Do you want to dominate your local market?
Is bacon one of the greatest and tastiest proteins ever?
Your answer should be an emphatic YES to both questions.
Dominating your local market sounds amazing, but doing it is a different story. Where do you even begin when it comes to boosting your local online presence?
The good news is, you’ve already started.
Your journey begins with this local SEO checklist blog. In it, I’m going to give you the 9 most essential steps you need to take if you want to start controlling your local market. I’ll break down the what, why, and how of each point and even give you a real-life example of the step in action (you don’t have to thank me out loud.)
Let’s dive in!
The 9-Step Local SEO Checklist
Here’s the checklist:
I like to give you what you came here for upfront. No 15-20 minute, scrolling forever childhood/growing up on the farm stories here (especially because I’ve been in sunny South Florida my whole life.)
You may be saying to yourself, “Great checklist Doug, but I don’t even know what local SEO is.”
No worries - keep readin’ on!
What Is Local SEO?
Simply put, local SEO is a way to get more customers from local searches on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This includes improving your online presence to attract more local customers to your website and/or brick-and-mortar storefront.
It’s important to note that local SEO is different from regular SEO. Regular SEO aims to improve your website's visibility on a national or global level while local SEO focuses on being found by potential customers in your local area.
The Importance of Local SEO
Before I break down the 10 steps in the local SEO checklist, let's discuss why local SEO is so important for your business:
- Increased Traffic: Local SEO helps your business appear in local search results. This increases the chances of attracting people who are searching for your products or services in your area.
- Targeted Audience: It helps in targeting potential customers who are more likely to convert because they are already looking for local businesses.
- Competitive Advantage: Many local businesses are not optimizing their websites for local SEO, so there is a huge opportunity to stand out in the local search results over your competitors.
- Cost-Effective: As business owners, we all love free things. Local SEO is a cost-effective way to market your business online as it helps in attracting free organic traffic.
The 9-Step Local SEO Checklist
Time to get into the nitty gritty! Let's talk through all 9 steps in the checklist.
01 // Create A Google My Business Profile:
- What is it: It's a free tool by Google that allows business owners to manage how their business appears on Google Search and the Map Pack. This includes adding your business name, location, hours of operation, and photos.
- Why: This is crucial for your business to show up in local search results and Google Maps.
- How: Go to the Google My Business website, sign in with your Google account, and follow the prompts to add your business information.
- Example: A local coffee shop owner should create a profile including their business name, location, hours of operation, and photos of the shop.
02 // Do Keyword Research:
- What is it: It is the process of finding and analyzing the terms that people are entering into search engines in your geographic area. There are a lot of keyword research tools that are either free to use or paid. These are 5 of my favorite free keyword research tools.
- Why: To identify the local keywords potential customers might use to find your business.
- How: Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush.
- Example: A local plumber might target keywords such as "plumber in Fort Lauderdale" or "Fort Lauderdale plumbing services".
03 // Get Customer Reviews For Your Google My Business Listing:
- What is it: It is the process of collecting feedback from customers who have used your products or services.
- Why: Positive reviews improve your business's credibility and can influence potential customers.
- How: Ask satisfied customers to leave a review on Google or other review sites. Make it easy by creating an email or text template that includes a link to your Google My Business review section.
- Example: A local restaurant can leave a note on the table or send a follow-up email with a link to their Google My Business page asking for a review.
04 // Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly:
- What is it: It means your website is accessible and usable on mobile devices. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you are losing potential clients/customers.
- Why: 58.99% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones.
- How: Use a mobile-friendly design for your website. Test your site’s mobile-friendliness using Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
- Example: A local boutique should ensure that customers can easily browse products and make a purchase from their mobile device.
05 // Find High-Quality Backlink Opportunities:
- What is it: It is the process of getting other websites to link to your website. The more credible the site that links out to you, the more credibility your site will get in the eyes of search engines.
- Why: Backlinks from local businesses, news websites, or blogs can greatly improve your local SEO.
- How: Network with other local businesses or participate in local events. If you’re feeling extra brave, you could reach out to connections that have podcasts and request to be featured on their podcast.
- Example: A local fitness center could offer a free class at a local event in exchange for a backlink on the event’s website.
06 // Invest In Local PR:
- What is it: It involves getting media coverage for your business in local newspapers, blogs, and online publications.
- Why: Getting mentioned in local news or blogs can improve your visibility and credibility.
- How: Participate in local events, sponsor local sports teams, or send press releases to local media.
- Example: A local bakery could sponsor a city festival (ie. pumpkin patch, Christmas tree lighting event, etc.) and get mentioned on the city’s website. Another backlink!
07 // Create Quality & Relevant Content:
- What is it: It is the creation of valuable, useful content that addresses the needs and interests of your local audience. Very similar to the content you’re reading right now.
- Why: Providing value to your local customers can help you attract and retain them.
- How: Create content related to your industry that addresses the needs and questions of your local audience.
- Example: A local gardener could create a blog post about the best plants for the local climate.
08 // Optimize On-Page SEO Elements:
- What is it: It involves optimizing the individual pages of your website for search engines. This includes using relevant keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, and headings.
- Why: This helps search engines understand the content of your pages and rank them accordingly.
- How: Include local keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, and headings.
- Example: A local dentist could include the keyword "Boca Raton Dental Services" in their homepage title tag.
09 // Make Sure Your NAP Is Consistent Everywhere It’s Listed:
- What is it: NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone Number. This information must be consistent across all online platforms.
- Why: Consistent NAP information across all online platforms helps search engines trust your business.
- How: Check all your online listings and make sure your Name, Address, and Phone Number are identical. SEMrush has a powerful listing management tool that can help you keep track of and manage your NAP listings.
- Example: Make sure your business is listed as "John's Diner" and not "John’s Restaurant" on different platforms.
We all want to dominate our local market. Thankfully, the days of not knowing where to start are gone. This 9-step local SEO checklist can be a game-changer for your business and make you the talk of the town.
I hope that you use this local SEO checklist and see amazing results from it! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about local SEO.
Does reading this blog make you want to level up your business? Let's huddle up and work together to get your business into victory formation!