Local SEO Strategy: 4 Tips Every Agency Needs to Know

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Key takeaways

  • Develop local SEO strategies to help clients increase organic website traffic from local customers
  • Audit each client’s online presence to ensure their business information is fully accurate and consistent enough for search engines algorithms to trust
  • Create high-quality content for your clients’ websites to target more local keywords and offer guest blogs to earn local links

When your clients want to drive more traffic to their sites, search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective local SEO agency strategy that can help support their goals. However, if you’re working with a local business with a physical location or a dedicated service area, run-of-the-mill local SEO tactics won’t get you the best results. To captivate the shoppers who are most likely to buy—that is, the consumers in your client’s local market—you need a strategy that gets your client to the top of local search results. Here’s why local SEO matters and how to build an effective local SEO strategy for your clients.

Why is local SEO important?

local seo

According to BrightLocal, 78% of consumers search for local business information on the internet more than once per week (up from 69% in 2020), and the majority use search engines to do so. If you’re not paying attention to your local search rankings, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic from potential customers in your client’s target markets.

Local SEO also allows your clients to show up on local packs, a SERP feature that displays relevant local business listings along with a map at the top of searches with local intent. When you help clients appear on this prominent section, they can win foot traffic and phone calls on top of the website visits they gain.

4 local SEO agency strategy tips

Building an effective local SEO strategy for each of your clients allows them to become prominent brands in their local markets. Implement these four local SEO tips to help your clients improve their local search ranking on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.

1. Audit your client’s online presence

Local citations, which are online listings that include a company’s business information, are a key ranking factor for local search. The more local listings a brand has, the more likely they are to rank high on SERPs—as long as each listing includes consistent details about the business. Search engines use local listings to confirm that a company’s information is trustworthy, which is why accuracy is a must.

Before you execute a broader local SEO strategy, conduct an SEO audit of your client’s online presence to identify where information needs to be updated. Take a look at their business website for any on-page SEO issues (like broken links), social media business profiles, and listings on business directories like Yelp. Pay extra attention to your client’s business name, address, and phone number—otherwise known as their NAP—on sites, as these are particularly important for local search.

When you become a Yelp Advertising Partner, you can access powerful profile optimization features for all your client locations from one dashboard. After you finish your audits and updates, you can use these tools to further complete your clients’ local business listings.

2. Create local content

Content marketing is an essential part of search engine optimization that allows you to target specific keywords. You can make it an effective part of your local SEO agency strategy by creating blog posts or landing pages that cater to target audiences in specific locations.

Use free keyword research tools to identify local search terms that are most relevant to your client’s business, or conduct keyword research as you normally would (if your marketing agency already offers SEO services) and simply add location indicators to those terms. For instance, instead of writing a blog post to rank for “best dry cleaning business,” you can aim to rank for the term “best dry cleaning business in Chicago” and include that keyword throughout your content.

Don’t forget to include local keywords when filling out meta descriptions, title tags, and similar fields before you publish your content. Just be sure you’re adding keywords naturally where they align with the message you want to deliver.

3. Speed up local link building with guest blogs

local seo

Earning backlinks, which are inbound links to your web page from another site, shows search engine algorithms that your client’s website is trustworthy enough to suggest as a top result. The more backlinks your clients have from trusted local sites, the easier it is for them to rank high on local search. Guest blogging is a simple way to get your content—complete with relevant hyperlinks to your client’s web pages—on other sites.

To identify the best guest blogging opportunities, use Moz’s free domain analysis tool to build a list of local websites that have strong domain authority, which indicates that they’re already trusted by search engines. Ideally, their domain authority score should be higher than that of your client’s website. Then, reach out to the people or organizations that own those websites to pitch your content idea.

Chambers of commerce, professional organizations, and local news companies commonly have high domain authority as well as guest blogging or op-ed opportunities, so take advantage of those when you can. It’s a good way to network, raise your clients’ visibility, and gain prime real estate on other sites.

4. Help your clients with their online review strategy

Customer reviews are an SEO ranking factor that can affect a company’s placement on organic search results, including on local packs. Since search engines want to offer the most helpful suggestions, they take into account what customers are saying about a business online and the number of reviews it has.

When you assist your clients with their strategy for online reviews, you can help them improve their online reputation over time through actions like responding to reviews, whether critical or positive. Showing your attentiveness through timely and thoughtful responses is an SEO best practice that can inspire more customers to write reviews. Plus, you can share insights from online reviews with your clients so they know what they need to do to improve their business and get more positive reviews.

Perfect your local SEO strategy and help clients reach more potential customers

Local SEO is a key digital marketing strategy for any small business with a local presence. When you write content to target local keywords, update online business listings, and win backlinks from high-authority sites, you can help your clients gain more web traffic, foot traffic, and phone calls from local customers.

Managing online reviews is another important tactic that can help you steadily improve your clients’ ranking on organic results pages. As their online reputation grows and improves, search engine algorithms will grow more confident in suggesting their business. However, it’s certainly not the only SEO tool you can use. Take a look at our local SEO checklist to learn about more tactics you can use to reach local customers, whether they’re using desktop, voice, or mobile search.

Kelly Miller is head of partner sales at Yelp.

Kelly Miller is Head of Partner Sales at Yelp. Read more about the Yelp Advertising Partner Program.