How to Rank on Google with Local SEO

By Mark Bianchi | | 2.11.21

Topping Google Search through Local SEO - Here’s How

One of the best tenets to live by in digital marketing is “Choose your battles.” Any SEO specialist worth their salt will tell you that not all keywords must be conquered or that you should compete with every big competitor in your industry. You also don’t need to land the number one spot for organic searches in Google. What you need is a smart strategy, and that can sometimes mean leveraging local SEO and investing more time and effort in it instead of trying to top the global, organic SERPs.

Local SEO: Who Needs It Most?

Local SEO is best for brick-and-mortar businesses that serve customers in a specific geographic area, which can be a city, town, or state. It is a more specific and targeted form of SEO. For example, it makes websites rank for geo-specific search queries, like “hand sanitizer retailer in Indiana” and “the best cronuts in Indianapolis.”

This makes local SEO perfect for small businesses. If they optimize for local, geo-targeted keywords, they can outshine and even outrank global brands. You’ll learn more about this strategy below.

Regarding industry, businesses that offer medical, law, plumbing, pet care, bar and restaurant, and real estate services stand to gain the most from local SEO.

Essentially, any business that targets a local market can benefit from local SEO. Certain industries stand to gain more than others, but the point remains that local SEO connects businesses to real-world communities and their needs.

Rank High on Google Search with these Local SEO Strategies

Switching gears from global to local SEO means tweaking some techniques and prioritizing strategies that can surely boost your site's visibility. Let’s get started.

1. Target long-tail, geo-specific keywords

Your choice of keywords will inform Google as to which search queries you intend to rank. Remember the rule of thumb: the more generic and non-specific a keyword is, the wider its geographic scope. You’ll want to focus on searches that are specific to your local community.

Generic terms and single-word keywords (e.g., hand sanitizers, cronuts) also tend to be very competitive. Millions of websites are ranking for them, whether intentionally or not. Finally, even if you attempt to capture traffic and leads by running ads, generic keywords are usually very expensive.

For context, the most expensive keywords in Google Ads is “business services” with an average cost per click (CPC) at $58.64. Next is “bail bonds” at $58.48; “casino” at $55.48; “lawyer” at $54.86, and “asset management” at $49.86.

The advantage of targeting long-tail keywords with mentions of locations is the ability to break free from the clutter surrounding generic keywords. You’ll only rank for queries with buying intent, for example, and not for searches for basic information.

2. Create and optimize a Google My Business page

User experience is Google’s priority. This means giving users the information they seek every time they use the Google search engine. So if a user asks for a specific product or service found in their immediate area, the first answers Google will provide are the brands and providers in that location.

The best way to declare to Google that you are a store, business, or service provider that’s catering specifically to customers in your area is to create a Google My Business page. Notice, too, that GMB pages sometimes appear higher in the SERPs than the organic results and paid ads. This is one of the ways that small, local businesses can rank higher than more popular, global brands in Google Search.

Would it be good enough to appear first in the SERPs but only through GMB? Certainly. GMB pages allow business owners to upload pictures, share their official website domain, and write comprehensive, marketing-oriented profiles about their businesses. If optimized properly, these GMB pages could be just as effective at raising awareness about your brand, attracting new customers, driving leads to your site, and increasing foot traffic to your store.

3. Build a mobile-friendly website

Local search is rising mainly because the Internet is now very much accessible and mobile. Eighty-one percent of Americans own a smartphone and 17 percent of adults access the Internet solely through their smartphones. When people are on the go, they search for whatever they need online through their phones.

Websites that are designed for desktop look clunky and are often difficult to navigate on a phone screen. Worse, they tend to load slowly. These can have a detrimental impact on user experience, which is why mobile-friendly websites (or websites that load fast on mobile devices) have a higher chance of ranking.

4. Leverage social media marketing

Social media helps increase visibility because it has the same effect as GMB pages and more. Notice that when you search a geo-targeted service or product on Google, social media accounts of businesses that offer them sometimes appear on page 1 of the SERPs, too, along with the GMB pages. Being active on social media is one way to increase your business’s visibility on online search results pages.

5. Make your NAP information consistent

The key to making your social media and GMB pages rank on Google is to include your NAP details — name, address, phone or contact numbers — on your profiles. More importantly, they should be accurate and consistent. The NAP information you provide on your website should be the same as the ones on your social media and GMB.

Any platform or web page where you provide your business details (e.g., LinkedIn, a local business listing, the Contact Us page on your website) is a NAP citation. Accuracy and consistency in your NAP citations are widely considered as local search ranking factors.

Why Localize Your Search Engine Optimization

Ranking on Google Search is no cakewalk. It is an endeavor that takes time, resources, and lots of work. All of these are worth it because businesses can achieve the following through well-executed SEO:

  • Generate leads
  • Heighten brand awareness
  • Increase conversions
  • Increase sales
  • Increase your bottom line

An SEO campaign can focus on any one or all of these goals at once. Each has its own set of baselines, success indicators, and goals. One of the things they have in common, however, is they are all closely tied to search ranking. The higher a website ranks, the more visible it becomes, the more users will be drawn to it.

Every website that engages in SEO has an opportunity to be visible globally. You don’t need to rank first for global searches, however, when your target market is local. If you insist on dominating the global searches, you might waste a substantial amount of time and resources reaching out to people who will not become your customers anyway.

Improve your Google search rankings efficiently through local SEO. Use the methods above, or call on our local SEO specialists at QBall Digital. Contact us today.