Beginner’s Guide to Local SEO


Getting started with local SEO can seem a bit of a daunting prospect, but the fact is that businesses that are able to optimise their website and SEO approaches most certainly reap the benefits and are able to target the right people for their particular business. According to Google 80% of users search online when trying to find local businesses, while a staggering 50% of those who conduct a local business search online visit the bricks and mortar premises within one day. The importance of local SEO, therefore is there for all to see.

Google My Business

Considering these unbelievable statistics it seems impossibly naïve that 56% of businesses have not carried out the first and simplest step towards local SEO, which is claiming their Google My Business (GMB) listing. This is the starting point for all local businesses.

Organic and snack pack results

First things first. Go on Google and search for a type of local business. You could try “coffee shops near me”. As you scroll down you will see the organic (standard) search results. But near the top of the page next to a map with pins in you will see the Google “snack pack” results. The Snack Pack box displays the top 3 local business listings that are most relevant to the search enquiry. Almost as many people go to a result from the snack pack selection as the organic results. This means that local SEO strategy should attack both.


One of the most important and fundamental basics of local SEO is to ensure that your site is mobile friendly. Around 60%-70% of users search for local businesses from mobile devices (not surprising as many are searching while out and about) and as such it is vital to ensure your site is mobile optimised. This excellent Google tool will help you on your way. You should ensure that your site is smooth and easy to use, vital information like opening times, stock searches and general navigability are easy to find and simple to use.

Keyword research

Finding out what is bringing people to your site and that of your competitors is absolutely vital. Google Search Console is an invaluable tool for this (and many other aspects of local SEO) as you can find this out along with a whole host of incredible pieces of information about your site’s performance.

Many keyword searches will be in the SiL (Service in Location) format. Imagine you are a record shop in Witney. Top searches may be as follows:

  • record shop in Witney
  • vinyl store in Witney
  • CD shop in Witney
  • Pre-owned vinyl in Witney

These are all examples of SiL keyword searches and they should be easy to pinpoint and then use in blog content and on your website itself. Google autocomplete should also not be ignored as a tool for generating keyword suggestions.


Most existing businesses will have some existing citations and not all of them will be 100% accurate. It is best to ensure that they are by carrying out a full audit.

These five steps will set you well on the way to getting your local SEO up and running.


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