3 Top tips to improve local search rankings in 2019

If you’re a small to mid-sized company, you’ll want to target your SEO effort to your local market. Unless you are a very niche service with a global reach, you wouldn’t get too far competing against the biggest brands and sites out there on an international scale. Plus, if you’re targeting customers in your community, it’s best to set regional boundaries to maximize SEO ROI – traffic and sales.

According to a survey carried out in 2017, 80 percent of participants used local terms when searching nearby services. Additionally, 50 percent of the participants who searched for a local service actually visited a store that appeared on the search results on the same day. When you employ the right local SEO strategies, you don’t need to invest a lot of money trying to rank higher for relevant key words.

Competition for the top ranks is fierce. Today, climbing SERP ranking takes a lot more than listing your service with Google, improving website speed, and content marketing. These are the basics, and most businesses with an online presence are already doing that.  So, here are 3 innovative ways to help you get ahead.


Build Local Link

Submitting your site to several directories is a good place to start, but other companies are doing the same. So, it’s prudent to work hard on building quality local links. When local businesses, organizations, or bloggers provide links to your website, Google views this as a sign of trust and would hence rank SERPs in your favor.

There are a number of creative ways to build local links. Begin by carrying out a local custom search on Google. Look for local blogs that relate to your products or services. Search for popular local Facebook and Twitter users that relate to your business. Also, look for local school clubs, environmental groups, or charitable organizations. When you sponsor such noble events, the organizers will provide a link to your business on social media posts, blogs, or website. Sporting events and scholarships often lead to increased traffic from local organizations that provide sponsor links.

People who search for a product or service with specific locations are often ready to make a purchase, and more potential customers with high purchase intent funneling through will almost guarantee a sales surge.

Write Customized Content for a Local Experience

If you happen to support local school activities, charities, sport leagues, or any other organization, mention that in your content. A local focus will significantly improve your ranking and demonstrate that you understand the needs of your community. If you have a blog, frequently write about local issues. For example, if you’re a pest control company, it helps to write about mosquito epidemic during summer and mention specific neighborhoods that are situated near rivers, swamps, or other water bodies. Additionally, you can create case studies about various issues that your company experienced. Be sure to avoid any specific mentions of your customers to avoid ethical issues.

Note that your locally-tailored content provides a powerful form of communication, so it should meet the four conversational maxims (quantity, quality, manner, and relevance). Only write what you can defend with evidence while making your information as clear as possible. Also, avoid being wordy or too vague.

Explore Regional SERPs Using a VPN

With every business, there comes a time for expansion. If you’re planning to venture beyond borders and tap into the neighboring market, the best way to find out how you’re ranking there is by using a VPN. With a VPN, you can change your IP and do the exact same search with your target keywords. When you do so, it’s important to remember to use your browser’s incognito mode to prevent previous searches from interfering with the results of your new market research.

Once you have your results, you might want to start learning about your competitors. If it’s a startup, use Crunchbase to find out more. With the domain name of your competitors, target audience and location, you’re all set to find out how they rank for different keyword phrases to get a more comprehensive picture of how they’re doing.

Apart from ranking, you can also look at the website design, Google My Business, social media, and backlink profiles. Be sure that the geographical preferences are correctly set. Pick out important information that can help you strengthen your own SEO ranking.

Now you are fully armed to compete with rivaling services both on-page and off-page, in your local area and beyond. To recap, you should improve content relevance with organic blogs, build plenty of good local backlinks to strengthen your trust signal, and finally, use a VPN to conduct search ranking research.


Jack is a tech blogger and content marketer specializing in online security and privacy. He spends his time split between Western Canada and Asia Pacific.