance from inside and out. Including images helps potential customers better understand what they will find at your establishment when visiting in person. 

Claim each of your business locations

Finally, if your business has multiple locations, claim each separately on their respective listing pages. This way, you can ensure accurate information about your business is available across various platforms when people search for businesses near them online. 

4. Leverage Local Directories 

One of the most effective ways to improve your Local SEO rankings is by leveraging local directories. Local directories are websites that list businesses in a specific geographic area. You can think of Yelp, YellowPages, or Foursquare as examples. 

Adding your business information to these sites allows potential customers to find you quickly and increases credibility with search engines since all the information is verified. 

Pick the right directories 

When selecting directories for your business listings, ensure they are relevant to your industry and location. Additionally, focus on local or regional-specific directories, which often have more targeted audiences than larger national sites. 

This ensures you target potential local customers near your business instead of just drawing attention from users who may never visit. 

Ensure accurate data

Ensure all the information is accurate and up-to-date before submitting it to any directory sites. Additionally, ensure the images depict what your business looks like from inside and out; this helps give potential customers a better understanding of what they will find at your establishment when visiting in person.  

Finally, once listed on a directory site, it’s important to monitor reviews left by customers; this helps ensure consistent quality control and provides valuable insights into customer expectations that can be used for product/service improvement purposes.  

5. Analyze Your Competitors 

Image by jcomp on Freepik

Competition is a part of any business. You must understand your competitors’ strategies and how they approach local SEO to rank higher than them. You can analyze their website structure, page content, backlinks, and search engine rankings. 

Find out who are your competitors

A comprehensive competitor analysis begins with identifying who your competitors are and what keywords they’re targeting in their SEO efforts. Start by researching the top-ranking sites in your industry and geographic area. 

Analyze the competitors’ websites and content

The next step is to analyze their websites and their content. This process involves studying the overall structure of the website, types of content being used (blog posts, videos, images), headlines/subheadings used on webpages, and backlinks pointing to each page from other websites. 

You should also note any social media profiles they may have created and any reviews/ratings left for them by customers; this helps provide insight into customer satisfaction levels for products/services offered, which you can use to improve yours further. 

The goal is to try and replicate some of these strategies while also finding ways to differentiate your business from theirs; this could involve creating more engaging content, utilizing different keywords or phrases in your titles/headlines, optimizing page load speeds for better user experiences (UX), etc.  

Track your competitors’ progress

Finally, once you have identified all the tactics that they’re employing, it’s time to track their progress over time by keeping tabs on traffic patterns and search engine rankings for specific keywords using local SEO software. The data will provide useful insights into specific strategies’ effectiveness so you can adjust accordingly.  


To sum up, the article goes over some steps involved in improving a website’s local SEO. By following these best practices and continuously evaluate your progress, you should be able to get your business up to the top of the local search results. Good luck! 

Featured Image Source: Image by Freepik

Tracy Mcgee

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