Do you have a small to medium sized local business (SMB)?
If so, you know how difficult it is to find and stand out in increasingly competitive search results.
Local SEO strategies need to adapt to new features and algorithm updates by the best search engines that influence local search results.
Most local SEO tactics fall into the following three categories.
In this column, you will find more than 50 specific things you can currently do to help improve your visibility in local search results, divided into the categories above.
- 1 Optimizing Local Listings & Citations
- 2 Optimizing Your Local Website’s Content
- 3 Optimizing And Working On Links
- 4 Additional Local SEO Tips
- 5 Final Thoughts
- 6 How do I compare competitors on Semrush?
- 7 How do I see competitors keywords in Semrush?
- 8 How do you use Ahrefs for SEO and competitor research?
- 9 Is Ahref free?
Optimizing Local Listings & Citations
Let’s start with your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) details. Read also : SEOblog.com Announces Top Local and SMB SEO Companies in the United States in 2022.
To be listed and ranked in Google Maps, you need to be a legitimate business, and in some areas you will need a business license (depending on the type of business you are in).
That NAP needs to be consistent and listed the same everywhere or you will have problems later.
Before you start with local listings and mentions, you will also need to:
The key strategy for local listings and citations is to get as many as possible in the right category, with consistent information such as your NAP data.
Screenshot by author, March 2022
Local references are for local business, including NAP data. Local citations may or may not include a link to your website. There are generally two strategies for obtaining local citations:
It can be a really big project to take the time to get local citations, especially if you are in a competitive industry in your area.
Contestants could have up to hundreds of thousands of local citations, which is almost impossible to do by hand.
If you are a local business (SMB) in a relatively non – competitive market, then getting a handful of local citations by hand is a good strategy. If so, getting these listings is a non-competitive local SEO strategy for local citations:
The last two on the list are specific to certain industries, and you will want to search certain directories that are specific to the industry of your local business.
These are typically easy to find – they will be in the top 10 search results (on the first page).
BrightLocal has a list of top local citations for the United States that they maintain.
If you submit to directories (and get a listing) your local business will be able to take advantage of what is often called “Barnacle SEO”.
Your business is listed on pages on other websites that have a good rank for a particular keyword that you are targeting.
So for [Dallas carpenters], Google lists sites like Yelp.com, homeadvisor.com, thumbtack.com, houzz.com, and angi.com.
If these sites are listed, they will be the leading ones in the business, as they rank well in Google.
Once you have secured (and verified) those local listings, the next local SEO strategy is to list with the major data aggregators. There are three:
Data aggregators will take and aggregate local business information (make it available to thousands of websites for use).
Make sure you are using the correct NAP data and URLs of the website, as once the data aggregators get hold of your data, it is difficult to correct and update and will take some time.
Using A Third Party For Local Citations & Listings
Another local SEO strategy is to cite and outsource local listings. On the same subject : Reaching Consumers at Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
Many third party businesses allow you to submit your local business listings (NAP data, short and long reports, URLs, etc.), and then use their links to find that data on other websites.
Many of them have agreements with certain data providers, and can effectively get hundreds, thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of local citations.
These third party services include:
Some of these services are superior to others, primarily because of their agreements with other websites and their technology.
Some only visit 30 websites, while others like Advice Local will receive thousands of local citations, many of which will have a link to the website.
Be aware of any third party websites that set up a local listing on behalf of the local business but do not give those listings a login and password for the local business.
Reviews Are Key
Reviews of your local business, especially on Google, will help with rankings and encourage others to visit your business. On the same subject : Senior Performance Briefing.
People read reviews online, especially for service-type businesses (hotels, resorts, carpet cleaners, home inspectors, carpenters, and even car dealers).
So, if your local business or another business that needs reviews is a service – type business, then creating a good strategy for dealing with reviews is crucial.
Local businesses need to ask and encourage their customers to leave a review.
There are many ways to encourage customers to leave a review.
Some businesses post a plaque at the business looking for reviews. Other SMBs encourage reviews by offering a random reviewer’s “prize” each month (one local business often gives away an Apple iPad to a random reviewer).
The local business should respond to reviews as quickly as they are left, whether positive or negative.
If it’s a positive review or comment, thank the customer for leaving a review.
If it is negative, deal with it quickly and offer to take the issue offline to minimize any future problems and have the negative review gone.
Even if you miss a review response, it’s okay to reply to reviews that were left a few months earlier.
If the review shows up and can be easily seen, then I recommend responding to the review.
Too many local businesses will take the time to verify their local listings but will not deal properly with reviews and respond to them in a timely manner.
Local businesses should take the time to develop a strategy to encourage reviews, tell employees what that strategy is, and nominate one or two to respond to reviews.
Here are some other ways to manage reviews:
Reviews sent directly to the business can be posted on the company’s website (with the customer’s permission). Reviews left on a third-party website (such as Google, Yelp, etc.) may not be copied and posted on the company’s website.
Recently, Google has given extra weight to reviews of third-party websites. So sites like this, where customers can leave reviews and feedback, can help with a local Google ranking:
Another way to get more local reviews is to create a postcard or information leaflet that is given to customers.
Tell them you like their feedback, and use that feedback to make your business even better.
They may leave you a review on your website, or on any of these third party websites (list the websites you would like to see reviewed).
Optimizing Your Local Website’s Content
Without going into too much detail about optimizing a local website, there are a number of local on-site SEO strategies that are important to consider:
Screenshot by author, March 2022
Optimize For “Near Me” Search Queries
In the past, more people have been using “near me” for the number of search queries, such as [restaurants near me] or [pharmacies near me].
Both of these search queries assume that the search engine knows where the searcher is located.
While “next to me” may not be as popular as it was five years ago, it is used quite often.
I recommend doing your own keyword research and looking specifically at whether “near me” is used in search queries in your area.
If you have a significant number of searches, you may want to optimize at least one page on your Web site for “near me” related keywords.
Local Ranking Factors
Advice Local came out with its list of 2021 Local Classified Factors, worth reviewing.
Specifically, they found that the local SEO experts who added to the list of ranking factors said that these are important:
Properly optimized GBP listing is the most important ranking “factor”.
So it’s important to optimize your Google Business Profile listing.
Reviews are important, as are responding to those reviews.
Then one of the important “rising” factors is optimizing the pages of your website, which is the “On Page” referred to above.
For example, make sure your website has the appropriate Local Schema markup code, and that the NAP data in it matches exactly with the information in your GBP, especially the name.
Work on getting more backlinks specifically to your individual site pages that include “city name + keyword” in the anchor text of the links.
Be A Local Content Machine
One interesting tactic or “local SEO strategy” I saw recently that works well is to be a local content machine.
Basically, by adding a blog to your local business website and writing about local news and events, you are producing content that other people in the city will want to read and share, especially on social networks.
While not necessarily writing about your local business, you are branding the business locally. When someone needs company services or when they need company services, they will think about your business first since they have seen so much online.
A local car accident and personal injury lawyer hired a writer to write articles every day about accidents in their city.
While not focusing on the victims they wrote about, social media shares increased dramatically and the attorney got his name in front of the people in the city.
These social media shares eventually created links to the website, which helped with local rankings.
Buy A Local Website Or Blog
If you want to add a lot of content fairly quickly to your local business website, consider buying a local website that already has the content you need.
It could be a local hobby website with local news or articles, or it could be a local blog with content.
The owner may not have the heart to keep up with the material as they used to or may use the money.
Contact a local Web site or blog about buying their site and incorporating and transferring their content to your local business website.
Arranging referrals from the old domain name to your local business website will help any affiliate links and forwarding history to your local business.
Optimizing And Working On Links
Links to your website have always been and will continue to be an important factor in search engine ranking.
Google’s algorithm has always favored links to a website.
But back in 2016, there was a stronger emphasis on links when Google released its Google Possum algorithm update.
Local links or links from other local businesses and organizations have been important for many years, and remain a very important part of a local SEO strategy today.
Greg Gifford, Vice President of Search at SearchLab.com, suggests that you can “find easy link opportunities by looking at your existing relationships.”
Local sponsorships, local volunteer opportunities, and local offline groups can lead to local connections.
Need more ideas for local connections? Use Majestic.com to analyze the link profiles of similar firms in another city.
Another local SEO strategy for local links is to get links from competitors.
Use a web crawler like the Screaming Frog SEO Spider to crawl their Web site and review all links for outbound competitors.
Then check if there are any links you can find from websites that link to your competitors.
Essentially, those competitors are giving links or PageRank credit to the other Web site that forwards it to your website.
Additional Local SEO Tips
Here are some local SEO strategies that will help with local search engine rankings.
But if that’s not enough, here’s more local SEO tips and tricks you may not have thought of yet.
Undoubtedly, the key factor in local search ranking is “proximity of the business to the search point”.
How far is the business from the person doing the search?
For example, Google knows where the searcher is (especially if it’s using a mobile phone).
The closer the business is to the person doing the search, the more likely it is that business will appear on Google Maps and Google local listings in search results.
Some businesses are known to find a “virtual office” site (or multiple virtual office locations) just for this reason, especially if the customer never visits their site.
While this is a local SEO strategy that I do not endorse, it is a local SEO strategy that is worth noting – because a company’s competitors may be doing it.
Keep your local listings online up to date.
If you know you have an update on your NAP data, make sure they are changed online as soon as possible.
If you are moving, start updating your local listings.
Once you know the new address, start updating local listings online.
It can take months for websites to update your listing, so the sooner you start the better.
Just as you update your “snail mail” with the US Postal Service when you move to a new location, you will also want to ensure that your local listings are kept up to date.
As already mentioned, the address with the USPS should be the exact same address used in your local listings.
Search engines are more likely to have access to USPS data and inconsistencies can lead to local ranking problems.
Consistency of NAP data and ability of your business to rank well locally is crucial.
Make sure your local listings are consistent and the same on your website.
Inconsistent NAP data across multiple websites is one of the issues I see many.
Exploring your local citations to make sure your NAP is consistent everywhere can help local SEO.
Some websites listing your NAP details may have multiple phone numbers, different versions of your address, or even another address.
Removing duplicate lists and updating inconsistencies can make a big difference.
Add updated photos to local profiles on a regular basis.
Get on a regular schedule to take new photos of your site and your business. Post new photos on Google Business Profile, your Facebook page, and other photo-sharing sites like Yelp.
Use Google AdWords to target specific sites and target potential customers in your area. Google now offers ads on Google Maps listings, so it’s beneficial to set aside a budget for those ads.
Getting more online reviews than your competitors is always a constant battle – but it’s worth it in the long run.
Ask customers to make reviews – in-store, at your site, and even by email if you have customer email addresses.
Ask for a review on Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor if you are a hotel or resort.
Always respond in a timely manner to all remaining reviews, whether positive or negative.
On-Site Local SEO
Add a schema.org code marked with your NAP to your Web site.
The name, address and telephone number of your site should be marked up with the appropriate code.
It does not affect how it is displayed on your site, but the schema.org code will tell search engines that it is your name, address and telephone number.
Add the appropriate link to your telephone number.
Adding a “tel: //” type link to your phone number listed on your site will allow mobile visitors to click on the link and call you.
This can also help search engines display your phone number in the phone call extension area in mobile search results.
Accelerate loading time for your website.
Optimizing your site for mobile devices can greatly (and quickly) help with rankings.
I have seen that Google sends more traffic to a website because the website loads faster than it did before. This may involve moving web hosts, redesigning the website, or using a CDN.
Each photo of your business should be tagged with the appropriate location information and keywords.
Use EXIF editor to add location information, keywords and description of each photo. All image files can be updated with this information, and geotagged location information can be included.
Multiple places? Create a section on your Web site for each site.
Do not create one page for each site, add extra content if possible.
Each site will have its own unique personality with its location and its employees. Why not add content related to every site on a regular basis? Add a blog, and add photos to make it relevant.
Use the correct syntax and keywords in your URLs.
For each location, use a format such as www.domain.com/location/. Link to all sites in the main navigation of your Web site, but do not link to subpages under each site.
Consolidate separate websites for each site into one main website.
If you have set a separate domain name and website for each site, move those websites to your main site.
Redirect the domain names with 301 redirects and move the content to subsections on your main Web site.
Each site will use the authority of the main website to become more powerful. Don’t forget to update your site’s local listings so that they also target the new URL on the main site.
Some local search queries can trigger featured clips.
Depending on your topic, you can increase the traffic and visibility of your website by displaying it in “zero position” for some search queries.
Position Zero is the “LED fragment” displayed by Google over any of the other search engine listings.
Use SEMrush.com to analyze the keywords you are currently ranking for, and see if any of them include a defined fragment.
Optimize the content to show up for the featured piece. Other search queries may prompt the info graph, the instant response, the local roundabout pack, or the images you can make the most of.
While you may not accept credit cards or personal information on your website, moving your entire website to a secure SSL server will give you a leg up.
HTTPS is now a search engine ranking factor for Google, and many local businesses have not yet switched their websites to HTTPS.
So moving to HTTPS will put you ahead of your competition. It is important to ensure that recent links, such as local citations, point to the HTTPS version of your website.
Write regular blog posts about local news, local issues and events. Post them on social media and link back to your blog post.
Photos have always been loved by locals, and are often shared.
Local SEO Audits
Explore your website.
There are various types of audits available, including link audits, on-page audits, and local citation audits.
Local audits are well cited for identifying duplicate lists and inconsistent NAP data.
I have recently seen a rash of negative SEO being made on the local listings, with some businesses getting lists being built “for them” with bad data, courtesy of competitors.
A local citation audit can identify many of these issues so you can deal with them properly.
Link audits are important, because local map algorithms rely more on link data.
Having low quality links and off-site links that point to your Web site can hurt rankings.
On-page audits are also important to identify areas for improvement on your website.
Fixing issues such as formatting, metadata, headers, and even page load speed can improve rankings.
Off-Site Local SEO
Find customer email addresses and use that data to target them on Facebook or for an email newsletter.
You can upload customer email addresses and phone numbers to Facebook and target them with ads.
Then create a Facebook-like campaign to target more people with the same demographics as your current customers.
More and more people are using voice search to find local businesses. They use voice search to help them find a business near them.
For example, they might ask, “Where is your nearest Italian restaurant?” Check out the Local SEO Guide study of local SEO ranking factors “near me” I mentioned earlier. It is an interesting read.
For your keywords (the ones you want to rank for), see who is currently ranking – and maybe not your own website.
If you can optimize your listing or display well on another site that is currently ranked for your keyword, then you will see some traffic and you will get business.
If Yelp, Town Advisor, Thumbtack, Angie List, or BBB page is ranking, make sure your local business is listed on those pages.
Participate in and sponsor local events, organizations, and nonprofits.
These will increase your local visibility and will often include a link back to your website, which ultimately helps your search engine rankings.
It takes a holistic approach to optimizing your website for search. The combination of on-site optimization and off-site listings and links will help boost your SMB’s visibility in local search results.
Featured Image: Olivier Le Moal / Shutterstock
Semrush user comment: Click on the “projets” for the menu and website URL de votre compétiteur. Semrush vous permet de choisir le pays de votre choix. Enfin, choisissez les pages de votre site à analyser.
How do I compare competitors on Semrush?
For this information, turn to Semrush Traffic Analysis Overview reports. Enter up to 5 contestants for comparison in the input fields at the top of the report. With this report, you will get an immediate insight into their traffic patterns.
How do you use Semrush for competitor analysis? How to use Semrush to analyze competitors:
- Login to the dashboard.
- Enter the URL of your competitor site.
- Select the country you want to analyze.
- Click on organic, advertising, PLA, Research Display Ads or backlinks as per your requirement.
How do I compare two websites on Semrush?
Go to SEMrush â† ’Tools â †’ Domain Vs. By default, our competitor analysis tool will open in Simple Mode, allowing you to see keywords of up to 3 competitor sites: Enter websites you want to compare (1).
How do I see competitors keywords in Semrush?
First of all pay attention to the titles of its pages (by pressing Ctrl U you can see the page code; then you should find the title meta tag. In this meta tag you will probably see keywords of competitors).
How do I see competitors keywords in Semrush?
First of all pay attention to the titles of its pages (pressing Ctrl + U can see the page code; from there you should find the Title Meta tag. of competitors).
How do you use Ahrefs for SEO and competitor research?
Use the content gap tool Plug your website into Site Explorer Ahrefs and go to the Content Gap tool. Enter your competitors’ below where it says “Display the keywords targeted below.” Hit “Show keywords” to see results.
How do you compete with Ahrefs? Assuming you are already in Rank Tracker, select the project you created earlier for your Dashboard. Finally, click “settings” to see information on 1) Scope, 2) Ownership Verification 3) Site Audit and 4) Competitors. Click on the “COMPETITION” tab and add your competitors accordingly.
We’re spinning so fast, in fact, Ahrefs crawler surpasses Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex. The bottom line? You can use the Site Explorer Backlinks report to check backlinks to any website or webpage. So if you enter a competitor’s site, you will see all its backlinks.
To find competitor backlinks, search the URL of their websites with a backlink checker tool to find out the authority of their sites. Then look at their inbound links. The best link opportunities to look for are the external backlinks. Then you can check which pages are the most popular in your competitor’s site.
Here’s how: Enter one of your domain-level competitors from the spreadsheet — ideally one marked “direct competitor” in the last column “in Site Explorer”. Then go to the Backlinks report (and add a dofollow filter). You will now see all the backlinks pointing to your competitor’s homepage.
Is Ahref free?
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a free tool that will help you improve the SEO performance of your website. It lets you: Monitor the SEO health of your website.