Local SEO Guide

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Dominate with this guide to local SEO in 2024.

This guide includes:
- Learn how to rank in the 3-pack with tips and tricks
- Learn how to build NAP citations with tips and tricks.
- Unleash the power of a fully optimised Google Business Profile.
- And much more!

Dive in and unlock local SEO success.

Chapter 1

Local SEO basics: Getting Found in Your Suburb

Ready to attract local customers? This chapter unlocks the secrets of local SEO:

- Why Local SEO Matters: Discover eye-opening data that proves SEO is essential for any local business.
- Demystifying the Map Pack: I’ll break down how the Map Pack works and unveil the best way to track your local search ranking.

Let's jump in and put your business on the map!

What is Local SEO?

Forget the stat overload! But here’s a quick peek at some compelling numbers that showcase the power of SEO for local businesses.

46% of all Google searches have “local intent” (Search Engine Roundtable).

29% of all Google SERPs contain a local pack in the results (RankRanger).

76% of consumers who search for something local on their phone visit a store that day (Google).

This makes it obvious that local searches are a massive player in the SEO game. Put your business right before those searches, and customers could be walking through your door in no time!


How does local SEO work?

Same idea, different game. Just like regular Google searches, it’s all about finding the best results for a user’s query. 

But here’s the twist: local SEO uses a special set of factors to rank businesses, so you gotta play by a different set of rules to climb the local search ladder:

  • Local SEO dials things up a notch with its own ranking signals:
  • The location that the person is searching from
  • NAP citations
  • Presence of Google Business Profile listing
  • Keywords used in Google Business Profile profile
  • Sentiment of online reviews
  • Keywords used in online reviews
  • Number of “check-ins” at that location
  • Shares on social media
  • Google Maps star rating for that business


Chapter 2

The Map Pack: The Map Pack Masterclass!

In this chapter, I'll crack the code on:
- The Google Map Pack: Learn how Google’s Map Pack Works
- Dominating Your Rankings: Discover the secret of tracking your Map Pack position and leaving the competition in the dust.
- Local SEO Power Tools: We'll equip you with helpful local SEO tools
- Organic Local Keyword Ranking: Learn how to rank in Google with organic keywords

This chapter is your one-stop shop for Map Pack mastery, so get ready to climb the local search ladder!

Intro to The Map Pack:

The Map Pack or Local Pack is the handy box with three listings and a map. It’s your one-stop shop for finding local businesses in a flash. It shows three relevant businesses near you, all powered by the magic of Google Maps.

Say you need a haircut in Sydney. Search “barber Sydney,” and bam! Google’s Map Pack appears right up top.

This is followed by the organic results

I’ll unveil the secrets of Google’s Map Pack ranking later. Trust me, it’s a whole different ball game with its own rulebook. For now, just remember: The Map Pack prioritises businesses based on its own unique algorithm.

You’re right, there’s some overlap! Backlinks, for example, can give you a boost in both local and traditional organic searches.

But others, like NAPs, are pretty much your golden ticket for The Map Pack.

One point I should make:

Google serves up local results even if your search lacks a city or state. They’re smart enough to understand your intent and deliver nearby options when relevant. I’ll unpack this further, but trust me, location can be a secret weapon.

For example, I searched for “Gardner” in Sydney, and I was given a Map Pack by Google.

Local keyword research? Don’t forget the terms “store + city”; those are key. But listen up: Google surprises you with local results even for vague searches.

Sure, “store” alone might rack up more searches than “store + city.” But hold on – Google throws local results your way, even for generic searches.

Now, let’s dive into tracking your local SEO rankings.

How to track map pack rankings

Local SEO starts with a pit stop!  See where you stand in the Map Pack now, then track your progress over time.

Most rank trackers handle this – I’ll use them to dominate the local game!

With local SEO, your location can be the ultimate game-changer. The Map Pack can do a total switcheroo depending on where you search from – even one kilometre down the road.

Let’s say you search for a coffee shop from our office.

The results are going to be for your exact location

The Map Pack results can do a complete 180, depending on where you search from. The results might be totally different, just a block away!

Tracking rankings from just one spot (Sydney) gives a limited view. The Map Pack shuffles depending on where searches happen – you could be missing out on prime real estate just blocks away!

You need to get super local with local rankings. With this, you can see how you rank in your entire city or local area.

The tool I will use is Local Falcon for our super-local map tracking.

Step one: select your business name (heads up: Google Maps feeds this, so a Business Profile is a must-have!)

Step 2: chose the keywords you want to check your ranking in 

Final Step: Choose how wide you cast your rank tracking net. Here, I use an 8km (5 mile) rank tracking radius.

It starts as a 7×7 grid (can get up to 15 x 15). This shows how your business ranks compared to your local competitor 

Time to see how you rank!

Local Falcon will give you your rank in each of the points within your tracking radius.

The interactive map provided shows where your business ranks across the city.

In this example, at the centre of the map, the business is ranked highly but gets worse as you move away from the business.

Not a meltdown! Maybe a rival scores better because their location’s more central. Mobile searches from there might favour them as a closer option.

However, you should use the tool to see where your business should be ranking well but doesn’t.

In this example, a paving business ranks 1 almost entirely across the north of the City…. Except in one place.


Clicking on the area reveals which business is outranking you.

You can see a competitor is ranked 1

Here’s the deal: not happy with #2? Check out the competitor’s listing for their address. You can then see their location on this very map here.

Putting their location on the map makes it clear why they rank 1.

Ah-ha moment! This search spot is way closer to your rival, so Google prioritises them as #1. Makes perfect sense, right?

Local Organic Rankings:

Local business rockstars? The Map Pack is your golden ticket!


Don’t ditch those regular local listings! Yeah, the ones under the map pack

Don’t fall for the Map Pack’s spotlight! Local searches are basically people itching to spend money. This makes it worth it to rank in local SERPs.

Local SERPs follow the same SEO methods as any other Google SERP.

Ranking there uses the same SEO tricks

you already know! Title tags, URLs, all that good stuff. Local SEO domination, here you come!

Tracking is the only real difference between regular and local SEO. Don’t get hung up on “store + city” keywords – those are just a drop in the bucket.  

Think broader! Track “Barber” and “Barber near me” too.  

Wanna see how Sydney folks rank you for “barber near me”?  Just tell your fancy rank tracker to look for searches in Sydney!  Easy peasy.

You want to get a good idea of how you rank in other parts of your area and track your keywords in other local areas. 

Chapter 3

Local SEO Keyword Research: Local keyword intel, incoming!

Here, you will learn how to research and find keywords for local SEO.

You won't need a constant treasure hunt for new ones. Local SEO keyword is basically a one-time process.

Local SEO is more of a "one-shot wonder" with keywords than your ever-evolving blog.

Keywords are still king for local searches, but to get started, you just need a solid shortlist of what folks use to find businesses like yours. Think of it like a cheat sheet! I'll find the perfect search terms to lure your target audience right to your door.

Yelp Suggest

Local keyword magic! Type a word someone in your area might use to find you, like “best…” or “Painter near me” 

And watch the keyword goldmine appear! I’ll use these to craft the perfect local SEO bait.

Ever notice how they throw in keyword curveballs that you didn’t even search for?  Those are hidden gems for your local SEO! 

In this example, the search ‘Painters’ also suggests the search ‘Roofers’ & ‘Wall paper Removal’


Google Suggest

Google Suggest is your BFF! Using Google Suggest works great for Local SEO key work research.

In this example, searching “Air Con” returns these search terms.

Excluding “Near Me”, the keywords don’t fit Local SEO.

When you start to add a local search term such as “Air Con Sydney” local SEO keywords begin to appear.


Local Voice Search

Google says, “20% of all Google searches done on mobile are now voice searches.”

Voice searches are more like conversations – longer and natural-sounding.

Let’s say I use the local keyword such as “Gluten Free Pizza Sydney”.

If the same search was done by voice, it would be more like “gluten-free pizza in Sydney that’s open right now”.

However, there are little to no tools to help with finding voice search keywords. You should still keep this in your pocket while performing local SEO.


Google Key Word Planner

Google Keyword Planner helps you discover new keywords and search volume data for a local area.

If you already have a long list of keywords and want to find the best ones, this is your tool.

If you are searching for NEW keywords, then Google Key Word Planner’s Start with a Website Tool is what you need. 

Just enter your competitor’s URL

And Bam! A list of keywords that Google suggests from your competitor’s page appears.


Chapter 4

Local SEO Ranking Factors

Time to crack local SEO in Google and skyrocket your rankings.

I’ll show you the key Google local search ranking factors ….

…. And the tips to enhance them.

Google Business Profile > Your Website

According to the “Local Search Ranking Factors Study” by MOZ, your Google My Business profile was the #1 factor for ranking in the map pack. 

Your local business website isn’t deadweight. The content you crank out and the links pointing to you still affect your Map Pack ranking.

To truly rule and rank #1 in the Map Pack, your Google Business Profile needs to be on its game.


NAPs are Huge

NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) is the mention of your business name, address, and phone number anywhere online. The more consistent and widespread these NAP listings are, the better for your Map Pack ranking.

Why are they important?

They’re like little online confirmations that your business info (name, address, phone number) is legit. The more NAP citations you have out there, the more Google trusts you’re where you say you are.

This is why Consistent NAP citations are like gold.


Online Reviews

MOZ’s local ranking factors study found that “review signals” significantly affected local SEO.

Moz states that negative reviews on your Google Business Profile can hurt you.

Good reviews (without any shady tactics, of course) can seriously boost your Map Pack ranking. Think online reputation gold. But negative ones can sting.

The MOZ study also found that replying to reviews (even negative) was crucial for SEO.


Normal SEO Still Applies

Even after all these new tips and tricks, classic SEO factors affect Local rankings.

As a result, the better your Local SEO is, the better you rank in the map packs.


Chapter 5

Google My Business Profile: Time to Shine!

Your Google Business Profile (GBP) is crucial for local SEO dominance.

Remember how I mentioned claiming your GBP is key for local SEO?

This chapter's your secret weapon! Let's do this!

Keep Everything 1000% Consistent.

Consistency is King! Ensure everything you type into your Google Business Profile perfectly matches your website. But that’s not all! This info should also be the same everywhere your NAP.

When Google sees your name, address, and phone number (NAP) exactly match across your GBP, website, and sites like Yelp, it’s like a big thumbs up. They say, “This business is the real deal, and their local info is on point!” Consistency = Local SEO win!

Imagine your GBP address is different from your website. Google sees that and throws up a giant “warning!” sign.

Moving, rebranding, or switching phone numbers? Update your Google Business Profile ASAP! The same goes for those NAP citations online. Double-check that your address matches everywhere – think of perfect consistency across the web! Why? Because a consistent NAP is your local SEO best friend!

A typo might not stop the mailman, but for Google, it’s a red flag. Inconsistency with your address format (Avenue vs. Ave.) throws them off. Remember, consistency is key for local SEO! Make sure your NAP details are the exact same everywhere online. Simple tweak, big local SEO win!

Fill In Every Data Point You Can

You receive a score based on how complete your profile is.

Don’t be fooled by the GBP score! It gives high marks for basic stuff. Think of it as a starting point. 

To dominate competitive keywords, you gotta go deeper. 

The biggest miss? Category selection! Google makes you pick the main category for your business. 

Google has pre-set categories you gotta choose from (no inventing your own!).

Secondary categories: Many folks forget these, but they’re gold for local SEO. Picking the right ones expands the keywords and searches your biz can show up for. It’s like adding magic keywords to your listing!

Also, fill in the products and services section of your GBP

It tells Google exactly what you sell. Don’t miss out! Consider it a giant “This is what we offer!” sign for local searchers.


Keep Crucial Business Data Updated

Double-check that opening hours, holidays, and other basics are updated.

This will not directly affect your ranking.

But imagine a “hangry” customer driving to your “open” restaurant, only to find a closed sign. Bad reviews galore! So, update your Google Business Profile whenever your hours or info changes – it’s local SEO hygiene! 

Get More Reviews (and Reply to Any That Come In)

Like we mentioned back in Chapter 4, reviews are a local SEO goldmine. 

The more positive ones, the better! 

But reply to ALL reviews, even the not-so-great ones! 

It shows potential customers (and Google) that you’re all about customer care.

 See how this reply transforms things:

Replying to that negative review softened the blow for potential customers, right? You can easily reply to all reviews within your Google Business Profile dashboard.

When it comes to getting reviews, there are two things to keep in mind:

You need to ask customers to leave reviews (most happy customers won’t without a little prodding)

You need to make it SUPER easy for them

And one of the best ways to do both?

Send customers an email with a review link.

There are two ways to generate a review link:

The first way: Go to Google Place Finder and search for your business

Add your place ID to this URL :

When the link is clicked, it will tell the person to leave a review.

The second way: Go to your GBP and find “get more reviews”.

This will generate a short URL to send to customers.

Chapter 6

On-site SEO For Local Businesses

You've aced those title tags and body copy. Now, let's unlock the local SEO magic for your small business website! These next tricks are like secret weapons to dominate your area. Buckle up!

Write Unique Content for every Location:

Unique content is king; you know that

If your business is in two different locations, then you want the content for those pages to be different.

Avoid using duplicate content; you can craft separate landing pages for cities you aren’t physically based in.

This doesn’t affect your Map Pack.

However, you can still rank highly in the local organic results with many local keywords. If your customers are in that area, traffic will follow. 

For example, our website feature pages for google ads optimised around “Sydney” and “Adelaide”.



How to Use Schema For Local SEO:

While it’s not essential, local businesses can definitely score bonus points with Schema markup. There’s a whole section specifically designed for you! Think of it as adding bling to your local SEO strategy.

 While Google already has your info in your GBP, Schema markup can add some extra shine to your local SEO. Think of it as fancy chrome for your website! You can use it to mark up your address and phone number, but…

Reviews are where Schema markup really shines. Those star ratings can transform your listing into an eye-catching Rich Snippet, making you stand out in the search results.


Use Title Cliff Hangers:

We have a local SEO trick up our sleeve. Start your title tags with a BANG – a benefit-driven statement that grabs attention! Let’s craft titles that make people want to click and learn more about your awesome local business!

Start with a strong, benefit-driven statement that grabs attention and overflows Google’s character limit(500-600 pixels or 50 characters)

It’s like an ad headline that makes people want more! We’ll craft titles that get clicks and turn lookers into local business lovers!

Chapter 7

Nap Citations

NAP citations! Think backlinks but for local SEO. Nightmarish to build, essential for ranking. Fear not, warriors! This chapter equips you to conquer NAP citations the right way.

Run a NAP Audit

Make your NAP data (name, address, phone number) the same everywhere online.

Website? Check.

Google Business Profile? Double-check!

Business directories and listings? You got it!

Consistency is key across the web. Feeling overwhelmed by a million citation tools? Don’t sweat it! I recommend WhiteSpark and Semrush.

I mentioned there are many citation tools:


The two most important things to have before you begin are:

  1. Current, Up-to-Date NAP: Make sure your name, address, and phone number are battle-ready!
  2. Historic NAP Info: Any past addresses or phone numbers? Unearth them to fix outdated citations.

Armed with this intel, your chosen citation tool will scan the web for NAP mentions. Get ready for a report like this:


Fix and Correct Incorrect NAP

Now, you have a list of citations from your tool (like WhiteSpark or Semrush). Time to identify the enemy: inconsistent or incorrect NAP info!

Okay, you’ve scanned your citation report (courtesy of WhiteSpark or Semrush) and identified those pesky inconsistencies. Now it’s time to take action! Think of incorrect NAPs as two villain types:

  1. Change-Em-Yourself Villains: These are like Yelp listings – you can edit them directly!
  2. Need-Someone-Else’s-Help Villains: These are trickier – local news mentions might require contacting the website owner.

Updating NAPs one by one is a time-suck. Fear not! Services like Yext and Bright Local Local can bulk-update those listings, saving your sanity.

For citations requiring an outside fix (think news mentions), craft-friendly, targeted emails to request updates.

For example:


Find Citation (and Link) Opportunities With Link Intersect

Yelp, FourSquare, Angie’s List – nailed it! But local SEO never sleeps. We’ll show you how to find niche directories and local sites to expand your NAP reach and dominate the local game!

In my opinion, you should target local gems beyond the usual sites! These super-relevant citations can supercharge your Map Pack ranking. We’ll show you how to find them and dominate local SEO!

Plus, local outreach = crazy-high conversion rates.

The question is:

How do you find local citations?

The best tool I use is Backlink Gap feature in Semrush. 

Don’t let the name fool you! Semrush’s Backlink Gap tool is a secret weapon for building local citations too.

Semrush’s Backlink Gap tool helps you snag citations, and sometimes even backlinks, from the same place!

Here’s how you do it:

Step One: Pop your website and 2-3 local rivals into Semrush’s Backlink Gap tool.

HOT TIP: Don’t limit yourself to direct competitors in Semrush’s Backlink Gap tool. Any local biz can be your intel! They’re building citations, too.

You’ll get a treasure trove of websites after spying on your local rivals (or any local business) with Semrush’s Backlink Gap tool. These sites are linked to your competitors, and guess what? They could be perfect citation opportunities for you, too!

Sifting through the intel from Semrush, you’ll unearth a goldmine of citation opportunities.

Don’t get caught up in nofollow links here. The priority is getting your NAP on as many pages as possible. Bonus points if you snag a link (even a nofollow one) in the process!


Reverse Engineer Competitor NAPs

Competitor analysis can also be conducted using the same tools you use for NAP audits.

Using Competitors’ NAP details, you’ll get a list of all their mentions online.

In my opinion, skip the link Intersect. Citation tools track all mentions, links or no links for a more complete competitor footprint.

Chapter 8

Local Link Building

With local link building, the same tactics that build links for big websites work wonders for local dentists, pizza joints, and locksmiths too.

Local businesses have a treasure trove of unique backlink opportunities right in their own backyard!

Get ready to crack the code on local link building. This chapter reveals a handful of powerful strategies to supercharge your local SEO.

Other Local Businesses

Local businesses often form partnerships and collaborations to benefit each other’s customer base.

Leverage your existing network first for local backlinks. Cold email outreach can always be your secret weapon later.

The first step I recommend is to list out every:

  • Local business
  • Wholesaler
  • Supplier
  • Contractor 

That you know.

Find the perfect fit on their site. 

Many miss this step.

Your Local Chamber of Commerce

Your local Chamber is an easy link-building win. They practically hand them out!

For example:

Different Chambers have different rules. Some charge a yearly fee, while others require ongoing membership.

Chamber links are local SEO gold, so a little membership fee or annual cost is a bargain compared to the boost they give.

Added bonus: you get a NAP for your troubles.

HOT TIP: Talk to your chamber of commerce and ask if they would consider letting you provide a talk on your expertise. As a result, you can get a contextual link.



Sponsor a Local Event:

All local events need sponsors!

Sponsoring a local event can provide a link to your website.

For example, this local non-profit has a page for its supporters:

You don’t just have to provide cash to support! You could provide a free service for the event.


Local PR

Local media outlets crave stories that resonate with their communities.

Do something buzz-worthy (anniversary bash, anyone?), and local media might just come knocking.

Don’t ambush the news! Give them a friendly heads-up about your event (a few days in advance works wonders). Bonus points if you offer background info to make their job easier – it’s a win-win for local coverage!

Chapter 9

Advanced Local SEO Tips and Strategies:

I’ll finish this guide with a treasure trove of advanced tips, strategies, and tactics.

Don't get fancy! Even with all these advanced tactics, NAP building and GBP optimisation are still the bread and butter of local SEO

These advanced tactics can be your secret to climbing those local search rankings.

Embed a Google Map on Your About Page

This really emphasises to Google that you are located where you say you are.

All you need to do is find your business on Google.

Hit the burger menu in the top left and select ‘share or embed map’.

Finally, embed on your contact page.

Use Your Location-Focused Keyword Above The Fold

Don’t underestimate this one! In my experience, this simple tip can seriously boost your local organic rankings.

This tip is a game-changer! Make sure your main local keyword is the first thing visitors see – right at the top of your page in a killer headline.

For an extra boost, wrap that local keyword in an H1 tag 

SEO magic aside, this is all about keeping users happy.


Local searchers are impatient! They gotta know you’re their local solution within 2 seconds of landing.

Title Tag Double Dip

Don’t underestimate the old-school approach! 

A homepage title tag optimised with 2-3 local keywords is gold for local businesses. 

Think “Kitchen Renovation Sydney” or “Bathroom Renovation Sydney” – clear, concise, and perfect for grabbing attention in search results.

Forget fancy internal linking for local SEO – most local sites get next to no links to those pages anyway! (Think 90% pointing to the homepage, based on my experience). 

That’s why squeezing every ounce of value out of your homepage is crucial. 

Stuffing it with a few relevant local keywords is a goldmine for grabbing local search traffic!

Optimise Meta Descriptions for Local Searchers

 Don’t underestimate that meta description! It’s a golden opportunity to grab attention and increase organic CTR.

I personally use this formula for my meta descriptions:


Stuck on description writer’s block? Here’s a secret weapon: Google Ads! Those descriptions are click magnets for a reason. Use them for inspiration, but remember to craft your own unique message – don’t just copy and paste! It’s all about sparking ideas and finding your own click-worthy voice.

For example, when I search for “hotel Sydney”, I notice that Google ads use terms like “save”, “free upgrade” and “free cancelation”.


Its your turn to tackle local SEO. Contact Digital Marketing Tribe for a free SEO Audit.

The Ultimate Guide to Local SEO by Digital Marketing Tribe provides comprehensive strategies and insights for optimising local search presence effectively.

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