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5 Minute Read

Local SEO for Small Businesses – A Complete Guide

Posted on
June 7, 2023
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With most consumers turning to search engines to find local products and services, optimising your business for local search is a great way to bring in some new customers.

Understanding Local SEO

Local SEO refers to optimising a website to appear in local search results.

Unlike traditional SEO, which focuses on improving organic rankings on a broader scale, local SEO targets specific geographical locations.

It involves optimising various factors, such as your Google My Business (GMB) listing, NAP consistency (Name, Address, Phone Number), local keywords, on-page optimisation, building local citations, managing online reviews, link building, mobile optimisation, and performance tracking.

Setting the Foundation

To start your local SEO journey, claim and optimise your Google My Business (GMB) listing. GMB is a free tool provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence.

Ensure your listing contains accurate and up-to-date information, including your business name, address, phone number, website URL, business hours, and relevant categories. Completing your GMB profile will significantly enhance your local visibility and increase your chances of appearing in the coveted Google Local Pack.

Consistency regarding NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information is crucial. Ensure that your business information is consistent across online directories and citation sources. Inaccurate or conflicting NAP information can confuse search engines and potential customers, negatively impacting local search rankings. Regularly audit your citations and update any discrepancies.

Local Keyword Research

Keyword research forms the foundation of any SEO strategy, including local SEO. Start by understanding your local target audience and identifying the keywords they will likely use when searching for products or services in your area. Then, utilise keyword research tools and techniques to uncover relevant local keywords, including long-tail keywords and location-based modifiers.

For example, instead of targeting a generic keyword like "bakery," focus on specific long-tail keywords like "gluten-free bakery in London" or "best wedding cake bakery in Southampton." Incorporate these local keywords naturally into your website content, including headings, page titles, meta descriptions, and alt tags.

Remember to prioritise user experience and avoid keyword stuffing, as search engines value quality and relevance.

On-Page Optimisation for Local SEO

On-page optimisation plays a crucial role in local SEO. First, optimise your title tags and meta descriptions by including relevant local keywords. Then, craft compelling titles and descriptions that entice users to click through to your website from the search engine results page (SERP).

When optimising your website content, create localised content that resonates with your target audience. Tailor your content to the specific needs and interests of local customers, and include local keywords naturally throughout the page. Additionally, pay attention to your URL structure and internal linking.

Use descriptive and location-specific URLs and ensure your internal links point to relevant pages within your website.

Building Local Citations

Local citations refer to mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on online directories, review websites, social media platforms, and other online sources. Building local citations is crucial for establishing trust and consistency in the eyes of search engines. Start by listing your business on popular directories such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Maintaining NAP consistency across these citations is essential. Regularly audit your sources to ensure accuracy and promptly update any changes to your business information. Consistent NAP information helps search engines associate your business with the correct location, boosting local search visibility.

Online Reviews and Reputation Management

Online reviews have a significant impact on local search rankings. Encourage your customers to leave reviews and actively manage your online reputation. Positive reviews improve your search rankings and build trust with potential customers. Responding to positive and negative reviews demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and enhances your brand reputation.

Ensure you monitor review platforms regularly, respond promptly and professionally to feedback, and address any concerns or issues raised by customers. Additionally, consider incorporating review generation strategies, such as email follow-ups and incentives for leaving reviews, to boost the quantity and quality of your online reviews.

Local Link-Building Strategies

Link building is a fundamental component of SEO, and local link building can significantly impact your local search rankings. Focus on acquiring backlinks from local websites, organisations, and influential individuals. Seek partnerships and collaborations with other local businesses, sponsor local events or charities, and participate in community initiatives.

By actively engaging with your local community, you can increase the likelihood of earning valuable backlinks from authoritative sources, improving your local search visibility and driving targeted traffic to your website.

Mobile Optimisation for Local SEO

With the exponential growth of mobile usage, optimising your website for mobile devices is crucial for local businesses. Mobile optimisation ensures your website is responsive, loads quickly, and provides an optimal user experience across different screen sizes.

In addition, Google prioritises mobile-friendly websites in search results, so a mobile-optimised website can significantly boost your local search rankings and attract mobile users in your area.

Tracking and Analysing Local SEO Performance

To gauge the effectiveness of your local SEO efforts, track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as organic search traffic, local search rankings, website conversions, and online reviews. Utilise tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and local SEO-specific tools to monitor and analyse your performance.

Regularly review your data and make data-driven decisions to refine and improve your local SEO strategy. Then, continuously adapt your approach based on insights gained from performance tracking to stay ahead of the competition and maintain a solid local online presence.


Investing in local SEO is a game-changer for small businesses looking to thrive in today's digital landscape. By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can significantly improve your local visibility, attract targeted local customers, and outperform competitors in your area.

Remember, local SEO is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, adjustments, and dedication. So embrace the power of local SEO and unlock new growth opportunities for your small business.

Ellie Hill
Director at South Digital

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