Here’s How Local SEO Can Help Your Business Rank Higher in Search in 2023

If you’re talking socks and watchbands, a one-size-fits all approach might be fine enough.

But if your goal is to make your business standout online locally or even regionally, a generic approach to SEO won’t get the results you want or need. To avoid going where all good websites go to die (page two of search results), you will need to take a local approach to SEO.

What’s the Difference Between Generic SEO and Local SEO?

First, let’s distinguish what we mean by generic or traditional SEO and local SEO.

> Generic SEO focuses on improving your site’s visibility and ranking on a global scale. Basically, you’re attempting to advertise your business to the entire world.

> Local SEO functions to put your business at the top of search results to increase awareness and visibility of your brand locally.

And that’s why a one-size-fits-all approach to SEO won’t work. Say you own a landscaping company. While there are no doubt plenty of yards around the globe that would benefit from your expertise, when your business is located in Florida, showing up for searchers located on the West Coast is pointless.

To be effective and ultimately, attract and convert local traffic to paying customers, your SEO strategy must be specific — and not just about the type of services and products you offer — but specific to your location as well.

Local SEO or Generic SEO? How to Know Which You Should Use.

If you are a small business that relies on local customers (think a brick-and-mortar store, restaurant or service provider like a daycare), you should use local SEO. You’ll still get the benefits of SEO (visibility in search) but more importantly, you will be visible to a base of local searchers.

A local SEO strategy gives your small business an opportunity to compete against larger, national brands flush with enormous digital ad budgets. While these big names have the advantage of more widespread brand recognition, they’re likely focusing on broader keywords, not specific local keywords.

Your local SEO to-do? Instead of using generic and broad keywords on your website, you'll use location-specific keywords and phrases. Doing so will help position you ahead of the competition where it matters most to your business: in local search.

Does your business sell products and services that aren’t location specific and have broad appeal? Then generic (or traditional) SEO is a good fit for you because it doesn’t matter where you or your customers are located, you just want your site to appear on page one of search results.

With generic SEO, you’d optimize your website and content to rank for broad, generic keywords that relate to your specific business.


No website or is yours in need of an update? We’ve got you. Check out the Lenovo Pro Community’s Digital Marketing 101 series


Tips to Help Your Business Rank Higher in Local SEO

If local SEO sounds like the correct approach for your business, you’re in the right place. The Lenovo Pro Community has gathered some key tips and tricks to help you dominate local search results. 

1. Link building with other local businesses.

The process of link building — getting other reputable websites to link to pages on your website — indicates that your content is both  “authoritative” and “credible.”

These backlinks or ‘inbound links’ serve as votes of confidence regarding your content. This pleases the Google algorithm and as such, can cause your page to rank higher in search, driving more traffic to your site. The more quality backlinks you have pointing to your site, the more likely search engines will consider your content to be valuable and relevant, resulting in your site ranking higher in search results.

And since these are other local businesses linking to your site, you’ll also increase your chances of being viewed by the precise customers you want: ones that are local. This route to referral traffic can be especially valuable. A Moz study found that local links had a 29% correlation with higher rankings in local search results.

Then there’s building links the old-fashioned, analog way: networking. When you take the time to build relationships with other businesses in your area, you may find opportunities to collaborate on online and offline marketing initiatives or even refer customers to one another.

A final word on link building: businesses exist that will try to sell you backlinks as a way to increase your search rankings. While their offer and even site might sound and look legit, it’s not. Buying links for the sole purpose of improving search ranking can lead to penalties from Google (and other search engines), as well as harm your website and brand’s reputation. Instead, focus on building links naturally, by providing value to fellow local businesses.

2. Add a blog (or update the one you have).

Including a blog on your site can give you a boost locally. When you add a blog to your site and update it regularly with high-quality content, you alert search engines like Google that you have something fresh and relevant to say. Search engines reward this by scoring your site as a credible source of information, pushing it higher in page rank.

There are other benefits of a well-written blog post, too. For example, say you write and post a blog about your company’s participation in your city’s Chamber of Commerce campaign to build a skate park. In the post, you can include relevant and specific, local keywords that your potential customers may be searching for. Not only would you expose your business to possible referral traffic, you’d also gain an opportunity to create a backlink to your post from the Chamber’s site further improving your website's authority and visibility.

When you publish useful and valuable blog content, by all means promote it on all your social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, or any other sites you have a presence on. Social media offers yet another way to increase the visibility of your website, attract new visitors and improve your website's ranking in search results.

3. Write guest posts for local media sites.

Sure, it takes time to write a post for someone else’s site, but the rewards for doing so can more than make up for it, particularly if your content is featured on media outlets local to your area. Unsure what a local media site is? Radio stations, newspapers and magazines (including those that are print and digital), and news stations.

First compelling reason to author a guest post? The backlinks you can acquire. When you contribute a guest post to a local media site, you can include a backlink to your website in your author bio or within the post. Hello, free advertising.

Next up? Location, location, location. Most often, local media sites place an emphasis on the community and would welcome your relevant content. By contributing to a local media site, you can signal to search engines that your business is relevant to the local area, which as you likely already guessed, can improve your local search rankings.

Credibility and exposure are also compelling reasons to write guest posts. More than likely, some of those sites’ readers will be new to your business, exposing you to a wider audience. You’ll also begin to establish yourself as an expert in your industry which can lead to much bigger benefits like requests for additional guest posts and even collaborations, improving your SEO and growing your overall online presence even further.

4. Use your regional keywords.

In local SEO, regional keywords are critical as they tell search engines to connect your business with local search queries.

Here’s an example of regional keywords at work: You’re in an unfamiliar place and want to find a great coffee shop that’s also a good place to get some work done. More than likely, you will use location-based keywords such as the city name in your search — probably something like, “best coffee shop in Atlanta,” or “best Atlanta coffee shop to work remotely.”

The results you receive? In large part, they will be driven by the regional keywords mentioned on the coffee shop’s website. Maybe their main headline read, “The Best Coffee Shop in Atlanta,” or “Come to Atlanta for the best coffee, stay to work.”

By incorporating relevant, regional keywords in your website content (including that blog), you optimize your site for local search. Google will know to connect the dots between your business and the searcher’s query, and you’ll take one more sizable step toward appearing at the top of local search results pages.

Pro Tip: Not sure what your regional keywords should be? Think about the services and products you offer, then enter those words into Google search. For example, that coffee shop might target the keyword “Atlanta coffee shop.” Notice what words Google autocompletes as you type. Also, scroll down the page to the ‘Related Searches,’ section. What comes up there? Both these locations are quick, easy and free ways to pinpoint some great regional keywords for your business.

Finally, don’t overlook your competition. What are the regional keywords they use on their website? While you’re looking at their content, you might also see gaps in their offering. Take advantage of this and use those keywords accordingly to stand out from the competition.

For example, think about that person searching for the best coffee shop in Atlanta that’s a good place to work. Is your coffee shop quiet while your competitor’s is overrun with caregivers and little children most weekday mornings? Perfect. Optimize your site for that, including (polite) content that points out the quiet atmosphere you offer.

5. Optimize for voice search.

Whether it’s asking Siri or tapping the mic in Google, more and more people are conducting local searches using their voice instead of their keyboards. And when they do ask Google for help, they tend to use more conversational and natural language. This means longer, more detailed questions with specific, location-based keywords, such as "near me" or the name of a specific neighborhood or city.

That said, focusing on long-tail keywords — those keywords that are more detailed — can help your content appear in voice search queries that are more targeted and precise.

For example, include specific details about your business such as nearby neighborhoods. Using our Atlanta-based coffee shop to illustrate, you’d optimize content for a voice search that asked, “best coffee shop in Buckhead” or “best and most quiet coffee shop in Five Points.”

Make it easy for people to choose your business by making your business easy to find. You don’t have to tackle each of these local SEO tips at once, just knock them out one at a time. And keep going — SEO isn’t a one and done proposition, especially when it’s local.

Local SEO is a must for small business success

As a successful small business, you have a great offering and your local community should know about it. Local SEO is a critical step for making that happen. And when you use local SEO strategically, you’ll start connecting with potential customers in your area, getting found online, and ultimately, making more sales.


No one has to tell you how important it is for your small business to stand out, especially online. Investing the time and effort in local SEO strategies, such as optimizing your site content, building links with other local businesses, creating fresh, quality content and using targeted regional keywords, can lead to significant long-term gain and competitive advantage.

The Lenovo Pro Community is proud to be home of many small businesses from all stages of maturity. Whether you’re an experienced pro, just starting out or somewhere in between, there’s always room for growth — and even better, some actions are more impactful than others. A local SEO strategy is one.

We want to hear from you about your local SEO efforts. Are you not sure where to start? Let us know. Are regional keywords already paying off for you? We want to hear that, too. Sound off in the comments below with any questions, comments or successes you’ve had working on a local SEO strategy. As always, the Lenovo Pro Community is here to help.


 About the Author

Stephanie has worked in the B2B tech space for more than 20 years for brands such as IBM and Oracle, as well as on the agency side at Uncompany, The Favorite Co., Ogilvy and Mather, Leopard and other agencies. Stephanie believes in putting the reader first and won't rest until she's communicated a motivating, "Why should I care?" message. When she's not writing on behalf of her freelance clients, in her spare time, Stephanie's working on a novel and the occasional poem.

Click to connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn

Comments

  • Great article! Some fresh ideas and easy to understand with the example throughout. 

  • Great tips.  The guest posting for local media is so powerful but so underrated/underutilized.  Reaching out to local papers, chambers of commerce, networking groups, and other news outlets and offering to create content for them is almost always appreciated and positions your business as a thought leader - it's a great idea.