Local SEO: how to rank in local searches and in GMB


Local SEO allows you to position your company in search engines, so that it is visible to potential customers who perform local searches related to the products and services you offer in your location.

This is a very specific online marketing approach: it is not the same as dropping flyers in mailboxes or paying for an ad in a local newspaper that might not be seen by a potential customer really interested in your products or services.

For this reason, from Rodanet we want to explain what local SEO is, how it works, the possible areas of application and how it can accelerate the growth of a small (or large) local business.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is the local/geolocated positioning of a website in search engines. Unlike traditional SEO, which aims to position a site nationally or internationally, local SEO aims to obtain organic visibility in a well-defined geographic area. This branch of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is particularly useful for:

  • Hotels
  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Artisans
  • Restaurants

More and more users are searching for a product or service by typing in Google keywords associated with the name of a city, or generic keywords that return local results. How many times have you searched for: “pizzerias Barcelona”, “hostels Valencia” or “plumbers Madrid”? As you can understand, these searches are very specific and, being so localized, have a higher conversion rate than generic searches.

With the introduction of Universal Search, Google began displaying, on a single page, web search results along with search results from its vertical engines: News, Video, Images and Maps.

Search engines return relevant results based on the current location of the user who performed the search.

When a user types, for example, “dentist Barcelona”, Google tends to show the results of the closest dental offices to the user, taking into account the searcher’s location. It also does this when you simply search for “dentist”, it geolocates your current position and shows you the results of dentists closest to your geolocation at that moment.

From a technical point of view, this happens through the algorithm Google Pigeonwhich was designed and launched for linking Google’s local search algorithm to the web algorithmThe aim is to improve the ranking parameters based on the distance and location of the user performing the search.

Google Pigeon reduced the search radius favoring businesses closer to the searcher’s physical location.

In other words, local SEO optimization will serve to give visibility to local businesses following a geolocated query: when a user searches for something like “plumbers Alicante”, the more locally optimized website will have higher visibility, thus increasing visits and, therefore, possible conversions.

Why local SEO is important

The main advantage is to gain online visibility and have the opportunity to intercept:

  • Users who already know your business: it is essential that your website appears in the SERP in the Knowledge Graph and Google Maps so that users can find your contact details. Maybe a user already knows your business, but doesn’t know the phone number or address.
  • Users who do not know your business: in most cases users do not know your business and when they search in Google for terms such as “pizzeria”, “lawyer” or “dentist in Bilbao”, appearing in the SERP on Google maps increases the probability of establishing contact and gaining new customers.

Advantages of doing local SEO

local seo

The main advantage of doing local SEO is to increase business opportunities by connecting with new customers. Second, but not least, local SEO allows you to provide potential customers with direct contact information about your business , such as phone number or physical address. A well-kept Google My Business listing also allows you to report on:

  • Opening hours and days;
  • a photo gallery;
  • offers and promotions;
  • customer feedback.

What factors does Google take into account for ranking?

Now that you know what local organic SEO is, we explain, under our experience as a local SEO agency, how Google determines the local ranking. In other words, based on what factors the search engine assigns a score to your site that, if it is optimal, allows you to appear in the top positions. Specifically, the algorithm takes into account three factors:

  1. Relevance: refers to the level of relevance between your business and a user’s search. A well-structured website, with valuable content, complete information and a good application of SEO techniques, will allow Google to better understand the type of business and give it greater relevance.
  2. Proximity: indicates how far the search result (store/shop) is from the location of the user performing the search. In the absence of keywords with the addition of location, Google returns results considering other factors, such as the geolocation of the device used by the user.
  3. Prominence: refers to the notoriety of a company. The better known a company is, the more importance it will be given at the local level. Prominence is based on several SEO factors, such as traffic and information about the company on the web, which is derived from mentions and reviews that users leave on local search platforms, such as Trip Advisor.

google datastudio to control seoTo improve the local organic ranking of your business, therefore, you must obtain good “scores” in the three factors described above. To achieve them, as you can imagine, you need to implement local SEO optimization techniques.

A good local SEO strategy is divided into on-site and off-site operations, i.e. implemented both at the structural level of the website and at the external level. Read on and we’ll explain how to implement a perfect SEO strategy for your local business in just a few steps.

The definitive GUIDE to improve your local SEO

By following these basic rules you can start doing local SEO right away.

#1 Use SEO tools to find keywords

Employ SEO tools such as Google Keywords Planner, Ahrefs or other free keyword extraction tools to get a complete list of the keywords you want to rank for and their search volumes. Set filters and include the name of the city to obtain a list of keywords and their location.

If you have more than one location, try to have landings for each of the cities where you offer a service or product. For example, we have pages from Madrid where we are headquartered:

#2 Open a Google My Business listing

The first step to a successful local SEO strategy is to open and register a Google My Business profile. GMB is a free platform launched by Google in June 2014 that allows you to create a local business listing to be placed on the Google map. After a quick and easy registration process, our company’s business card will appear on the search results page with all the data defined during creation.

The more accurate, complete and relevant the business information described, the greater the benefits in terms of local organic visibility. For this reason, it is essential to optimize the Google My Business profile. The guidelines to follow to achieve an optimized GMB profile are:

  • describe the local company accurately and in detail;
  • indicate the main category of the company (search for your main keywords and see what categories your competitors have);
  • upload quality images, optimized with a descriptive file name and geolocated with tools such as https://www.geoimgr.com/;
  • correctly specify opening days and hours;
  • include all contact information (address, telephone and e-mail);

– Schema

One of the main on-page factors for local positioning.

It is recommended to apply on the web the same contact information or NAP(Name, Address, Phone) that we have put in the GMB (both in the contact page and in the footer or anywhere where the location is mentioned on the web). Adding a schema will help Google to relate your website and rank it next to the Google My Business listing.

To do this, you can use this schema generator: https://technicalseo.com/tools/schema-markup-generator/

Select the Local Business one, fill in all the information and copy the script in the same place where you have the address, in html.

– Map

Another fundamental aspect of a local SEO strategy, as long as it does not harm the performance of the website, is to place a
embed map
map of your local business on the contact page of the website. Users browsing from smartphones will find your business more easily using Google Maps navigation features (from the tab display there is a SHARE button > INSERT MAP and copy the entire <iframe>), with a link to Google Maps directions for that location.

– Link

Add in the footer of your web page the address of your company with a link pointing to your Google My Business listing.

– City mentions

If your business is located in Barcelona, add, in landings or corresponding pages, mentions to the city in question + keyword, e.g. “seo agency barcelona“.

– Nearby sites of interest

If your business offers a physical service or product (real estate, massage parlor, law firm, etc.), you can list nearby places of interest. This is interesting because in many local searches a section mentioning these places appears, helping the user to locate your establishment more easily.

– Products or Services

Google My Business offers sections for both products and services:

  • Products: Create products according to the main business verticals. Even if you offer a service, you can always package it as a product and add it as such, it is very important to have the main business focuses uploaded as products, for example

These products acquire special relevance, as they appear in the SERPs next to the 100% fixed file:

  • Services: The same as products, but with services, they can be associated to each category we have, leave it as complete as possible. This is what often causes it to appear in the SERPs, like the screenshot below:

That appears since we have it registered as a service:

So investigate what keywords are appearing in Google My Business geolocated results and try to adapt the concept to upload it as a service.

– Upgrades

Finally, update the profile frequently and constantly, completing it with publications, promotions and photos related to the activity.

– Reviews

As we have seen at the beginning, it is highly recommended to encourage Google reviews, so it is advisable to plan some kind of strategy for this. If you have created your custom page, you can put a direct link to google reviews by adding /review at the end:


Some of the most effective strategies and tips for encouraging reviews are as follows:

  • Ask customers to rate and comment on your store.
  • Invite employees to leave reviews as well.
  • If you have a newsletter, you can leave an additional message and a direct link to maps reviews.
  • Ask acquaintances or friends to leave reviews as well.
  • Make sure that customers, once they have purchased the product or after completing the service, can send an automatic e-mail so that they can review it.
  • Implement some type of promotion in exchange for the review. Example: “value our product and service and in the next purchase/contract you will have a 5% discount”.

The more and better reviews you get, the better, as it will increase the relevance of the file and attract more attention from users. You can see an example on our SEO Agency Reviews page.

– Respond to reviews

Responding to reviews, whether positive or negative, and especially in the latter case, is essential to try to change the customer’s mind, or in any case, so that the response serves as a context for other users who are looking for information during the purchase phase.

It is also a way for Internet users to see that the company is behind the business and cares about it, which builds trust.

#3 Optimize the website for mobile devices

We never tire of repeating it, but if you want to do local SEO, your website must be optimized for mobile devices.

Responsive design for devicesWhy? Because today most of the searches come from them. Imagine you are on vacation, you find yourself on the main street of Seville, you and your friends are starving and you want to know where to go to eat a good paella. What would you do? Surely, take out your cell phone and type in Google “paella restaurants Seville”. In this case you will want to find the information immediately and optimization for mobile devices allows you to highlight the phone number, address and opening and closing days.

#4 Optimization for local queries

Based on local searches and the geolocation of your business, undertake an On-Page SEO optimization campaign on the content of your web pages:

  • Include the name of the city in the title, in the meta description, in the url and in the h1 and h2 tags;
  • Feed the ALT attribute, the image description, with the keyword related to your city;
  • Increase your CTR (Click Through Rate) by using emotional and persuasive meta descriptions that can highlight local features and excellence.

#5 Add NAP and schema.org data

Include in the header and footer of your website the NAP data, i.e. name, address and phone number of your business. Make sure this information is correct and is the same information that appears on your Google My Business profile.

Use schema.org to help search engines better identify your company. The Schema Markup Generator page, will help you to create the
mark up
. Check that the name, address and phone number of your business match on your website and Google My Business profile. Then respect the order of the NAP(Name, Address, Phone) and add the data above the navigation menu or in the footer.

#6 Subscribe to local directories or industry portals.

Especially for newly launched online businesses, but not only, it can be useful to make
SEO, i.e. registering in local directories or sector portals strictly relevant to your activity. You would immediately take advantage of its visibility and traffic potential. Some examples of local directories or portals are:

  • Yelp
  • FourSquare
  • Bing Places
  • Booking
  • Factual
  • TripAdvisor
  • The Fork

#7 Do Local Link Building

Another way to do local SEO is to implement a strategy of

link building

. Identify industry portals on which to create valuable content that links to your local business. You will get targeted and quality traffic to your website.

#8 Questions and answers

This section is essential, since it is where users can ask you questions and expect an answer as quickly as possible. It is therefore important to keep it under control and review it, as it also serves to provide additional information to users.

#9 Chat

Activating the chat is not an indispensable aspect and, in fact, it is only recommended if we have someone behind us who will be in charge of responding in an agile manner. Otherwise, Google may penalize us by disabling it or reducing our visibility.

#10 Create a profile on social networks

In the last decade, more and more users have started to turn to social networks to search for local businesses, such as restaurants and stores. Facebook, in particular, has shown a special interest in localized marketing by launching the project
Facebook Local
. You may be wondering why you should open a profile for your business on Facebook. Keep in mind that the most used social network in the world has more than 2 billion users around the globe, of which 1.5 billion are active every day and 90% from their smartphones. Still thinking about it?

#11 Not only Google Maps

In addition to Google Maps, there are other maps that could be integrated into a local positioning strategy. Among them we can distinguish:

  • Apple Maps Connect;
  • Open Street Map.

As you have seen, local SEO represents an important promotional opportunity for local activities. In addition, local marketing, unlike a traditional SEO optimization strategy, allows you to obtain high organic visibility on search engines with a lower investment.

Of course, even in the case of local SEO, the consistency of the information provided to the potential customer will play a key role. Only by offering precise details (schedules, phone numbers, products sold) will it be possible to achieve one or more conversions.

Do you need a local SEO consultancy?

Do you have a local business in your area and would like to appear in the top local search results for your city? Increase your business opportunities by making it easier for users to find your business. Contact our team of SEO and digital marketing experts at Rodanet, and together we will find the best solution for the success of your business.


Copy & Content Strategist en Rodanet | tamara@rodanet.es | + posts

Tamara es redactora #seo y la boxeadora de la oficina. 🥊
Siempre escribe textos con gancho 😉

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