• The Basics of Local SEO

  • local-seo-basics

    Basic SEO for Local SME's

    In this article, we explore the significance of local SEO for small businesses and its numerous benefits, including increased visibility in local search results, higher conversion rates, enhanced credibility, and a competitive edge over other businesses. The article delves into key local SEO strategies such as optimising your Google My Business listing, using local keywords in website content, building high-quality local backlinks, getting listed in local directories, and encouraging customer reviews. Furthermore, we discuss various tools and resources to assist in local SEO efforts, including Google My Business, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Moz Local, Ahrefs, and BrightLocal. The article also highlights common local SEO mistakes to avoid, such as keyword stuffing, ignoring mobile optimisation, neglecting customer reviews, not using schema markup, and inconsistent NAP information.

    Posted On: 14/04/23

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    In an increasingly digital world, local SEO has become a critical aspect of small business success. This article will provide insights into what local SEO is and why it's crucial for small businesses to leverage its potential.

    • Unlock the power of local SEO
    • Improve your business's online visibility
    • Learn key strategies for success
    • Avoid common pitfalls in local SEO
    • Utilise the right tools and resources
    • Enhance your business's credibility and trust

    These items above are just some of the key areas to pay close attention to when carrying out your own SEO.

    Definition of Local SEO

    Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of optimising your online presence to attract more local customers by appearing higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for location-specific queries. It involves various strategies and tactics that help businesses increase their online visibility and reach a local audience.

    Importance of Local SEO for Small Businesses

    Local SEO is essential for small businesses as it allows them to compete with larger companies by targeting potential customers in their immediate vicinity. By optimising their online presence for local searches, small businesses can increase foot traffic, drive more sales, and establish a strong brand reputation within their community.

    Benefits of SEO

    Local SEO provides several benefits that help businesses increase their online visibility and reach a local audience. Some of the key benefits include:

    Increased Visibility in Local SERPs

    Higher Conversion Rates and ROI

    Enhanced Credibility and Trust Online

    Competitive Advantage over Others

    Increased Visibility in Local Search Results

    Local SEO can help your business appear higher in the search results when people in your area search for relevant keywords. For example, if you own a bakery in London, local SEO can help your website show up on the first page of Google when someone in London searches for "best bakery near me" or "cupcakes London".

    Higher Conversion Rates and ROI

    Because local SEO helps you reach people who are actively searching for your products or services in your area, it can lead to higher conversion rates and a better return on investment (ROI) than other marketing methods. For instance, if someone in Manchester is looking for a local plumber and finds your website through a local search, they are more likely to contact you and become a paying customer than if they saw a generic ad for plumbing services on social media.

    Enhanced Credibility and Trust with Customers

    When your business appears prominently in local search results, it can enhance your credibility and trust with potential customers. They are more likely to trust and choose a business that appears on the first page of Google or has good reviews on local directories such as Yelp or TripAdvisor. For example, if someone in Edinburgh is looking for a hotel and sees that your hotel has a high rating on TripAdvisor and appears on the first page of Google, they are more likely to book a room with you than with a hotel that has no reviews or low ratings.

    Competitive Advantage over Other Businesses

    By investing in local SEO, you can gain a competitive advantage over other businesses in your area that are not actively optimizing their online presence for local search. For example, if you run a coffee shop in Birmingham and your website appears on the first page of Google when people search for "coffee shops in Birmingham", you are more likely to attract customers than other coffee shops that don't show up in the search results. This can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and grow your business.

    Key Local SEO Strategies

    Key Local SEO Strategies outlines several effective tactics to optimise a business's online presence and attract more local customers. These strategies include optimising Google My Business listing, using local keywords in website content, building high-quality local backlinks, getting listed in local directories, encouraging customer reviews, and implementing effective on-page and off-page SEO techniques. By employing these strategies, businesses can improve their search engine rankings, increase visibility to local customers, and ultimately drive more foot traffic and sales.

    Optimising your Google My Business Listing

    Optimising your Google Business Profile is probably one of the easiest yet cost effective improvements you can make to your business with relative ease. Here's a step by step guide:

    1. Claim your listing: First, claim your Google My Business listing by verifying your business details. This includes your business name, address, phone number, website, and hours of operation.
    2. Verify your location: Verify your business location by providing Google with a physical mailing address or by receiving a postcard with a verification code.
    3. Complete your profile: Fill out your business profile completely, including your business description, category, attributes, and photos. Be sure to include relevant keywords in your business description to help your listing appear in relevant search results.
    4. Add accurate and consistent information: Make sure your business information is accurate and consistent across all online platforms, including your website and social media profiles. This will help improve your search rankings and ensure that customers can find accurate information about your business.
    5. Encourage customer reviews: Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing. Positive reviews can help improve your search rankings and attract more customers to your business.
    6. Use Google Posts: Take advantage of Google Posts to promote your business and share updates, events, and promotions with your audience. This feature allows you to share photos, videos, and calls-to-action directly in your Google My Business listing.
    7. Monitor and respond to customer feedback: Monitor your Google My Business listing for customer feedback and respond promptly to any negative reviews or comments. This will show customers that you value their feedback and are committed to providing excellent service.

    Using Local Keywords in your Website Content

    By using local keywords such as city names, landmarks, and regional phrases, businesses can better target their intended audience and increase their chances of being discovered by potential customers in their local area. The article also provides tips for incorporating local keywords in website content effectively. Here's some step by steps to make in identifying and using local keywords in your website content:

    Identify your target local keywords

    Start by researching the local keywords that your potential customers are using to search for plumbing services in London. Use keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to identify the keywords with high search volume and low competition. For example, your target local keywords could be "emergency plumber London", "plumbing services London", or "boiler repair London".

    Optimise your website content

    Once you have identified your target local keywords, incorporate them into your website content. This includes your website copy, meta tags, image alt tags, and header tags. For example, you could include your target local keywords in your website's page titles, meta descriptions, and header tags (H1, H2, H3) to help Google understand the content of your website and rank it for relevant local searches.

    Create location-specific landing pages

    If you offer plumbing services in multiple locations within London, consider creating location-specific landing pages for each area. This will help you rank for location-specific keywords and make it easier for potential customers in that area to find you. For example, you could create a landing page for "emergency plumber East London" or "plumbing services South London" and include local keywords and content relevant to that area.

    Optimise your Google My Business Listing

    Your Google My Business listing is an important local SEO asset. Make sure your business information is accurate and up-to-date, and include your target local keywords in your business description. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing to help improve your local search rankings.

    Build high-quality Local Backlinks

    Backlinks from high-quality local websites can help improve your local search rankings. Reach out to other local businesses, directories, and websites in London and ask if they would be willing to link to your website. Make sure the websites you link to are reputable and relevant to your business.

    Use Local Schema Markup

    Schema markup is a type of code that you can add to your website to help search engines understand the content of your website. Use local schema markup to indicate your business name, address, phone number, and other local information to Google. This will help Google display your business information more prominently in local search results.

    Acquiring high-quality local backlinks is a crucial aspect of any successful local SEO strategy. Local backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites can significantly boost your website's credibility and search engine rankings. Here are some effective methods for building local backlinks to elevate your local SEO efforts:

    1. Collaborate with local influencers: Partnering with local bloggers, journalists, or social media influencers can provide valuable backlinks from their websites or social media profiles. Reach out to these influencers and suggest a mutually beneficial collaboration, such as exchanging guest posts or co-hosting events.

    2. Get involved in local events: Sponsor or participate in local events, conferences, or workshops, and leverage the event's online presence to gain backlinks. Event websites often feature sponsors and participants, providing an excellent opportunity to secure high-quality local backlinks.

    3. Join local business associations: Becoming a member of local business associations or chambers of commerce can yield valuable backlinks from their member directories or partner pages. These organisations typically have high domain authority, making their backlinks particularly beneficial for your local SEO efforts.

    4. Create valuable content: Produce high-quality, engaging, and locally relevant content that appeals to your target audience. Share this content with local influencers, news outlets, and social media platforms, encouraging others to link to it. Examples of valuable content include how-to guides, infographics, and case studies.

    5. Utilise local PR opportunities: Keep an eye out for local news, events, or trends relevant to your business, and create press releases or news articles around these topics. Reach out to local media outlets and journalists to share your content, potentially earning backlinks and amplifying your local presence.

    6. Offer testimonials: Providing testimonials for local businesses, suppliers, or partners can result in backlinks from their websites. Write genuine, positive reviews and request that the business includes a link back to your website when publishing your testimonial.

    Remember, when building local backlinks, it's essential to focus on quality over quantity. Focus on securing links from reputable, locally relevant sources that can truly enhance your local SEO efforts and improve your search engine rankings.

    Getting Listed in Local Directories

    Listing your business in local directories is another essential component of an effective local SEO strategy. These directories serve as online reference points for potential customers searching for local businesses, products, or services. Here are the key steps to follow when getting your business listed in local directories:

    1. Identify relevant local directories

    Research and identify the most suitable local directories for your business, focusing on those with high domain authority and local relevance. Examples of popular local directories include Yelp, Foursquare, and Thomson Local.

    2. Verify existing listings

    Before creating new listings, search for your business on each directory to check for existing listings. If you find an existing listing, claim it and update the information to ensure consistency and accuracy.

    3. Create a consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) format

    Maintain consistency in the way you display your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across all local directories. Inconsistent NAP information can confuse search engines and hinder your local SEO efforts.

    4. Complete your directory profile

    Fill out your directory profile with accurate and up-to-date information about your business, including your NAP, website URL, business hours, and a detailed description of your products or services. Add high-quality images and logos to make your listing more visually appealing.

    5. Choose relevant categories and keywords

    Select appropriate categories and keywords for your business to ensure that your listing appears in relevant search results. Be specific and targeted, and avoid using overly broad categories or keywords.

    6. Monitor and respond to reviews

    Regularly monitor customer reviews on local directories, and respond to both positive and negative feedback. Engaging with your customers can help improve your online reputation and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

    By following these steps, you can effectively list your business in local directories and enhance your local SEO efforts. Remember to keep your directory listings updated and consistent, as this will help improve your search engine rankings and online visibility.

    Encouraging Customer Reviews

    Customer reviews play a vital role in local SEO, as they help build credibility, trust, and social proof for your business. Positive reviews can influence potential customers' decisions and improve your search engine rankings. Here are some effective strategies for encouraging customer reviews, paired with FontAwesome icons for visual appeal:

    Email Campaigns

    Send personalised emails to your customers, thanking them for their business and kindly requesting a review. Include direct links to your review profiles on platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, or Trustpilot to make the process seamless for your customers.

    Ask In-Person

    Train your staff to ask customers for reviews in-person, particularly when they express satisfaction with your products or services. A genuine request from a friendly staff member can be highly effective in encouraging customers to leave a review.

    Text Message Reminders

    With customer consent, send text message reminders asking for reviews. Provide a direct link to your review profiles in the text message, making it convenient for customers to share their feedback.

    Incentivise Reviews

    Offer incentives, such as discounts or promotional offers, to customers who leave a review. However, ensure that you comply with the guidelines of the review platforms you use, as some prohibit incentivising reviews.

    Utilise Social Media

    Share positive reviews on your social media platforms and encourage your followers to leave their feedback. Engage with your audience, and respond to comments and messages to build rapport with your customers.

    Highlight Reviews on Your Website

    Showcase positive customer reviews and testimonials prominently on your website. By highlighting your customers' positive experiences, you can inspire others to share their feedback as well.

    Remember to always respond to both positive and negative reviews, showing your appreciation for the feedback and addressing any concerns raised by your customers. By proactively engaging with your customers, you can strengthen your online reputation and demonstrate your commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences.

    Tools and Resources for Local SEO

    Effective local SEO requires the use of various tools and resources to optimise your online presence, monitor your performance, and stay ahead of the competition. Here are some indispensable tools and resources to streamline your local SEO efforts:

    Google My Business

    Google My Business: Google My Business (GMB) is a vital tool for managing your business's online presence on Google Search and Maps. Claim and optimise your GMB listing to improve your local search visibility and engage with your customers through reviews, photos, and posts.

    Google Analytics

    Google Analytics: Google Analytics is an indispensable tool for tracking and analysing your website's performance, user behaviour, and traffic sources. Utilise this data to make informed decisions about your local SEO strategy, content creation, and user experience.

    Google Search Console

    Google Search Console: Google Search Console provides insights into your website's performance in Google search results. Monitor your website's search rankings, backlinks, and technical issues to ensure optimal local SEO performance and identify areas for improvement.

    Moz Local

    Moz Local: Moz Local is a powerful tool that helps you manage your local business listings and improve your local search visibility. With features like listing distribution, review management, and local ranking insights, Moz Local is an invaluable resource for local SEO.


    Ahrefs: Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO toolset that provides valuable insights into your website's backlinks, organic search rankings, and competitors' strategies. Use Ahrefs to identify local backlink opportunities, perform keyword research, and monitor your website's performance.


    BrightLocal: BrightLocal is an all-in-one local SEO platform designed to help you improve your local search rankings, monitor your online reputation, and track your competitors. With tools like citation tracking, review management, and local search audit, BrightLocal is an essential resource for local SEO success.

    By leveraging these tools and resources, you can optimise your local SEO strategy, monitor your performance, and stay ahead of the competition. Each tool offers unique features and benefits, so it's essential to choose the ones that best align with your specific needs and objectives.

    Common Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid

    Despite the best intentions, businesses sometimes make mistakes in their local SEO efforts that can hinder their online visibility and search rankings. Being aware of these common mistakes can help you avoid them and improve your local SEO strategy. Here are some of the most frequent pitfalls:

    Keyword Stuffing

    Overusing keywords in your content not only provides a poor user experience but also raises red flags for search engines. Instead of keyword stuffing, focus on creating high-quality, relevant content that incorporates your target keywords naturally and in context.

    Ignoring Mobile Optimisation

    With the majority of local searches occurring on mobile devices, it's crucial to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. A responsive website design, fast loading times, and easy navigation are essential for a positive user experience and improved search rankings.

    Neglecting Customer Reviews

    Failing to encourage and respond to customer reviews can harm your online reputation and local search rankings. Actively solicit reviews, engage with your customers, and address any negative feedback to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

    Not Using Schema Markup

    Schema markup helps search engines understand your website's content and display rich snippets in search results. Implementing schema markup for your local business, such as address, phone number, and business hours, can enhance your search visibility and improve click-through rates.

    Inconsistent NAP (Name Address, Phone Number)

    Inconsistent NAP information across your online listings can confuse search engines and customers alike. Ensure your business information is accurate and consistent on your website, social media profiles, and local directories to improve your local search rankings.

    By avoiding these common local SEO mistakes, you can create a more effective strategy that improves your search rankings, increases online visibility, and ultimately drives more customers to your business.



    Jason Burns is the Head of SEO at SEO Moves, a leading digital marketing agency servicing clients in the UK. With over 14 years of experience in the SEO industry, Jason has helped numerous small to medium sized businesses improve their online visibility and achieve significant growth under the digital practice of SEO. He holds a 1st Class Honours Bachelor's degree in Business & Marketing and is a certified Google Partner, demonstrating his expertise in search engine optimisation and the very best digital marketing practices.

    Jason is a frequent speaker at conferences and has been featured as an SEO expert in several online publications. He is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and algorithm updates, ensuring that SEO Moves provides cutting-edge strategies and techniques to help clients achieve their online marketing goals. Jason's dedication to delivering exceptional results and providing top-notch customer service has earned him a reputation as a trusted and authoritative figure in the SEO community.

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