Local SEO: The What, How, and Why of Local Business Rankings

Written by Rahil Joshi

Rahil Joshi is a seasoned digital marketing expert with over a decade of experience, excels in driving innovative online strategies.

August 7, 2023

featured image, local seo

Local SEO, or Local Search Engine Optimization, is a crucial component for businesses aiming to attract customers in their local vicinity. This informative guide will help you understand what local SEO is, explore how it works, and unveil its importance in enhancing your business’s online visibility.

What is Local SEO?

Let’s start by defining local SEO. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a specialized form of SEO that aims to increase your business’s visibility in geographically related searches. Essentially, it’s about making sure your business gets seen by the people most likely to need your services: those in your local area.

In today’s increasingly digital world, local SEO is the digital equivalent of the large sign outside your store. But instead of only reaching those who walk or drive by your business, local SEO helps you reach anyone in your area searching online for the products or services you offer.

A big part of SEO local optimization is making sure that your business’s details are consistent and accurate across all online platforms. This includes not only your website but also business directories, social media platforms, and anywhere else your business appears online.

Why is Local SEO Important?

Now that we’ve clarified what local SEO is, let’s dive into the “why” part. Why is local SEO so crucial for your business? Well, the answer is simple: customers. Local SEO is an indispensable tool for driving more potential customers to your business.

Studies show that 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. That means almost half of all searches could lead to your business if you’re correctly optimized for local search. Furthermore, 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. These numbers highlight the power of local SEO.

How to Implement Local SEO

To implement local SEO, you need to follow an efficient local SEO strategy. This strategy usually involves a combination of on-page SEO practices, creating and optimizing local listings, earning reviews, and building backlinks from local websites.

Let’s break this down into our local SEO guide, a handy local SEO checklist that will provide a roadmap for your local SEO journey.

Ways To Get Highest Impact of Local SEO

  • Your Business Website: With this approach you optimize your own website to get listed higher on SERPs and achieve highest return with you local SEO campaign.
  • Local Listings: Local listings are a huge part of local SEO strategy. You need to ensure your business is listed and verified on Google My Business and other business listings.

Local SEO for Your Business Site

screenshot. website results in SERP
Example: How your business website will be listed in local SERP results

On-Page SEO

Your on-page SEO practices are vital for local SEO. This includes optimizing your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and content to include local keywords. For instance, instead of just targeting “cake shop,” you would target “cake shop in Boston” or “best Boston cake shop.”

What is Local On-page SEO?

Local on-page SEO involves optimizing the individual pages on your website with a specific local focus. This means you’re not only optimizing for search engine best practices but also considering your local audience and how they may be searching for businesses, services, or products like yours.

The goal is to make it abundantly clear to both search engines and users that you have a local presence, which can help you rank higher in local search engine results and attract more local customers.

Why is Local On-page SEO Important?

Local on-page SEO is important because it helps search engines understand where your business is located and which local searches your pages are relevant to. This can result in higher visibility in local search results, more website traffic from local users, and ultimately more local business.

Local on-page SEO also helps to improve the user experience for local visitors by making your website more relevant to them. This can lead to longer site visits, higher engagement, and more conversions.

Best Practices for Local On-page SEO

Here are some effective local on-page SEO strategies:

Use Local Keywords

Incorporate local keywords – those that include geographical qualifiers, like the name of your city, county, or neighborhood – in your title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and content.

Optimize NAP Information

Ensure your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are prominently displayed on your website and are consistent with the information you’ve provided to Google My Business and other local directories.

Embed a Google Map

On your contact page or in your footer, consider embedding a Google map with your business location. It’s another cue to search engines that you’re a local business.

Create Locally Focused Content

Create content that is locally focused and valuable to your local audience. This could be blog posts about local events, a page dedicated to local services, or resources that are relevant to your local community.

Localize Your Metadata

Ensure your meta titles and descriptions include your target local keywords. This not only signals to search engines what your pages are about but can also make your search snippets more enticing to local users.

Schema Markup

Implementing Local Business Schema markup can provide search engines with more detailed information about your business, such as your business type, hours, and location.

Optimize for Mobile

Local searches often occur on mobile devices, so having a mobile-friendly website is crucial. This means ensuring your site is responsive, loads quickly, and offers an easy-to-use navigation.

Implementing a robust local on-page SEO strategy can be complex and time-consuming, but it’s essential for enhancing your local visibility and bringing more local traffic to your site. At Web Zodiac, we specialize in local SEO, and we’re here to help you navigate these complexities and optimize your website for local search success.

Local Off-page

Doing off-page seo activities and building links from reputable local websites is an essential component of local SEO strategy. Local backlinks show search engines that your business is legitimate and well-regarded in your area.

Backlinks, in the simplest terms, are links from one website to another. When another website links to yours, that’s a backlink for you. Local backlinks, then, are backlinks from websites that are relevant to your local area or industry. These might be local news sites, community blogs, industry directories, or other local businesses’ websites.

Why are Local Off-Page SEO Important?

Local off-page and backlinks are incredibly valuable for your local SEO strategy for several reasons:

Boost local authority

Backlinks from relevant, local websites help establish your business as a trusted and authoritative figure in your local area.

Improve local rankings

Google’s algorithms consider backlinks as a vote of confidence. The more high-quality, local backlinks you have, the better you are likely to rank in local search results.

Increase referral traffic

Local backlinks can also drive relevant, local traffic to your website. Users reading a local blog or news article may follow a link to your site, becoming potential new customers.

How to Earn Local Off-Page

Earning local backlinks requires effort and strategy. Here are a few techniques you can use:

Local Partnerships

Collaborate with local businesses or organizations that are complementary to yours. This can lead to backlink opportunities, either through blog posts, joint marketing efforts, or simply by recommending each other’s services.

Community Involvement

Participate in local community events, sponsor local sports teams, or donate to local charities. Often, these organizations will link back to your business as a thank you.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging for local blogs or news sites can help you achieve authority over third party audience. These sites often allow a link back to your site in the author bio or within the content where relevant.

Local Directories

Ensure your website is listed in local directories. This not only provides a backlink but also helps potential customers find your business.

Press Releases

If your business is involved in something newsworthy, create a press release and distribute it to local news outlets. If they publish your story, it could include a valuable backlink.

Building local backlinks is a long-term strategy, but it’s well worth the effort. Remember, the focus is on the quality of the backlinks, not the quantity. It’s better to have a few links from highly relevant and respected local sites than many links from low-quality or irrelevant sites.

As always, the team at Web Zodiac is ready to assist with all aspects of your local SEO, including building a robust local backlink strategy. We’re dedicated to helping your business grow and thrive in the local digital landscape.

Local Listings Optimization

Local listings are online directories where businesses can list their pertinent information, such as name, address, phone number, website, operating hours, and more. They function similarly to traditional phone book listings, but with the added benefits of digital functionality, including reviews, photos, and the ability to quickly update information.

Why are Local Listings Important?

Local listings contribute to your local SEO strategy in several ways. First, they ensure that accurate information about your business is easily accessible online. This means that potential customers can easily find out where you’re located, how to contact you, and when you’re open.

Second, local listings contribute to your online visibility. Google and other search engines use these directories when determining what to show in search results. A consistent presence across various local listings can increase your search engine rankings, making your business more visible to potential customers.

Key Local Listings for Your Business

There are countless online directories where you could list your business, but here are a few key platforms to focus on:

Google My Business

As the most popular search engine worldwide, having an optimized Google My Business listing is crucial. This platform allows you to add all your business details and update them as needed. Customers can leave reviews, ask questions, and you can even post updates about your business.

screenshot. GMB results in SERP
Example: How Google Business Listing will be listed in SERP
Bing Places for Business

While Google dominates search, don’t overlook other search engines like Bing. Bing Places for Business operates similarly to Google My Business and allows you to reach customers using this search engine.


Known for its review-centric platform, Yelp can be a great place to list your business. Customers often turn to Yelp for peer reviews, so having a presence there can boost your credibility.

Local directories

Depending on your location, there may be local directories where you can list your business. These can be city-based, industry-specific, or both.

Optimizing Your Local Listings

Creating and managing your local listings involves a bit more than just filling out information. Here are some tips for optimizing these listings:


Ensure your business’s information is consistent across all listings. This includes your business name, address, phone number, and website (known as NAP+W).


Keep all information up to date. If you change your hours or move locations, update this information on all your listings as soon as possible.


Fill out every relevant section of your listings. The more information you provide, the better. This could include adding photos, a detailed business description, services offered, and more.


Respond to reviews and questions on your listings. This not only helps build relationships with customers but also shows that you’re an active and attentive business.

Local listings play a key role in your local SEO strategy. They help increase your online visibility, ensure potential customers can find accurate information about your business, and can even boost your search engine rankings. Whether you’re managing these listings yourself or working with a local SEO service like us at Web Zodiac, keeping your listings accurate, consistent, and optimized is crucial for your local SEO success.


Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile. Positive reviews can significantly impact your local SEO as they help establish trust and credibility, and Google takes notice of this. Businesses with many good reviews often rank higher in local search results.

Why are Reviews Important?

Reviews are an integral part of local SEO for a few key reasons:

  • Influence on consumer decisions: Studies show that around 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, having positive online reviews can directly lead to more customers.
  • Improve local SEO rankings: Search engines, particularly Google, consider reviews as a critical factor in their ranking algorithms. Businesses with more positive reviews tend to rank higher in local search results.
  • Build trust and credibility: Positive reviews help establish trust and credibility for your business. They serve as social proof that you offer good products or services.
Getting Reviews

Getting reviews can sometimes feel like a challenge, especially for new businesses. Here are some tips for encouraging customers to leave reviews:

  • Ask for them: Often, the simplest way to get reviews is just to ask. You can do this in person, through email, or via social media. Make sure you’re asking in a respectful way and expressing gratitude for their time.
  • Make it easy: The easier it is for customers to leave a review, the more likely they are to do it. Provide direct links to your review page in emails or on your website.
  • Offer excellent service: Of course, the best way to get positive reviews is to provide outstanding service. Customers are more likely to leave reviews when they’ve had an exceptional experience.
Managing Reviews

Just getting reviews isn’t enough. Managing them effectively is equally important. Here’s how:

  • Respond to reviews: Make it a practice to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. Thank reviewers for their time, praise, and constructive criticism. Responding to reviews shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to improving your services.
  • Handle negative reviews gracefully: Negative reviews can sting, but they can also provide valuable feedback. Respond to them in a calm and professional manner. Apologize for any issues, offer a solution if possible, and take the discussion offline to handle it more personally.
  • Monitor regularly: Keep an eye on reviews to catch any negative ones quickly and address any recurring issues. You can use review monitoring tools or set up Google Alerts for your business to help with this.

Reviews are a critical aspect of your online presence and can significantly influence your local SEO. They not only help customers decide whether to do business with you but also play a role in how search engines rank your site. Actively seeking, managing, and leveraging reviews should be a core part of your local SEO strategy. And remember, we at Web Zodiac are always here to help you navigate these aspects of your local SEO journey!

Local SEO Tools

Local SEO tools can be game-changers when you’re managing your local SEO strategy. They can simplify tasks, provide insights, and help boost your local search rankings. Here’s a closer look at these tools and how they can benefit your local SEO efforts.

What are Local SEO Tools?

Local SEO tools are digital software platforms or online services that assist with various aspects of local SEO, from keyword research and optimization to managing reviews and monitoring local listings. These tools are designed to help you improve your visibility in local search results and effectively reach your target audience.

Why are Local SEO Tools Important?

Local SEO tools provide numerous benefits:


Local SEO involves many moving parts. Using tools can save time, reduce effort, and improve efficiency.


These tools can provide valuable insights into your website’s performance, customer behaviors, and competitor activities, helping you make more informed decisions.


Local SEO tools help ensure your business information is accurate and consistent across the web, which is crucial for local search performance.

Popular Local SEO Tools

Here are some of the most popular and effective local SEO tools you might consider:

Moz Local

Moz Local helps you manage your local listings, ensuring your business information is accurate and consistent across the web. It can also help monitor reviews and manage social media.


SEMrush is a comprehensive SEO tool that has features specific to local SEO, such as local keyword tracking and competitor research.


BrightLocal is an all-in-one local SEO platform that includes features like local search rank tracking, review monitoring, and local listing management.


Yext focuses on managing your business listings across a vast network of sites. It also includes review management and local SEO analytics features.

Leveraging Local SEO Tools

While having access to these tools is beneficial, it’s equally important to understand how to leverage them for your local SEO strategy. Ensure you’re utilizing them to their full potential, whether it’s regularly updating your Google My Business listing, tracking local keywords, or actively managing your online reviews.

Keep in mind that no single tool can provide a complete local SEO solution. Often, a combination of tools will be required to meet all your local SEO needs.

At Web Zodiac, we’re experts in leveraging these tools to build effective local SEO strategies. We understand that managing local SEO can be complex and time-consuming, and we’re here to help. Let us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on what you do best: running your business.

In this digital age, local SEO is no longer an option—it’s a necessity. Through effective local SEO marketing, your business can connect with customers right in your backyard. Leveraging local SEO is about understanding and utilizing the power of the Internet to drive foot traffic and calls to your business.

Local SEO is an ongoing process, and the rules are continually evolving. But with the right local SEO strategy and the help of experts like us at Web Zodiac, your business can thrive in the local scene. So, why wait? Start your local SEO journey today, and watch your business climb the ranks of local search.

There you have it, a comprehensive guide to local SEO. We’ve covered the what, how, and why of local business SEO and provided some practical steps for improving your business’s local search rankings. If you need help implementing any of these strategies or just want to learn more about local SEO, feel free to reach out to us at Web Zodiac.

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