How to Improve Local SEO: A Quick Guide for Small Businesses

Local SEO may seem simple on the surface, but it can be very complex and competitive when you look at it closely. In order to do well with local search, you have to know exactly what your customers are looking for, why they’re looking for it, and how to meet their needs in an efficient manner. By following these steps, you can help your business appear near the top of the search results when your target audience searches Google or other major search engines. Alternatively, you may want to turn to a local SEO consultant.

What is local search engine optimisation?

Local search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your online visibility so that Google and other search engines will show it as a top result for searches relevant to your business in your local area. This is done through a variety of methods, including making sure your website and content are optimised for the right keywords, adding your business to local directories, and creating a Google Business Profile. The best way to determine what words or phrases you should optimise for on your site is to do research on what customers in your area are searching for. You can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner Tool or Yelp’s Keyword Tool. Once you have identified the keywords and phrases people use when they’re looking for businesses like yours, you’ll want to include them throughout all of your web pages, blog posts, and social media content.

Why should I care about local SEO?

As a small business owner, you should care about local SEO because it is one of the most effective ways to reach your target market. When customers search for businesses like yours on Google, they typically include a location modifier in their query. For example, someone might search for ‘solicitor near me’, or, ‘hairdressers Barking’. If you have optimised your website and Google Business Profile for local SEO, then you are more likely to show up in these results.

How do I get started?

You can do a few key things to get started on your local online journey. First, make sure your website is optimised for local search. This can include adding your city and state to your titles and tags and creating content specific to your target audience. You should also create listings on local directories and review sites, and make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is consistent across the web.

What is my unique selling proposition (USP) and why do I need it?

If you want to succeed in business, you need to clearly understand what makes your company unique. Without a strong USP, you’ll blend in with the competition and get lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, creating a USP is not as difficult as it may seem. Start by thinking about what sets your business apart from others in your industry. Perhaps you offer superior customer service or higher-quality products.

How do I build local backlinks?

One way to build local backlinks is to create content that is shareable and informative. This could be in the form of blog posts, infographics, or even just helpful how-to guides. You can also create citations and backlinks on local directories and websites. Creating listings on Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and other similar platforms can also help improve your Local SEO signals.

Should I only use Google Business Profile or claim my listings on other sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.?

No, you should not only use Google Business Profile. While it is the most important platform, claiming your listings on other sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. can give you a boost in local SEO signals. Plus, having a presence on multiple platforms makes it more likely that customers will find you when they’re searching for businesses like yours.

What other channels should I use to reach potential customers online?

If you want to reach potential customers online, you should also consider social media, email marketing, and paid advertising. And, in addition to optimising your written content on your website and listings, you should also think about optimising your images for Google Lens and local searches.


Sally, SEO consultant and Manager

About the author

Sally is a full-time SEO who started her journey into search engine optimisation in 2012, working within broader marketing roles until she specialised in 2018. During her career, Sally has gained practical experience in:

  • eCommerce SEO
  • Copy writing and content strategy
  • Local SEO
  • International SEO
  • Enterprise SEO

In addition, Sally has had the opportunity to apply her knowledge and experience to a range of sectors, from high street retail stores to law firms, FinTech, SaaS and more. Having worked both in-house and leading a team agency side before branching out on her own. 

Today Sally is as passionate about her work and the world of SEO as when she first started and continues to invest in the SEO community through projects such as:

View the author's bio.