Local search is a powerful tool to connect small businesses with potential buyers. It can either mean gaining a repeat, lifelong customer or losing them to a competitor – all because you were out-ranked on Google’s search results.

To ensure your business is always relevant, you need to brush up on your local SEO strategy. This may sound like a challenging task – but trust us, all you have to do is follow these top 5 local SEO tips and trends that are set to pave the way for how small businesses are seen in 2023.

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Local SEO

SEO for local search is a steadfast way to boost your online visibility to the right people, in the right place. While SEO may seem technical, it’s techniques are actually pretty simple to implement. Plus, the payoff is worth the time you invest in making it right.

According to Hubspot, 88% of people who do a local search visit or call a store within a day of discovering them. Plus, nearly 46% of all Google searches are used to seek local information. This proves the importance of SEO for local business, and the difference it can make for an SME in attracting customers, building reputation and increasing profit.

Marketing as a local business in 2021 means being digitally focused, especially with the impact COVID-19 has had on brick and mortar businesses. How your business is found these days, is all down to how readily available you are online. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to control this. 

1. Conducting a Local SEO Audit

The term ‘audit’ can seem a little scary to small businesses. But a deep-dive into how you appear in local searches will help you gauge areas for development. For 2021, regular audits mean you can constantly strive to improve, get a better idea of the competition out there, and use these insights to your advantage. What’s more is, there’s so many tools out there to help you conduct such an assessment on your business.

Your audit doesn’t have to be exhaustive or extensive – but it should give you insight into your overall performance. To keep things simple. the main types of audits and subsequent questions to ask yourself are:

Above we have linked a handy guide for each audit, so you can see what is required. You can also find data by using handy sites such as Google Search Console, a free service that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence and performance search results. 

It is important to understand that SEO is an ongoing process. So, getting into the habit of doing regular audits will help you always stay ahead of the curve.

How to Perform an SEO Audit

2. Optimising for Google My Business

Google My Business has become a key tool in helping businesses skyrocket their local online traffic. It basically supplies a dedicated window for you to advertise your business on Google. There’s no surprise this is a growing trend. That’s why we suggest you master it before other businesses catch on.

This means people can actively seek out your business, and view it in a snapshot form of information. This includes your business name, address, contact information, images, videos, reviews and more.

To ensure you’re optimised for Google My Business, you’ll want to:

  • Create and verify a Google My Business page
  • Treat it like a new social media page by posting regularly and updating images
  • Encourage your customers to share reviews online
  • Respond to positive and negative reviews, specifying location – this could be thanking someone for visiting a certain store, or signing off your review at the bottom with the address
  • With COVID-19 disruptions in mind, ensure your opening times are clear to attend to potential customer’s needs

3. Adding Location Pages to Your Site

Local SEO

Location pages are a great way to dedicate an area of your site to promote where your business is situated. 

If you have multiple brick and mortar locations, having a web page per location provides readers with your business details in one, handy place. Plus, this makes it shareable with its own URL for viewers to forward onto others, and the search engine to account for when crawling for information. 

You can stock your location page with all the necessary information such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Store hours
  • Unique descriptions about the store
  • Parking and travel information
  • Specific promotions
  • Reviews from previous customers to that particular store
  • Google Map showcasing the location

One important thing to note is: do not duplicate content across each location page. Keep your content unique, and use location-focused keywords to diversify each page.

However, if you have just the one location, then you can still create a locally descriptive ‘About Us’ page. 

4. Creating Localised Content

In order to practice good local SEO, content is the key facilitator. One way you can do this, is by writing localised, valuable content that is pleasing for both viewers and search engines. 

There are many ways you can create content that has a local focus. For example, you can try:

  • Promoting local industry gatherings e.g. summits, markets etc. in the form of a monthly blog or events calendar
  • Sharing local news on social media or writing an opinion piece for your site
  • Introducing or celebrating your employees via a ‘Meet the Team’ web page or a blog/social media feature
  • Resharing or repurposing curated content that is relevant to your location e.g. government statistics, new local authority developments, COVID-19 advice for your area etc.
  • Creating a local guide for things to do in your area, while mentioning your business if applicable.

The main aim is to provide top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells, that viewers will appreciate and enjoy. 

For example, if you’re an experience provider that is trying to attract tourists in the area, you can create a helpful resource to get visitors well-acquainted with your city. A map of neighbouring attractions or a calendar of city-wide events can not only enhance your business’s persona, but also contain highly relevant on-page local signals.

5. Remembering Your Metadata

When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, meaning a new chance to be discovered in the search engine results pages.

Every time you write a piece of content, you must always remember to optimise for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description and main body. These are the smaller details that you may overlook when uploading onto your site – yet they add up in helping you become more relevant and visible for local searches. 

When it comes to local SEO trends, there are many combinations that you can try and test. However, by conducting regular audits, identifying areas for improvement, using Google My Business to its full potential and creating dedicated localised content – you can put your business on the map.

Local SEO

Featured snippets and knowledge panels should be prime targets for local SEO optimization thanks to their prominent real estate at the top of Google’s organic results. These rich result types now tally over 30% of all local search clicks.

Getting content to rank for these specialized features requires strategic topic targeting and format considerations:

  • Research and publish content that answers the specific questions and formats users search for. Study competitor instances that already rank here.
  • For example create a post titled “What are the Top 10 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles?” if that’s a common local search.
  • Format content using easy-to-scan numbered lists and bullet points that match what Google wants to showcase in snippets.
  • Include structured mark-up like FAQ schema and How-To schema where applicable to boost eligibility. Give Google machine readable data.
  • Craft a perfectly optimized title tag and meta description that provides the concise answers shown in snippets, while encouraging clicks.

Optimizing properly for featured snippets and knowledge panels provides a more direct path to visibility for the valuable local search terms consumers use on Google daily. The significant traffic potential warrants prioritizing these units in any local SEO content strategy.

Building high-quality backlinks remains a cornerstone of local SEO success, as they signal authority and trust to search engines. But in the hyper-competitive world of local search, generic link building tactics won’t cut it. You need a laser focus on relevance, quality, and local context to truly boost your rankings. Here are some effective local link building tactics to anchor your authority and dominate the local SERP:

Leverage Your Google My Business (GMB) Profile:

  • Optimize GMB posts: Publish regular, engaging posts on your GMB profile targeting relevant local keywords and topics. Encourage comments and interaction to showcase local engagement.
  • Encourage reviews & testimonials: Positive reviews are social proof of your business’s value. Actively solicit reviews from satisfied customers and prominently display them on your GMB profile and website.
  • Get listed in local directories: Submit your business to high-quality, relevant local directories and listings like Yelp, Chamber of Commerce websites, and local community resources.

Niche-Focused Citations:

  • Target local industry publications: Contribute guest articles or sponsored content to local websites, blogs, and online magazines relevant to your industry.
  • Partner with local businesses: Collaborate with complementary local businesses for cross-promotions and link exchanges, expanding your reach and building local relationships.
  • Support local events & organizations: Sponsor local events or donate to local charities. This builds goodwill and often earns you mentions and backlinks on event websites and local news platforms.

Locally-Focused PBNs (Private Blog Networks):

  • Utilize localized PBN domains: Consider building or acquiring PBNs with domain names or hosting based in your local area for added relevance and trust signals.
  • Focus on local content: Publish high-quality content on your PBNs that caters to your local audience and addresses their specific needs and interests.
  • Link naturally and strategically: Avoid keyword stuffing and unnatural linking patterns. Integrate links to your website seamlessly within the context of your PBN content.


  • A local bakery owner writes a guest post about the best baking ingredients on a local food blog, linking back to their bakery’s website.
  • A plumbing company sponsors a local community clean-up event and gets featured in a news article with a link to their website.
  • A local dog walker creates a PBN with articles about dog-friendly parks and activities in their city, naturally linking to their dog walking service website.

Remember: Local link building is a long-term game. Focus on building genuine relationships with local businesses and communities, and provide valuable content that benefits your local audience. By prioritizing quality, relevance, and local context, you can attract high-quality backlinks that boost your local authority and propel your business to the top of the local search pack.

Bonus tip: Utilize free and paid tools like Moz Local, Ahrefs, and SEMrush to identify potential link opportunities, track your backlink profile health, and monitor your competitors’ local link building strategies.

Securing high-quality backlinks from relevant niche directories and citation sites is crucial for local SEO success. Here’s a deep dive into strategies for targeted local link building:

Identify Relevant Directories & Citation Sites:

  • Industry-Specific Resources: Research online directories and citation sites dedicated to your specific industry in your local area. Look for industry associations, local business listings, and niche-specific platforms.
  • Location-Based Listings: Explore local government websites, chambers of commerce directories, and community-driven listings relevant to your business location.
  • General Citation Sites: Utilize well-established citation platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google My Business, and Bing Places for Business.

Prioritize Quality over Quantity:

  • Focus on Authority & Relevance: Opt for directories and citation sites with high domain authority (DA) and established traffic within your industry and location. Avoid spammy or low-quality listings.
  • Provide Accurate & Consistent Information: Ensure consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information across all listings, including website URL if applicable. Inconsistency can harm search engine visibility.
  • Complete Detailed Profiles: Go beyond basic listings and leverage features like business descriptions, photos, videos, and customer reviews to enhance your online presence.

Additional Strategies:

  • Earn Featured Listings: Some directories offer premium, featured listings with increased visibility and branding opportunities. Consider these options based on your budget and potential return on investment.
  • Engage with Communities: Participate in online forums, discussion boards, and relevant local social media groups where your target audience is active. Provide valuable insights and establish yourself as a trusted expert, potentially earning organic mentions and links.
  • Partner with Local Businesses: Collaborate with complementary businesses in your area for guest blogging opportunities, co-hosted events, or joint directory submissions, leveraging each other’s audience and online presence.
  • Utilize Online Review Management: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on relevant directories and citation sites. Positive reviews improve trust and can indirectly influence ranking algorithms.
  • Monitor & Update Listings: Regularly monitor your online presence and ensure all listings are accurate, updated, and active. Remove duplicates or outdated information to maintain consistency and credibility.

FAQ: Local SEO

Q: What are the top 3 most important local SEO trends right now?

The emergence of discovery engines, video dominating SERPs, and new structured data all sit among the most pivotal local search trends. Optimizing for video visibility, claiming and enhancing free business profiles on discovery engines, and proper schema markup are key.

Q: How long does effective local SEO typically take to reflect in rankings?

Dedicated local SEO requires an average of 6-12 months for measurable traction in rankings, metrics and organic traffic based on consistent efforts. However, optimizing location pages and attributes as a supplementary gain to existing SEO can drive quicker returns.

Q: What metrics best determine local SEO success?

Beyond typical measures like organic clicks and rankings, top local KPIs include Google Business Profile actions, calls, photos views and driving directions clicks. Local pack clickshare and overall impressions are also vital barometers. Monitor progress monthly.

Q: What tools help manage multi-location local SEO?

Platforms like Moz Local, BrightLocal and Synup provide robust management of listings, citations and location sites at scale. They also centralize performance reporting across all key local SEO data points through intuitive dashboards.

Q: How often should I post on my GMB profile?

A: Aim for consistency, but avoid spamming. Post at least once a week with engaging, relevant content targeting local keywords and interests.

Q: What are some red flags for PBNs?

A: Unnatural linking patterns, low-quality content, and domain names with no local connection are all warning signs. Use PBNs with caution and prioritize building genuine backlinks.

Q: How can I track my local link building progress?

A: Tools like Moz Local, Ahrefs, and SEMrush offer local link tracking features and insights into your backlink profile health and competitor strategies.

Q: What if I don’t have time for extensive link building?

A: Consider partnering with local SEO agencies or freelancers who specialize in building high-quality backlinks within your niche and local context.

Conclusion: Local SEO

Dominating the local search landscape is about more than just proximity. It’s about building a fortress of authority that resonates with your local audience and earns the trust of search engines. By strategically leveraging optimized GMB profiles, niche-focused citations, and locally-relevant PBNs, you can forge a network of high-quality backlinks that anchor your position in the local SERP.

Remember, local link building is a long-term commitment, not a quick fix. Be patient, prioritize quality over quantity, and focus on building genuine relationships within your community. With consistent effort and the right approach, you can watch your local authority soar, attracting more customers, driving more leads, and ultimately, achieving sustainable success in your local market.

So, go forth and conquer the local search landscape, link by link. Your local business deserves to be seen, heard, and chosen by your ideal customers. Make it happen!

For more information or help with local SEO marketing, ProfileTree is a local SEO company that leverages great results for SMEs across the UK. If you’re interested, contact us today!

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