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The Complete Local SEO Checklist: A Guide for Local Businesses

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As a local business owner, you know how important it is to have a solid online presence.

SEO is a powerful tool to help you reach more local customers, grow your revenue, and stand out from the competition. But even if you have your local SEO covered, chances are, there are still a few things you can tweak to ensure your business reaches potential customers in your area.

In this comprehensive guide prepared by Nu Agency SEO experts, we'll walk you through everything you need to know so your site will rank high and get seen by locals looking for what you offer.

So whether you're just starting or want to polish up your local SEO efforts, read on and check out our complete local SEO checklist for tips on improving your ranking and attracting more customers. Happy optimizing!


Create a Google Business Profile and Optimize It for Your Local Business

A Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business or GMB, is a free listing that local businesses can create on Google to improve their local SEO. When customers do local searches for products or services on Google, your business profile will appear in the search results, complete with your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and more.

You need to create or claim your business profile if you don't have one. Here's how:

  • Go to
  • Enter your business name and location
  • Follow the prompts to verify your business


Once you've created or claimed your GMB listing, take some time to fill out as much information as possible about your company. The more information you include, the easier it will be for potential customers to find and contact you. Make sure to include:

  • Your business name, address, and phone number
  • A description of your local business
  • Hours of operation
  • Services and products you offer
  • Images and videos


Take advantage of Google's free tools to help fuel business growth. These include:

  • Google My Business Posts, which let you share updates, events, and offers with potential customers
  • Google Maps which shows your business location and helps customers get directions
  • Google Reviews which allows customers to leave reviews of your local business
  • Google Insights provides data on how customers are finding and interacting with your local business online


Creating a GMB listing and taking advantage of Google's free tools makes it easier for potential customers to find your business online.


Perform a Local SEO Audit and Keyword Research

One of the significant components of your search engine optimization strategy is to perform a local SEO audit. A local SEO audit is a comprehensive analysis of your website's on-page and off-page SEO factors. It includes everything from your site's title tags and meta descriptions to its backlinks and local citations.

If you're not ranking as well as expected in local search results, ensure that you use relevant keywords in your content and when describing your products and services. This way, customers will have a better chance of finding you when searching for your products and services in search engines.

By conducting an audit, you can better understand which areas of your site need improvement and what local keywords you should be targeting.


Request Google Reviews From Your Local Customers

Reviews are a great way to improve local SEO and attract new customers. Online reviews help local businesses in two ways and should be a vital part of your local SEO checklist.

  • They improve your business's visibility in search results.
  • They serve as social proof that encourages potential customers to choose your business over the competition.

But how do you ask for reviews? Simple! Just Ask! Though it might seem daunting, you'll be surprised that many satisfied customers are more than happy to share their thoughts. You can ask customers if they'd be willing to leave a review of your local business on Google, post signs in your physical store, and include a note with customer receipts.

You can also make it part of your email marketing strategy and, of course, your social media strategy. Social Media reviews are particularly seen as reliable because they are attached to real customer social media accounts. Make sure, however, that you're not asking for positive reviews or offering incentives in exchange for reviews, as this is against Google's policies.


Add Specific Location Pages to Your Website

One of the most effective tactics in your local SEO checklist is to create specific pages per location if your business has multiple locations. 

Creating local pages on your website helps you rank for local keywords, improve visibility, and attract customers nearby. It also signals to Google that your business is relevant to searchers in a specific geographic area. Each local page should include:

  • The city or region name in the title tag
  • The city or region name in the meta description
  • Relevant local keywords throughout the page copy
  • Unique content for each location
  • NAP (name, address, phone number) information for each location


You can make your content more interesting by adding local photos or videos to the page and featuring your employees and customers from that location.

Adding local pages to your website can improve your chances of ranking higher in search results and attracting more local customers. Also, don't forget to include calls-to-action (CTAs) on each local page that encourages visitors to take the next step, whether it's visiting your store or scheduling an appointment.


Optimize Pages for Your Location

Another critical part of your local SEO checklist is to optimize your pages and include local details in your title, description, H1s, H2s, and more.

Doing this signals to Google that your business is relevant to searchers in a specific geographic area and helps you rank higher in local search results. Here are some tips for optimizing your pages:


1. Use local keywords

Include local keywords throughout the page copy, including:

  • titles
  • meta description
  • H tags (H tags are HTML tags that indicate the hierarchy of a piece of text, with H being the highest level
  • Alt text (this is the text that appears when an image doesn't load)


2. Use schema markup

Use schema markup or code that helps search engines understand the content on your website to include local details such as your NAP information, opening hours, reviews, and more.

These are major local SEO ranking factors, and you will see results once they are in place on your website.


Ensure Your Website Is Optimized for Mobile Devices

Searching for business and services usually takes place on mobile devices. Because this phenomenon is now second nature for many people, it's essential to include this step in our handy local SEO checklist.

A mobile-friendly website is easy to use on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Your website should be responsive (meaning it adapts to the device's screen size), the font is legible, and the buttons are big enough to click on without difficulty.

Using Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool, you can check if your website is mobile-friendly. Enter your website URL and Google will analyze your site and tell you if it needs improvement. If it does, don't worry! Plenty of resources are available to help you make your website more responsive.


Don't Forget About Voice Search

Optimizing your site for voice search is an offshoot of making your site more mobile-friendly. With the rise in popularity of voice-activated assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, more and more people are using voice search to find local businesses.

To make sure your business comes up when someone does a voice search, include long-tail keywords (keywords that are three or four words long) on your website. For example, instead of saying "plumber," you might say "licensed local plumber." This minor tweak will help you rank higher in search results and ensure that your business comes up when people use voice search.


Reference Your Location in Your Content 

A vital part of your local SEO checklist is to reference your location in your content. As mentioned earlier, you should make sure that your home page and other important pages containing information about your product and service reference your location in four key places: your title, meta description, H1s, and alt-texts. 

But beyond that, your content should also mention your location throughout. For example, if you're a local florist, you might write a blog post about the best flowers for a spring wedding in your city. This helps Google understand that your business is relevant to people in your area that are searching for local businesses and services. Your content also becomes more engaging, and your blogs can generate potential leads based on the specific topics you write about. 


Leverage Local News or Community Events

A great way to create content is to build on local news and community events so your local customers can relate to them. This should be non-negotiable in your local SEO checklist. Your customers are likely members of your local community, so they will find local news content engaging. You can use stories sourced from local news sites as a jumping-off point to write blog posts, create social media posts, or even design local marketing campaigns. 

For example, if a big local event is happening, like a music festival or food fair, you could write a blog post about how your business is the perfect place to go before or after the event. You could also sponsor local charities or events and run a social media campaign with discounts and giveaways leading up to the event.


Connect Your Google Business Profile to Your Social Media

Linking your GMB and social media profile is another item on your local SEO checklist. Leveraging social media can drive social media audiences to know more about your business or help them buy your products. While local search is excellent, you can further boost your results with a social media presence.

Make sure to include local SEO keywords in your social media profile and content so that people in your area can find you when searching for businesses like yours. You should also include a link to your website and Google Business Profile on your social media accounts so that people can easily visit your site and find out exactly where you are.


Make Sure Your Site Is Part of Local Directories for Local Businesses

The final item on your local SEO checklist is to leverage online directories and citations to gain higher authority for your business. Make sure you have a business listing in local directories, including Google Business Profile (GMB), Yelp, Angie's List, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and more.

Join specialized lists as well, those catering to special groups such as mothers (who love to declutter), home entrepreneurs (who might need extra space for their business inventory), automobile enthusiasts (who might want to keep their vehicles in self storage), and so on.

When adding your business to local directories, use consistent NAP information to avoid confusion.


Grow Your Business With Your Local SEO Checklist

Local SEO should be at the top of your list if you're looking to fuel your business growth today, this coming year, and beyond. With a sound strategy and our helpful local SEO checklist, you can expect a significant boost in your performance soon.


Are you struggling with any of the items on the local SEO checklist? Not to worry! Contact Nu Agency today!  Our team of SEO experts can help optimize your site and take your business to the next level.

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