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Ultimate Guide to Local SEO
No one searches for local businesses like they used to. In earlier days, consumers used phone books and newspapers to find local businesses like cafes, contractors, and the like.

Nowadays, 85% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses.

So, what does this mean?

If you’re running a small business, it’s now more important than ever to make sure that your business can be found on major search engines like Google, Bing, and Apple Maps.

The process of elevating the online presence of local businesses is called local SEO. If you want to boost your local SEO and don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the perfect place.

This guide will cover all aspects of building local SEO.

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Chapter 1: Main Setup


Are you looking to lay out the framework of your local SEO strategy?

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to setup your local SEO strategy and begin building results from your campaign.

Check and Setup Google Analytics


Before you can begin your local SEO campaign, you’ll need to set up a way to measure your results.

For example, you’ll want to know how many people are visiting your website each month and how they’re accessing your site.

Google Analytics is the perfect tool to acquire comprehensive analytical reports on your website.

Here is what a typical Google Analytics session looks like:

Google Analytics session

As you can see, you can receive an exhaustive list of data that will help you modify your campaign in the future.

To start, check to see if your website uses Google Analytics. If you’re using a Wordpress website, you can easily install the Google Analytics plugin to get started.

However, if you’re using another website builder or a custom website from a web developer, you can use the native platform by confirming you own your website. After you’ve set up Google Analytics, you’ll need to configure another crucial Google product.

Check and Setup Google Search Console


While Google Analytics is a helpful metric tool to measure the performance of your local SEO campaign, Google Search Console is an actionable tool to help you turn your data into results.

To put it simply, using Google Search Console will help you measure your website’s performance, spot glaring issues, and make your site shine on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Fortunately, signing up for Google Search Console is simple. Contact your webmaster to know if your website is already hooked on Google Search Console. If it’s not, then take these steps to setup the platform for your website:

  • Visit Google Search Console.
  • Sign in with your Google account.
  • Verify your ownership of your website.
  • Check that all of your information is valid and finish.

Like Google Analytics, Google Search Console presents some fascinating search data for your website.

Google Search Console performance

However, Google Search Console provides insight on how to fix problematic errors that can hinder your search engine growth.

Google Search Console

All of this may seem confusing at first glance, but once you log on and use these platforms for yourself, you’ll become more familiar as your campaign continues.

Check and Setup Bing Webmaster Tools


You may be thinking:

“Why would I need to rank on Bing when Google is the most popular search engine?”

That’s a valid question. Nonetheless, there are several reasons why you should use Bing to advance your local SEO strategy:

  • Since most marketers fight for search engine real estate on Google, the competition is much less tame on Bing.
  • Bing has a pretty good market share of 21.3%.
  • A large majority of Bing users are from the United States. This means that you’ll spend less advertising locally on Bing than you would on Google.
  • Lastly 87% who use Bing also use Internet Explorer, the default search engine on many computer devices. If a person isn’t tech-savvy enough to use Google Chrome, then you can reach them on Bing.

Now that you are convinced that Bing is a great opportunity to build online real estate, here are the steps of setting up Bing Webmaster Tools:

  1. Open a Bing account by clicking here.
  2. Add and verify your website by clicking here. Once you’ve followed the prompts to verify your site, you’ll see a green checkmark and a custom message.
  3. Create and upload sitemaps to Bing Webmaster Tools. This way, Bing can learn more about the architecture of your website in real time.
After completing these steps, you’re all finished!

Now, comes the challenging part in developing a comprehensive Bing local SEO strategy.

Using Bing Webmaster Tools will help you and your SEO partner check the performance of your campaign, spot technical issues, and identify areas of improvement.

Setup Screaming Frog Crawler


A large part of succeeding in your local SEO strategy is covering all of your bases as far as data is concerned.

While Google Search Console will point out any crawling issues with your website, you can rely on proprietary software to also lend a hand.

Screaming Frog can help users:
  • Find broken links
  • Analyze meta data and page titles
  • Identify duplicate content
  • Generate sitemaps

This tool is used by brands like Disney, Amazon, and even Google!

Setting up an account with this service can give you additional insight in how your campaigns are performing and actionable tips you can implement toward its success.

Make Sure That Your Website Has a Responsive Design

Google takes user experience very seriously.

To maintain its monopoly as the world’s greatest search engine, the company has to constantly improve its search results.

This means that Google will only rank websites with responsive designs.

What does this actually mean?

A responsive web design is an approach that allows a website to be accessible on a variety of different screen sizes.

It’s also known as mobile-friendliness.

Responsiveness has never been more important because it plays a huge role in both SEO and local SEO.


If your website can’t be viewed on smartphones and tablets, Google won’t rank it high in the local SERPs.


Before you move forward in performing your local SEO strategy, you should check to see if your website is fully responsive.

You can do so by installing this Google Chrome extension.

Setup an SEO Plugin

If you’re using a Wordpress website, you can’t rely solely on Google Search Console and Google Analytics to optimize your web pages and content.

Wordpress has an official SEO plugin to get this job done.

This plugin is called Yoast.

Setup an SEO Plugin

Yoast is Wordpress’ native SEO plugin that allows you to fully customize the metadata of your website.

The plugin allows users to optimize content around a focus keyword and accept tips for improvement for making their content more search friendly.

Yoast Plugin

Yoast also gives users the ability to change how their metadata will appear on search engines.

Yoast SEO plugin

Every website should contain the Yoast SEO plugin to make it easier to impact real-time change on web pages and blogs.

Yoast SEO can help turn an amatuer SEO into an expert. 

A large part in leveraging SEO is manipulating how it appears in organic search results. 

Using Yoast will impact positive change on your campaign alongside other prominent SEO tools.

Try Cloud LGS


Ultimately, before any local SEO strategy can begin, you must have a fully-functional website. 

Ignoring this option will only cause massive issues later down the line. 

Then, you’ll be forced to spend thousands of dollars on a great website you should have bought before your SEO campaign began. 

You can choose to setup your website on a content management system (CMS)

A CMS is a website builder that arranges all of your web pages in one place.

Think of it like an easy-to-use website development tool. 

In any case, WordPress is the most popular CMS available. 

It’s simple to use and affordable for most local businesses. 

However, if you lack any sort of technical expertise, you can try using Squarespace instead. 

Squarespace is a great website builder to use for beginners. 

However, many business owners simply don’t have the time to create their own website. 

By partnering with Cloud LGS, we can help you develop the perfect website for your brand. 

This way, you can focus on running your business while our experts aggressively tackle your website development project. 

Configure an SSL Certificate


Before your local SEO campaign can start, you should take the necessary precautions to ensure that it’s properly secure. 

Web hackers aren’t a dying breed - they are actively working every day to compromise websites with weak security infrastructures. 


Unless you take this issue seriously, your website could be the next one that gets hacked. 

This is where an SSL certificate comes into play. 

An SSL certificate sets your website up on an encrypted connection that isn’t accessible to even the most savvy hackers. 

If you’re planning on running an online store, then you need to install an SSL certification to prevent opportunistic hackers from stealing your customers’ credit card information, passwords, and other sensitive data.

The same is true for other websites that take personal data from web visitors. 

Google has made it absolutely necessary for websites to have an SSL certificate. 


In fact, a website that doesn’t have an SSL certificate will appear like this to web visitors. 

Install a SSL certificate plugin

For WordPress users, you can install a SSL certificate plugin and implement the right security protocols to improve your SEO ranking.
 

Shop for Website Hosting


Running a successful website starts with selecting the right hosting plan.

Unfortunately, website hosting sounds like an incredibly tricky concept.

In reality, it’s not..

Alright - when you build a website, you’re essentially creating a bunch of different files that need to be stored somewhere on the internet.

The collection of these files in one place is called a website.

CMSs make it very simple to create a website while bypassing this process.

But, hosting is still important for the obvious reason of keeping your servers online.

Here are some things you should look for when choosing a web hosting provider:

  • Uptime - Your website needs to be available online at all times. This is called server uptime. Most hosting services claim to offer 99.99% uptime, with a small percentage being allocated to maintenance and other important tasks. Make sure that you verify the policies of a prospective hosting company by checking online reviews, case studies, and reviews before moving forward.
  • Storage & Bandwidth - Bandwidth is the amount of traffic your website can handle every month. Storage refers to how much content your website can host, such as videos, user data, and more. Make sure that your website hosting provider offers both unlimited storage and bandwidth. The last thing you want is running out of storage or your website crashing at a moment during a traffic surge. 
  • Customer Support - Website hosting can be confusing if you’re new to web jargon. Make sure that a web hosting provider provides excellent customer support to avoid being left alone when you need help the most. 

Having fast hosting is absolutely essential to your local SEO strategy since Google values fast websites

If you’re considering your options for web hosting, then you should check out SiteGround

They’re trusted by more than 2,000,000 domains and they may be a great option for what you’re trying to achieve. 

Choose the Right Website Theme


The design of your website matters in the grand scheme of setting a great first impression with incoming web visitors. 

A website theme is a template that displays what your site will look like. 

Depending on the CMS you use, there are tons of different website themes you can utilize that match your industry. 

For example, an IT company could use this template for their new website:
Right Website Theme

Likewise, you can also fill out a standard template with your own information like so:

Standard template with your own information

Ideally, you should choose a theme that’s easy to work with and one you understand.

Chapter 2: Content


Content is the backbone of any local SEO strategy. 

Google loves websites that provide valuable information on the web. 

For example, let’s take a look at the #1 search result for the keyword “how to change a flat tire”:

The article begins with an informational video for readers to view if they don’t want to read the article.

local SEO strategy

The article then goes on to explain the steps for changing a flat tire in simple terms that help the reader.

Steps for changing a flat tire

Most importantly, the article ends with a call-to-action (CTA) to encourage readers to purchase a spare or new tire.

call-to-action (CTA)

For their trouble, Google rewarded this local business with a featured snippet that looks like this:

Featured snippet

This featured snippet sits atop the entire SERP.

Based on its position, a person wanting to learn how to change a tire and purchase a new one will likely click on it.

Not only do featured snippets have an amazing click-through rate (CTR), but it can steal clicks from the top organic search results.

This is the power of creating dynamic content for your business.

Once you have your audience’s attention on your blog, you can then convince them to do business with you.

This process is known as content marketing, and it’s an integral process in local SEO.

This chapter will explain how you can integrate content into your strategy.

Keyword Research


Keyword research is the process of identifying keywords or search terms that your audience is using to find a business like yours. 

Here are a bunch of different keywords in the search bar for “how to change a flat tire”:
Keyword Research

Based on what we see from these keywords, we can assume that anyone using them will be interested in purchasing a tire or equipment to change it. 

Therefore, we’re going to target these keywords and implement them into the content we create. 

In local SEO, keywords usually follow two formats:

  • [industry] + near me
  • [city] + [industry] or vice versa

In case you’re confused, here is what we mean. 

Let’s say you want to find a personal injury lawyer in your area. 

Here is how you would use a “near me” keyword.

near me keyword

You will simply insert your industry along with “near me”

The reason why “near me” is important because most people use voice search on their smartphones to find local businesses.

Likewise, the second format for local keywords is also very important.

Here is an example of what this would look like in a search engine.

local keywords

As you can see, this keyword format pulls up very similar results. 

Local keywords have high buyer intent. 

This means that when a person uses them, they intend on buying something or visiting a business right away. 

As a result, having your website rank for local keywords in your industry is extremely important. 

Here are tips to help you get started:

  • Choose one main keyword. For example, you could make it your goal to target “personal injury attorney Memphis” since you know this keyword yields a lot of searches from potential clients.
  • Choose secondary keywords. Don’t just put all of your eggs in one basket. Go ahead and select different variations of your main keyword to diversify your SEO efforts. For example, a secondary keyword could be “Memphis personal injury attorney” or “Memphis personal injury lawyer”. The more variations you have, the better.
  • Implement your keywords on 3-5 of your service pages. Also, create 3-5 landing pages based on specific areas where you do business. For example, if you run a law firm in Beverly Hills and Malibu, you should create different area pages for these cities to boost your local SEO.
  • Invest in a keyword research tool. SEMRush is one of the most well-known and effective keyword research tools on the market.

Keyword research is the driving force behind content marketing.

After all, keywords indicate what your audience wants to search for, read, and learn more about.

Building content from keywords is an effective way to give your audience what they are looking for.

Content Development


Once you have your keywords ready, it’s then time to start writing.

However, writing content isn’t like writing an essay.

It’s more of a science, art, and skill that content writers naturally possess.

Content writers specialize in writing persuasive content that addresses the pain points and concerns of an audience.

Their content is succinct, doesn’t include a lot of jargon, and simple to understand.

Content writers are also masters of including keywords naturally into their text.

Others can easily make the mistake of forcing keywords into online articles.

If you put in the work to learn the trade, you can write your content on your own.

However, if you need help or don’t have enough time to do it yourself, hiring a content writer is a great option.

You can use online job platforms like Upwork to vet, interview, and hire a professional content writer for the job.

Content Keyword LSI Variations


Alright - let’s break down some technical local SEO strategies for keyword research. 

Ultimately, you should target as many keywords as you can to rank for dozens of productive searches. 

Doing this will also help you rank for low-hanging fruit keywords your competitors aren’t even looking for. 

To do this, you can create variations of your main keyword like we discussed before. 

These are called latent semantic indexing, or LSI, keywords. 

To put it simply, these are just keywords that are similar to one another. 

For example, here are LSI keywords for the main keyword “New York steakhouse”:

  • Steakhouses in New York
  • Steakhouse New York
  • Best New York steakhouses
  • New York steakhouses near me

As you can see all of these keywords are practically similar.

The reason why we want to target LSI keywords is because people naturally have different ways of searching for the same thing online.

You can see proof of this by typing in the main keyword we just used, “New York steakhouse” into the Google search bar:

LSI keywords

With that said, your content should include LSI keywords pertaining to both your expertise and area.

For example, if you’re an attorney, you can create keywords referring to yourself as an attorney or lawyer.

You can even get specific and state what type of lawyer you are in your content.

People refer to lawyers as an attorney or their specific expertise all the time.

Similarly, you can do the same for your area.

Doing this will help you create rich content full of your target keywords and outrank your competitors.

To generate an exhaustive list of LSI keywords, you can use a tool known as Surfer SEO to get the job done.

Use Bullets


Here is an interesting statistic:


To make your content skimmable for people who are in a hurry or have a small attention span, use bullet points to break up massive text.

It’s highly recommended to at least use bullets whenever you have to break down a complicated topic or give pointers.

Use Images


Like bullets, images are also an important aspect of successful content.


In your content, here are a few tips to follow to get the most from your images:

  • Only use high-quality images in the JPG or PNG format. These images are compact and provide outstanding visual quality.
  • Use at least one image per page.
  • Optimize your images by keeping their file sizes small, naming them after your target keyword, and including a descriptive alt text to tell search engine bots what it’s about.
  • Stay away from copyrighted images. Instead, search the internet for free, royalty-free images for use.
  • Compress your images using TinyPNG for safe measure.

Include Listed Reviews


If you want to build more trust within your products and services, including listed reviews in your content is always a great idea. 

Check out how this freelance writer uses a review at the bottom of their homepage.
Include Listed Reviews

Adding reviews to your web pages will help you not only build more authority in your space, but it’ll help convince potential customers to stop straddling the fence and work with you.

Chapter 3: Search Engine Optimization


Here comes the real work…

When it all comes down to it, SEO is a comprehensive set of numerous tasks that need to be completed before your web ranking can improve.

Naturally, SEO is a technical and difficult process to understand for beginners.

However, this chapter will break everything down so you fully understand what it takes to complete a standard SEO strategy.

Title Tag Optimization


Before we begin, let’s break down what a title tag is.

A title tag is an HTML element that simply says the title of a particular web page.
Search Engine Optimization

Title tags are the first thing a person will see before clicking on a web page. 

Making sure that your title tag is properly optimized and visually attractive is key here. 

For this reason, you should follow this format when creating a title tag:

  • Keyword + Modifier 

It makes sense to include your target keyword in the title tag to ensure that it ranks for ideal searches, 

However, you should also use a modifier, or simply a descriptive word that adds to the keyword as well. 

Here are a bunch of different modifiers you can use for a title tag.

  • Best 
  • #1
  • Top
  • Amazing
  • Incredible
  • Outstanding
  • Rich
  • Money
  • Affordable
  • Cheap

As you can see, modifiers are designed to draw interest to the title tag. 

It’s no wonder why they’re used all over the internet:

Title Tag Optimization

In addition to using this method, keep your title tag under 60 characters to ensure that it’s fully visible on Google.

You can use this free tool to check the character count of your title tag.

If you are a WordPress user, you can alternatively use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your title tag.

Meta Description Optimization


The meta description is the text that sits under the title tag.

Meta Description Optimization

Again, your meta description should be optimized with your target keywords.

You should generally include your target keywords in the first few sentences of the meta description and keep it between 50-160 characters in length.

You can use Yoast SEO to fully optimize your meta description and begin attracting potential customers to your website.

Heading Tag Optimization


The title and heading tag are both very different.

The title tag is what people will see before clicking on your website.

The heading tag is what people will see after clicking on your website.

There are different types of heading tags: H1, H2, H3, and so forth.

The H1 tag, or main header, will usually look like the title tag.

Heading Tag Optimization
Title and heading tag

Now, the H2 are subheaders used to break up your text.

We’re using them in this chapter right now: Title Tag Optimization, Meta Description Optimization, and Heading Tag Optimization.

H3 and other tags are smaller subheaders you can use if you want to break up your text even further.

Though, this is entirely up to you.

Optimizing your headers to include your target keywords will ultimately help boost your online ranking for the searches you want to rank for.

URL Structure


Did you know that you could alter the URL of your website?

Did you know that it even mattered in regards to local SEO?

Don’t worry - this tip isn’t difficult to explain or comprehend.

The easy tip to creating an SEO-friendly URL is to keep it simple.

Here are some other tips you can try:
  • Use your keywords.
  • Avoid complicated words and excessive characters.
  • Keep your URLs consistent using the same format.

And like this, you’re done!

Let’s move on to the next topic.

Navigation Structure


The navigation menu plays a huge role on your website.

It tells web visitors how to navigate your website.

Therefore, you should only include your most important pages here and keep your navigation structure simple.

It’s nothing more overwhelming than seeing dozens of pages on a navigation menu.

No one is going to know where to go first if you do this.

Take a look at Backlinko’s navigation menu, the personal blog of SEO genius Brian Dean:

Navigation Structure

Brian only has three menu items to help you easily access the information you want to view.

He also includes a few links in the footer of his website:

Backlinko’s navigation menu

Make sure you don’t include a lot of links in the footer.

Some websites use the footer as a dumping ground for a variety of different links that can confuse the web user.

Your navigation should be seamless just like Brian’s.

Although he creates tons of content every year, his website is convenient to navigate and browse.

Internal Links


An internal link is a link from one page on your website to another.

Unlike an external link, internal links are purely based on your website.

Internal links can connect all of your content together and keep visitors on your website longer.

The longer these people stay on your website, the more your SEO will improve.

One of the most popular websites in the world, Wikipedia, takes internal linking to a whole different level.

Internal Links

This entry has tons of blue internal links to other articles.

This is why Wikipedia is a wormhole.

One minute you’re learning what an apple is and the next you’re on a page about Albert Einstein.

As more people stay on your website, Google will get the hint that it’s providing value.

As such, your ranking will improve for your target keywords.

In all of your content, strive to add 2-3 internal links to your most valuable service pages.

Next, add 1-2 relevant links where it’s necessary.

Adding more internal links to your web pages is the simplest way to make an impact on your local SEO.

You can use Link Whisper to quickly add internal links to your WordPress website.

NAP Consistency


NAP refers to name, address, and phone number.

This information obviously needs to be correct if potential customers are to contact you.
Your NAP should be consistent across all digital platforms.

This means that your NAP should be exactly the same on your Google My Business (GMB) listing, Yelp, and other online directories.

For example, if your company’s name is ABC Inc…

It shouldn’t appear in other places as ABC Corp.

Likewise, if your address is 123 Canary Lane…

It shouldn’t appear somewhere else as 123 Canary Street.

This causes confusion not only of web users but also for search engine bots.

Search engines regularly comb through their SERPs to find identical NAP information any time someone searches for a local business.

To ensure that your NAP is wholly consistent throughout Google and Bing, you can use Whitespark’s local citation tool.

This way, you can improve your NAP consistency and show up for more searches.

Check Listings on all Major Directories


In addition to making sure your NAP information is consistent, you should also check all of your listings on all major directories to correct false information. 

The goal here is to ensure that your listings are uniform.

To do so, follow this format:
  • Website link (website.com)
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number

If all of your listings are created in this format, it’ll be easier for search engines to rank them. 

XML and HTML Sitemap


Alright - let’s get into some more technical SEO techniques.

To leverage local SEO, you’ll need to create sitemaps for your website.

An XML sitemap allows search engine bots to see the information that exists on your website.

Remember, search engine bots crawl websites to index and rank web pages.

These bots clearly don’t have eyes.

They rely on technical data to make determinations.

Using an XML sitemap will feed the search bots vital information about your website.

Think of an XML sitemap like a blueprint of your website.

It will communicate all of your web pages and links in one file to help search bots rank your website faster.

On the other hand, an HTML sitemap serves the web visitor.

It lists all of the web pages on a site for a reader to access.

An HTML sitemap looks something like this:

HTML sitemap

It provides a convenient way for web visitors to navigate your website, thus improving the user experience.

You can use the Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress to create an XML sitemap for your website.

You can also use another WordPress plugin to create an HTML plugin as well.

Remove Duplicate Content


Duplicate content is an instance where one text is too similar to another.

Think of it like plagiarism in essay writing.

However, you can never copy a bunch of text and offer a citation when writing content online. 


It’s unethical, lazy, and in direct violation of local SEO. 

Whether you copy a text directly from another source or change a few words, you’re still engaging in duplicate content. 

If your local SEO strategy is going to gain any traction, you need to remove all duplicate content from your website. 

You can do so by using Siteliner to find instances of duplicate content on your website. 

In blogs, you can also use Copyscape to point out duplicate errors and keep your website compliant with Google’s duplicate content policies.

Canonicals


Canonicals are a bit complicated for the SEO beginner. 

We’re going to do our best to explain the concept. 

A canonical tag is simply a bit of code that tells a search engine that you want a specific page to rank online.

Canonicals

Here is what a sample canonical tag looks like:

Why is that even important?

Let’s explain…

Duplicate content is such a big issue on the internet. 

As humans, we tend to overlook duplicate content issues.

For example, here are all the following ways your URL will appear:

  • http://www.website.com
  • https://www.website.com
  • http://website.com
  • http://website.com/index.php
  • http://website.com/index.php?r…

To a human, all of these links are synonymous. 

They look the same. 

They are the same…

However, search engine bots will count them all as different URLs, even though it’s the same page.

This can cause duplicate content errors throughout your website. 

To avoid this issue, you’ll need to tell Google and other major search engines which web pages you only want to rank. 

In this case, you may only want to rank one version of your URL to avoid duplicate content issues. 

By using Yoast, you can create canonical tags to eliminate the headache of duplicate error issues. 

404 Pages


Have you ever visited a website and saw this error:

404 Pages

A 404 error is a status code indicating that the page you tried to visit is temporarily unavailable.

You’ll either receive a 301 and 410 error.

A 301 error indicates that the web page has been moved permanently to another location.

Use it to direct the missing page to another relevant page.

A 410 error page indicates that a web page is permanently gone and won’t be redirected.

With this WordPress plugin, you can issue redirects, enhance your SEO, and improve its user experience.

Optimize Page Speed



To put it simply, no one is going to stay on a slow website, especially since there are trillions of other websites on the web.


Anything above 2.5 seconds will result in a higher bounce rate that can affect the performance of your website.

Optimizing the speed of your web pages is a technical process.

If you're a beginner, doing this on your own can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, there is a great plugin that can automatically improve the page speed of your website.

Take advantage of this plugin to do several hours of work in just a few minutes.

Schema Markup


A schema markup is a code you can place on a website to help search engines better understand it. 

People use a schema markup commonly to obtain a rich snippet like this:

Schema Markup

As you can see, you can literally alter how your meta description appears in SERPs to add more value to your audience. 

Your web pages should be marked up with a language search engines will understand. 

WordPress provides an excellent plugin you can use to help you create structured data that appears in SERPs like this:

WordPress Plugin

And, this…

Structured data that appears in SERPs

Chapter 4: External Platforms


Local SEO hinges on how established your online presence is on external platforms, mainly Google Maps. 

For example, when you conduct a search for any “near me” keyword, you’ll generally see this:

External Platforms

To make sure that your website appears on Google Maps and other external platforms, read this chapter to learn more about all the work you should do.

Create or Claim Google My Business Listing


This is arguably the most important step of local SEO. 

Google Maps is a vital resource for consumers to find local businesses.

You need to first create or claim your GMB listing to become visible on Google Maps. 

If you run an established business, chances are that people have already tried to find your business online. 

In this case, you can claim your GMB listing.

Google My Business Listing

If your business is nowhere to be found on Google Maps, go ahead and create a listing.

You can create your listing with a Gmail account by clicking here and following the prompts.

You should make sure that all of your business information is 100% accurate before completing your listing.

Create or Claim Bing Listing


In Chapter 1, we discussed the benefits of investing into Bing SEO. 

Much like Google My Business, it’s simple to create or claim a Bing listing. 

Click here to create or claim your listing and follow the necessary prompts.

Again, for NAP purposes, make sure that your business information is 100% accurate.

Create or Claim Yelp Listing


Yelp is considered to be the top local directory. 

If you run a restaurant or another hyper-local business, then you should create or claim a Yelp listing. 

Click here to see if your business already has a listing you can claim.

If there isn’t a listing, just create it by following the prompts.

Finally - make sure your business information is 100% accurate!

NAP is extremely important in local SEO. 

Optimize Your GMB Description


To boost the local ranking of your GMB listing, you should optimize the description. 

Optimize Your GMB Description

The description should not be more than 750 characters and include all of your LSI keywords for both expertise and area. 

Select Google My Business Categories


While creating your GMB listing, it’s important to select the right categories to make sure that your audience can find your listing. 

Initially, you won’t know which categories to use upfront. 

This is where you should spy on your top competitors and use their categories. 

You can use Whitespark to perform competitor research and check the categories your competitors are using to reinforce your local SEO strategy.
 

Create and Claim Listings in Other Directories


There are thousands of different local directories online. 

To get an advantage over your competitors, you can create or claim listings in as many directories as you can. 

As you can imagine, this is a very tedious process. 

Whitespark can help in automating this process and featuring your website in directories across the web. 

Look to Generate More Reviews




This means that not only will your audience expect your business to have reviews, but search engines will as well. 

Besides, reviews build trust and look impressive on any GMB listing. 
Respond to Reviews

To acquire online reviews, you can simply ask your customers to leave them in your listing. 


To get more creative, offer incentives to customers to take the initiative in leaving you a review. 


Respond to Reviews


Bad reviews happen to anyone. 

Ignoring the situation won’t help your reputation a bit. 



Your audience is watching…

Hold yourself accountable and stay professional when responding to reviews to elevate your reputation. 

Build Your Local SEO Strategy in 2021


There are a lot of different moving parts to setting up a local SEO strategy. 

If you need help, then the team at Cloud LGS can be of assistance. 

To learn more about how we can help you, click here to receive more details about our local SEO services and build your new local SEO strategy in 2021.
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