Home / 7 Proven Strategies for Dominating Local Search Results

7 Proven Strategies for Dominating Local Search Results

Optimizing for local search can draw more customers to your website and your storefront(s). These strategies can help you land on page one of local search results.

Nearly half of all Google searches are linked to something local, making local SEO increasingly crucial for businesses servicing geographic areas or with brick-and-mortar storefronts. If you aren’t optimizing for local search, you’re missing out on organic traffic and the business that comes with it. 

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a targeted search optimization approach that aims to increase visibility, brand awareness, and traffic from local searchers. These searchers are interested in purchasing a product or service in a specific geographic area. 

Considering 28% of local searches result in a purchase, you want to ensure your business is found at the local level. How? By creating quality local content and optimizing your business listings for Google’s Map Pack.

Here are our top seven local SEO strategies to help you meet potential customers where they’re searching.

Local SEO Strategies

  1. Target “Near Me” and “in City, ST” Keyphrases
  2. Create Unique Landing Pages for Every Location/Service Area
  3. Build Complete, Optimized Google Business Profiles
  4. Link to Your Location Pages from Your Google Business Profile
  5. Regularly Create Geo-Modified Google Posts
  6. Maintain Accurate, Up-to-Date Listings on Business Directories
  7. Monitor and Manage Your Online Reviews

1. Target “Near Me” and “in City, ST” Keyphrases

To capture local searches, you need to create content targeting keyphrases with explicit local intent. Go after those “near me” and “in City, ST” keyphrases, such as, “pizza near me” or “tree trimming in austin tx”. Google knows where people are located when they perform a search, but Google doesn’t know your content is relevant to that searcher unless it expresses explicit local intent. 

Using Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, we see 5.6 million keyphrases including the term “near me” account for more than 830 million monthly searches. 

semrush screenshot showing the number of keyphrases include the words "near me"

Use your favorite keyphrase research tool to find relevant location-based keyphrases to target. Include these keyphrases in your content, title tags, meta descriptions, and slugs following SEO best practices. 

2. Create Unique Local Pages for Every Location/Service Area

Local SEO is all about getting specific — generic content will not help you rank here. You need high-quality, unique pages for every location to target those location-based keyphrases mentioned above. No copy-pasting across locations! Google will ding you for duplicative content. 

You can take the strategy a step further by creating unique pages for the cities, states, and zip codes you do business in. Even better, throw in city-based pages for specific products or services. Ranking for “furniture store in nashville” is great, but you can capture even more traffic with pages dedicated to “couches in nashville” or “used office furniture near me.”

Sound like a lot of work? The reward is worth it! One automotive client has over 1,700 locations across 1,100 cities. With the Local Pages product, we created tens of thousands of unique landing pages to target cities, zip codes, locations, services offered, and more. Together, these pages bring our client more than 1.8 million impressions and almost 300,000 clicks a month. They drive more than website traffic, though. The pages drive in-store business. 

This client’s Local Pages site accounts for 15% of their site traffic and drives 44% of appointments. In 2022, it drove $952MM in business.  

3. Build Complete, Optimized Google Business Profiles

Customers are 70% more likely to visit a business if it has a complete Google Business Profile. Not only that, but a fully optimized Business Profile can help you land at the top of the Map pack!

Tips for Optimizing Your Google Business Profile

  • Complete your listing with a phone number, website link, appointment link (if applicable), hours, services/products, etc.
  • Publish regular Google Posts (Posts more than 6 months old get archived.)
  • Add photos and videos
  • Post Q&As/answer questions from customers
  • Respond to reviews (No canned responses, please!)

completed google business profile for a cracker barrel location

google posts from a cracker barrel location

4. Link to Your Location Pages from Your Google Business Profiles

Remember all those location pages you just created? Get as much traffic to them as possible by adding them to your Business Profile listings. 

When the Map Pack is present, it can grab 44% of the clicks for a search. That’s almost half the traffic! While getting your location pages to rank in the traditional search results is fantastic, potential customers might not land on the page if it’s not in your listing. 

“If the traffic is going to my site anyway, why does it matter which link is in my Business Profile?” you might ask. Think about it from the user’s point of view. If you clicked on a link in a Map Pack listing, would you be happy landing on a generic page? Or, would you rather be taken to a location page with NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) details, available services/products, appointment/reservation links, and other specific information? 

This strategy in action: After linking to their location pages from their Google Business Profile listings, one of our clients saw a 575% increase in organic impressions and an 11,000% increase in organic clicks MoM for those pages. 

Also, linking to a unique Location page “help[s] Google better understand your business and match your profile to relevant searches.” Relevance is one of three primary ranking factors for local results. 

5. Regularly Publish Geo-Modified Google Posts

an example of engaging google post published by cort furniture outlet

Google Posts allow you to publish content directly on your Business Profile. Think of it like a social media feed where you post visual and digital content on your listing. These posts are great for engaging searchers with offers, updates, and news, but they can also help with local SEO when done correctly. Geo-modifiers can send signals to Google that will help you rank for local searches. 

Imagine you own a furniture rental company and want to add a Google Post to highlight your new package for college students. Including a line like, “Our student furniture rental package includes everything you need for a successful semester,” will engage searchers. Adding “{City} student furniture rental package” will take it a step further and help you rank for local student furniture rental searches.

According to a Moz case study, 40.4% of businesses have never published a Google Post. Consistently creating engaging Google Posts and using geo-modifiers can give you a real advantage over competitors who don’t post at all. 

6. Maintain Accurate, Up-to-Date Listings on Business Directories

Beyond Google, you want to ensure your listings are accurate on directories such as Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Bing, and Apple Maps. Having accurate NAP information on these platforms is crucial to user experience. Plus, listings on Yelp and TripAdvisor can appear in search results for local searches. 

Remember, “to keep your Business Profile as accurate as possible, Google uses information from different sources,” and these sources include all of the directories listed above. “If sources report that your profile info is incorrect or outdated, your profile gets updates from Google that you can review,” explains Google.

Keeping all these profiles up to date can take a lot of work if you have more than a handful of locations. Take the strain off yourself and open up time for other projects with help from a listings distribution service like GPO’s Listings Distribution product

7. Monitor and Manage Your Online Reviews

Reviews not only influence your reputation — they also impact local SEO. According to a Semrush study, the number of reviews a business has impacts its ranking in the Map Pack, as well as the velocity at which those reviews are submitted. The more reviews a business has and the more often it receives reviews, the higher it tends to rank. 

While the same Semrush study notes that overall rating doesn’t appear to impact rating, Google automatically filters the Map Pack to only include businesses with a 4+ rating if a search uses “best” in the query. 

map pack results for a "best pizza in topeka" search showing it filtered to 4 stars and above

For these reasons, you want to encourage happy customers to leave online reviews. You can send an email following a purchase/service asking for a review, respond to already posted positive reviews, and incentivize employees to push for reviews by offering rewards for being mentioned by name.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and not all your reviews will be positive. So, how do you handle the negative ones? Respond to the negative reviews, too. It’s never a good look when a business only replies to positive feedback. Your responses should be thoughtful, acknowledge the reviewers’ concerns, and outline how you will prevent the problem in the future. Depending on the concern, you may even be able to resolve it for that customer, prompting them to change their review.   

Boost Your Local Traffic with GPO

Optimizing for local search can be tricky when your multi-location brand has tens or hundreds of locations. With GPO’s Local Pages, we can quickly create unique location pages for every store or service area. Pair that with our listings product to optimize your Google Business Profile, and you’ll be ready to take over local search results for your industry. 

Chat with us to learn how we can supercharge your local SEO strategy to increase traffic to your website and storefronts.

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