Local SEO Pages That Rank In Google

Local SEO Pages That Rank In Google

Google wants businesses to be found online, especially when users are searching for local services. But how does Google find and index local businesses? That's what we're going to reveal in this article.

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Google wants businesses to be found online, especially when users are searching for local services. But how does Google find and index local businesses? That’s what we’re going to reveal in this article.

When someone types a service based query into Google, Google tries to return relevant results based on what it thinks the search intent is. For example, if you search for pizza delivery or window cleaner, Google assumes that you are looking for a local business or service. 

To help businesses appear in these local searches, Google offers a free tool called Google Business Profile (GBP). GBP allows you to create a listing for your business on Google Maps. These listings include photos, reviews, ratings, hours of operation, directions, phone number, address, and more.

The goal of GBP is to give businesses a place to share their information with Google and others, including potential customers. But before we get into the specifics, there are more than a few fundamental questions that we need to get out of the way.

What is local SEO and why is it important for SEO?

We could bamboozle you with stats about how important local SEO is. For example, about half of all Google searches are local in some way and most people have used a search engine to seek information about a local business. But, if your customers aren’t local to you, then optimising your website for local searches is a waste of time and money. 

Let’s define what local means for search

Google wants to be helpful. Therefore it tries to connect business to their customers by returning what its algorithm thinks is relevant to their search query. This is when it’s useful to understand what we mean by search intent.

Learn moreWhy Is Search Intent Important For Your SEO Strategy?

The majority of internet users share their location data with Google (and many other apps and services). So, right away, when someone enters a search term into Google (or another search engine such as Bing) the algorithm knows where that person is physically located. If someone wants to find a ‘dry cleaner near me’, Google will know to return results based on their location. Why?

Logic would state that the context behind that search query is that someone needs to use a dry cleaning service and they want it to be near to where they are located. 

The challenge for a local dry cleaning service is to make sure their website or profile is one of the top results for that area. They can achieve this by using SEO tactics to make their content rank higher for local search queries than their competitors. 

What is SEO and how does it work?

But first, we should really address what SEO actually means. The acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a set of techniques designed to improve the visibility of websites within search engines like Google, for organic search queries. In other words, results that are displayed but not paid for. 

Through keyword research, you can identify the traffic potential for your topics and develop a plan to drive organic traffic to your site. This is done by making sure that your website has relevant content that matches the terms that people are searching for. It’s also helpful to optimise your website for relevant keywords.

For example, if you sell shoes online, you might want to focus on keyword phrases like “best men’s dress shoes” or “men’s dress shoes.”

It’s important to remember that SEO is a long-term strategy. While you might notice immediate improvements after implementing certain tactics, it can take months or years for your efforts to pay off. 

Check out these 17 tips to help you write SEO optimised copy for your website.

What is the difference between SEO and local SEO

Context. It’s really that simple. When it comes to pure search results in the listing page, you’re still creating content based on your primary keywords. It’s just the context is different. For example, if you build websites, your customers could be located anywhere in the world. Your service area is not really confined to your local City. However, for a takeaway restaurant, your customers will be close to where you are based.

However, there is another way to rank in Google for local search queries. We’ve mentioned it above: Google Business Profile (GBP). More on that further down the page.

How do I master local SEO

If you want to master local SEO for your business you need to create local content for your website, keep your GBP up to date and be active on social media. It sounds simple and straightforward and it is. It just takes time.

Related: Do you want an actionable strategy for local SEO? Read our ultimate guide to local SEO audits.

What are local SEO factors?

Proximity: If you do a search for a pizza takeaway near me, Google will display the closest takeaways that match that search term to your location.

Relevance: I keep referring to context and this is why. Google wants to make sure their search results are the most relevant for that particular search query. So, if your business is a plumbing service you need to make sure everything you publish is relevant to your business. Your social media has posts about plumbing. Your website clearly states the plumbing services you provide. If you’re listed anywhere else, it is for plumbing.

Prominence: In general SEO terms, you might consider this to mean backlinks. However, in the local context Google wants to know if your business is well known in your area. This could mean that your business or brand is mentioned in the local press, local business directories and on social media. This is another reason to make sure you remain active on your Google Business Profile.

Google Business Profile: Of course this is a ranking factor in local search. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure this is optimised and up to date.

Reviews: Word of mouth recommendations work online as well. If your customers care enough about your products or services to leave an online review, that will improve your ranking.

Links Signals: Every SEO loves to talk backlinks! But while they are challenging to get, they still are an important indicator. You can create inbound links via 3rd party websites or through active outreach and PR. It’s a time consuming process that most businesses offload to a contractor. They do help to increase your domain authority, but depending on your business you might not need to go overboard. 

Also, don’t forget that your internal links and anchor text also play an important role. Just remember to keep your language natural and relevant. People can spot an unnatural link and will be unlikely to click on it. 

Citations: Ensure that your business has been added to a sufficient number of business listings and online directories. Check to make sure that your contact details are consistent.

Behavioural signals: Google loves data and is constantly monitoring user behaviour. You can’t really avoid it. If someone performs a mobile search and clicks on your phone number, that right there is an important signal for Google. If your business shows up in the map pack, but no one clicks on it or takes any action, that would be alarming. Those types of inaction could result in your business dropping down the rankings.

How do you optimise your website for local SEO?

There are a few simple things you can do to optimise your website for local search right now. 

Is your site ‘local’?

If your ideal customer visits your website, will they instantly know that you are a local company?

Your customers will expect to find information about your services, your local area, industry news and information about your business. These are all great starting points for creating optimised content for local search. 

Discover how SEO can benefit an accountancy business can help in creating local SEO pages that rank in Google.

Have you heard about on-page optimization?

This is when you make small changes to key areas of the page so that you rank higher for your primary keyword. 

Title: Does your page title provide a clear indication that you are a local business? For example: Content Strategy & Content Marketing Belfast.

Headings: Make sure to keep a logical page structure. This means only H1, H2 for your main sections and H3s for helping to break up your content. Use this opportunity to not only provide structure, but also to include relevant keywords in those headings. This will also help to improve the user experience and increase dwell time. 

Take time to craft a compelling meta description.

This is an indirect ranking factor. The better your title and meta description are, the more likely people will click through to your site. Therefore, these need to be good. If you can increase your CTR, this will improve your ranking. Remember to keep it simple. Clearly state your service and use persuasive text to encourage the reader to follow the link to your site.

If you are struggling to improve your meta descriptions, you should consider hiring an SEO copywriter for your business.

Geo-tagging images tells Google where your photos were taken

This is something that takes a little bit more time and you might never be able to quantify the results. However, lots of folks report adding geo-tags to their website has improved their ranking. You can use the ImageMeta website to do this for you.

Make sure your sitemap is up to date and working

If you use WordPress, you should be ok. However, other website builders and even some WordPress websites can have issues with their sitemaps. If you publish local pages and they aren’t ranking, make sure they are indexed by reviewing the Google Search Console. From here you can start to troubleshoot the issue. 

Your sitemap should provide a logical way to view your site structure. If you have orphaned pages with no internal links, you easily spot these in your sitemap. In this case, start to improve your internal link structure and create additional content that links to those pages. This helps indicate to Google that those pages are important.

Website Structure

Let’s say that when you reviewed your sitemap, you discovered a few issues. This is most likely due to the way your website is structured. You can easily fix this by improving your URL structure. This simply means that you organise your content in a logical manner.

For example, let’s assume you have a plumbing business in London. London covers a big area. You could even start with ‘Greater London’ and narrow it down by borough. 

In this example the URL structure could be:

  • domain-name/Plumber-Greater-London/Bromley-Plumbing-Service
  • domain-name/Plumber-Greater-London/Camden-Plumbing-Service
  • domain-name/Plumber-Greater-London/Hounslow-Plumbing-Service

This type of structure provides a strong indication to Google that your service based business covers a wide area. Of course, only create content for the areas that you want to service. 

Internal links

We touched on this above, but it really helps to keep your website well structured. Just remember that the page you are linking to needs to be relevant. How can you ensure it’s relevant? Easy: use appropriate anchor text. If someone is reading your content and you want to include a link to another page or blog post on your website, make sure it’s relevant. If the context is right and you have a strong call to action, then add a link. But if there’s no context and it’s not relevant, don’t include a link. Tip: this could be a clue that your content needs to be improved.

What should be included in your location based page?

As a business that provides a service to your local community, there are a few pieces of information you need to include in every page that targets local search queries. These are:

  • Your NAP info: business name, address, phone number.
  • When are you open? Include your business hours.
  • Make sure to include relevant images, such as photos of your premises, staff etc
  • It can be useful to include a video. Depending on your service, this could help improve conversions. If you ever made a video for social media (and the context was right) you could embed it on this page.
  • It’s always useful to include a map with directions. This adds a layer of trust and demonstrates to the customer that you are welcoming. This also gives you an opportunity to state your service area.
  • State whether there is parking. Customers love to know they can park either at your store or nearby. 
  • Don’t forget to include all the services you offer. Really spell it out, but don’t include too much detail. People like to scan pages, so make it easy for them to recognise the service they are after.
  • Include an ‘About Us’ section. This doesn’t have to be big, but it helps build trust and allows you to pitch yourself. What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)? This is your opportunity to sell your service and convince the prospect to make contact.

Add schema markup to your website

This is a bit technical, however it’s worth taking the time to do it. If you have a WordPress site and use a plugin like Rankmath, you’ll already have added schema to your site. However, it’s worth checking if it’s correct. Validate your website at Schema.org.

If you don’t use WordPress or don’t want to install a plugin to add schema, you can visit this schema markup generator. Simply complete the form and you’ll get some code that you can paste into the head section of your template. If you don’t know how to do this, contact us today and we’ll show you how for free!

How do you write local SEO content

If you’re looking to rank well in Google search results for local searches, you need to take advantage of local keywords. These keywords are specific to your location, and they tell Google exactly where you are located.

Google uses these keywords to determine whether your site should be included in its local search results. So, when writing your local SEO content, use words and phrases that describe your area, including landmarks, neighbourhoods, businesses, restaurants, schools, parks, etc.

When writing content for your website, keep in mind that Google wants to help searchers find what they’re looking for. This means you need to understand search intent. This is in addition to figuring out who your target audience is, what your potential audience size is and what are the audience demographics?
Learn how to understand search intent for your business.

For example, instead of saying, “your local plumber” say, “24 hour plumber [or your keyword] in London [your location or town]. Try to be as specific as possible. This gives Google additional context and makes it easier for searchers to understand what they’re searching for. Remember, you want your customers to know that you can fix their problem.

Another tip is to avoid generic keywords like “restaurant” or “accountant.” Instead, use keywords that are relevant to your location. For example, if you live in San Francisco, you may not want to list “San Francisco restaurant” as a keyword because there are many restaurants in San Francisco. Try to include the type of restaurant and your neighbourhood.

How do I find local SEO keywords

Local SEO is an important aspect for any business that is looking for local customers. If you don’t rank for local searches, you’re going to miss out on potential customers. That’s why your business can reach more people within your local area if you have a local SEO strategy.

Local SEO keywords are those terms that describe services or products that are relevant to a particular location. For example, if you own an Italian restaurant in London, you might consider creating content that targets local search intent. This could mean that when someone types in “Italian restaurants near me” your website shows up in the results.

So, how do you get started?

The best place to start is to look at your competition. What are other businesses nearby? Are there any websites that show up in the search results? Do those sites appear to be relevant to your industry? If so, you may want to consider why they are ranking and for what keywords. These local SEO keywords are also useful for businesses that provide goods or services within a city or town.

Once you have identified a few seed keywords or keyword phrases you can add these to Google’s free keyword planner to give you more content ideas. Usually you would add your target keyword and adjust the location area to be in a small radius around your location e.g. 20 miles.

Local searches tend to include these terms:

  • [keyword] near me
  • [keyword] near [location]
  • [keyword] + [location]
  • best [keyword] near me
  • cheap [keyword] near me
  • best [keyword] service near me

If you spend a bit of time using keyword research tools you’ll get a list of really useful terms that you can build your content around. All you need to do then is to start building pages for each term. Make sure that these pages include information about your company, including location details, hours of operation, contact information, and photos. Include links back to your main site, as well as social media profiles, so visitors can learn more about your business.

How can your Google Business Profile improve your local search ranking?

If you’ve ever used Google, you’ll know that there are now many different features displayed in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Some of these features directly relate to local. For example, The Map Pack.

Google launched The Map Pack with the goal of providing better information about nearby businesses. This includes local listings like phone numbers, addresses, hours of operation, and even reviews.

In addition to listing data, Google also provides a map showing where each business is located. While the map doesn’t always include every single business, it does provide enough detail to see what’s around you.

This is great news for small businesses because it gives them another way to improve their rankings. In addition, The Map Pack helps brands build trust with consumers by displaying their physical address on Google Maps. If you want to rank for local search queries, you need to register for a Google Business Profile. It’s free and can boost your rankings.

Local SEO tips for your Google Business profile

If you’re not already listed in Google My Business or have a Google Business Profile, you should create one now. Your GBP listing is your online storefront and allows you to add photos, videos, reviews, contact information, hours of operation, directions, and more.

Here are some tips to help you improve your GBP listing:

  1. Make sure your business name, address, and phone number are correct. This is often referred to as NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number). If your business is listed on multiple business directories e.g. Yell, Yelp, etc, make sure you use the same information for every listing. It’s really important to be consistent. 
  2. Add photos of your business. Photos can help Google understand who you are and what you offer better than just words alone. Of course, while you want to please the Google algorithm, make sure these photos make sense to your customers.  
  3. Include accurate opening and closing times.
  4. Get verified. Once you’ve created your GBP listing, you need to verify it. Verification means that Google confirms that your address matches your GBP listing. 
  5. Use clear language in your description. Don’t try to be clever. Just keep it simple and make it easy for your potential customers to understand what it is you do.
  6. Provide detailed contact information. Make it easy for people to contact you by providing accurate contact information such as phone number and email address.
  7. Be responsive to comments left by users. GBP could be viewed as a social network. And as such it’s important to be active and respond to questions or other feedback such as reviews.
  8. Link your GBP listing to your website. You can include a link to your website in your GBP profile. Make sure to complete this. 
  9. You need to build trust with Google. Trust is important because Google uses signals from trusted websites to determine whether your site is trustworthy. These signals include domain authority, social media shares, and backlinks.
  10. Get customer reviews. Send your customers a thank you email or message that includes your review link, but don’t try to incentivize this. Ideally you would like reviews that mention your specific product/service. Don’t be too concerned if you receive a few bad reviews. You just need to make sure that you respond to the negative review and come across as professional. You’d be surprised by how your response to a bad review can often turn into a lead.
  11. Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business. Repackage your content for GBP. This shows potential customers that your business is alive and well.
  12. Use other online directories to generate citations for your business.  
  13. Optimise your website for local search.
  14. Add location pages to your website.
  15. Improve your internal linking structure.
  16. Optimise URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content.

Beware of these local SEO myths

Google Ads improve your rankings. This is just wrong. I would love to know who started this rumour, but Google themselves have repeatedly stated that paying for ads does not improve your ranking. And if you think about antitrust law, there’s no way Google would get away with it. Just remember, creating valuable content for your target audience is a great SEO tactic that will improve your ranking. Pay Per Click ads and other Google Ads can drive traffic and raise brand awareness, but ultimately, they (themselves) are not a ranking factor.

Local SEO tasks are one off activities. Just like regular SEO, you need to keep working on your local SEO. If your customers are local, then you just keep doing local SEO tasks. The biggest mistake a business owner can make is to stop.

You should Geo-tag your GBP photos. This is just a waste of your time. When you upload a photo to your profile, Google strips that data out. You would be better investing time in creating local images that are relevant for your customers and relevant for your category.

Learn how to create local SEO pages for your business that rank in Google.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is local SEO free?

That depends. You can certainly learn how to create and manage your content to target local search queries, but that does take time. If you have the time and in-house expertise you can succeed at local SEO for ‘free’. Although you do have to consider the opportunity cost. 

Is SEO location based?

If you want to target customers near you or located in a service area, then yes, SEO is location based. 

How do I rank locally in SEO?

If you follow the steps outlined above, you will see an improvement in your ranking. This is a process and if you follow it you will succeed. However, it takes time and effort. We find a lot of our clients outsource their content creation because it provides better value for them and is sustainable. 

How do I find my local SEO keywords?

With a bit of time and research you can find relevant keywords that you can rank for. Spy on your competitors, ask your customers, use keyword research tools or even just Google’s Keyword Planner. You can get started for free. One of your goals should be to create a list of long-tail keywords. These respective keywords will provide plenty of inspiration for content creation. But if you want to get ahead in the game, you can purchase keyword research from companies like Highly.Digital.

Learn how you can do keyword analysis.

How many keywords can a page rank for?

Again, this is one of those ‘depends’ answers. When you create a page, you will almost certainly be targeting a primary keyword. However, depending on how you’ve written and structured your page, you may find that it actually ranks for several long-tail keywords or variations of your primary keyword.

How do I use Google local SEO?

Register your Google Business Profile, optimise it using the guide above and remain active. You get back what you put in.

How much should I pay for local SEO?

This could be included with your other content services so it’s always worth asking. Also, it really depends on the scale of the project and how long you want to hire a freelance SEO copywriter or content agency. Ballpark figures will range from £500 a month to £10,000+ for a specific project.  

How long does it take to rank on Google?

You can rank within 24 hours. A better question is, when can I land a spot in the map pack or rank on page 1. SEO is a long term play. This means that you need to commit to creating content on an ongoing basis. If you can do that you’re more likely to rank high on Google and more importantly, stay there.

What does NAP mean in local SEO?

The acronym NAP stands for: Name, Address, and Phone number.


The bottom line is that you need to take action to improve your ranking in Google local search. Once you’ve done these things, you’ll be well on your way to dominating your local area.

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