The Ultimate Local SEO Handbook

by Leon Sanchez
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local business search from mobile

In a nutshell, getting top placement in local search results means putting the right information in the right place for people who are likely to need it the most.


In this post, I’ll walk you through my Local SEO strategy. It’s difficult to run a small business these days.

But do you really need me to tell you that?

You’ve been doing it for years and have a devoted following of customers who are eager to recommend you. But there’s something bothering you in the back of your mind. You’ve been meaning to ‘do some online marketing’ for a while.

Research conducted by Access concluded that proximity matters to local consumers a great deal, with more than 92% traveling just 20 minutes or less to purchase their day-to-day essentials.


The Definitive Guide To Local SEO - An Infographic from Pickaweb

How to Perform Local SEO


New competitors have recently set up shop in your neck of the woods, competing for business. Don’t worry about other people—they’re competing with you just fine. You might just have to expand their name recognition, it doesn’t seem like they’re getting higher in the search results. For that reason, this guide will be roughly 80% focussed on optimizing your local presence on Google.

Most people who use the product make their way across the North Island to the South Island of New Zealand, and as you had observed, they will soon start travelling to the Gold Coast and around Australia. The three best websites in this sector are the ones that are advancing. As for the other three of you, the scraps are yours.

However, if you’re worried that getting your site’s ranking may be too difficult or expensive, then don’t sweat it. It’s a well-established process, and we have given you a full set of instructions on how to go about it. In addition, you can even print the volume and place it on a wall somewhere and have it constantly remind you of the necessary next to you to keep your desk, perhaps, focus on it.

It is time to start.

According to Google, 46% of searches have a ‘local intent’. source:


Local Directory Listings, Citations and NAP posts – How To Setup and Optimise

It is going to cover all aspects of a Local Directory listings, citations, as well as provide tips for enhancing and optimising NAP citations.

Before you do anything, you start your local listings, you must first prepare the directory. I have Four other business listings, also: Google My Business, Bing Place for Business, Yelp,  and Yahoo Local.

If you can think critically, observe details, and summarise information, then this will be fairly easy for you. In other words, be thorough. You should optimise your listing — such as include every detail (but not unnecessary information) instead of just the basics like address, phone and map. Try to describe your (local Keyword) question in an expansive manner using search keywords that your target audience is likely to use. SEO Tip: A great please to find these is in the search results for your local keyword. Local for the section “People also ask”,  related searches and the auto suggest in search bar.

Pro citation creating tip: Use a directory listing service to do the hard work, such as us, localbright, or even some of the local directories have syndication services with some of their partners and networks. The $100-$200 it might cost will be well worth it.

Note: It’s important to include photos and videos, but don’t go all out with them, only enough to beat your competitors to show to customers that you’ve made an effort.

68% of consumers say they would stop using a local business if they found incorrect information in local directories.

Start asking customers for reviews

Recent analysis of GMB reviews across 10 industries has found, while the best in an industries had the same number of Google Reviews, the gap between the Best and Industry averages was due to the industries with less than a single review having 10% of the number of companies (on average) writing them or having newer sites.  Expand the website search engine results to learn more information about that topic. the top websites have more positive feedback It’s just a question of scale.

Research shows that 81 percent of people read reviews and check ratings, and more than one-in-three consumers comment on blogs or contribute to online forums. source: Neil Patel

Finally, getting testimonials is simply getting on a reviewer’s nerves. That’s all there is to it. It’s just a matter of directing the user to your Google listing. Most excellent, as Bill and Ted would say, is that you will likely have a lot of customers who will enjoy your product, you simple need to ask if they can write a review with 5 stars.

Reviews have grown in importance over the last few years – making up 16% of local ranking factors in 2020, compared to 12% back in 2018. source:

However, you will risk your site being penalised by Google if you get a lot of reviews or you are already have a high number of reviews. The benefit of reviews diminishes as you get much more than competitors. Their for it is better to have a regular number of reviews keeping you slightly ahead rather than a mad thumping by suddenly getting 100s in a month, which can often result in an automatic removal. Yes, even if they are real.


In order to maintain your forward momentum, is to be consistent. Getting positive feedback by reviewers will help to make things easier in the longer you do it takes to establish a routine.

Name, Address And Phone (NAP) essentials for Citations


There are numerous trustworthy online directories you can list directories where you can include your site. Getting indexed on these sites is easy for Google, which means you can count on good results.

NAP includes your company name, address, as well as your phone number so you can list your business with it. A majority of the advertisers offer a free listing, and there is usually an additional, paid service for those who want more specific results. The most important thing is to do is to get listed and have a backlink to your site.

In August 2017, Google stated that local searches without the “near me” modifier had grown by 150% and that searchers were beginning to drop geo-modifiers like zip code and neighborhood from local queries altogether. source:

And when I say steady, I mean steady. Just stick to a handful of NAP citations each month will do the trick – they are entirely sufficient to give you an improved position in the SERPS.

Tip: do not create pages solely to try and rank for service + near me, that’s not how it works.  Make sure NAP is done correctly on your website and that you optimise for the service and that it is top rated, by getting lots of genuine reviews.

Industry/Nice Directory Listings

If you don’t have an industry specific directory, such as, this dentists directory see if you can find a general one that covers your industry. Another factor to consider is to consider is where your competitors are listed, as well.

It is quite easy to find excellent, but rare, to locate and specific industry-specific directories that are free of charge or may be offered for a small fee. There are advantages to these that insure you remain relevant to Google’s search results, including that they give out signals that show you give to the services you are related to the industry or sector you’re in.


For example, maybe you’re an association or an organisation grants you permission to access more products or services based on your profession. If you are an active member of a trade or professional organisation, or are being paid by a trade or professional organisation, it may be possible. This will provide you with a better link on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN as well as well as allowing you to be listed on the relevant directories.


Optimise your directory content

35% of all search traffic is local according to an estimate in a 2017 ReviewTrackers’ study.

Don’t be a sad guy and add one sentence to 400 directories and then complain citations don’t work. Take the time to write some really good content and where possible add the maxium content and links you can to your listing.  Make it as good as your website they often will convert and direct traffic to your business.  We also recommend optimising the content for NLP and or with cora or page optimiser pro.  If you can we also recommend spinning the content so each directory listing is different.

Service Specific Pages

Also known as local location pages:  i.e domain/location/service

Make sure that all of your service pages are listed in your sitemap.xml so that you don’t miss any of them. I’m referring to this in particular to the issue of having a page for every service that you offer. Too often, I see businesses who just list their ‘services’ on a single page, no apparent differentiation between them, no relationship, and little difference in quality between one service and another.

This has a disadvantage because you may make you spread yourself too thin and do more harm than good. The services available through Google often differ based on the type of searcher’s interest, and when a searcher is looking for something specific, the search engine offers exactly that page.


A perfect example is someone who types in ‘pc repairs Norwich’ and you don”t have a specific page for that type of service, while your competitor does have a service page for that particular case.

Create Optimised Pages for the service + location

So you have added these service/s or product specific pages and locations. Now you need to provide detailed descriptions, heading and sub heading which are all optimised for the service + location.  We like using CORA seo tool or Page Optimiser Pro for this which we then run through SEOSurfer’s NLP editing tool to get the best Search optimised content we can.  A lot of companies will be lazy and just optimise a template and then never touch it, we think it’s best to publish the pages then re edit them and optimise them exactly to each location so the content ends up a little different.


Tip: Keep the content customer focused… all about the solution you solve rather than selling yourself.


How to get Backlinks

The importance of Backlinks to Google’s algorithm is greatly understated by many SEO companies and pros.  Also, they’re like anyone voting in a referendum. More votes from sources that can advance your place in the SERPs.  Reputable just means that they are not dodgy directories that have been produced for the express intention of boosting search engine rankings. We prefer truly local directories, such as one for your city or county to general monster directories. Additionally, you can use links from online retailers (such as local competitors) and industry websites to include your own content on your website, which is ideal.

From analyzing link profiles of the local sites I’ve worked with, I notice that 90%+ of a local site’s backlinks tend to point to their homepage. source:

So go ahead and expand to your social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Signing up and filling out the form is completely free, and you won’t need to do anything else. To increase the chances of making it easier to acquire in-targeted links, you can provide testimonials to your local business partners, or use the connections to verify that they have actually have a link to your site.  It is imperative that you consider being added to famous search directories like yelp, yellow, truelocal for business context as well.

Upgrade to Secure (HTTPS) connection and fast SSD Hosting

Having a https connect website, which means you have a SSL installed is industry standard now and it will hurt you if you don’t have one. Firstly many web browsers will flag your website as insecure and make the user jump through hoops to see your site, which most wont. Secondly, it’s only $10-100 dollars to get one installed and you’ll look professional.


While we can debate which website loading speed is an actual ranking factor, we can’t debate the fact that slow loading sites bounce users. Many users will not wait for a site that loads in over 4 seconds. They just wont.  Also, many studies have illustrated how decreasing loading time will increase sales until you get to about 2 seconds where returns on investment tend to plateau.  Therefore, don’t cheap out on your website hosting. Pay the little bit extra for SSD based webhosting with server side caching, then actually set it up correctly. Take the time to optimise images before you upload them and delete unused ones, no hosting account is going to run well with 28GB of images clogging it up. I’d also recommend paying for a proper CDN service (not cloudflare’s) to at least serve your images via CDN, even better serve the whole site with an edge server.

According to Google, in order to provide a “good” user experience, First Paint should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.

Mobile friendliness is a ranking factor


According to Fresh Egg in 2013, four out of five people use smartphones to look up local information. With the growth of mobile phone usage, often replacing the PC or Laptop mobile searches must have increased many times over. So, I’ll mention this because our audience is mostly from New Zealand and Australia where mobile friendliness of websites is an after thought.

In 2011, it was revealed that over 40% of mobile queries have local intent.

Your website must be mobile friendly, which means responsive! Not two versions, not zoomable, proper 12 column, row responsive website design. Also, this means images are cropped to look good on mobile… no little thin strips of images on the header with huge fonts!

The menu must work on mobile, you should have click to call buttons. Links, buttons and text should be readable and tap easy.  For bonus points have the colour adjust for dark/light viewing.

Google has also recently indicated that one in three US mobile queries is now ‘local’ and 87% of people use their phone when on the go.

Set Up A Company Blog


This is the best way for Google to grow content, as they reward content providers even when there is a lack of new fresh content.  Industry websites and half as much content (2:1.2:1) as the best in the industry have in reality showed, demonstrating that Best in Class websites have twice as much content as the industry average.


Once you have finished signing up, you can use the WordPress on the hosting with your name and email information to help your clients, customers, give useful, interesting, and helpful material. Alternatively, you could use a blogging service website like medium or blogger for you company blog and cross link the two.  For bonus points you can write blogs then syndicate them through your social media pages and re-organise or spin them through external blogging services.

Use both primary and LSI keywords wherever you can as you fill out your content as this counts for almost 20% of your chance of getting into the Local Pack. source:

Concentrate on your efforts on the main pages as “with pages” rather than “about” your goals, and think of your posts as being “helpful”free material.”


By default, your search results page will show new questions that have been answered, relevant answers, including your you, provide tips and answers, and provide external links.


The key thing is to get the ball rolling and to get published regularly. Often, not every day, it can be every week, or every month, but not every day. When you send out emails once or twice a week, you’ll have twice as much content as your rivals would have within a few weeks.


Video Ranking

Video ranking (Youtube SEO) can be a great way to break into local rankings.  Often if you put up 3 videos you will be able to break into or trigger the local Video 3 pack on the first or second page of results.  Often you can rank the video in the search results. Also, you can earn traffic from youtube or other streaming services by adding useful content.

Tip: You can add a large description full with links and keywords.


In Summary on Local SEO

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is all about increasing search visibility for businesses that serve their communities face-to-face. These can be brick-and-mortar businesses with physical locations, like a grocery store or dentist’s office, or service-area businesses that operate throughout a certain geographic area, like an electrician or house cleaning company. This includes everything from claiming a business listing to ensuring a franchise location appears in a local search on Google (a process known as location data or citation management ). It also extends to managing online ratings and reviews, local-centric social media engagement, and beyond.


Performance in local SEO is possible for any small business regardless of technical skills. Establish an optimised local presence contact your best customers and receive feedback.  Other easy wins include: There are many ways you can do this, some are better than others. And, keep in mind, strive to find fast wins that will come from local vendors or suppliers as well.

if you need to, lengthen your service pages to 500 words perfect their metatags, URL, heading, and alt text, for SEO

Speedy and Stable your website.

Generate an audience and provide quality, relevant content for search engine optimisation. even, bear in mind to watch out for your less-savvy rivals

We hope you find this helpful.



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