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Local SEO: How to rank higher in local search results?

Introduction to Local SEO

Local SEO is the practice of optimizing a website to improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) for local searches. This means when people search for products, services or information related to a specific geographic area, your business should show up prominently in the results.

Local SEO is crucial for businesses that serve a local customer base or have a physical location, such as brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, and service providers. It helps your website rank higher in local search results, making it more likely that potential customers will find and visit your business.

In this article, we’ll discuss some strategies to help you optimize your website for local search results, increasing your chances of ranking higher and attracting more customers.

Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to manage your business’s presence on Google Search and Maps. Claiming and optimizing your GMB listing should be the first step in your local SEO strategy.

To claim your GMB listing, search for your business on Google and click the “Own this business?” link. Follow the steps to create and verify your business account. Once your account is verified, make sure to fill out all the relevant information, such as your business name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and business category.

Add high-quality photos of your business, including interior and exterior shots, products or services, and your team. Regularly update your listing with new photos, promotions, or events to keep it fresh and engaging.

Don’t forget to encourage your customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing, as positive reviews can significantly impact your local search rankings.

Optimize Your Website for Local Keywords

To rank higher in local search results, you need to optimize your website’s content for local keywords. Local keywords are search terms that include specific geographic information, such as your city, neighborhood, or service area.

Start by conducting keyword research to find the most relevant local keywords for your business. You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, or SEMrush to identify popular search terms related to your products or services, along with their search volume and competition.

Once you have a list of local keywords, incorporate them into your website’s content, including your homepage, service pages, and blog posts. Make sure to use the keywords naturally and avoid keyword stuffing, as this can harm your search rankings.

Additionally, include your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on every page of your website, preferably in the footer. This helps search engines understand your business’s location and associate your website with local searches.

Optimize Your Website’s Metadata

Metadata, such as title tags and meta descriptions, plays a crucial role in helping search engines understand the content on your website. Optimizing your metadata with local keywords will improve your chances of ranking higher in local search results.

For each page on your website, create a unique title tag and meta description that includes your target local keywords. Keep your title tags under 60 characters and your meta descriptions under 160 characters to ensure they display correctly in search results.

For example, if you own a pizza restaurant in Chicago, your homepage title tag could be “Best Pizza in Chicago | [Your Business Name]” and your meta description could be “Serving the best pizza in Chicago since [year]. Visit [Your Business Name] for a delicious slice today!”

Build Local Citations and Backlinks

Citations and backlinks are crucial for improving your local search rankings. Citations are mentions of your business’s NAP on other websites, such as online directories, social media profiles, and review sites. Backlinks are links from other websites pointing to your website.

To build local citations, submit your business information to reputable online directories, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Foursquare, as well as local business directories and industry-specific directories. Make sure your NAP information is consistent across all your citations, as inconsistencies can harm your search rankings.

Building local backlinks requires more effort, but it’s essential for boosting your website’s authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines. Some strategies for acquiring local backlinks include:

– Partnering with local businesses, organizations, or influencers
– Sponsoring or participating in local events or community initiatives
– Creating and promoting valuable, shareable content related to your industry
– Guest posting on local blogs or news websites

Remember, quality matters more than quantity when it comes to backlinks. Focus on acquiring links from reputable, relevant websites, as low-quality or spammy links can harm your search rankings.

Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

With more than half of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s critical to optimize your website for mobile users. A mobile-friendly website not only provides a better user experience but also improves your local search rankings, as Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in its search results.

To optimize your website for mobile users, consider implementing a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and devices. Additionally, optimize your website’s load speed, as slow-loading websites can lead to high bounce rates and lower search rankings.

Test your website’s mobile-friendliness using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, and make any necessary improvements to ensure your site provides a seamless experience for visitors on mobile devices.

Monitor and Analyze Your Local SEO Performance

To ensure your local SEO efforts are paying off, it’s essential to monitor and analyze your website’s performance regularly. Use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Moz Local to track important metrics, such as organic traffic, local search rankings, and citation consistency.

By monitoring your performance, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize your local SEO strategy further.

In conclusion, ranking higher in local search results requires a combination of claiming and optimizing your GMB listing, optimizing your website for local keywords and mobile users, building local citations and backlinks, and monitoring your performance. By implementing these strategies, you can improve your local search rankings and attract more customers to your business.

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