This is How Local SEO Works, Step-by-Step

If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard about the importance of investing in Local SEO. Seeing as how 50% of searches (on mobile devices) are done to find local results and 61% of those searches result in a purchase, Local SEO is nothing to scoff at. It doesn’t just increase traffic to your website; it increases targeted traffic.

What do I mean by this? Well, there’s a significant difference in a searcher’s behavior when searching “home security” and “home security Miami.” The former is a comprehensive search whereby the user could just be looking for general information. The latter is specific to a location, which tells us the searcher is looking for a local business.

Today we’re going to look at the specifics of a local SEO campaign so you can decide for yourself if you want to invest in this marketing strategy that could vastly expand your business. So, how does local SEO work?

How is Local SEO different from regular SEO?

Often, people think that SEO and Local SEO are the same digital marketing strategy, others still lump all online marketing into one pile. While they aren’t exactly correct, they aren’t exactly wrong either. You see, when you boil it all down, optimizing a website for search (be it local, national, or global) has one goal – generate you more leads. Local SEO goes about the process in a slightly different way, which I’m going to explain below.

Step One: Website Audit & Competition Research

The first step to every successful local SEO campaign is a concise audit complete with attention to common security issues; this means extensively going over your website and analyzing its on-page optimization, HTML, javascript, and more. If the site is built “old school” (i.e., with tons of javascript) instead of with newer technologies like HTML5 or CSS3, it might be unsalvageable and need to be redesigned so that search engines can properly crawl and index it.

Along with the audit, it’s important to begin researching your competitors; this is a critical step in the campaign process. Why? We can reverse engineer what your competitors are doing correctly to copy their strategies and supersede them.

Step Two: Local Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of determining what specific phrases your target demographic is searching for with the purpose of buying the product or service you provide.

When it comes to keyword research for local business websites, the objective is to find keywords that identify buyer intent. We look for keywords specific to your area, much like in the example above.

This process is very involved and includes carefully studying your competitors to understand which keywords their website may (or may not) be ranking for on page one in the search engines.

Step Three: Content Creation & Optimization

Once we have a nice list of keywords that your target demographic is searching for in your local area, we begin creating content around those keywords. Often this content takes the form of pages on your website. However, sometimes videos are made to rank in the search engines.

For the content created we ensure that it is adequately optimized; this includes (but is not limited to) making sure that the keywords we found are in specific areas of the content created.

  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • First 100 words of the content

Step Four: Build Local Links

The last but more important step is building a particular type of link-local. Links, in the world of SEO, are like votes for your website. The more links that are pointing from other sites (e.g., Yelp, your friend’s blog, your Facebook page) to pages on your website, the higher those pages will appear for the specific keywords they are targeting. However, not all links are equal. Links from relevant “authority” websites count much higher than those from newer, non-relevant sites.

For digital marketers untrained in Local SEO, finding the right links for a local campaign can be tough. It takes a lot of time and effort to understand where to find them; this is where the previous competition research comes in handy. By reverse engineering your competition we can also know where they are getting links from and which ones are giving them the most prominent “boost” in the search results. We can use this information to gain the same links, thus leveling the playing field and giving your website the same boost.

Below is a list of some of the best local link building opportunities to grow your SEO campaign…

  • Become a Patch contributor to the town and write an article about your business.
  • Find local bloggers and offer them your product or service for free in return for a review (and link).
  • Use a service such as Moz Local to have your business added to top local directories, as well as ensure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) is correct on them.
  • Join local groups, such as your town’s Chamber of Commerce. Many of these groups have a members page where they list and link to member websites.
  • Donate to local charities that have a thank you page for their donors.
  • Sponsor a local event. Many events also have “thank you” pages, like this one.

The best way to build links for a local campaign is to not think of it as link building — instead of being “salesy” and pushing links, try to be friendly and helpful. While it can take more time to develop the types of links mentioned above, they are much more likely to lead to a higher boost in ranking.


As you can see, although Local SEO differs from a regular SEO campaign, it can be even more effective in bringing in leads. By following the plan outlined above, you can expect excellent results from your next Local SEO campaign.



A great knowledge ... for a non tech guy . Need a little more help from you .. we are building a small dynamic website and we need to give this work to some one else . Do we need to have a guy in house or outsource . Whether it should be one guy or two means one for building a site and one for digital marketing ?


Hi Bharat,

Thanks for your comment. Your question is really a matter of budget. At the moment, if you can dedicate the financial resources to hiring someone in-house, then by all means try that option. But more often than not, you're going to have to start with hiring an external agency/person to help first. And yes, there should be a different person doing the building of the site, and another doing the marketing of the business. Hope that helps!

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