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The Key to Unlocking Local Customers: Mastering Local SEO in 2024

January 11, 20247 min read

Local search engine optimisation (SEO) is more critical than ever for small and medium businesses looking to drive qualified traffic, leads, and sales in 2024. With more and more searches happening on mobile devices and people looking for information and services in their immediate vicinity, having an optimised local online presence gives you a competitive advantage.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about local SEO best practices, common mistakes to avoid, and tips to boost your local rankings this year.

What is Local SEO and Why Does it Matter?

Local SEO

Local SEO refers to optimising your online presence and visibility to connect with customers searching for local businesses on search engines and directories. The goal is to appear prominently when potential customers search for terms like "pizza restaurants near me" or "plumbers in Chicago" so you can convert that traffic into leads and sales.

Here are some of the key benefits of local SEO:

  • Increased website traffic - By ranking higher in local search results, you drive more qualified visitors to your site. These are users explicitly looking for a business like yours in your geographic area.

  • Improved brand visibility - Local SEO builds familiarity and trust in your brand by consistently ranking you high for relevant local searches. This amplifies your reach and recognition within your community.

  • More sales opportunities - Users who find you in local search results are primed to buy. Your listing appears right when they have intent to purchase, making conversions more likely.

  • Enhanced authority - Getting featured prominently for local searches indicates you are a trusted and credible business in your industry and location. This builds authority over time.

  • Competitive advantage - Many small businesses neglect local SEO, so optimising gives you a leg up on ranking higher than your competitors. You capture more of the market share.

With local searches on the rise, local SEO delivers results by putting your business in front of the right audience when it matters most. The strategies below will help you improve your presence.

Optimise Your Google Business Profile

Google Busness Profile

Google Business Profile is the foundation of any local SEO strategy. This free tool allows you to manage how your business information appears on Google, including:

  • Business name, address and phone number

  • Photos

  • Store hours

  • Products/services offered

  • Reviews and ratings

Follow these tips to create a complete and compelling listing:

  • Choose a concise, keyword-rich business name

  • Fill out your full address, including city, state and ZIP code

  • Add photos of your storefront, products, services, and staff

  • Specify your accurate business hours

  • Select all relevant business categories

  • Write detailed business descriptions highlighting your offerings

  • Respond to all Google reviews to demonstrate great customer service

Ensuring your listing is 100% optimised gives Google the details needed to showcase your business prominently in local pack search results.

Build Reviews and Check-Ins

Customer reviews and check-ins are powerful local ranking signals. The more positive reviews and check-ins you accumulate, the higher your local pack position.

  • Encourage customers to leave detailed Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews describing their experience. Respond professionally to guide the conversation.

  • Run occasional review generation campaigns such as a satisfied customer email outreach.

  • Make check-ins frictionless by displaying your unique QR code prominently in-store.

  • Incentivise customers to check-in at your location through check-in contests or special deals.

  • Monitor review sites regularly and address any emerging issues quickly and transparently.

Ongoing efforts to build credible reviews and check-ins boosts local SEO significantly over time.

Leverage Social Media Presence

A woman using social media apps on mobile

An active, optimised social media presence complements your core local SEO tactics. Ensure your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other profiles include:

  • A link to your GMB listing

  • Prominent display of your business name, address and phone number

  • Engaging, local-oriented content and special offers

  • Responses to all customer inquiries and reviews

Post frequently and interact with your followers. Run local contests and promotions. The more social buzz you generate linked back to your website and listings, the better.

Optimise On-Page Elements

Your actual website needs to be geared for local SEO success too through key page elements.

  • Include your city and state in page titles and headers

  • Prominently display your business name, full address and phone number on each page

  • Ensure all locations have unique, optimised service pages

  • Craft local-focused meta descriptions for each page

  • Use schema markup to structure location data

  • Enable fast page speeds and get an SSL certificate

These on-page optimisations make it easy for search engines to understand your business's local relevance.

Build Local Links and Citations

Earned backlinks and directory citations from locally relevant websites provide powerful signals that reinforce your local authority.

  • Request backlinks from local business partners, vendors, sponsors, and media outlets

  • Contribute guest posts to local blogs and publications linking back to your site

  • List your business on niche local directories related to your industry

  • Claim and optimise your listings on sites like Yelp

  • Fix any inconsistent NAP citations using a tool like Moz Local

Comprehensive local link building and citation cleanup confirms your business merits attention for related searches.

Advertise Locally

Local PPC and other advertising amplifies your organic efforts. Consider Google Ads, Facebook ads, sponsorships, local TV and radio spots, partnerships, direct mail, and other avenues that put your brand in front of neighborhood customers.

Key Factors That Influence Local Search Rankings

Now that we've covered proven local SEO tactics, let’s review the crucial elements Google uses to decide which businesses rank highest in local pack results:

  • Physical location proximity - Closer matches are preferred

  • Local keywords usage - Pages optimised with city and neighborhood names

  • Positive local reviews and citations - More and higher-rated reviews rank better

  • Accurate business info - Complete updated listings and citations

  • Quality local content - Unique local-focusing content targeting customers

  • Responsiveness - Quick replies and resolutions for customers

  • Local link signals - More locally relevant sites linking to you

Understanding these core local search ranking factors allows you to focus your efforts for maximum impact.

Common Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid

While optimising your local online presence, beware of these frequent missteps:

  • Inconsistent business name, address and phone number (NAP) citations across directories and websites. This confuses search engines.

  • Outdated or inaccurate listing details on your GMB profile and other directories. Information must be current.

  • Failing to engage and follow up with website visitors and leads. Missed opportunities hurt rankings over time.

  • Using vague, generic meta descriptions instead of location-focused optimisation. These help search engines understand relevancy.

  • Cluttered site architecture like nested navigation menus. This hampers internal optimisation and site speed.

  • Lacking mobile optimisation. Majority of local searches happen on smartphones, so mobile-friendliness is mandatory.

  • Duplicate thin content issues like redundant service pages. Offer unique value on each page tailored to keywords.

Avoiding these local SEO errors keeps your efforts headed in the positive rankings direction.

Advanced Local SEO Tips and Tricks

Ready to take your local SEO skills up a notch? Here are some more advanced strategies:

  • Optimise for voice search phrases that users speak into phones like "best restaurant downtown."

  • Run hyperlocal PPC ads focused on specific neighborhoods or ZIP codes.

  • Sponsor local events, seminars, and organisations to get visibility with engaged audiences.

  • Earn press mentions in local newspapers, TV, radio, blogs, magazines.

  • Partner with synergistic local businesses for co-marketing campaigns.

  • Analyse rankings using tracking tools like Moz Local to identify new opportunities.

  • Install a Shopify local pickup option to get ranked for "buy online pickup locally" searches.

Don't get overwhelmed implementing these. Try one new tactic every month to incrementally improve over the long term.

Key Takeaways for Dominating Local SEO This Year

Local SEO is only growing more crucial as consumers increasingly search for nearby businesses on the spot via mobile. With the strategies and best practices covered above, you can outrank competitors in 2024 by:

  • Completely optimising your Google Business Profile

  • Building credible reviews and check-ins consistently

  • Maintaining an active local social media presence

  • Perfecting your on-page signals like address and titles

  • Earning local links/citations from relevant sites

  • Running complementary local ads

  • Avoiding common mistakes like inconsistent NAPs

  • Monitoring and improving based on ranking factor insights

Focusing on these core elements kickstarts your local SEO success this year. As your trusted local SEO agency, we're here to help refine your strategy and kickstart your success in 2024! Feel free to refer back to this guide anytime you need a refresher. Here's to growing your local visibility and leads this coming year!

local seolocal seo businessseo for local business
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Jarrod Harman

We specialise in helping Impact driven salons, clinics and spas get more bookings for their business and help them scale using the Grow A Salon Signature Growth System to become the number one go to in their area.

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