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Beginners Guide to Local SEO

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In today's digital age, Local SEO is your golden ticket for driving targeted traffic to your business. Whether it's a brick-and-mortar store, a consultation service, or even an e-commerce site that targets local customers, mastering the ins and outs of Local SEO is crucial. Picture this: you're famished and craving sushi. You're probably going to pull out your phone and Google "best sushi near me." If your restaurant's Local SEO is spot-on, you'll show up in these local searches. Miss out, and well, your competitors will be dining on your portion of the market share.

Who Needs Local SEO

So, who can benefit from Local SEO? The answer is pretty much any business that caters to local clientele. Whether you're a mom-and-pop shop, a local service provider like a plumber or an electrician, or even a freelancer, if you have local clients, then Local SEO can be an invaluable asset. Even businesses that operate globally can benefit from focusing on specific local areas to improve overall reach and credibility.

Understanding SEO and Local SEO

What is SEO

Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is essentially the backbone of your online presence. It includes a wide range of techniques and strategies that help your website rank higher in search engine results, thereby driving more traffic. You wouldn't build a house without a solid foundation, right? Similarly, you shouldn't have a website without strong SEO strategies in place.

What is Local SEO

Local SEO is, in essence, the localized version of SEO. It focuses on optimizing your website to appear in local search results. It's about being found by customers in your geographical area who are looking for services or products you offer. It's SEO, but with a local twist, ensuring that you appear in the search results when potential customers in your locale are looking for what you offer.

Keyword Research for Local SEO

Importance of Keyword Research

Keywords are the building blocks of SEO, both local and general. They're the terms and phrases that people type into search engines, and they're what search engines use to find your site. Just like you wouldn't bake a cake without the right ingredients, you shouldn't embark on an SEO campaign without a comprehensive keyword strategy.

Tools for Keyword Research

There are dozens of tools on the market to help you with keyword resarch. Google's Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMrush are some of the industry favorites. We are a big fan of UberSuggest here at Higglo Digital. These tools offer comprehensive data that can guide your keyword strategy, from search volume to competition level and even seasonal trends.

Take a look at one of our favorite resources on keywords.

Local Keyword Strategies

Your approach to local keywords should be a bit more nuanced. First, always consider incorporating geographic terms relevant to your target area. Second, think about voice search and how people might ask Siri or Alexa for services near them. Third, don't underestimate the power of 'near me' queries.

On-Page Optimization

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions serve as the sneak preview of what your website offers. They appear under your website title in search engine results and should be compelling enough to entice the user to click through to your site. For Local SEO, it's often beneficial to include geographic locations in your meta descriptions.

Header Tags

Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) structure your content, making it easier to read and digest. Most engineers don't know the importance of SEO structure in a website, so we'll often see these and other structural decisions made incorrectly. Search engines use these tags to understand the key topics covered in your content. For Local SEO, consider incorporating local keywords into your header tags where appropriate but make sure to not stuff too many in!

Local Content

Local content is essential for Local SEO. It not only helps you rank in local searches but also builds a sense of community and trust among local customers. This can be anything from blog posts about local events to a guide about the local real estate market—anything that the local audience will find relevant and useful.

On-Page Optimization is a very important aspect that most businesses don't capitalize on. Take a deep dive into On-Page SEO with this guide.

Local Citations

What are Citations

In the digital world, citations are instances where your business name, address, and phone number appear online. Think of them as the digital footprint of your physical business. They contribute significantly to your Local SEO ranking and should be consistent across all platforms.

How to Build Citations

Start by listing your business on local directories and review sites such as Yelp, Foursquare, and the Yellow Pages. Participate in local forums and engage in community events where you can get your business name out there. The more quality citations you build, the better for your Local SEO.

Google My Business

Importance of Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is the cornerstone of any successful Local SEO strategy. If SEO were a solar system, Google My Business would be the sun. It's that critical. Your GMB listing provides the basic facts about a company and its services to users.

Setting up Google My Business

Setting up your GMB is a straightforward but very important process. First, claim your listing if one already exists or create a new one. Make sure your information is accurate, from your business name and address to your operation hours and categories. The more complete and accurate your listing is, the higher it will rank in local searches. This is a quick and easy win that will have an impact on your business.

Local Backlinks

What are Backlinks

Backlinks, or inbound links, are links from one website to another. In the realm of SEO, you can see a backlink as a vote of confidence of your website. The more quality backlinks you have, the more authoritative your site appears to search engines. I'd be very careful about buying backlinks - there are a number of different factors that go into make a backlink good or bad. Here's a complete guide on backlinks.

How to Gain Local Backlinks

Local backlinks can be gained from many different sources such as local businesses, newspapers, and blogs. You can gain these by speaking with businesses in the area, engaging in community events, and even reaching out to local bloggers for collaboration. High-quality, local backlinks are huge for boosting your Local SEO.

Online Reviews

Why Reviews Matter

Reviews hold power in swaying public opinion and can be a significant determining factor in a customer's decision-making process. Positive reviews will have a drastic affect on your ranking on search engines and in local listings for SEO algorithms. There are many great ways to attract reviews from your customers, so it's worth doing some reading into this.

How to Get More Reviews

Actively encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews. This can be done at the point of sale, through follow-up emails, or even social media prompts. Never underestimate the power of a simple "please review us" prompt.

Social Media and Local SEO

Relationship Between Social Media and Local SEO

Social media might not directly influence your SEO, but it has a huge impact on your online presence. Consistent posting and engagement can increase your reach and create additional avenues for customer interaction, which, in turn, can boost your Local SEO indirectly.

Best Practices

For Local SEO, make sure to geo-tag your posts, use local hashtags, and encourage customers to "check-in" at your location. Engage with local influencers and businesses, as this not only increases your reach but also offers potential backlink opportunities.

Measuring Success

Analytics Tools

There are numerous tools to measure the success of your Local SEO efforts. Google Analytics is the most popular, offering insights into traffic, engagement, and conversion rates. Other alternatives include HubSpot, SEMrush, and Moz, which offer more specialized data that can be invaluable for your Local SEO efforts.

Key Metrics

The metrics you'll want to keep an eye on include local search rankings, organic traffic, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Watching these numbers can give you insights into what's working and what needs tweaking in your strategy.


Mastering Local SEO is no small feat, but it's a very important skill for anyone looking to attract a local audience. From keyword research and on-page optimization to building local citations and garnering stellar online reviews, each aspect plays a critical role in your overall strategy. With the right tools and techniques, you'll be well on your way to establishing a local presence. Don't underestimate Local SEO; it could be the difference between a thriving business and a forgotten one.

Higglo Digital is a full-service SEO and web agency. From Hulu to Blizzard, we’ve worked with clients across many industries and markets including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, New York City and Sydney. We have the expertise and experience to take your brand to the next level. We create memorable brand experiences and award winning websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Local SEO?

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Local SEO is the optimization of your online properties to generate traffic from location-based searching.

How is Local SEO different from traditional SEO?

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Local SEO focuses on local searches and local businesses, unlike traditional SEO which is more general.

How important are reviews in Local SEO?

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Extremely important. Reviews are like digital word-of-mouth.

Can social media impact my Local SEO?

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Yes, social media plays a significant role in boosting your Local SEO.

Should I consider outsourcing my Local SEO?

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If you want expert help to speed up your results, outsourcing to an agency like Higglo Digital is a good idea.

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