The Ultimate Guide to Local Search for Small Businesses

Small businesses spend a lot of time and money on fighting for visibility and traffic. Many small businesses rely on organic searching to bring them business, but there is an entire world beneath our fingertips that provides us with an opportunity to get online leads, a potential boost in revenue, and greatly improves local marketing online.

What is local search marketing?

Local Search Marketing is a strategy that helps to localize your online marketing for your brand and target it towards your specific locations.

It is a type of local marketing online that fulfills your business’ desire to get more customers and grow your business. While other types of SEO such as content, social media, and link building all work together to help businesses rank higher in search engines and therefore generate more website traffic, local search marketing focuses on ranking your website locally. Local search is all about focusing on keywords that prospective customers are likely to use while they search for local businesses like yours.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is a strategic process designed to drive more location-based traffic to your website. By optimizing your website’s content, structure, and metadata for the city, state (or country), keywords, and business category in which you want your business to be found online, you increase the number of people in your local area who will find your site while searching on Google.

How does local SEO work?

Local SEO is the art of optimizing a website for local search. It’s a vital component of any successful internet marketing strategy, especially for small businesses. Local SEO is different to regular SEO in a way that it’s aimed towards people in the specific geographic area of the business. On the other hand, geo-targeting is something that applies to all kinds of businesses.

Tips for boosting organic traffic to your site

  • Deliver quality content – Content is king, and it’s not just a cliché. If you want to build your organic traffic, then you need to create content that people want to read. That means it has to be interesting and relevant to your audience, not just something you’ve written because you think it will bring in more money.
  • Get creative with keyword targeting – It’s important to target specific keywords that are relevant to your business, but you don’t want to be too narrow-minded. While you may have a specific product or service that you want to promote, it’s important that you also include keywords that are related but broader in scope. This will help to expand the reach of your website and bring in new customers who might not be aware of your business.
  • Increase page speed – Page speed is another factor that Google uses when ranking sites in its search results. A page that loads quickly will rank higher than one that takes a long time to load. So if your site takes ages to load, it could put off potential customers and reduce the number of organic visitors.
  • Maximize positive user experience – The most important thing is to provide a positive experience for users. This doesn’t mean that you have to create great content, but it does mean that you should make sure that your website is fast and easy to navigate. It also means making sure that all of the content on your site is actually useful for users. You can do this by checking out what people are searching for, and then providing them with the information they need in an easy-to-read format.
  • Submit to directories – Search engines like Google and Bing include listings from third-party sites such as Yelp, and Superpages in their results pages for local searches. If you’re trying to reach local customers, submitting your site to these types of directories is a great way to get started with local SEO. The more places where your site is indexed, the greater the chance someone will find it.
  • Optimize with Google My Business – Google’s local listings service is called Google My Business. It’s a free tool that allows you to manage your business information on Google Maps and Search. You can add photos, locations, hours and much more. You can also set up a page for your business on Google+, which will show up in the search results.
  • Manage reviews – Reviews factor heavily into search rankings, so make sure you’re getting as many as possible. You can do this by asking customers for reviews, encouraging them to leave reviews on third-party sites like Yelp and Google Local, and displaying reviews prominently on your site.
  • Use local structured data – Adding local structured data to your site can help Google understand what’s on your site and how it’s relevant to users. This helps drive great rankings in Maps, making it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.

How does Google determine local search rankings?

Google uses a variety of factors to determine which businesses show up in the local pack. These factors are called “local ranking signals,” and they include:

Relevance – The most important factor for local SEO is relevance. Google wants to show users results that are relevant to their search, so it only displays businesses that are likely to be useful to them. The best way to establish your business as relevant is by being found on the web and having a strong web presence. This can be done by creating and optimizing your website, social media accounts, and any other online marketing channels you use.

Distance – Google gives preference to businesses geographically close to their location, which means that if you’re based in another country or state, or even a few miles away from the searcher, it may be hard for them to find your company on Google Maps or Google My Business listings.

Position – The first factor that determines how high a listing appears in the local results is position. Google’s algorithm uses your location to determine the best results for a given query. While it’s easy to assume that Google simply returns results based on distance from the user’s location, that isn’t the case.

Step-by-step guide to local SEO:

  1. Establish Website

    The first step is to establish a website for your business. The easiest way to do this is by using a free platform like WordPress or Wix, as these sites are easy to set up and manage. You can also opt for a more expensive web design service like Squarespace or Shopify, but these cost money and require more effort.

  2. Local business listings

    A local business listing is a snippet of information about your company that appears in Google Maps and Search results. It includes details such as your name and address, with links to your website and social media profiles.

  3. Check online reviews from your customers

    Check the review sites that matter most to your business and see what they say about you. If a site has a minimum number of reviews before it will publish them, make sure to hit that number. You can do this by asking your loyal customers to leave reviews or even offering incentives for doing so.

  4. Do a market research and competitor analysis

    Before you start your local SEO campaign, it’s important to do some market research first. This will help you understand your target audience and the keywords that they are using most often when searching for products or services in your industry.

    There are many tools available to help you with this, including Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, Moz Local and SEMrush Keyword Tool.

  5. Link building and outreach

    Link building and outreach are two great ways to get your business noticed by search engines. Link building is a process of getting other websites to link to your business website. Outreach is the process of contacting other businesses and individuals who may be interested in linking to your website. Both methods can help increase organic search engine rankings for your website, which can lead to more visitors and conversions.

  6. Social Media

    Social media will continue to play a larger role in local SEO strategies, especially for small businesses marketing that may not have large budgets for paid advertising programs like Facebook or Instagram ads. You’ll want to make sure that you’re engaging with your customers on social media and responding to comments and questions in a timely manner.

Set your own local search marketing strategy

If you’re serious about local search marketing, you need to set a strategy. The first step is to understand how local search works and what your goals are.

Before launching any type of local marketing online, you need to determine what your goal is. Are you trying to attract new customers or sell more products? Do you want to reach a certain number of people within a specific time frame? Or do you want to get better rankings on Google?

Once you have an idea of what you want from your local search campaign, it’s time to create a plan for achieving those goals. This could mean creating an ad campaign for Google AdWords or Yelp ads, building relationships with influencers, or investing in a digital marketing agency that specializes in local search advertising.


In the end, local search is extremely important to small businesses. It provides them with a way to be found online by potential customers in their area, whether near or from across the country. Local search can provide an invaluable boost to a business’ ability to succeed and thrive.


Why is Local SEO important for small businesses?

There are many reasons why local SEO is important for small businesses:
– It can help attract more customers and increase sales
– Helps drive traffic to your business
– Improves brand awareness
– It improves customer loyalty
– It builds trust among potential customers

Where should small business owners begin?

The first step for small business owners looking to get started with local search is to identify their target market. This includes identifying the geographic area for which you’re trying to rank and identifying what keywords will be used to find your business.

What are the benefits of local SEO?

The benefits of local SEO include:
– Increasing search engine rankings for local keywords
– Helping you rank higher on Google Maps, Yelp and other local directories
– Improving the quality of the backlinks to your website or blog
– Building your brand and generating leads

How much should small businesses invest in SEO?

According to Moz’s 2018 State of Search report, the average small business spends $1,000 on search engine optimization each year — but some spend up to $50,000 or more per year! (It should be noted that this figure includes both on-page and off-page optimization.)

How long does it take to see results?

SEO can take a long time to see results. It depends on a lot of factors, but in general, you should expect at least 3-6 months before you start seeing any real results from your SEO efforts.

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