August 24, 2019

Search Engine Optimization for Local Business Results

This is a guest post written by David Brown.

Within a month of submitting my Portland search engine optimization website to Google’s local business listings, I was pleased to find myself at the top of the rankings for the phrases, “Portland Web Design,” “Portland Search Engine Marketing,” and “Portland Search Engine Optimization.” However, these rankings quickly faded due to my lack of understanding toward local business optimization.  Having identified this as a source of confusion for the majority of the search engine marketing community, I’m pleased to present some tips for moving up in the local business listings.

Offsite Local Business Optimization

  • Get free listings in as many local directory websites as possible. I seldom recommend reciprocating or paying for links in directories. However, if they offer a free, nonreciprocal option you should definitely take advantage.
  • Include your phone number whenever you write a description of your company on a third party website. My research suggests that Google uses your phone number to improve your local business listing rankings, similar to the way they use links for improving your traditional organic search engine rankings.
  • Make sure your local business listing is complete. For instance, include pictures, coupons, a full description, pick your categories, etc.
  • Work keywords into your local business listing description and make it as long as Google allows.
  • Look at your competitors’ local business listings. If the number next to the link titled, “Web Pages,” is greater than one, click on the link and try obtaining listings from the same websites as your competitors.

Onsite Local Business Optimization

  • Include your business name in your title tags, description and throughout your website.
  • Include your address and phone number at the bottom of every page.
  • Include the name of your city and state in your website’s content, titles, descriptions and page headers.
  • See which phrases the local business listings pop up for, and optimize your site for those phrases.

As mentioned above, there is a high level of mystery behind local business search engine optimization.  When mastered, it has the potential to be very lucrative, generating large amounts of targeted traffic, within a short amount of time. Please feel free to comment with more tips and resources.

David Brown is a search engine marketing consultant with Westhill Media.

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About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.


  1. Many searches for a business are going to be related to the city is it in or region. Create some additional landing pages optimized for searches in nearby suburbs and localities with and without the business name. While some keyword phases may be competitive (like real estate/ city) many are not and simple creating a page optimized for it will get search traffic.

  2. James,
    That’s a good point. Thanks.

  3. Awesome post. You definitely added to my Local SEO lists.

    From my experiences adding the city in prominent locations of your web page and building good keyword rich links to your Google business profile works best.

    Also, creating a full post/profile in any of Google’s other services helps too. ie: maps, base, apps, orkut, etc.

  4. SEO is tough but no less important than any other parts of your web business. I would recommend taking parts in forums and learning the ins and outs of the process. – Social Video Yellow Pages

  5. Great tip. Local business results is a strategy that many people don’t pay attention to when they should, since most of there business comes from local transactions. If your business is local, one should always include city to the meta tags and at the bottom of the page.

  6. I think the best way to make money online is to use multiple methods. Investing too much in one method puts all your eggs in one basket. I current do a mix of adsense and affiliate marketing. I try to split my sites up into multiple niches. This way, if one market or method tanks, my income is not effected too much.

  7. I’d like to say thanks very much for the useful tips here. I followed the advice above and our website is now 1st in local search and therefore no 1 in Google for “design agency london”.

  8. I’d like to say thanks very much for the useful tips here. I followed the advice above and our website is now 1st in local search and therefore no 1 in Google for “design agency london”.

  9. I have been sounding the foghorn in my town for the importance of local business SEO. What people don’t realize is this… the first law firm, the first coffee house, the first real estate agent, and basically the first in each business category stand the greatest chance to corner the local SEO and social media market. Right now, our town’s businesses are sleeping on the job. But I predict the alarm will sound very soon, and they will all be scrambling to rise to the top!

  10. Great advice posted here! I have been scratching my head about how to break into Google’s local listings results in my city. The tips in the article above are a great way to get started!

  11. Finally someone who can write a good blog ! I loved your post and will be telling others about it. Subscribing to your RSS feed now. Thanks

  12. Great advice! I never thought of the importance of your phone number in Google’s local listings results. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  13. Another important point is that you shouldn’t use the categories that Google suggests for your business. Change the categories to your strongest keywords and use your city/region in the category as well.

  14. I like the advice and would add to get a link from the local chamber of commerce. Also if you use seo for firefox or just use yahoo site explorer take a look at where your local competitors are getting their links from. I got a link for a client of mine from a couple .edu sites and .orgs. Also I would highly recommend making sure there are good reviews in yelp for your city. My client is on top for all her categories we picked for Google local and I believe its because we have a good yelp rating. I also added a yelp link from the home page to the yelp review page. So far it has worked very well for all her local key words

  15. Great article!
    Search engine optimisation for local Businesses is quite tricky. It seems that it’s easy to get listed in the local results following the above but to remain there is not so easy and required a lot of effort. Also, was wondering whether there is any automated tool that returns ranking results for local business results.

  16. Excellent tips.

    I use several of these and then some.

    There’s very little point in going world wide without a digital product of some kind.

    Being seen locally is very important.

    You want to be seen online preferably in a local search situation when people (70% of everyone) search to check out what’s out there and verify your credentials.

    This is usually done before they commit to spending money with you or anyone.

    Thanks for getting the word out.

  17. I admit, I have not been on this webpage in a long time… however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues.

  18. Thanks for sharing this guide. SEO is really a hard task and it takes a long time to see the results of this. I think a lot of viewer will benefit on this.

  19. Like the post. Anyone know how to get Google to find the sites that cite your business info?

  20. Very useful post, thanks. I’d never thought of using the phone number. Let’s see if this post helps me in local search!

  21. Great case study and some valuable theories concerning keyword strategies, directory listing optimisation and working your local information into your website.

    May I also add that targeting local e-zines and magazines is a great strategy for improving your local rankings.

  22. This is great information for anyone seeking to expand their reach online and move up in the local business results for industry specific keywords. I highly recommend a good link building strategy to compliment this approach by using keyword rich and regional specific anchor text links on relevant (highly ranked) pages that point back to your site. This will also help to increase your rankings and draw in more web traffic.

  23. What really should I do to obtain my site towards the top of google do I will need to hire an seo organization or can I do it myself thanks for the help

  24. I truly liked this article, this one is certainly going right into my stumble upon akun 🙂

  25. I have a decent natural ranking but my local business ranking is not as good. What is the cause of this?

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