9 Advanced Tips for Optimizing Localized Search

We bet you understand the importance of targeting local customers. And while following best practices for boosting your SEO performance is a great start, harvesting local leads requires additional, more advanced tactics.

If you’re feeling stuck in your journey to improve your local SEO ranking, you’re in luck. We have nine tips to advance and enhance your strategy, helping drive more traffic and leads from your neighborhood. 

Start with Your Website  

If this was an introduction to SEO best practices, we’d start by covering the importance of keyword research. This would include drilling into potential localized queries using tools like Semrush and Google Keyword Planner and weaving in both long tail and short tail versions of those keywords into your website copy, content and social media posts. 

(If you are a beginner, don’t fret! We’ve got seven steps to get started with SEO here.) 

But even if you’ve taken the steps above,we still have a few tricks you may have missed:

Optimize Your Landing Page Content 

Landing pages can be easy to set up and just as easy to forget about. If you’re seeing stagnation in your campaigns or losing conversions after users have clicked on your content, your landing pages need a refresh.  

Optimizing for localized SEO goes beyond the steps you’d usually take to revise your landing pages. Here’s where it’s crucial to include area-based keywords and area-specific information. If your business has several locations, consider creating different landing pages for each store or business.  

On those pages, you can also include a map that links to Google Maps, making it easy for people to start navigating to each specific location.  

(We’ll discuss the benefits of using Google’s tools below!) 

Structured Data Schema Markup  

Your landing pages surely have all the best practice SEO basics – meta descriptions, tag titles, alt tags, etc. But to level up and boost your localized SEO, it’s time to consider using structured data and schema markup 

Schema markup is a form of structured data. It’s essentially code on the backend of your website that consolidates your page’s information into a clean, concise description. This makes it simpler for search engines like Google to understand, crawl and index your page. 

Adding schema markup and structured data to your website can help highlight those local-friendly keywords, phrases, copy and content you’ve included, meaning Google can easily recognize your locale and push you closer to the top.  

Digging into the details of schema markup is more than we can cover now, but our friends at Semrush have built a helpful introductory guide that  covers how to get started.

Local-Themed Content  

We know that consistently generating valuable content is a major win in and of itself. But if you’re committed to boosting your local SEO, it’s time to add area-specific pieces to your content calendar. These could include neighborhood events you’re involved in or ones that align with your company’s interests or values (82% of shoppers choose to patronize companies with similar values).  

Writing pieces about your city or town also gives you an easy way to incorporate more local-specific keywords on your website without sounding like you’re trying too hard. (Don’t forget – real people are reading your site, not just robots from Google. Make sure your copy hits the balance of including SEO-boosting keywords while staying true to your company’s voice.)


Utilizing Google’s Tools 

So, you’ve gone ahead and created (or claimed) your company’s account on Google My Business. Great! But there are more steps to ensure you’re honing in on localized search opportunities. as much as possible for localized SEO. 

Multiple Profiles for Multiple Businesses 

First, for multi-location companies – yes, you should create separate Google My Business accounts for each location. Having specific GMB profiles will make it easier for customers to discern that location’s specific address, phone number and hours. Plus, customers can leave location-specific reviews about their (ideally) positive experiences. (More on this below!)

Get Your Facts Straight 

No matter how many profiles you have, make sure your key information is correct across all of them. Address, hours, phone number, website – having any of these be incorrect is a quick way to lose a potential customer. 

This next tip is two-fold: make sure this information on Google My Business matches what’s showing up for your company on Google Maps. 

Navigating Google Maps 

86% of people search for local businesses on Google Maps. Any discrepancies between the two can cause confusion and frustration as potential leads try to find you. We’ve had two clients in the past who’ve come to us with consistency issues between their profile and Google Maps – one with a different address listed and another with different hours listed. 

(Something like incorrect hours can often be a quick fix within your GMB listing, but if you’re still having trouble updating addresses, contact Google for additional help.

Don’t Forget Photos 

After getting those ducks in a row, you can build out the other areas of your profile. Adding relevant photos inside and outside your location can help build trust for potential customers. (Which restaurant would you feel more comfortable visiting – the one with several images of their food, dining area and a photo of what the location looks like, or one without any of those?) Don’t forget to add captions with local-based keywords, especially if you have several locations

Importance of Google Reviews 

And finally, Google reviews. We’re sure you understand their importance, but we’ll remind you anyway. Reviews from locals also build brand trust and can be a deciding factor for potential customers deciding between two local businesses. (Between a hair salon with 50 five-star and one with 11, I’m calling up the first one.)  

Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews from local customers, and when responding, make sure to include those keywords we’ve been talking about (as smoothly as you can). 

*** While this isn’t exactly local SEO specific, the overall performance of your GMB profile contributes to your local-optimizing efforts. If you receive a negative review on your GMB profile, don’t panic or ignore it. 

First, verify as best as possible that this was an actual experience. Do you have a record of working with this customer? Do your employees remember the interaction they’re describing? Do they have proof of a faulty product they received? 

Then, respond. This may seem counterintuitive, but it gives you a chance to either respectfully question or debunk their experience or demonstrate the quality of your company’s customer service. 

Branch Out

These localized SEO tips are all factors you can (relatively) control. Now, it’s time to reach out and find people and companies who can help get your name out in front of potential customers. 

Here’s where many marketers turn back. Why? This step is time-consuming and, frankly, hard. I once ran a link-building campaign for a client where I reached out to the health department of every U.S. state, asking to be listed on their website. Out of 50, only one accepted (shout out to Alabama)But it’s not as intimidating as it sounds if you take it one step at a time. Start by researching places where you can snag local citations, or where you can get your company listed. These include local publications to advertise in, relevant online journals or news outlets to pitch content to, directories you can add your business to or trade shows or events in your area you could sponsor.  

From there, you can start zeroing in on the resources you believe will be most beneficial for your campaign.  

If you’re looking for help in this process, tools like Whitespark can be very useful. Whitespark is designed to help businesses enhance local search rankings. This software has several functions, but for our clients, we use four in particular:  

  • Local citations and SEO 
  • Citation building 
  • Citation audit and cleanup 
  • Data aggregator services 

With Whitespark, you can easily create, audit and manage local and niche citations. This is a vital step when it comes to building your business’ link presence across the web. This not only ensures you have a wide digital presence but also that the information is correct and consistent. 

Yes, it’s hard, but if you’re genuinely committed to creating a more prominent local presence, this isn’t the time to fizzle out. A few hours a week chipping away at research and sending emails is worth the effort if your name pops up more and more in front of potential customers (especially if your competitor hasn’t done the same).

If you need a hand with this step (or any we’ve listed above), we’re here to help. Contact the Simple Machines team today to start building a successful local SEO presence for your company.