Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

Local SEO is an effective way to make your business more visible online to an audience that is looking for the products or services you offer, in the local area. It improves the visibility of a website, increases website traffic, and generates revenue by connecting businesses with a local target audience. It ensures the credibility of your business. To stand out in the competitive marketplace, every organization needs to optimize local search to promote their brand and increase traffic to their business.

To help you with this, I've put together this handy local SEO checklist that outlines the top areas you can optimize to be found by local customers in your area, and I share some concrete tips and examples to get you started.

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

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Local SEO Checklist

By checking off the items in this local SEO checklist, you can increase your chances of being found in relevant local searches, while driving more local (potential) customers to your website. Below are 10 essentials for a best local SEO strategy  

Create A Good Website

You can't have good local SEO without a solid website. Your website is the most important component: without a quality website that follows SEO best practices, no amount of optimization will get you the results you want. 

Make sure your website has the following:

- A mobile-friendly or responsive design. Google now indexes the mobile version of your website rather than the desktop version, which is essential for local SEO.

- Fast page speed. Page speed is an increasingly important ranking factor. Also, users will leave a website if it does not load quickly.

- The right URL structure. The way your website is structured is important to searchers and search engines. Make sure your site is easy to navigate and that the user journey is clear from the moment they arrive at your website until they become a lead. (You should also submit your sitemap to Google to help with this).

- Internal linking. Linking between relevant pages on your website can help Google and searchers find information about your site.

Use Structured Data Markup

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

Structured data markup is a machine-readable representation of your product data directly on your website. Markup added to your HTML code helps Google and other search engines understand and process your content reliably. This is often called Schema markup

You can add structured data about local businesses to provide Google with information about your hours of operation, the services your business offers, your reviews, and more.

Using Local Keywords

Talking about local searches, it's important to know the types of local searches you would like your business to rank for in local searches. The easiest way to do this? Perform local keyword research to build your keyword list.

Keywords are the actual words or phrases that people use to search for information on search engines. By targeting particular keywords as a part of your local SEO strategy, you can increase your chances of showing up in these searches.

You want your keywords to be linked to your business, your products or services, and your location so you can target searchers in your area. Here are some good examples of local keywords for a plumber:

- Best Woodworker Maine
- Maine Woodworking
- Maine Woodworking Company

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

You should also identify some long-tail keywords, which are longer, more specific phrases that customers use to find businesses like yours. You can use these phrases to create quality content that will drive traffic to your website from search engines. Here are a few examples of long-tail keywords for a plumber:

- How to fix a clogged pipe
- What to do if my toilet leaks
- How do I stop my faucet from dripping?

Your keywords should be included in your title tags, meta descriptions, and website content, but they can also be used in your Google business profile and social media profiles, which we'll discuss later. 

Use SEO-Friendly URLs

Many people overlook URLs when considering their SEO strategy. This is a major mistake that can penalize the website in terms of ranking in organic searches. Search engines value and reward clean, well-written URLs that are very closely related to the topic that the page content they cover.

For example, www.yourwebsite.com/1234/567/find_info, will certainly not get any advantage in the eyes and rankings of search engines over a URL that describes exactly what that website is about. It may also be flagged by Google as a "spammy link", resulting in a potential penalty that will hurt your website search engine ranking.

Optimize Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Once you know your website is in good shape and you have a solid list of local keywords, you can start optimizing it for local searches. To do this, it's important to optimize the title tags and meta descriptions on each of your web pages.

Title tags are the HTML code that displays the title of the page - it's also what shows up in search results.

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

Your title tags should be 50-60 characters long and include your target keyword and possibly your location (depending on the page).

Meta descriptions are the HTML code that appears below the title of a page in search results to give users a better idea of the page content before they click.  

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

Your meta descriptions should be between 50 and 160 characters long and include your target keyword and a description of the page content. 

Create A Blog (or A FAQ Page)

Expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are three key ranking factors that Google looks at to determine whether or not a website content will be useful to a searcher. Creating regular content in the form of a blog can help you exponentially in these areas. A blog allows your business to showcase your expertise and authority, while regularly updating your website with fresh, keyword-rich content.  

Additionally, you can use the content you create for your website as part of your marketing. For example, you can share links to your articles on your social media sites, feature your blog posts in a regular newsletter, and create more in-depth downloadable content to capture web visitors' information, such as their email addresses and phone number.

If you already have a blog for your business, be sure to create keyword-driven content (this is where long-tail keyword research comes in handy!) If you don't have a blog for your business yet and want to create one, you can do keyword research, use tools like Google Trends to find out what people are searching for, and even ask your customers what they would like to see from you.

If you don't think you have the time or resources to run a business blog (it takes time and planning), you can always create useful keyword-rich content in the form of an FAQ page. An FAQ page can provide answers to commonly searched long-tail local keywords while giving search engines and searchers valuable information that can help you rank or win business. 

Claim and Optimize Your Google Business profile

Your Google Business profile can help you be found in local searches done directly on Google Search and Google Maps. Google business profiles contain a wealth of information that can help customers take action (like calling your business or getting directions) directly from your profile. Plus, they are usually the first batch of results that show up under the ads for any local search.

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

The first step is to make sure you have created your Google Business profile. You can now do this directly from Google Search! Simply:

- Search for your business on Google
- Click on the result for your business and click on "Do you own this business?".
- Then follow the instructions to claim the page

If your business is not already listed on Google, you can add it:

- Go to business.google.com
- Click on "Manage Now".
- Click on "Add your business to Google".
- Then follow the instructions to add your business 

Be sure to check your Google Business profile after claiming or adding it so you can make changes to the page if necessary.

Once your listing is claimed, you can take steps to optimize it. There are several elements of your Google Business profile that can give your local SEO a boost, so this is an important step.

Here are some essential ways to optimize your Google business profile for local SEO:

- Make sure all information is accurate. It's important that your hours of operation, business website, business phone number, and address are correct (and consistent with other listings, which we'll talk about later).

- Complete all sections. It's best to add as much information as possible to your Google Business profile in order to present an optimal image of your business to potential customers.

- Add the right business categories. Many SEO experts believe that the main category you choose has the most impact on your local search ranking. (You can also change it later if necessary).

- Upload relevant photos. Google allows you to add a number of images and suggestions, including your logo, a cover photo, the interior and exterior of your building, your team, and action shots of your team at work.

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

Manage Reviews On Google (and Get More of Them!)

Reviews are another important local ranking factor that your business cannot (and should not) ignore. Nearly 90% of people read reviews of local businesses and search engines want to give people what they want. Which is clearly: reviews.

Google looks at your reviews, including the number of reviews you have, when determining your ranking for specific searches. Certain keywords or phrases in your reviews can also help (or hurt) your performance in local search results.

In addition, a higher star rating can also help you in local searches: when someone searches for the word "best", Google only looks for businesses with a star rating of 4.0 or higher.

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

All of this is to say that it is extremely important to make sure you get good reviews!

You can get Google reviews by:

- Asking your satisfied customers to leave you reviews
- Including a link to your Google Business profile on your website
- Including a link to your Google Business profile in emails sent to customers
- Sending an email survey.

Once you've gotten reviews, the work doesn't stop there. It's also important to respond to reviews. Google says that "Managing and responding to reviews" is a way to improve your local ranking on Google. 

Keep Your Google Local Listings Consistent

Google Local listings are an essential part of local SEO. Listings appear in local search results and can help your business get discovered on specific maps, apps, or sites (as well as on search engines), so it's important that your business is listed on the top local listing websites.

But it's even more important that your business information is consistent across all of these sites. Search engines want to make sure they are presenting the most accurate and useful information to searchers. To do this, they use signals from across the web. If they see that all of the essential information about your business (especially your name, address, and phone number - NAP) is consistent, they are confident that they are displaying the right information.

On the other hand, if they find conflicting information or inconsistencies, they have a lower level of confidence and may not display your company information on the first page of search results (or at all 😱).

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

That's why it's important to add Google local listing consistency to your local SEO checklist. You want your business name, address, and phone number to be EXACTLY the same in all directories, including Google Business profile, Yelp, CitySearch, etc. 

Build Local Backlinks

Link building remains an important SEO tactic. Local link building can boost your company's SEO by sending signals to search engines that other local sites consider your website authoritative and trustworthy.

Here are some ways to build local backlinks:

- Manage Google local listings. We've already discussed the importance of local listings, but these provide built-in backlinks to your site.

- Publish guest articles. Guest posting allows you to build credibility by sharing useful articles on other websites/blogs to reach your target audience. Many websites accept guest posts with links to your brand website and mentions of it. Try to get your articles published on authoritative websites in your niche and neighborhood.

- Sponsor local events. In addition to being a great way to support your local community, sponsoring events provides publicity for your business, guarantees valuable links back to your website on the event page, and can earn you media mentions. All of these things increase traffic. To sponsor local events, start small and don't limit your sponsorship idea to funding. You can sponsor events by offering snacks to attendees (if you run a catering operation) - don't be afraid to think outside the box!

- Local digital news sites. Don't underestimate local newspapers. A 2019 survey found that local newspapers remain, by far, the most important providers of journalism in their communities. Write press releases to post on local news sites or talk to reporters and provide them with stories related to your business. You can even become a columnist for the local media and post regular commentary on topics related to your brand. 

Using Social Media For Business

It may not seem intuitive to include social media marketing in your local SEO checklist, but hear me out. This can actually benefit your business SEO in a few different ways.

First, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram give you the opportunity to include your business address - which can act almost like their own little listing sites.

Also, social media sites regularly appear in local search results for your business name. So by managing profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can give your business more space on search results pages when someone searches for your business. 

Local SEO Checklist To Improve Ranking On Google

It's also important to remember that while search engines are still the primary means of finding businesses, people are increasingly open to discovering new businesses through social media. So by investing in a social media marketing strategy, you can increase your chances of being found by potential customers across multiple channels. 

Never Forget About Mobile Site Optimization

Finally, don't forget or overlook the importance of mobile optimization for your website as part of your local SEO considerations. Sites that are not optimized for mobile viewing on cell phones or tablets are now being penalized in a tangible way in search rankings. It is now proven that if a user performs a search from a mobile or tablet device, the search results provided by the major search engines will rank websites optimized for a mobile view higher.

Search engines are not fooled. They know when you're on a mobile device and want to give you the best mobile experience possible, which means they're less likely to prioritize non-mobile websites, resulting in better SEO. 


When it comes to local SEO, you don't have to fight the world. Instead, you just need to:

- Be a consistent and reliable resource for your local area
- Have a functional, fast-loading website
- Follow some of the best SEO practices.

If you follow the points detailed above in this handy checklist, you'll be well on your way to achieving this goal and boosting your local marketing.

FAQs About Local SEO Checklist

What is the local SEO checklist?

At the present time, the increasing dominance of SERP features - such as image carousels, maps, listings, knowledge panels, "People also ask" drop-downs and various forms of local business cards - means that ranking in Google is not what it used to be. Your business needs also earn those featured snippets. To do this, you need local SEO.

How can I do local SEO?

Create your local SEO strategy

- Make an inventory of your services and products.
- Audit your existing website.
- Conduct keyword research on your competitors.
- Identify geo-specific keywords.
- Implement on-page SEO.
- Create localized landing pages.
- Optimize your Google My Business listing.
- Submit key business information to directory listings.

What are the five steps to improve local SEO?

5 steps to improve your local SEO

1- Create consistent listings using NAP.
2- Use Google My Business.
3- Encourage reviews of your business.
4- Add keywords to your website correctly.
5- Work to receive local press.

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