How To: Local SEO

Featured, How To, SEO

The first in a series of how to articles; we’re going to hyper focus and talk about Local Search Engine Optimization. We’re going to give you a step-by-step breakdown to ranking highly on local searches. Print and check off each item as you complete it. We’re going to use ourselves, Oak City Tech, a local webdesign/seo company based out of Raleigh/Durham, NC for any examples below. Be sure to check back from time to time as we will update this post when appropriate.

Page Last Updated: Nov 17, 2016
Originally Published: Jan 2, 2015

First Steps

  • Make sure you’re using a local area code for your primary phone number. (protip: this is the most important aspect of local SEO)
  • Get a physical address in the city.
  • Include your product or service keyword in your business title. (if possible)
  • Update your business information with the secretary of state. Make sure the name, address, and phone match your website.
  • Make sure there you don’t have more than one Google Business Page and delete the extras if you do.

Optimize Your Website

  • Include the City and State in the title of all pages.
  • Include the City and State in your H1/H2 Tags, especially on the homepage.
  • Make your site load as quickly as possible. (protip: if using WordPress speed up your website and decrease load time with the caching plugin or use CloudFlare)
  • Optimize your titles, meta descriptions, and URLs to make them keyword rich and clickable, giving you a high organic click through rate.

Setup Your Google Business Page

  • Make sure that your business is listed in the correct category.
  • Make sure your Name, Address, and Phone Number on your website match those on your Google Business Page.
  • Have the business owner verify the Google Business Page.
  • Fill out your Google Business Page completely. Try to get the numerical percentage as close to 100% as possible.
  • Include your product or service keyword and your city name in the description of your Google Business Page.
    Repeat these steps for Yahoo Local, Bing Local,, and

Content & Multimedia

  • Write as much as you can about your industry and post articles to your blog. Write for people, not search engines. Don’t keyword spam; write the article in such a way that you, a human, would enjoy reading it. (protip: Minimum: one article/blog post per week.)
  • Create audio and video content to post on your website and video sharing sites like Youtube. It’s 2016, folks really like video.

Domain Name

  • Include the name of your city in your domain name. (if possible)
  • Include the name of your product or service in your domain name. (if possible)
  • Register your domain name several years into the future.
  • Make sure your WHOIS information is public and that the name, address, and phone match that on your website.

Blogs & Newspaper Articles

  • Put a blog section on the homepage of your website.
  • Put out a press release. (protip: pay someone to syndicate it in print.)
  • Contact local blogs and newspapers and ask them to interview you.
  • Add as many pictures as you can to your Google Business Page.

Local Citations

  • Google your business. Make sure your Name, Address, Phone and other info is correct on any site you see. Claim your profile and correct it if not. (protip: Do this, seriously.)
  • Update your information with local data aggregators. (Localeze, Acxiom, Factual, others)

Customer Reviews

  • Get as many native reviews on your Google Business page as you can.
  • Get reviews on as many different 3rd party review sites as you can.
  • Make extra effort to seek out your customers who already use sites like Yelp and Google, and ask them to leave you a review. (protip: Reviewers who have many reviews are more authoritative in the eyes of a search engine).
  • Ask your customers to mention the specific product or service they purchased in addition to the city they live in within in their review.
  • Ask for reviews consistently over time, not in bursts. Make it a habit.(protip: Search engines don’t like a lot of reviews to show up overnight because they look fraudulent.)
  • Open a YouTube and/or Flickr account and upload geotagged photos and videos. Be sure to link the account to your business’ website.
  • Open a Facebook business page, and make sure your Name, Address, and Phone number match your website.
  • Setup a Twitter account and mention your name, your city, and your product or service keyword in your bio.
  • Setup your blog to automatically post to Facebook and Twitter. (protip: use to do this for free.)
  • Add Social Media buttons to your website and/or blog posts.

Link Building

Creating high quality and high value content on your website or blog is the best way to have a strong link building campaign. People will share your website across their Social Media platforms or in simple conversation if they feel it was of high interest to them.

  • Build links to your domain from websites about your city or other places in your city. (ex. review sites, city guides, city business directories, your church’s website, etc.)
  • Build links to your domain from websites about your industry. (local or not)
  • Build links with your product or service name and your location in the anchor text. (e.g., “Oak City Tech, Raleigh, NC web design”)

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