How to Do Local SEO (Complete Guide)

How to Do Local SEO (Complete Guide)

In this tutorial you will learn how to do local SEO. When you understand how to do local area SEO correctly, you will be able to optimize your website to attract businesses from local searches.


Before we continue, I want to mention that if you’d like to learn SEO right from scratch, please follow the SEO tutorial guide page and move forward from there.

Alternatively, you can use the navigation menu to move to any section of the SEO tutorial you’re interested in.

What is Local Area SEO?

When we place a geographical location next to a commercial keyword in Google – for example ‘construction company manchester’, Google gets to work in a slightly different way than a regular non-geo targeted query.

The Big ‘G’ will speedily return a local search engine result page. If your business is very much locally based, we need to make sure we cater our SEO for this.

Your Website’s Content

Foundationally speaking, for Google to think your business is highly relevant to a specific location, your site’s content will also need to reflect this.

For example, if you’re an architect in New York City, you’ll want to have more than just an address in the Big Apple. You should be building out pages and content totally targeted to the city and the city alone.

Perhaps a news feed page on the latest municipal projects. Or a guide to the evolution of New York’s skyline. Whatever you think will work.

All things being equal, if Google crawls two architect websites, and one is littered with keywords specific to the location, that business will rank higher for that location.

Local Search Engine Results Pages

A local search engine results page in Google (local SERP) is characterized by the inclusion of map listings.

The map has taken many different guises over the years, but at the time of writing, it’s currently a rectangular, ‘letterbox’ section.

Google map listing

Underneath, there are 3 business listings featured with their contact information on show. Known in the SEO world as the ‘Snack Pack’, these are the businesses Google deems to be most relevant to the location entered.

The most important thing for me to mention here is that to feature in the local maps you must have created a Google ‘My Business’ page. If you haven’t, stop immediately and go to…

https://www.google.com/intl/us/business

Or if you’re reading this in the UK:

https://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/business

Set up an account pronto. It’s intuitive to create, and I’ll be here waiting for you when you’re done. I won’t go on without you.

Done it? Good! Let’s continue.

Don’t Underestimate the Google Map Listings

When the three local map business results are displayed on the page, click-through-rates (the proportion of people clicking on a listing) for these websites are significant.

In fact, they almost equal that of the normal organic listings shown below the Snack Pack.

Luckily, if you’re a local business, you can have your cake and eat it here.

If you’re featured on the map listings and the organic results, you can steal two areas of ‘real estate’ on the results page and totally dominate your local industry.

In fact, if your business also engages in Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising, there’s the potential to list a website in three different places.

How’s that for a monopoly?

So how do we get our website smothered all over the map listings? The answer lies in prostrating yourself to a Demi-God – Google’s ‘Local’ Algorithm.

Google’s Local Algorithm

There are a few different ranking factors for the maps which see us divert briefly from the SEO you no doubt came to this tutorial for.

All the ranking factors we’ve discussed up to now do contribute to the Google map rankings, but not as much as a few other seemingly unrelated signals.

These are:

The quantity of mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across the Internet. We call these ‘citations’.

The consistency of your ‘NAP’ information across the Internet.

Your number of 5-star Google reviews.

Let’s look at each one in a bit more detail.

Getting Directory ‘Citations’

Business directories are simply online portals which list reams of companies’ industry and contact details under the guise of it being a place of reference.

Well, I say ‘guise’; they are really there. It’s just that, to be honest, directories are a bit of a cash cow for the companies who produce them.

Whereas once upon a time something like the Yellow Pages was genuinely useful, when produced in an online format, the advent of search engines has rendered them of questionable value.

However, we must play the game here because links from directories are usually quite powerful.

When focusing on building a certain type of link – be it directories, comment links, guest post links, and so on – we need to make sure we don’t overdo it and create an unbalanced, unnatural link profile.

We should therefore restrict our directory submissions to location specific and niche / industry specific ones.

There is a fair bit of debate regarding how quickly one should acquire directory submissions. Should we batch our productivity and sign up to 100 directories all at once? Or should we spread them out?

The simple answer is to go with the latter, because remember, when in doubt go with what’s logically the most natural to Google.

A good rule of thumb is to submit your site to 10 directories per week manually. Yes, I’m afraid some elbow grease is required here.

There is automated submission software out there which can submit your company information automatically, but I’d strongly advise against doing that.

Most directories will require email link verification before your website’s profile goes live, and some will even drop your listing if they suspect automation has been used to submit your details.

So it’s time to cancel your lobotomy with the doctor – you’re going to self-medicate instead by filling out directory submissions.

In case you hadn’t guessed, they’re really boring to do.

To get even more SEO value you’ll need to sign up to 2 other groups of listings as well – local, and industry specific.

To accumulate a list of directories for both, simply search online by typing ‘{insert industry} directories’ and ‘{insert industry} directories {insert location}’ into Google.

Aim to submit to 10 national directories for the first week, 10 local for the second, 10 niche/industry specific for the third week, and then 5 national/week for the next 3 weeks after that.

Finally, a word of warning.

Be prepared for upsells that will make you want to slam your head repeatedly against a brick wall.

As you submit your site to each directory you’ll notice a running theme – they all want you to opt for their ‘premium’ listings under the premise of increased exposure.

Remember, we’re only after the backlink, so couldn’t care less (or should I say ‘could’ care less, if you’re my American cousin), about a bigger feature for your company on the directory page.

Ignore all attempts to make you go ‘pro’, which I’m afraid will be solicited via phone and email. Trust me, they eventually die down after a few weeks, but you’ll just have to grin and bear it until then.

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14 thoughts on “How to Do Local SEO (Complete Guide)”

  1. This is a really well articulated website. Your writing proficiency is top-notch i must confess and the way you analyzed the method of making the most from local SEO optimization is really wonderful. Never knew Google map could be so helpful prior to reading your post. Now i have been enlightened from your post and educated. Thanks a lot

    • I’m excited to hear that you learned new things from my post on local area SEO today. Please come back often to learn more about SEO in general.

      I really appreciate your taking time to visit my blog Dapoach.

  2. I’m into online marketing and I look up to anything that will make an improvement in the course of my online business. To get ranked by Google is one of the major goals every one into online business looks up to . I’m glad I came across this post because it has added to my knowledge and I will try it out, getting a local SEO this is going to have a lot of benefits on my business .

    • Thank you Lok for taking time to read my SEO post today.

      I’m glad you said my post added to your knowledge. Please come back again soon to read more awesome content about SEO.

  3. Firstly I would like to appreciate you for this informative Post because it is an integral part of making ii in affliate marketing or whatever online platform or business you are into. There is no way you can do without search engine optimization SEO, as this is what helps you drive traffic to your blog or website. I just got a deeper understanding of  what SEO is and can do for you from your article. Thanks for sharing

    • Thank you Seyi for reading another one of my SEO post. Hope to see you soon again in my next SEO article.

  4. Hello Aremu,

    I absolutely love what I read in this insightful article because it is full of great information. This is fascinating and interesting to me.Am a newbie in affiliates marketing and blogging, buy I never have the full understanding of how google SEO works. Getting the local SEO could be of advantage to my online business. Thanks for the review. Regards

    • Thank you Adamuts for dropping by to read my post on local area SEO.

      I really appreciate your liking my review. Thanks a bunch.

  5. I will love to key into this local SEO in no distant time. I understand it to an extent but I really need to understand it very well. This is my very first time of getting to know about local SEO and map listings. However, who I want to know who my customers really are. Is it only those who are registered for Local SEO can see my business on map listings or is it open for everyone to see or view? 

    • Hi Kenechi,

      Here’s the answer to your question. Your customers are people using searches to find businesses like your own. People do not need to register for local SEO to see your business listed on the map listings. Once you’ve created your “Google My Business” page, every one can see/view your business on the map listings, assuming you optimize your pages correctly.

  6. I want to really appreciate you for your time to write this article on how to do local seo.this information has added to the body of my knowledge. I also discovered that, It can lead to new customers, and also lead clients to a business. And apart from that, It will increase the overall exposure of a business’ brand and services. But I don’t really like local SEO,  because, it’s just targeted to the city you stay, alone, and I have also seen that it requires a great deal of patience.i don’t really have that… 

    • Hi Barrywesley,

      Thank you for your comment. Local SEO is really good for people running local businesses to improve their brands. You can use the navigation menu to move to and learn something you may like from other SEO tutorials I have on this site.

      I appreciate your taking time to read my blog post.

  7. Thanks for this informative post In my opinion there is a massive opportunity to provide local SEO services to small and medium sized businesses. You have the opportunity to leverage the SEO skills you already have. Thanks for sharing this I hope to utilize this in my online business. Good job! 

    • You’re welcome Seun. I hope my post helps you and other people looking for opportunities to offer local SEO services as you said. Thanks you so much for taking time to read my post.

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