making a google business profile

What is Local SEO? (5 Steps To Get Started)

If you have a business that can benefit from a local following, then it’s probably a good idea to start Local SEO. But what is Local SEO, and how is it different than regular SEO?

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Once you have a website, you need an engine to drive traffic. That’s where SEO comes in. SEO is getting your business’ website to appear when someone searches on Google, Bing, and other search engines.

Let’s say you’re a plumber in Austin, Texas and you’re trying to get found by searchers on Google. Here’s how your SEO might look:

  • Regular SEO – you write a blog post called “how to unclog a sink”
  • Local SEO – you make a services page on your website called “Austin Plumbing Services”

In other words, Local SEO targets local searches, i.e. “Austin”.

Now your website can begin to rank on search engines for “how to unclog a sink” as well as “austin plumbing“. Both searches mean that a reader with a plumbing issue lands on your website—giving you a good chance to get their business.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can get started with Local SEO and start getting local customers.

1. Create a Google Business Profile (GBP)

making a google business profile
Image Source: Google

The first, and most effective, step when starting Local SEO for your business is to create a Google Business Profile (previously called “Google My Business”).

The good news is that this is typically a fast process, taking only a couple of minutes. However, there are times when additional verification is required, such as Google asking to mail a physical verification code, or requesting video footage of the office.

verifying a google business profile
Image Source: Google

The main hurdle with a GBP and Local SEO is to acquire reviews. As you can imagine, this can take a while.

The more reviews you have for your GBP, the better. You’ll begin to rank higher and for more locations. With enough reviews and optimization, you can appear in the “Map Pack”, which is the three businesses that appear in search results.

google map pack example
Image Source: Google

When I first started my web design and SEO business, I was able to get to 5 reviews quickly but found it slower afterward. More about how you can get more reviews soon.

2. Perform Local Keyword Research

Now, let’s explore local keywords, which we’ll use to optimize your Google Business Profile as well as your business’ website.

Local keywords are the phrases that your target audience is typing into search engines such as Google and Bing. It’s important to select the right keywords to give your Local SEO efforts the best chance of working.

For example, if you’re a plumber in Austin, Texas, your local keywords could include:

  • austin texas plumber
  • austin plumbing services
  • austin plumbing company
  • affordable plumbing austin

It can also include variations of the above, such as:

  • austin plumber
  • plumbing austin
  • austin plumbing
  • plumbing services austin

Make a list of the most valuable keywords. Keep in mind the search intentthe reason why the person is searching.

For example, someone searching for “cars” could be looking for new cars, used cars, or the Disney movie “Cars”. You don’t want to spend time and money building SEO to be targeting the wrong search.

3. Build Service & Location Pages

services and locations on one of our websites

The next step in Local SEO is to build service and location pages on your website. Back to our Austin plumbing example, your services could be:

  • Drain Unclogging
  • Pipe Repair
  • Water Heater Installation

And the locations you service could be:

  • Austin
  • San Antonio
  • San Marcos

Combining these, here’s how your pages on your website would look, with each bullet being its own page:

  • Services
    • Drain Unclogging
    • Pipe Repair
    • Water Heater Installation
  • Locations
    • Austin
      • Austin Drain Unclogging
      • Austin Pipe Repair
      • Austin Water Heater Installation
    • San Antonio
      • San Antonio Drain Unclogging
      • San Antonio Pipe Repair
      • San Antonio Water Heater Installation
    • San Marcos
      • San Marcos Drain Unclogging
      • San Marcos Pipe Repair
      • San Marcos Water Heater Installation

While it might seem like a lot to build 17 web pages for your business, the goal is to have your website optimized for searches such as “drain unclogging san marcos” or “water heater repair austin”. This gives you the best chance to rank for Local SEO.

If you want to take it a step further, you could involve more regular SEO practices, such as adding blog posts (such as “when to replace a water heater”, etc.).

Adding blog posts like this not only signals Google and readers that you have more EEAT (experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness), but also provides a great resource that readers can find on the Google Search results. And after reading it, there’s a chance they’ll become a customer.

Creating these pages and blog posts is part of the reason SEO costs so much—because it takes time and technical expertise.

Don’t let this deter you though. The ROI from SEO is often much higher than other marketing channels, with 85% of retailers saying SEO and paid search are the most effective methods for getting new customers (source).

4. Get Local Citations

BBB example of a off page seo
Image Source: BBB

Getting local citations, or online listings, is a great way to increase your business’ Local SEO.

A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of a local business. Citations can occur on local business directories, websites, and social platforms.

These citations help searchers discover local businesses and also impact Local SEO.

Pro Tip: Make sure your business’s Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) are the same across all online platforms. For example, don’t have your address be 123 Austin Ave, Austin, TX 78701 on one service and 321 Texas Ave, Austin, TX 76458 on another.

Here are some places you can start building local citations for your business:

  • Google My Business: Essential for appearing in Google’s local search results and Google Maps.
  • Yelp: Important for reviews and local search visibility.
  • Bing Places: Microsoft’s version of Google My Business.
  • Local directories specific to Austin, Texas: Such as the Austin Chamber of Commerce website or

5. Get Reviews

The last, but essential step to Local SEO, is to get reviews. This is easier said than done as reviews can take a while. However, they are one of the best drivers of Local SEO. Just make sure they are real reviews.

Pro-Tip: To increase the chance your business gets position 1, 2, or 3 in the Google Search “map pack”, aim for as many or higher reviews than as the current map pack competition.

To get started with getting more reviews, go into your Google Business Profile, scroll down to “Reviews” and tap/click “Get More Reviews”. Copy your link and strategically send it to your customers after you work with them.

how to get more reviews on a Google business profile

Remember, don’t be spammy when asking customers. Make sure you provide a great product or service, and then kindly ask for the review via text, email, or the best method you see fit.

Final Thoughts

Surprisingly, Local SEO is much simpler and easier than regular SEO. This is largely due to the competition—with Local SEO, you’re competing at a local level, and with regular SEO, you’re competing nationally or even globally.

While SEO can be intimidating, just remember to break it up into bite-sized pieces. I promise it’s worth learning (or if you’re short on time—paying for).

We’ve seen nearly 5 million website visitors to our websites, and quite a few of them became customers, making our investment worth it. You can learn more about SEO by visiting our blog.

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