Local SEO Checklist

Have a local business? Read this local SEO checklist to ensure your site is following best practices.


Karen R.

9/29/20234 min read

a laptop computer sitting on top of a desk
a laptop computer sitting on top of a desk

When people search for businesses or services in their area, search engines like Google use various factors to determine the most relevant results to display. Using local SEO can help your business target customers within a specific geographical location.

1. What is Local SEO?

Local SEO (search engine optimization) refers to the process of optimizing content to rank higher in local search results. It involves targeting location-specific keywords, optimizing your Google Business profile and generating local citations to establish credibility and authority.

2. Why is Local SEO important?

Local SEO is vital for businesses that serve customers in a specific geographical area. It helps increase your visibility among local prospects, drive targeted traffic to your website and boost sales. By appearing in local search results, you can reach your ideal customers.

3. The role of Google Business

Google Business (GB) is a powerful tool for local SEO. It allows you to create a free listing for your business, which will appear in Google's local search results and maps. Optimizing your GB profile is crucial to ensure your business information is accurate and complete.

Mastering Local SEO: Tips and Strategies

Start with these strategies to effectively target customers in your area:

1. Conduct Local Keyword Research

Effective keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy, and it's no different for local SEO. To start, compile a list of keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business and location. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz's Keyword Explorer to discover local search terms that are frequently used by your target audience.

Create a spreadsheet to organize your keywords and include important metrics such as search volume, keyword difficulty and competition level. This will help you prioritize and target the most valuable keywords for your local SEO campaign.

2. Optimize Your Website for Local Keywords

Once you’ve determined your target keywords, you need to optimize your website to rank for those terms in local search results. Focus on these key areas:

On-Page Optimization

  • Include your target keywords naturally in your website's title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and content.

  • Create location-specific landing pages or optimize existing pages with location-specific content.

  • Use structured data markup to help search engines understand the location relevance of your content.

Website Content

  • Create informative, useful and engaging content that caters to the needs of your local audience.

  • Incorporate local keywords naturally within your content while ensuring it reads naturally and provides value to your readers.

  • Aim to answer common questions and address local concerns through your content.

URL Structure

  • Use a logical and easy-to-understand URL structure that includes location-specific keywords where appropriate.

  • If you have multiple locations, consider using separate landing pages with URLs such as "yourwebsite.com/location1" and "yourwebsite.com/location2."

3. Refine Your Google Business (GB) Profile

Your Google Business profile is a critical component of your local SEO strategy. Optimizing it will increase your chances of appearing in the local "3-pack" and other relevant search results. Here's what you can do:

Claim and Verify Your Business

  • If you haven't already, claim and verify your business on Google Business. This ensures that you have control over the information displayed.

Complete Your Profile

  • Fill out every section of your GB profile, including the name of your business, website URL, phone number, address, business hours and categories.

  • Write a compelling business description that incorporates relevant local keywords.

Add Photos and Videos

  • Visual content helps attract attention and build trust. Add high-quality photos and videos to showcase your products, services and location.

  • Ensure your images are properly labeled with descriptive filenames and alt text that includes local keywords where appropriate.

Manage Reviews

  • Encourage your customers or clients to leave you positive reviews on your GB profile. Respond promptly to both positive and negative reviews to show your engagement and commitment to customer satisfaction.

  • Address issues raised in negative reviews and offer solutions whenever possible. Keep in mind that your customer service efforts will be very visible.

4. Build Local Citations and Online Directories

Local citations (online mentions of your business) typically include your address, business name and phone number. These citations help search engines verify the authenticity and legitimacy of your business. Here's how you can build local citations:

Submit to Local Directories

  • Submit your business information to reputable local directories, industry-specific directories, and review websites.

  • Ensure consistency in your NAP (name, address, phone) across all directories to avoid confusion and improve your local search rankings.

Leverage Online Review Platforms

  • Encourage your satisfied customers or clients to leave positive reviews on popular online review platforms such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook.

  • Positive reviews on multiple platforms can boost your credibility and attract more customers.

5. Optimize for Mobile and Voice Search

With the rise of smartphones and voice assistants, optimizing for mobile and voice search is crucial for local SEO success. Follow these tips:

Make a Mobile-Friendly Website

  • Ensure your website is fully optimized for mobile devices. Use responsive design to provide a seamless experience across different screen sizes.

Voice Search Optimization

  • People often use voice search to find businesses nearby. Optimize your content for voice search by using natural language and long-tail keywords to match the way people speak.

  • Consider creating FAQ sections on your website to address common voice search queries.

Local Intent

  • Optimize your content to align with local intent. Include location-specific phrases and content that caters to local needs.

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