Creating a local SEO strategy that turns visibility into business

A good local SEO strategy builds online visibility for relevant, local searches. A great local SEO strategy turns this visibility into business through online sales, in-store purchases and other conversions that generate revenue. This article explains how to develop a local SEO strategy that builds online visibility and converts it into real business opportunities.

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What is a local SEO strategy?

A local SEO strategy connects you with potential customers as they search for local businesses, services or products in the nearby area. This starts with building visibility across the platforms your target audience uses to find local businesses: search, social media, directory listing websites, etc.

local seo results for restaurants in Portsmouth

Visibility alone doesn’t always win customers, though. A complete local SEO strategy optimises your online presence to drive action: website visits, online purchases, phone calls, online bookings, store visits, etc. The end goal is for customers to choose your business among the available options in the local area.

What should a complete local SEO strategy include?

This varies from one business to the next, but any local SEO strategy should include the following essentials:

  • Local visibility: Aside from ranking for local searches, also building visibility across all the platforms your target audience uses to find local businesses.
  • Website localisation: Creating location pages, localised content and supporting key interactions (online bookings, enquiries, branch finder, Google Maps embed, directions, etc.).
  • Local link building: Generating regular inbound links from relevant local sources.
  • Local citations: Building and managing online profiles/references to your business that include name, address and phone numbers (NAP).
  • Google Business Profile: Completing and managing your Business Profile to maximise visibility in Search and Maps.
  • Customer reviews: Earning regular customer reviews and managing your profile – an important ranking signal, but also key for winning new customers.
  • Local SEO reporting: A complete analytics and auditing system for measuring the success of your local SEO strategy and optimising performance.
  • Local social engagement: Social media is increasingly important for local SEO as platforms like TikTok implement search features and social engagement connects you with local audiences.
  • Local PR: Engaging with audiences and organisations in the local area to build brand awareness – both online and offline.

That covers the key essentials, but some business types require other elements. For example, hotel chains will also need to build brand awareness and discovery for audiences outside of the local area as they plan their trips.

Cheap hotels london google search results

If you’re not sure which components your strategy should include, our local SEO team is happy to help. You can get in touch here.

How do I optimise for local SEO?

It takes a lot of work to build a local search presence, but we can break down a strategy into three key components.

1. Brand awareness & discoverability

The first step with local SEO is to build visibility in the right places. You need to be discoverable on the platforms people use to find businesses like yours. At the same time, you want to build brand awareness to the point where your name comes to mind when potential customers are in the market.

Google is where most local searches start but this isn’t the only place people find or discover local businesses.

  • Organic search
  • Google Maps (also Apple Maps, Bing Maps, etc.)
  • Social media
  • Directory listings
  • Third-party articles
  • Local news
  • Word of mouth

Know where your target audience is discovering businesses like yours and combine channels to reinforce their impact. For example, a social presence can make you stand out in search while press coverage may boost word-of-mouth recommendations.

2. Maximise visibility for each location

Now, to maximise local visibility, you have to build an online presence for every business location. Think of it as running a local SEO strategy for every premise you want customers to find online. Each location needs its own location page on your website and its own Google Business Profile. If you have multiple locations, you’ll also want to create a locations parent page that links to each location page.

Halfords locations on their website

Likewise, you’ll need social accounts or pages for each location and local citations including your business name, address and phone number (NAP).

3. Turn visibility into business

The end goal with local SEO is to turn visibility into revenue. This means converting searches, impressions and interactions into store visits, purchases, online orders, etc. Every stage of discoverability and visibility should guide potential customers towards conversion goals.

Maps embeds play a key role here, directing customers to your store. Local search results show Maps embeds by default, but you’ll also add embeds to your location pages, social pages, etc.

Maps embeds example on the Stay website

Local search is predominantly a mobile experience so add click-to-call buttons to your website, Business Profile, social pages and any directory profiles that support them.

Support every relevant conversion action possible on your website and other resources: online orders, bookings, click-to-collect, etc. For example, Google Business Profile supports a range of conversion actions (calls, website visits, online food orders, table bookings, etc.).

How do I create local SEO content?

Localised SEO content is an important signal, but coming up with legitimate reasons to create regular local content is tough. Simply publishing generic content and forcing local keywords into your pages isn’t good enough.

You need a local PR strategy that creates content opportunities by doing the following:

  • Engage with the local community
  • Run local promotions
  • Get involved with events – run them, sponsor them, donate to them, etc.
  • Get featured in the local press by being newsworthy
  • Respond to local news and concerns
  • Raise awareness for local causes
  • Partner with other local businesses

Every involvement with the local community gives you something to write about and post across your blog, social accounts and other channels. And, the more engaged you are, the more local press and other publishers are going to write about you, too.

Setting clear local SEO goals

With a clear idea of what you can do with local SEO and how to approach it, let’s set some goals for your new strategy.

Many businesses set unclear marketing goals because they don’t understand the difference between goals and objectives:

  • Marketing goal: Your top-level marketing goals that align with the business – eg: generate £120,000 in revenue from local search in Q3 2024.
  • Marketing objective: The milestone achievements that help you achieve your goals – eg: reducing churn by -35% (thus contributing +16.5% revenue).

Setting clear local SEO goals means you’re defining specific KPIs, targets and timelines. If you’re not familiar with this, use the SMART framework for setting goals:

  • Specific – Define a specific KPI and target figure.
  • Measurable – Make sure you can measure the KPI and attribute it to local SEO actions.
  • Achievable – Check the goal is achievable within the target time frame.
  • Relevant – Ensure the goal aligns with those of the business.
  • Time-bound – Set a clear, achievable deadline for the goal.

Once you’ve set clear local SEO goals, map out your objectives using the same framework. So, if your goal is to generate £120,000 in revenue from local search in Q3 2024, calculate how many sales this will take with your current avg. deal value.

If the numbers don’t add up, you’ll need to look at increasing avg. deal value or increasing the total number of deals – perhaps both. How much traffic will this require, how many deals do you need to close every month, etc. to hit your targets?

Need help developing your local SEO strategy?

If you need help developing your local SEO strategy, our team can help. Call us on 023 9283 0281 or send us your details and our search team will get back to you.

Dave Colgate profile picture
Dave Colgate

Dave is head of SEO at Vertical Leap. He joined in 2010 as an SEO specialist and prior to that worked with international companies delivering successful search marketing campaigns. Dave works with many of our largest customers spanning many household names and global brands such as P&O Cruises and Harvester. Outside of work, Dave previously spent many years providing charity work as a Sergeant under the Royal Air Force Reserves in the Air Cadets sharing his passion for aviation with young minds. He can often be found in the skies above the south coast enjoying his private pilot licence.

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