By Andrew Dennis
19 Aug 2015

Local Search (Bite-sized Blogs)

Basic SEO

Hello everybody, and welcome to our first edition of Bite-sized Blogs here on Linkarati!

This is our second stab at “bite-sized” content here on the site, so hopefully we can continue to improve on our first attempt.

Hello everybody, and welcome to our first edition of Bite-sized Blogs here on Linkarati!

This is our second stab at “bite-sized” content here on the site, so hopefully we can continue to improve on our first attempt.


Today I’ll be discussing (very succinctly) local search. Let’s dive in!

First, it’s important to understand local search and national search are fundamentally different. User intent is different, keywords vary, and the majority of local searches occur on mobile devices (although this is now true of all types of search, local is still skewed much more towards mobile).

And because local and national search are different, we must optimize for each in different ways.

The most important factors for local search rankings are as follows:

  • On-page SEO
  • Local citations/NAP listings
  • Local links
  • And online reviews.

Each of these factors are vital to local search rankings.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is important in both local and national search. If your on-page elements aren’t optimized for search, you’ll have little chance of ranking. There are however a few elements for local search that differ slightly.

In local search, it’s important to optimize:

Local Citations/NAP Listings

As mentioned above, NAP information needs to be clearly listed, but it’s also important to get NAP citations on external sites as well. These citations signal to Google that your business is real and legitimate, increasing the likelihood you’ll be featured in their search results.

Some common citation sources include:

Outside of these sources, it’s also possible to find citation opportunities through paid tools like:

The key with NAP listings is consistency. Every citation should be listed the same, to avoid confusion within search.

Local Links

While local and national search differ, links are still an important ranking signal in both. Links are endorsements online, and they signal trust and authority to search engines.

Start with mutually beneficial relationships already formed through the local community. It’s easier to leverage these positive associations to secure links.

There are a number of local link building strategies, such as:

  • Local partnerships – associations, professional organizations, complementary products/services, etc.
  • Relevant testimonials – janitors, landscapers, service provides/vendors, etc.
  • Local relationships – suppliers, distributors, loyal customers, etc.
  • Local events/sponsorships – charities, sporting events, concerts, industry conferences, etc.
  • Local giveaways/contests
  • Local jobs page – notify local job sites and colleges.
  • Local directories – along with NAP listings, the same directories can also offer link opportunities.

Links are essential to search visibility, whether competing in local or national results.

Online Reviews

Along with NAP citations, reviews play an important role in local search rankings because they are a signal within Google’s algorithm. More positive reviews can help your site rank higher in Google’s “local pack”.

Local review platforms include:

Of course you want to encourage positive reviews on these sites, as much as you are able.

Important factors to address for local SEO:

  • On-page SEO - Fundamental to search visibility, should come first.
  • Local citations/NAP listings – Especially important in local search, builds upon on-page optimization.
  • Local links – Also important to search visibility, links go hand-in-hand with citation building.
  • Online reviews – Direct impact on “local pack” rankings, adds to strong NAP listing/link portfolios.
Andrew Dennis

Andrew Dennis is a Content Marketing Manager at Shopify. Andrew is an alumnus of the University of Idaho and consequently a lifelong Vandals fan. You can connect with Andrew on Twitter or LinkedIn.