How to Optimize for Local Searches to Get More Customers

Are you doing enough to optimize for local searches? Learn how to get more local customers using local search marketing in this post.

Optimize for Local Searches

Store location vector created by upklyak –

It’s surprising how many small businesses neglect their local customers when marketing their business, find out how to optimize for local search to build a solid local customer base.


Local search marketing has never been more impactful. 

At 46%, almost half of all Google searches are looking for local information. And with 78% of local searches ending with an offline purchase, there’s a huge opportunity in local search marketing that you don’t want to miss. 

Customers are searching online for businesses like yours every second. And if your service is delivered physically, your best customers will be searching nearby.  

If you don’t know where to get started with your local search engine marketing, you’ve come to the right place. This post will thoroughly cover how you can optimize for local searches. It’s not about gaming the algorithm or stuffing your website with unnatural sentences full of search terms.

The strategies we’ll look at go hand-in-hand with building relationships, creating better content, and strengthening your business as part of your community.

In this article we’ll reveal:

  • Definitions of local search marketing, local SEO, keywords, ranking, domain authority, and SERPs
  • The benefits of local search engine marketing
  • 7 easy to implement local search marketing strategies

Read to the end to boost your ranking and grow the reach of your business in the local community. And if you own a business like a restaurant that relies on regular locals, there’s no better way to get your restaurant noticed.

What is Local Search Marketing?

Local search engine marketing is the process of improving your business’ visibility in search engine results for local searches. 

What are local searches? They’re defined as online searches for a nearby physical service, such as a restaurant, beauty salon, or accountant’s office. 

For example, when someone types, “burger restaurant near me” into Google and a map shows up with local burger restaurants, that’s a local search.

The ultimate goal is to appear as near to the top of the results as possible in order to drive the most traffic through to your website. But the trick is to appear high up in the most relevant searches – to attract the people most likely to become your best customers. 

Definitions You Need to Know to Understand Local Search Marketing

When you start reading about search engine optimization, you’ll come across some weird and wonderful marketing language. It helps to understand what these terms mean before you explore our local search strategies.

  • SEO – Search engine optimization is anything you do to boost your ranking in search engine results without paying for it.
  • Local Search SEO – Search engine optimization specifically for local searches.
  • SERPs – Search engine results pages refer to the list of results you see when you make a search. There may be millions of results over several pages, and you ideally want to be at the top of page number one.
  • Ranking – The score assigned to your business to determine where it appears in SERPs. A higher ranking equals a better position on the results page.
  • Domain Authority – One of the factors used to determine your search engine ranking. The more people read and link to your content, the higher your domain authority.
  • Keywords – In the world of SEO, a keyword is any search term typed into a search engine. A keyword may actually be made up of one word or a phrase. For example, “burger restaurant near me” is a keyword that you might target for local searches.

Search engines look for particular attributes online to determine which results to show. That includes obvious things like your address and the services you offer, to elements like local content, relevant links, mentions, and social profiles. The more consistent the information across multiple sources, the better your ranking in the SERPs.

The purpose of optimizing for local searches is to make it as easy as possible for the search engine’s crawler to identify your business as local and relevant to nearby searchers.

The Benefits of Optimizing for Local Searches

For businesses providing a physical service, local search optimization is vitally important to keep customers coming through your doors. In fact, as many as 72% of customers who perform a local search visit a store within five miles. 

A restaurant is a great example of a business that benefits from local SEO, as the customer base is likely to be within a mile or two radius. Even as a national chain or franchise, restaurant SEO for each location is just as important as flashy national marketing campaigns.

Here are the biggest benefits of local search marketing:

Low Cost

The biggest investment most businesses will need to make to optimize for local searches is time. The strategies we’ll discuss don’t add any marketing spend, they just require diligence and consistency. Once you have a local search marketing strategy in place, it’s just a case of maintaining that consistency over the long term.

Less Competition

When you narrow down your target audience to people searching locally, you have more chance of success. There’s less competition and you are more likely to offer what the customer is looking for. 

Good Chance of Converting a Click to a Sale

When someone is searching for a local service, they are more likely to end up making a purchase, simply because they are nearby and often looking for immediate answers.

7 Local Search Marketing Strategies

Local search marketing doesn’t have to blow the budget. There are a number of strategies you can employ with little to no budget that will make a difference straight away. The fundamentals are about providing search engines with accurate and consistent data so that’s where you can start. 

Then we’ll look at proactive strategies to optimize for local search in order to make your business stand out and be even easy to pick out as the most relevant search result.

1. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Google is the place that most people are going to be searching so it’s the most important target for your local SEO efforts. Your Google My Business listing is the place to start. You can claim it for free and upload all the information that you want people to see. 

Google wants you to provide accurate information so they publish a guide to help you with your Google My Business optimizations. 

Firstly, create and verify your page. Then, to optimize your profile, make sure that the basic information someone would need to engage with your business is accurate and complete. That includes your address, telephone number, and business hours.

Create your listing and populate it with accurate information. Then, verify that you are the owner of the listing. This will boost your chance of ranking well on Google.

Add photos and posts, and encourage your customers to leave positive reviews. Respond to reviews, thank customers for positive comments, and deal with any negative issues.

Google allows anyone to suggest edits and make changes to your listing, so it’s important to regularly check in and ensure it’s up-to-date and accurate.

2. Ensure NAP Consistency

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number, and it’s the most vital information about your business. As we mentioned, this information should be added to your Google My Business profile, along with other key information. 

It’s also important to make sure this critical information is consistent across the internet. That means on your website, on social media, on Google and other directory listings, and anywhere else it shows up. 

Your NAP details should be included as crawlable HTML text on your website so that the search engine spiders can find them.

3. Optimize for Online Directories

Online directories are important keepers of information. The more you’re listed on, the better your chance of ranking well on search engines. 

Identify which directories are relevant for your business and optimize your profiles. Here are the main directories which are used by the big search engines:

  • Google My Business
  • Bing Places for Business
  • Yahoo Business Listings
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Whitepages
  • Touch Local


Make sure you’re present on these main location directories, which supply map data in the US to the main search engines: 

  • Express Update 
  • Neustar Localeze
  • Foursquare
  • Factual

4. Audit and Optimize Your Website

Do everything you can to make your website easy to find by performing an audit and optimizing for local searches. 

Add Relevant Keywords 

High-volume keywords are the ones most often searched for. And high-competition keywords are harder to rank well for. Use any restaurant marketing research you’ve conducted plus a tool like Ahrefs to identify the high-volume keywords. Choose keywords that you have a realistic chance of ranking well for and target these specifically.

The keywords for your business might be “best burger restaurant Austin.” Make sure this shows up in your URL, header, title tags, meta description, and website copy. You can go further and create content optimized with your keywords.

Just like with restaurant menu design, it’s important to give the customer a pleasurable, pain-free experience on your website. So although you want to add the keywords in multiple locations, you don’t want to be guilty of “keyword stuffing,” which makes the site unreadable and unappealing, and may even be punished by Google and negatively affect your ranking.


The majority of local searches are performed on the go so make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices. The last thing you want is for a customer to be unable to click a button or see a piece of content because the page doesn’t fit on their device. 

Most modern sites are coded to be responsive, which means they automatically adjust the content to the device. But it’s always a good idea to test your website on desktops, tablets, and smartphones of as many different brands and screen sizes as you can.

Improve Internal Linking

Local SEO is boosted by a clear internal structure on your website. Create relevant links between your different pages and pieces of content on your site to create a logical internal network.

5. Add Location Pages to Your Website

Adding a location page to your website with an embedded Google map not only helps customers find you, it will also give your ranking a boost as it’s something Google looks for when crawling your site.

Most restaurant websites, for example, have a map and address on the contact page. If you have more than one location, you can create multiple location pages with unique content for each one.

6. Create Local Content

One of the best ways to boost your local search ranking that takes a little more time and effort is through content marketing. This is the process of creating content for your customers, in the form of social media posts, blog posts, videos, downloadable templates or guides, and more. This content should be valuable to the customer, but also tell them about your business.

You could write about a local news story relevant to your industry, or create a local guide for your audience. Anything that ties your business to the area and helps search engines rank your business higher in the results.

7. Increase Inbound Links

One of the main factors search engines take into account when determining the authority of a site is the number of inbound links pointing to it. And the better the authority of the sites linking to you, the better yours will rank.

So you can improve your ranking by getting more websites to link back to your site, especially high traffic, high ranking sites.

There are a number of ways to proactively boost inbound links to raise your domain authority: 

Guest Posting

A great way to gain backlinks from a relevant high-traffic site is to offer a guest post. You will get a byline with a paragraph about you and your business and a link back to your website. You can aim for relevant local publications or popular blogs with high domain authority.

Local PR

Media sites typically have higher domain authority as they have high traffic and their articles are frequently linked to. Build relationships with local journalists, bloggers, and food writers (if you run a restaurant), then send out press releases featuring your latest news or new menu launches. 

Host Local Events

Connecting with local non-profits or community organizations is a great way to organically build relationships and encourage links. Host fundraisers, throw parties, or organize pop-up events to establish your business in the community.

Boost More Than Just Your Sales with Local Search Marketing

The beauty of local SEO is that it improves your connection with your customers in an organic way while also getting more customers to see your business online. 

With minimal marketing spending, and following these tips to optimize for local searches, you can dramatically improve your chances of appearing at the top of search results. Especially if you use a restaurant marketing platform to help you keep up with your local search optimization. And you should start seeing the fruits of your labor within a few weeks. 

With greater visibility and more customers through the door, local search marketing is a win-win for any business.