5 Ways to Improve Your Local SEO Strategy

We recommend these five local marketing strategies to help you reach your target audience organically.

Trent Ruffolo headshot

By Trent Ruffolo

Jan 11, 2024

8 min
How to Use SEO to Improve Your Local Marketing

Local marketing is all about putting your brand in front of a specific, targeted geographic audience. And if you're a marketer that cares about attracting customers in your immediate area, local SEO helps you reach your audience.

Local SEO helps your brand appear when people nearby search for products or services they need. This increase in visibility can also build trust, and — hopefully — help you drive conversions.

Search engine optimization is key to local marketing

Local listings, local landing pages, and online reputation each contribute to a brand's visibility in the search engine results. Search engines look for location information from each of these channels to determine how relevant your business is to a customer's local search. Regular updates to these channels also send trust signals to search engines and customers alike.

Here are five local search marketing strategies we recommend to help reach your target audience organically:

1. Manage more listings than just your Google Business Profile

Did you know? Research from Yext shows brands can see +186% more clicks from Google when they manage their information across an extended publisher network.

A Yext study found that brands only managing their information with a few major publishers see substantially lower overall web performance from Google. In contrast, brands that appear across >75% of publishers in the Yext network measure a +186% increase in clicks to their websites from Google.*

Robust publisher network coverage pays off. Graph with avg Google website clicks per location along the y axis, and percent of Yext listings network synced along x axis, showing a 186% increase in Google website clicks for locations that have at least 75% of the network synchronized.

When it comes to local search, listings put your brand in front of customers during high-intent moments. Even as AI search creates uncertainty in the SERP, listings management is an SEO tactic that still drives search visibility. If your listings are complete and optimized, your products, services, and brand have a better chance of showing up in both branded and unbranded searches.

Be sure to keep the information about your business accurate, like your hours of operations, address, and phone number. Maps (like Google Maps and Apple Maps) should direct users to the right place, especially if you have many locations.

Another tactic to help with SEO for local visibility is to post updates around offers and special announcements, too. And, syncing FAQs to your profile helps customers get the answers they need, and those questions and answers can be crawled by Google for search. To maximize your local SEO, listings management is key.

See also: The Power of a Digital Presence: How Diverse Publisher Coverage Impacts Brand Discoverability

2. Ensure your brand information is complete, accurate, and consistent everywhere

Did you know? Google crawls the web and references information about your brand.

Search engines like Google will crawl other digital properties to help determine where and how to showcase your brand in search results. This includes your website, but it also includes third-party publishers like Facebook, Bing, or Apple Maps.

Any inconsistencies with how your information appears on these third-party publishers could hurt your ability to show up in local search. Whether you have a few listings, a couple hundred, or maybe even thousands, it's important to have accurate brand information on all your digital properties. Otherwise, you risk adding friction to the customer journey.

For instance, Google features something called local justifications in the local map pack. Examples of local justifications include:

  • Website justifications: information pulled directly from the content on your website

  • Review justifications: keywords pulled from review content that match keywords used in a search query

  • Menu justifications: meals and pricing information pulled from a restaurant's menu within the Google Business Profile

Local justifications may or may not impact your rank in local search results. However, it's clear that Google references this information when they provide results to consumers. Like their new Search Generative Experience (SGE), this is meant to enhance users' experiences on both the Google search engine and with your brand.

This means local marketers have to manage information everywhere to manage their Google listing.

Here's a real-world example: When Will Hanrahan, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing, took over the Fazoli's website and digital footprint, it was challenging to manage all of the brand's information for a loyal and growing customer base. This was especially true for menu offerings, which changed frequently and varied by location. Consumers searching online couldn't always see the correct menu for the location nearest to them, causing confusion that sometimes led to negative reviews.

Fazoli's decided to work with Yext to rebuild the brand's digital footprint with the marketing solutions framework. Altogether, Fazoli's has seen 3.6x growth in online sales after kicking off a Yext-assisted digital transformation. Read the full case study for an in-depth analysis of Fazoli's digital visibility strategy.

3. Optimize your local landing pages for search engines

Did you know? Your local landing pages are separate from your main website. They are specifically designed to generate local visibility and traffic.

A local landing page is designed to capture and convert traffic from people who are searching for products and services in your area. So, you can create a local landing page for anything you are trying to drive more traffic towards – like an event, product, service, or a physical location.

Local landing pages should be optimized for search engines. This is essential to reach customers in your local community. Typically, high performing local landings pages have these qualities:

  • Fast load speed: Your landing pages need to load quickly. This is because page load speed contributes to Google's ranking algorithm.

  • Mobile- and tablet-friendly: Your landing pages need to be optimized on any device, including mobile. Why? Because more than half of search traffic comes from mobile devices.

  • Marked up with Schema: Schema Markup is a form of structured data that helps search engines understand the content on your page. This allows search engines to return richer and more informative results to users. Landing pages that are properly marked up with Schema have a better chance of ranking higher in search results.

Watch on-demand: Mastering Local Marketing: Insider Tips for National Brands

4. Implement a reputation management strategy

Did you know? Ratings and reviews help search engines like Google determine your search ranking.

Google will often pre-filter search results to only show businesses that are four stars and above when customers add words like "best" or "great" to their queries. But when it comes to determining where to rank your business in search, Google will even look at what people said in their reviews. For example, Google will highlight snippets from your review content if it matches with keywords that are used in the search query. Think of search queries like "best pizza in NYC" or "cafe with great wifi," where a customer also mentioned "best pizza" and the cafe having "great wifi" in their review.

If you are looking to optimize your online reputation on Google, unfortunately, it's not good enough to only focus on Google. Why? Google will feature your average ratings from other sites directly on your Google Business Profile. This is also one of the ways that Google rewards businesses that publish reviews on local landing pages.

Developing and implementing a reputation management strategy can take a lot of work, but the SEO benefits could give your brand a leg up over the competition in the SERP.

See also: How Ratings and Reviews Impact Search

5. Use analytics and insights to improve your SEO strategy

Did you know? Your local SEO strategy should evolve based on learnings and insights.

Customers find and interact with your brand all over the web. To understand how you are truly performing in local search, you need a unified view that shows you how (and where, and why) customers engage with your brand.

In addition to that, you need to be able to see trends in your performance. This helps you make informed, data-driven decisions that benefit your brand. Here are some examples of the kind of data you'll want to collect to optimize your performance:

  • Trends in performance over time and against competitors: This information can help you make important decisions. For example, you might find that certain locations need a boost in organic visibility. Then, you can supplement by increasing paid advertising spend for that location specifically.

  • Keywords that real people use in search: Keyword research is a fundamental pillar of SEO. Use analytics to see what terms people type into the search engine. Then, incorporate them into your listings and landing pages.

  • How users experience your brand: Use analytics on your reviews to understand the experiences your customers have. What is contributing to positive user experiences? What about negative experiences with your brand? Once you can identify the issue, you can fix it — and ultimately reduce negative reviews.

  • How users want to engage with you: A holistic view of user, traffic, and engagement analytics can give you insights into how audiences want to interact with your brand. For example, you might uncover that visual guides perform really well with a specific buyer persona.

A 'set it and forget it' approach will not help you reach your local SEO goals, especially as AI search changes the search engine results page. Search results change all the time, thanks to algorithm updates, Google's new search generative experience, changes in user behaviors and interests, and more. It's better to build a strong strategy, and then use analytics to continuously improve.

Read next: How Powerful Analytics Can Drive Better User Experiences

How to ramp up your local marketing strategy

As marketers, you want your company to show up in local search results. Your local marketing strategy shouldn't neglect SEO. Instead, prioritize the five strategies above to drive engagement among your audience.

A local SEO strategy that incorporates these tenets can increase your online visibility, drive more people to your locations, and ultimately, boost revenue. However, you may find it difficult to manage your local visibility manually. The right technology partner can help you manage all your publishers, review aggregators, and landing pages in one place.

The Yext Platform gives you confidence that your listings will always reflect the most accurate and up-to-date information, thanks to the highest number of direct API integrations with third-party publishers. With this technology at your fingertips, you have real-time control over your digital presence — and better opportunities to rank in local search.

*As the largest listings vendor, Yext helps thousands of multi-location brands manage their digital presence. This offers Yext the unique ability to conduct a study of this caliber using such a large, diverse data set. To ensure we took an unbiased approach, Yext analyzed more than 620k locations – across all geographies and brand types – that have been live on Listings for at least one year. Reference the full study for more details.

Read next: How Diverse Publisher Coverage Impacts Brand Discoverability

New research from Yext shows brands can see +186% more clicks from Google when they manage their information across an extended publisher network.

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