Local SEO – How to do it properly

Alexandre Hoffmann 03/06/2024 7 minutes

The Rise of Local SEO


Early Beginnings

Local SEO started to become a distinct entity in the early 2000s.

Around this time, search engines realised users often looked for local results.

Back in the day, if your business wasn’t listed in the Yellow Pages or didn’t have a physical advertisement, it might as well have not existed.


The Google My Business Revolution

In 2004, Google Local was launched.

However, the real game-changer was the introduction of Google My Business (GMB) in 2014.

Suddenly, anyone could create a business listing for free.

It was like the digital Yellow Pages but with reviews, photos, and extra information.


Mobile Search Boom

With the rise of smartphones, more and more users started searching for local businesses on the go.

“Near me” searches boomed, and being optimised for local search on mobile became essential.


Local SEO best practices


Google My Business Optimisation

You can’t talk about Local SEO without mentioning Google My Business.


Add Detailed Business Information

Fill out the details.

  • Business Hours: Include regular and holiday hours.
  • Special Hours: Keep them updated for holidays or special occasions.
  • Business Description: Write a compelling description of your business.
    • Be concise but informative.
    • Use relevant keywords naturally.
  • Attributes: Add relevant attributes (e.g., “Wheelchair accessible”, “Free Wi-Fi”).


High-Quality Photos

Images are essential.

  • Add high-resolution photos of your business, inside and out.
  • Include photos of your products or services.
  • Update your photos regularly.
  • Encourage customers to upload their photos too.


Make Use of Posts

Posts are an underutilised feature.

  • Updates: Post updates about sales, events, or news.
  • Offers: Share special offers and promotions.
  • Events: Promote upcoming events or activities.
  • Products: Highlight new or popular products.


Collect and Manage Reviews

Reviews are critical.

  • Ask for Reviews: Encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews.
  • Respond to Reviews: Engage with customers by responding to their reviews, both positive and negative.
  • Address Negative Reviews: Handle negative reviews professionally.
    • Offer solutions.
    • Show that you care.


Use Messaging

Enable messaging.

It allows potential customers to contact you directly through your GMB listing.

  • Quick Responses: Aim to respond quickly to messages.
  • Professional Tone: Keep the conversation professional and friendly.


FAQ Section

Answer frequently asked questions.

  • Add popular questions and well-thought-out answers.
  • Monitor the section to keep it updated.


Advanced GMB Optimisation Tips


UTM Parameters in Website URL

Use UTM parameters to track clicks from your GMB listing to your website.

This gives you insights into how much traffic GMB is driving.

  1. Open Google’s UTM Builder: To make this easier, you can use Google’s Campaign URL Builder tool: Campaign URL Builder.

  2. Fill in the Fields:

    • Website URLhttps://www.yoursite.com
    • Campaign Sourcegoogle
    • Campaign Mediumorganic
    • Campaign Namegmb_listing

    The result would be:


  3. Add the URL to Your GMB Profile:

    • Go to your GMB dashboard.
    • Click on the “Info” section.
    • Add the UTM-tagged URL to your “Website” field.


Google My Business Insights

Regularly check “Insights” in your GMB dashboard.

  • Track metrics like views, clicks, and calls.
  • Use this data to understand customer behaviour.
  • Adjust your strategy based on these insights.


Local SEO Keywords

Incorporate local keywords.

Ensure your GMB listing includes relevant local keywords.

This helps your listing show up in local search results.

  • Use keywords in your business description.
  • Include keywords in your posts and updates.
  • Optimise your category, services/products and attributes.
    • Category:

      Choose the most relevant primary category and focus on specific categories that describe your business. This helps Google understand your business and match it to relevant search queries.
    • Services and Products:

      List your services and products with detailed descriptions and include relevant keywords. This helps potential customers find you when searching for specific services or products.
    • Attributes:

      Use attributes to highlight features of your business that might be relevant to keyword searches such as “wheelchair accessible”, “family-friendly”, etc.


Special Offers and Promotions

Highlight promotions.

Using Google Posts to showcase offers can attract more customers.

  • Create compelling offers.
  • Use clear, engaging language.


Profile Completeness

Your GMB profile completeness affects your ranking.

  • Aim for a 100% complete profile.
  • Regularly update your information.


On-Page Local SEO

Don’t just rely on off-page signals.

Your website itself needs to be optimised.

  • Include your city or region in key areas like your title tag, meta description, and H1 tag.

Example: If you’re a dentist in Newcastle, your title tag could be “Expert Dental Care in Newcastle | SmileBright Dentistry”. Your meta description may read, “SmileBright Dentistry offers top-notch dental care in Newcastle. Book your appointment today.”

  • Create localised content, such as blog posts about local events or news. 
    • Local News and Events: Write about upcoming local events, industry news, or city-specific updates. For instance, if you run a fitness gym in London, blog about the upcoming London Marathon.
    • Customer Stories and Testimonials: Showcase stories from local customers. This adds credibility and resonates well with your audience.
    • Local Guides and Lists: Create lists or guides that are relevant to your locality. Examples include “Top 10 Things to Do in Manchester” or “Best Hiking Trails in the Lake District”.


  • Use schema markup to help search engines understand your business details.
      1. LocalBusiness Schema: Use this to provide essential details about your business, such as address, phone number, business hours, and more.
      2. Review Schema: Incorporate review schemas to display star ratings and customer reviews in search results, which can improve click-through rates.
      3. Event Schema: This schema can be used by businesses hosting local events to display event dates, locations, and times prominently in search results.

Example: If you operate a local bakery, you can add LocalBusiness schema to your homepage containing information like your address, opening hours, and contact details. This will help search engines present your business more effectively in local searches.


  "@context": "https://schema.org",
  "@type": "Bakery",
  "name": "Your Local Bakery",
  "image": "https://yourlocalbakery.com/images/bakery.jpg",
  "address": {
    "@type": "PostalAddress",
    "streetAddress": "123 Main Street",
    "addressLocality": "YourTown",
    "addressRegion": "YourState",
    "postalCode": "12345",
    "addressCountry": "US"
  "telephone": "+1-555-555-5555",
  "url": "https://yourlocalbakery.com",
  "openingHoursSpecification": [
      "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
      "dayOfWeek": [
      "opens": "08:00",
      "closes": "18:00"
      "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
      "dayOfWeek": [
      "opens": "09:00",
      "closes": "16:00"
  "acceptsReservations": "False",
  "cuisine": "Bakery",
  "paymentAccepted": "Cash, Credit Card",
  "priceRange": "$",
  "geo": {
    "@type": "GeoCoordinates",
    "latitude": "37.7749",
    "longitude": "-122.4194"
  "sameAs": [


Local Citations

Local citations refer to the online mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number.

One of the most critical aspects of managing local citations is ensuring NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency. Discrepancies can confuse search engines and potential customers. Here’s how to maintain consistency:

  1. Standardise Your NAP: Decide on a standard format for your business name, address, and phone number and use it consistently across all platforms.
    • For example, if your business name is “Joe’s Coffee Shop” in some places and “Joe’s Café” in others, standardise it to one version, such as “Joe’s Coffee Shop”.
  2. Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits of your existing citations to ensure they are consistent and up-to-date.
  3. Update Changes Promptly: If your business moves or changes its phone number, update this information immediately across all platforms.


Tools to Manage Your Citations

Managing citations manually can be overwhelming, especially for businesses with many listings. Thankfully, several tools can simplify the process:

  1. Moz Local:

    • Moz Local helps you manage and update your citations across various directories.
    • It scans your listings for inconsistencies and lets you update them from a single platform.
  2. Yext:

    • Yext synchronises your business information across multiple platforms, ensuring consistency.
    • It offers advanced analytics, helping you understand your citation performance.
  3. BrightLocal:

    • BrightLocal offers comprehensive citation management, including citation tracking and building.
    • It provides detailed reports and insights into your local search performance.


Reviews and Ratings

Customer reviews are incredibly influential—both for real users and search engines.

  • Ask happy customers to leave positive reviews.
  • Respond to both positive and negative reviews.
  • Use reviews as testimonials on your website.
  • Add reviews schema to your website.
  "@context": "https://schema.org",
  "@type": "Review",
  "itemReviewed": {
    "@type": "LocalBusiness",
    "name": "Your Local Gym"
  "author": {
    "@type": "Person",
    "name": "John Doe"
  "datePublished": "2023-10-03",
  "reviewBody": "The equipment at Your Local Gym is top-notch and the trainers are very helpful. Highly recommended!",
  "reviewRating": {
    "@type": "Rating",
    "ratingValue": "4.5",
    "bestRating": "5",
    "worstRating": "1"


Mobile Optimisation

With most local searches happening on mobile devices, your website needs to be mobile-friendly. We won’t dwell on site speed optimisation in this post, but below are some key points.

  • Make sure your site loads fast on mobile.
  • Ensure that your contact information is easy to find and clickable.
  • Use intuitive navigation to improve the user experience.


Social Media

Your social media presence can also affect local SEO. While search engines like Google don’t overtly confirm that social signals directly impact rankings, there is a correlation between social activity and improved rankings. Social shares can amplify content visibility, driving more traffic and engagement and indirectly boosting SEO.

  • Maintain active profiles on relevant social media platforms.
  • Regularly share content related to your local area, including local news, events, and community involvement. Use local hashtags to increase visibility among local audiences.
  • Encourage users to check in at your location.
  • Interact with your followers by responding to comments, messages, and mentions. Participate in local social media groups and discussions.
  • Collaborate with Local Influencers to promote your business. Influencers can drive local traffic and provide valuable backlinks to your website.
  • Share user-generated content, encourage your customers to share their experiences, and tag your business. Report this user-generated content to your profiles to demonstrate social proof and community involvement.
  • Incorporate local hashtags into your posts to make your content more discoverable to local users. This can include city names, neighbourhoods, and popular local terms.


Local SEO is crucial for businesses wanting to ensure their place in a competitive local marketplace. By optimising your online presence for local search, you can attract more targeted traffic, enhance your credibility, and ultimately grow your business. As mobile and voice search continues to rise, the importance of local SEO will only increase, making it a vital component of any successful digital marketing strategy.

Give us a shout if you are interested in Local SEO Optimisation.