A Complete Guide to Local SEO for Generating Local Leads

Master the art of local SEO with our comprehensive guide, designed to help businesses optimize their online presence for local searches, attract new customers and outperform the local competition.

Even if you’re the best in your field, many local residents and visitors have yet to discover you. That’s why it’s important to use local SEO as part of your marketing strategy.

In this guide to local SEO, we’ll cover everything you need to know, including:

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is the strategy of optimizing your website for local searches. These are the searches people make when they want to find a business near them. Local SEO helps you optimize your company’s presence so that it appears in more of these searches.

What’s the difference between local SEO and traditional SEO?

The difference between local SEO and traditional SEO lies in the type of search engine results targeted.

Local SEO targets localized search results (such as “bakery near me” or “landscaping company in Los Angeles”), while traditional SEO targets non-localized search results (such as “how to change a flat tire” or “best project management software”).

How does local SEO work?

Local SEO works by using SEO ranking factors, as well as localized factors, which include:

Relevance, i.e. the degree of match between your Google business profile and the user’s search.
Distance, i.e. how far your business is from the searcher and/or the location they specified, such as “campsites near conway, nh”.
Notoriety, i.e. the degree of reputation and awareness of your company.

How does local SEO work?

Local SEO works by using SEO ranking factors, as well as localized factors, which include:

Relevance, i.e. the degree of match between your Google business profile and the user’s search.

Distance, i.e. how far your business is from the searcher and/or the location they specified, such as “campsites near conway, nh”.

Notoriety, i.e. the degree of your company’s reputation and prominence on the web, based on online reviews, directories, articles and backlinks.


Search engines like Google use these ranking signals to generate search results similar to non-localized (ten blue links) or local search results. Localized search results are distinguished from non-localized results by the presence of a so-called “local pack”, i.e. a carousel of Google business listings.

Should I use local SEO?

In the rest of this guide to local SEO, we’ll look at who should be using this strategy.

If any of the following situations apply to your B2B or B2C business, it’s in your best interest to invest in local SEO:

Do you serve local customers?

If you serve customers in your local community, you’ll want to invest in SEO for local services. I know what you’re thinking: I already have local customers who frequent my business… why bother?

Even if you already have local customers, you don’t have all the local customers in your business. Not everyone knows your business. What’s more, people are always on the move, which means new potential customers are always arriving.

A local presence is a good way of ensuring that local customers don’t lose sight of your brand.

Do you want to win new customers?

If you want to win new prospects that turn into customers, local SEO is one way to do it. Local SEO helps you rank in searches where people want to find a business in their area.

People are moving to new areas or visiting them for the first time. They may be looking for a business like yours, and a local presence helps them find you.

Want to win new customers?

If you want to win new prospects that turn into customers, local SEO is one way to do it. Local SEO helps you rank in searches where people want to find a business in their area.

People are moving to new areas or visiting them for the first time. They may be looking for a business like yours, and a local presence helps them find you.

Imagine you’re traveling abroad, and your car has a problem. You need to find a reliable mechanic in the area. You’ll turn to Google to help you find one, and you’ll probably choose the best-ranked (and highest-rated) result.

So local SEO is key to helping you win new customers.

Do you have competition in your area?

If you have a lot of competitors in your area, you should invest in local SEO. This strategy can give you an edge over your competitors if they don’t optimize it.

Think of it this way: Imagine you run a hamburger restaurant. Someone visiting your area decides to have a burger. They search for a burger joint near them, and your business appears in the local 3-pack.

Identifying local keywords

In the next part of this guide to local SEO, we’re going to talk about local keywords. Local keywords are a crucial element in generating leads in your region. What are local keywords and how do you find them?

Local keywords are keywords associated with a location. If you have an ice cream store, for example, a local keyword would be “ice cream store in Austin” or “ice cream near Austin”. Local keywords can also end with “near me”, for example “ice cream near me”.

These keywords help local searchers find your company when they need your products or services. That’s why keyword research is covered in the best SEO courses.

The best way to optimize local keywords is to conduct keyword research.

Use a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner, Keywords Everywhere, Google Search, etc. to help you identify the right local keywords. In addition to search volume and competitiveness, you need to consider relevance when choosing keywords.

For example, if someone searches for “free ice cream Austin, tx” and you don’t offer any, don’t target them. If you do (and you’re ranking well for that term), you run the risk of receiving an influx of calls or unhappy visitors.

Once you’ve discovered the most relevant keywords

Respond to (and resolve) criticism.

You won’t always get five-star reviews. People use reviews to give their opinion of companies.

While you can leave these reviews as they are, it’s important to respond to them. Acknowledge the user’s experience and work with them to resolve it, whether that’s by making changes internally, offering a refund or talking to them through a private channel.

If you use a feedback management tool, you can often streamline tracking and responding to feedback.

Create localized website content

Remember the local keyword research you did earlier? Here’s how to apply that research to your websites. While local listings like Google Business Profile are fantastic for attracting local traffic, so is your website.

On your website, you can create localized content such as:

Blog posts that highlight local events, such as a seasonal fashion show
Commercial content that highlights local services in the area, such as a city, county or state.

When creating this content, especially ongoing content, it’s important to make your localized content unique. Mention local points of interest, for example, or include images specific to the region. If your localized content is too similar,

On your website, you can create localized content such as:

Blog posts that highlight local events, such as a seasonal fashion show
Commercial content that highlights local services in the area, such as a city, county or state.

When creating this content, especially ongoing content, it’s important to make your localized content unique. Mention local points of interest, for example, or include images specific to the region. If your localized content is too similar, you won’t benefit from this strategy.

Build a localized backlink profile


Like traditional SEO, local SEO uses backlinks to generate search results.

Google, for example, refers to the use of prominence to generate its localized search results. According to Google, prominence is “based on the information Google has about a business from across the web, such as links, articles and directories”.

Develop your localized inbound link profile with local SEO strategies such as the following:

Sponsor or support local events, charities or sports teams in your community.
Joining your local chamber of commerce

Your traditional SEO efforts can also help you build your backlink profile from sites around the world. Together, these two elements will help build your reputation and trust with search engines such as Google, helping you to achieve higher rankings.

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