In 2004, Google and other top search engines started improving visibility chances of results for search queries with geographic intent. With this move, the importance of Local SEO was known by most businesses. Fast forward to 2020 to find “Where to buy” + “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200% from 2017–2019, and 30% of all mobile searches are related to location (Source). While most businesses opt for digital marketing agencies for managing their Local SEO Listings Creation & Management, there are a lot of things you can do on your own to mark your presence in the search results of your prospects.

If you are searching for a quicker resolution of your SEO woes, our team is just a click away.

In this article, we shall explore 9 DIY Local SEO Tips on how to increase the search probability of your local business.

Local SEO Tip #1: Claim your Google My Business or any other Search engine Profile

While this may sound no-brainer, and we shall say this in all the relevant blogs, claiming your GMB profile (Google My Business) or Bing for Business profile has no costs. Search engines constantly refer to their proprietary directories for any local search queries and suggest your profile when someone asks a matching search query. Your business listing acts as a single point of contact to control what information you wish to display on your profile. Since it is free to claim, you need to be quick; else, your competition can wreak havoc by posting misleading information about your business, which scares away potential leads and drive them to your competition.

Tip #2: Make your profile robust

Once you have claimed your profile, the next step is to make it robust with all the relevant information that your prospect might need to become aware of your business. This would include things such as:

  • Name of Establishment
  • Physical Address as per the USPS
  • Phone Number
  • Operating Hours
  • Website (if applicable)
  • Service Areas
  • Product or service listings
  • A Short Description of your business
  • Link for setting up Appointments (Depends on the business)

When someone searches a query for which your business profile is displayed by Google, it is displayed on the pane beside the search results based on the information you provide.

Local SEO Tips-A robust GMB profile of a barber shop

In the above example, the profile shows all the relevant information regarding the business and the photographs, and the location on the map. The user can interact with the information provided and contact the business in quick and easy steps.

Tip #3: Create locally relevant Content

Content is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and establish your brand as an industry expert. In one of the search algorithm updates by Google in the past 5 years, quality content is given more significance for a relevant keyword. As soon as Google observes that people are spending more time on your articles, it automatically increases the page authority. Moreover, the more relevant, authoritative links your content has for a specific keyword, the more are the chances of the article being displayed on the top.

In the case of local SEO, publishing articles catering to the local audiences or getting backlinks from local institutions is a great way to improve page rankings and increase local search visibility. To get quality backlinks from credible local institutes, choose those businesses that are related to your field but are not competition. For a roofing contractor, getting backlinks from a construction and hardware store would be considered credible. For restaurant owners, reviews from professional food critics are credible and help drive a new audience to the establishment. Using keywords with local search intent in your published articles can help the article be shown for those keywords. Going a step ahead, optimize the content for mobile keyword searches as most local searches are made from mobile devices.

Tip #4: Have the Appropriate Schema Markup

In layman terms, schema markup is a bunch of codes placed on the website that helps the search engine platform display additional information. Unless specified, the crawlers would be unsure how to represent specific information and display it as regular data. With appropriate schema markup, you can display ratings for a movie, display its current showtimes, author of the article, product listings, working hours of a restaurant, etc. Google supports 12 types of data types, and you can use the in-house Google Structured Data Markup Helper tool to generate rich data snippets.

A view of the Google Structured Data Markup Helper tool

The tool follows a step-by-step process that allows you to associate relevant data displayed in the SERP section. On completing the process, the tool generates an HTML code that allows the search engines to display the relevant data more aesthetically when added to your website.

Another tool you can refer to for creating custom schema markup is Schema Markup Generator by technical SEO.

A view of Merkle Schema Markup Generator

Some Schema Markup examples

In the example below, on searching for limo rentals, below the search results, Google displays ratings and the exact number of reviews. This is called the product information schema.

A search result where the ratings of a limo rental service is shown

When someone searches for tickets for ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ the Google search results display the forthcoming show schedules. These are the ‘event-based’ schema markup.

Event Schema where the showtimings of a play are shown

On the other hand, on searching for a specific theatre, Google displays the movies and their respective showtimes. These types of schema are also event-based.

Another example of Event Schema where movie showtimings are shown

While searching for certain topics, Google may suggest certain videos, with timestamps which you can click to be redirected to the specific duration of the video. These are the ‘video’ schema markup.

An example of video snippets with timeline for easy viewing

Tip#5: Conduct Press releases and Structured Citation building

Backlinks are one of the factors that is used as a yardstick by any search engine while ranking websites. More number of backlinks is considered as a bonus validation by 3rd party sites about your website. Press releases may not seem like a viable promotion, but they inform the masses about what your company is currently up to (generating hype) and generate multiple diverse backlinks simultaneously from different platforms. While they are not free, it is still a viable option for small-to-medium businesses as the ROI is justifiable.

To those uninitiated, citations are any web-based reference to your business’s registered Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) on specific websites. Google and other search engines consider consistent NAP mentions as a positive sign and rank them better than those without consistent NAP. Citations are categorized as (i) Structured Citations and (ii) Unstructured Citations. The only difference between both is that Structured Citations are mentions featured on directories that follow a structured layout for the publication of local business listings. In contrast, Unstructured Citations don’t follow any such structures.

Additionally, industry-specific platforms in local communities such as the regional Chamber of Commerce website, any local business associations, and mentions in the community hubs are also pivotal in increasing mentions on the relevant platforms. For the U.S. market, any business should have consistent NAPs mentioned in their citations for the following popular directories:

  • Google (it’s a no brainer)
  • Facebook Pages
  • Apple Maps
  • Foursquare
  • SuperPages
  • Yelp
  • Yellowpages.com
  • Bing

Tip #6: Improve social media presence

At first glance, you may be wondering how social media mixes with Local SEO tips, but your social media profiles do add value. While claiming or updating your GMB profile, including the links for the different social media profiles allows Google to display them in the snippet area for appropriate keywords.

In the example below, on searching for Autozone, the snippet shows all information regarding the company and the links to the popular social media platforms at the bottom.

A Google featured snippet where the social media posts are shown at the bottom

Tip#7: Address your reviews & Questions

Google and other search engine platforms allow people to submit their reviews and rate a business. While most businesses fear backlashes and negative feedback, ignoring such reviews is like shooting yourself in the foot. While everyone is easily influenced by negative feedback, providing quick responses to any reviews is an indication that you are keen on providing a good customer experience. This way, you communicate that you value your customer’s feedback and are working positively to improve the next interaction.

An example of brand responding to a review

While displaying search results and relevance, relative distance, search engines also factor in the number of positive feedback. Hence, you should encourage your customers to leave their feedback.

Google allows you to show your expertise (and improve customer engagement) by answering questions posed by people on your Google profile. When someone searches for your business, they are offered to ask questions related to your business. While anyone can answer this, it is always beneficial to answer those questions yourself as it builds the brand reputation.

An example of Question answers posted by people

Tip#8: A weekly Google Post is beneficial

Once you have claimed your profile on Google and updated it with all relevant information, you can create helpful snippets that constantly engage with those searching for your business online. Ironically, even after completing 4 years after launch, most GMB profile owners are unaware of its existence. Hence, it is advisable to take advantage of this exclusivity before everyone jumps on the bandwagon by posting small updates or news about your business that keeps your customers updated.

In the example below, when searching for “Aquarium of the Pacific,” you can see posts from the brand on the featured snippet. You have the option to upload a photograph and include links in your posts.

An example of Google Posts by Aquarium of the Pacific

Tip#9: Don’t forget Local Map Pack results

Google Local Map Packs are the 3 results shown in a special snippet box for certain Google searches. The results on the Local Map Pack would be unique for every individual as the criteria followed would include location, relevance, link quality, and others. Out of all, high-quality links and positive feedback play a major role in determining the top 3 from a sea of competition.

Some of the crucial areas to focus on to stand a chance at the top 3 results are:

  1. High-quality citations from high-authority ranking platforms.
  2. High-quality inbound links from websites with high page authority
  3. Higher positive customer feedbacks or reviews
  4. Keyword optimization for local search intent
  5. Relevancy between website content and keyword requirements

Wrapping Up

As someone with a decent local presence, it is wise to ensure that the website is constantly optimized to continue showing up local search results. While the above DIY local SEO tips will help get a foothold but may not be sufficient for bringing you to the top. Our expansive team of SEO experts who have the experience of improving local SEO ratings for businesses from different industry verticals. Get in touch today to better understand how we can be helpful to you.

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Team Searchaholiks believes that sharing knowledge can help the community grow. Hence, we regularly post articles covering the most common pain points of our clientele. However, for a quicker resolution of your issues, drop us your requirements at hi@searchaholiks.com.

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