Have you ever searched for a local business on Google, only to find their website buried below a list of map results? Known as the Local Pack, this prime real estate at the top of the search results is crucial for visibility and clicks. In fact, over 50% of local mobile searches result in a same-day visit to a physical store!
If you run a local brick-and-mortar business, ranking high in the Local Pack is essential for driving foot traffic. But with increasing competition, how do you get your business to show up on page one?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore proven strategies for optimizing your local SEO and standing out in the Local Pack. From fine-tuning your Google My Business listing to building local links, we’ll cover both on-page and off-page optimization techniques you can implement starting today. Let’s dive in and discover how to attract more local customers through targeted search rankings!
Claims and Listings
Your Google My Business (GMB) listing is the foundation of your local SEO strategy. By fully optimizing your GMB profile, you make it easy for customers to find accurate business information.
Steps for optimizing your GMB listing:
- Complete your business name, address and phone number. Don’t use shortcuts or abbreviations so your information is consistent across the web.
- Write detailed business descriptions. Include keywords that customers would use to find you locally.
- Upload photos and videos. Help customers visualize your business with high-quality images and videos. Add photos of your storefront, products/services, staff, and customers.
- Set accurate categories and attributes. Choose categories and attributes like “reservation available”, “wifi access”, etc. that are specific to your business.
- Optimize your Google Posts. Engage customers by posting offers, events, quick tips and more.
- Monitor and respond to reviews. Reviews influence local pack rankings, so promptly respond to customer feedback.
Expand your listings to other sites:
- Yelp – Colorful photos and Yelp advertising can attract nearby searchers.
- Facebook – Create a Place Page for check-ins and visibility to Facebook users.
- Apple Maps – Enhanced content like photo galleries can improve Apple Maps presence.
- Industry directories – Claim and optimize your listings on niche directories like Better Homes and Gardens, TripAdvisor, etc.
- Local citation sites – Listings on sites like Mapquest, Hotfrog, CitySquares consistent NAP citations.
Pro Tip: Use a local citation building service to save time managing listings while still ranking higher in local pack results.
By fully optimizing and managing your GMB listing and other key directories, you make it easy for nearby customers to learn about and connect with your business.
Optimizing your website’s on-page elements is crucial for attracting local customers through organic search. Follow these on-page local SEO tips:
Optimize page titles:
- Include your target city/neighborhood: Best Pizza in Chicago
- Add your business name: Giordano’s – Best Pizza in Chicago
- Keep under 60 characters
Write meta descriptions with local keywords:
- Mention your service area in the meta description: We deliver fresh, authentic pizza across Chicago and suburbs.
- Use location modifiers like “near me”, “in my area”: Order tasty pizza near me in Chicago tonight!
Use geo-modified headers:
- H1: Chicago’s Best Pizza Delivery
- H2: Order Pizza Delivery in Chicago & Suburbs
Create a Google Maps iframe:
- Embed map on Contact Us page to show exact location
- Make your address clickable for directions
Add schema markup:
- Reviews schema to display ratings/reviews from platforms like Google and Facebook.
- FAQ schema for common questions and answers.
Include your NAP on pages:
- Address, phone number and area served in site footer
- Business hours on Contact page
Feature local content:
- “Best pizzas in Chicago” blog
- Neighborhood guides for your service area
- Spotlights on local community events you sponsor
Pro Tip: Mention surrounding cities near you like Evanston, Oak Park, etc. to get found by those searchers.
By optimizing your on-page elements for location-based terms, you can earn more local organic clicks and calls to your business.
In addition to on-page factors, off-page SEO is crucial for ranking higher in local pack results. Here are effective tactics for local link building:
Earn links from relevant directory listings:
- Industry-specific directories related to your business
- Local chambers of commerce sites
- City resource pages like universities, libraries, hospitals, etc.
Get customers to link to your GMB listing:
- Email signature linking to GMB profile
- Promote your GMB link on packaging, receipts, etc.
Pursue partnerships and sponsorships:
- Local events and organizations
- Youth sports teams and schools
- Community fundraisers
Leverage social media connections:
- Share GMB link and ask followers for reviews
- Guest post on local Instagram influencers’ accounts
- Use relevant local hashtags like #chicagobusiness
Build niche edits on Wikipedia:
- Add properly cited info related to your locality
- Link to your GMB listing as a reference
Publish and syndicate local blogs:
- Pitch relevant blogs to local news sites
- Repurpose content through Medium.com
Pro Tip: Try getting mentioned or interviewed by local radio, newspapers, podcasts, and TV news. A media mention is a strong local authority signal.
Gaining trustworthy backlinks from neighborhood resources helps reinforce your location relevance in Google’s eyes. Make local link building an ongoing priority.
Technical SEO establishes the infrastructure needed to rank well locally. Implement these technical best practices:
Prioritize mobile optimization:
- Fully responsive design
- Fast page speeds on mobile
- Click-to-call buttons on key pages
Upgrade to HTTPS:
- Install SSL certificate for HTTPS security
- Redirect HTTP pages to HTTPS
Add structured data markup:
- Local business schema for info like business name, address, opening hours
- Review schema to display ratings on Google
Set up Google Analytics properly:
- Add city-level location tracking
- Enable store visit conversions for offline tracking
Claim Google Search Console property:
- Submit sitemap
- Monitor local indexing coverage
- Fix crawl errors blocking pages
Update site architecture:
- Include city pages like example.com/boston
- Category pages for neighborhood niches
Fix site errors:
- No broken links or 404 errors
- Valid HTML markup
- Optimized page speeds < 3 seconds
Pro Tip: Regularly test site on mobile to fix mobile usability issues affecting local pack eligibility.
With the right technical site optimizations, you can improve local indexation and performance in search. Don’t neglect the technical elements of local SEO.
Tracking and Monitoring
To assess the effectiveness of your local SEO efforts, you need to monitor key metrics. Here are some best practices:
Track website traffic from local pack:
- Use Google Analytics to view traffic sources and location data.
- Check performance for target keywords and locations.
Monitor local pack rankings:
- Use tools like Moz and SEMrush to track your ranking positions.
- Set up alerts for ranking changes on important keywords.
Keep pulse on Google Posts:
- Check Google Posts Insights for engagement and clicks.
- Respond to new reviews and questions.
Set up news alerts:
- Google Alerts for brand name and competitors.
- Mention monitoring for media coverage.
Check review sites regularly:
- New reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.
- Respond promptly to address concerns.
Pro Tip: Schedule time monthly to audit reports and analyze trends. Share results with your team.
Consistent monitoring provides valuable insights on how your local optimization efforts are paying off over time. Don’t let your hard work go to waste by neglecting this step.
Ranking highly in the Local Pack is critical for driving foot traffic and revenue for local businesses. By optimizing your Google My Business listing, website, and link profile for local search, you make your business stand out to nearby customers.
Focus on providing complete and consistent NAP information across directories and listings. Build local relevance through your on-page and off-page optimization efforts. And don’t forget to monitor your performance using tools like Google Analytics.
Local SEO requires an ongoing commitment, but the payoff of increased store visits makes it well worth the effort. Use this guide as a roadmap to improve your local pack rankings. With a strategic approach, your business can thrive through local search visibility.