May 31, 2024

Local SEO Strategies to Grow Your Business

Published By
Chris Isaacs
Reading Time
5 Min

Local SEO Strategies to Grow Your Business

For business owners, learning how to optimize local SEO is essential. The statistics are clear: if your business serves the local community, you cannot afford to ignore local SEO.

  • Google reported a massive 900%+ growth in mobile searches for “[business or service] near me” from 2016 to 2018.
  • In 2019, Google noted that 60% of smartphone users contacted a business directly through search results using the “click to call” option.
  • Google also found that 76% of people who searched for a business on their smartphone visited it within a day.

However, as the potential for local SEO grows, so does the competition for local search traffic and visibility.

The main purpose for this article is to help you understand the key local ranking factors and how to use them to ensure your business appears prominently in local searches across all your locations.

What is Local SEO?

First of all, we have to understand what is local SEO. Local SEO is a whole range of practices aiming to promote a business in different elements of local search like maps, local pack, and localized search results, the goal is to attract customers from relevant local searches.

It's important to recognize that local SEO isn't only limited to Google. Customers use various search engines and platforms to find local businesses, including Google Maps, Google Search, Bing Local, Bing Maps, Apple Maps, and more.

However, Google remains the dominant player in the market. So this guide will primarily focus on strategies to attract local traffic through Google.

Who Needs Local SEO?

If you run a business in a physical location, or have brick-and-mortar store, local SEO can significantly boost your visibility in search results.

Whether you're a small business owner or managing SEO for a large enterprise with multiple store locations, local SEO is essential for driving more foot traffic to your business.

Local Pack vs. Organic Search Results: How Local Search Works

Understanding how local search differs from organic results is best explained through an example. Imagine you need to find a place to get your car washed.

You'd likely start by using a search engine and typing in a query like “best places to get car washed near me.”

Local Pack

The first of two distinct sections you see in the search engine results page (SERP) is the local pack.

Organic search results

The second section is organic results. Both sections provide localized information relevant to your search, but they do so in different ways.

The local pack displays the top businesses that rank in Google Maps for the search term. It also provides additional details about each business to help you choose the best option.

The other section shows the regular organic search results you’d find on any SERP, but in this case, it focuses on local information.

It's main thing to to understand about this about local SEO, is that appearing in the local pack or on google maps is not dependent on your website, its content, or domain authority.

Local SEO Ranking Factors

Since local rankings are not influenced by your website, what factors determine where your business appears?

Google highlights three key attributes that affect local rankings:

  • Relevance: This measures how well your local listing matches what a user is searching for.
  • Distance: This refers to how close each result is to the location term used in the query. For instance, businesses near Chicago’s Millennium Park will be prioritized for searches related to that area.
  • Prominence: This is about how well-known or reputable a business is. Think of it as the business's authority, similar to the domain authority that impacts regular organic rankings.

By focusing on these factors, you can improve your local SEO and increase your chances of appearing in the local pack and Google Maps results.

Local SEO involves two main components

  • Being Found: This aspect focuses on optimizing your business’s visibility in Google Maps, and the local pack.
  • Being Selected: This involves persuading users to choose your listing over others.

What effects being found:

Local Attributes:

Think of local attributes as similar to Schema. Both aim to make the content clearer to search engines.


Helps search engines understand the different sections of a webpage.

Local Attributes: 

Help search engines identify and display various qualities of a business for relevant searches.

These attributes cover almost every aspect of your business’s operations and service delivery.

For instance, the car washes that appeared in the SERP for a car wash query listed several attributes that distinguished it. Attributes can include details like:

  • Hours of operation
  • Special features (e.g., Wi-Fi, Handicap Accessibility)
  • Customer ratings

By effectively managing these attributes, you can improve how your business is displayed in local searches, ensuring it stands out in Google Maps and other local search platforms.


Reviews are the other important factor in your local rankings. Three specific review-related factors affect your local search positions:

1. Number of Reviews

The number of reviews your business has impacts its Prominence, a key local ranking factor. Businesses with more reviews are perceived as more popular and tend to rank higher.

2. Review Score

Your overall review score, or the number of positive reviews, also affects Prominence. Google is less likely to rank businesses with low review scores. On the other hand, businesses with high review scores, reflecting customer satisfaction, are more likely to achieve higher search positions.

3. Responsiveness to Reviews

How quickly and consistently you respond to reviews also affects your rankings. Businesses that respond to reviews promptly appear more customer-oriented and caring. Search engines prefer to promote businesses that actively engage with their customers over those that do not.

What effects being selected:

The factors discussed above help improve your rankings and local visibility. However, in local SEO, that's only half the battle. The other crucial aspect is being selected from the many options available in Google Maps.

For example, a quick search for "Car washes near me" can yield numerous results, making it challenging for users to decide.

In a crowded market or area, it can be difficult for your business to stand out. This means it's even harder for users to choose your business over others. Here are some strategies to increase your chances of being selected:

  • Optimize Your Business Profile: Ensure your Google Business Profile is complete and up-to-date with all relevant information.
  • Use High-Quality Photos: Attractive, professional photos of your business and products can catch the eye of potential customers.
  • Promote Positive Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and highlight these in your profile.
  • Engage with Customers: Respond to reviews, answer questions, and engage with customers to show that you value their feedback and business.

By focusing on these elements, you can make your business more appealing to users and increase the likelihood of being chosen from the list of options in local search results.

Here are a few practices to follow to improve local SEO

#1. Optimize Your Google Business Listing

Optimizing your Google Business profile is necessary for local SEO, increasing your chances of being discovered.

Enhance your listing by responding to reviews, keeping store hours updated, ensuring correct contact information, and more. As local search becomes more visual, use unique, high-quality images and videos for each category or product on your profiles.

#2. Act on Local SEO Buying Intent

Customers have varying intents. Some might look for directions or contact information, so make sure your phone number is easily findable. This is another reason to optimize your Google Business Profile.

Others may want to check product availability, which you can address using schema markup.

#3. Monitor Online Reviews

Online reviews provide valuable insights into customer feedback. You can identify what's working well and address any recurring issues. Monitoring reviews helps you understand if certain locations receive more complaints than others.

#4. Set Up Local Rank Tracking for All Your Locations

Measure your progress by setting up local rank tracking for all your locations. Just as you monitor other rankings, this is crucial for assessing the effectiveness of your local SEO efforts.

#5. Create Localized Content

Highlight unique attributes of each business location on specific landing pages. For instance, a coffee shop with an outdoor patio or free Wi-Fi can promote these features on their location-specific pages.

#6. Make Pages Easy to Crawl

Avoid burying local landing pages deep in your site’s architecture. Ensure they are easily accessible to Googlebot, as hidden pages might not be indexed due to crawl budget limitations.

#7. Ensure NAP Consistency

While NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency isn't as critical for local search rankings as it once was, it’s still important to maintain accuracy.

#8. Mention the Location in the Meta Tags

Including location names in meta titles increases the chances of appearing higher in local searches. It also makes it clear to searchers that your listing is relevant to their query.

#9. Optimize the Site for Voice Search

Voice search remains a common way for people to find information. Optimize for voice search by providing answers to common queries about store hours, directions, and more.

#10. Optimize for Mobile

Given the importance of mobile for local SEO, ensure your site is mobile-friendly to accommodate users searching on the go.

#11. Improve Local Keyword Targeting

Use specific local keywords, even down to the city or town. For example, "car wash Montreal." Long-tail keywords like this often have less competition and higher conversion rates. Include a local-focused target keyword on each URL for optimal results.

#12. Add Relevant Schema to the Site

Implement schema markup to provide more information about your site. This can enhance your search presence with features like reviews and star ratings appearing directly in the SERP.

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