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What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a strategy that uses various tactics and techniques to improve the search visibility of businesses in their local geographical area.

Local SEO seeks to improve your rankings in local search results. A local search occurs when a searcher who wants to find a nearby restaurant, home builder, landscaping company, or any local business – types a localized query into Google.

Examples of local queries might be:

  • Restaurants near me
  • Landscaper near Rockwood, MI
  • Dentists near Flat Rock, MI

Local SEO focuses on helping local service-based and brick-and-mortar businesses rank for these local keywords.

Why is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO focuses on helping local service-based and brick-and-mortar businesses rank for these local keywords.

The importance of optimizing your online presence for local search cannot be overstated.

Research shows that local search constitutes 46% of the searches on Google, and 88% of searches visit a local business within 24 hours of a search.

Businesses that cater to local customers cannot afford to neglect Local SEO, and that’s why we created this guide to help you better understand the meaning and importance of Local SEO.

How is Local SEO Different From Traditional SEO?

Both types of SEO focus on improving your search rankings, however, there are differences.

How Traditional SEO Works

With traditional search – when a user types in a query into the search box, Google will match the keyword to websites containing the search-keyword and other relevant keywords.

These websites will be ranked based on a number of factors, and the top-ranked websites will be returned at the top of the list of relevant search results.

Traditional SEO focuses on optimizing your website for these ranking factors to ensure your business website shows up on the first page when searchers use keywords that are relevant to your products and services.

Organic SEO Kayak Rental Search Results Image
This is an approach that focuses on improving your search visibility on a global scale instead of trying to optimize your online presence for local searchers.

How Local SEO Works

Local SEO works differently.

Google has optimized its search algorithm over the years to take local intent into account when matching keywords to relevant websites.
Google uses proximity, relevance, and prominence to determine search results for geographically related searches.

This means if there is a localized search query and your business is close to the location of the person conducting the search, your products and services are what the searcher is looking for, and your online presence has been optimized for Local SEO, Google will list your website among the top-ranked relevant search results.

For example, let’s look at the search results for the terms – “best landscapers in Trenton, MI

Local SEO Landscaping Search Results Page

You will notice that at the top of the results page is a box that holds a map and a list of three relevant businesses. That box is known as the Local SEO Map Pack.

That box is where you want your local business to be. Google will pull information from your Google My Business (GMB) listing and combine it with other Local SEO signals on your website to determine if your business should be added to the Map Pack for relevant search queries.

Unlike traditional SEO, Local SEO focuses on optimizing your on-page signals for local search to ensure your business will appear on the Map Pack and the first page of local search results.

Why is Optimizing Your Online Presence for Local Search Important?

It’s possible that you have already invested in a traditional SEO strategy and you need more conviction on the importance of local SEO.

If you are a local business owner, investing in Local SEO to drive traffic and increase sales is incredibly important and I will show you five reasons why:

It's Easier to Rank High in Local Search Results

Traditional SEO is all about helping you rank high for a specific keyword in global search.

However, there are millions of websites and more are launched every day making it extremely hard for local businesses to rank higher and get noticed online.

Big-name brands may be competing for similar keywords and they have bigger budgets and marketing resources than your small business. Focusing on getting your business in front of searchers from your geographical area gives you a much better chance of getting noticed online.

If you optimize your online presence for Local SEO by using local keywords, setting up your profile on GMB, and applying other best practices – Google will show your business in response to relevant queries by local searchers.

Local SEO Gets Free Advertising For Your Business

Adding your business to GMB will cost you nothing, but in exchange, Google will give your local business cost-free exposure.

Google will list your business on the Map Pack and provide detailed information about your products & services, opening & closing hours, offices, and much more.

For example, Carefree Lawn Center Landscape Supply is a landscape supply company in Trenton, MI that ranks as one of the three local companies in the Map Pack for “Best Landscaper” keywords.

Local SEO Landscaping Search Results Page
That’s not all. Clicking the hyperlink will lead to an entire page dedicated to the company.
Local SEO Landscaping Profile Page Image

This page contains a map of the company’s location, a link to its website, a short business description, customer reviews, and much more. The business is practically getting a full-page business profile from Google for FREE.

Local SEO Gets You Customers That Are Ready To Make a Purchase

Local SEO gets your business noticed by customers that are ready to buy immediately.

Like I mentioned earlier, 88% of local searchers will pay for your services within 24 hours of discovering your business on their mobile phones.

This also applies to brick-and-mortar businesses. 67% of buyers will research the product they want to buy online before visiting a local store to make the purchase.

With minimal investment, you will be getting an ROI that is superior to what you can get from traditional SEO or other forms of marketing.

Local SEO Delivers More Qualified Traffic

The issue with ranking for a keyword in global search results is that many of the searchers may not be interested in your local business.

Let’s say you own a Home Improvement company in Brownstown that ranks on the first page of global search results for the keyword – “best home improvement contractor”.

You will be getting lots of traffic, but the bulk of the visitors to your site will not convert into paying customers because they live several miles away from your business and can’t feasibly obtain your services.

In contrast, if your business ranks high for the keyword – “best home improvement contractor near Brownstown”, you will get to the first page of search results and be included in the Map Pack.

Local SEO is simply better than traditional SEO at driving the right type of traffic to your business website.

Google Wants Local Businesses to Succeed

Google is heavily invested in helping small local businesses get better online visibility. In the past, Google used to prioritize big-name brands in search results for products and services.

However, since the Pigeon Update of the Google Search algorithm, local businesses have been prioritized.

For example, if a user based in Woodhaven, Michigan searches for “business consultant firms”, Google will return local consultants like Yeo & Yeo CPAs instead of big-name brands like McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group.

Google has also made many SEO tools like Google Maps, Google Analytics, Google My Business, and others available to businesses for free.

Who Needs Local SEO?

If your business provides products and services to customers in a set local geographical area like Downriver, Michigan – you need local SEO.

However, some businesses are particularly suited to local SEO and they are:

Home Builders

Local SEO is one of the best digital marketing strategies you can adopt for your home builder and remodeling business.

Home builder and construction businesses usually serve a specific geographical area and your services can’t simply be purchased by anyone from anywhere.

Potential customers will search for your business using local keywords like “home builder in XX city/town/state” or “home builder near me”. Failure to optimize your online presence for relevant local keywords will put your business at a severe disadvantage.

For example, Custom Homes by Timothy Wright is a home builder based in New Boston, MI. The business has invested heavily in local SEO to ensure that anytime a searcher in New Boston, Michigan types the keyword “home builder near me”, it will appear in the Map Pack.

Local SEO Home Builder Search Results Image

The business is listed on GMB and the website itself is optimized for local SEO.

Local keywords are used in all the location pages (home, about, and contact pages), and its contact information is consistent across all its online profiles.


Your landscaping company is inherently a local business and investing in local SEO is the best way to drive consistent traffic to your website.

So, let’s say you’re based in Downriver – commercial businesses and homeowners in the city won’t search Google for a Texas-based landscape company, they will use local keywords to search for local landscaping companies.

Your goal is always to get exposure for your business and win new clients to increase sales – local SEO can help you achieve that.


If a pipe bursts in your home or you have an emergency plumbing issue, your priority will be to get a local plumber immediately.

Local SEO is the best way to boost the visibility of your plumbing and handyman services business in search results.

Apart from listing your business on GMB and optimizing your website for local search, there is no shortage of helpful content that you can publish on your blog to further boost the visibility of your business.


When local SEO is done properly, it is a match made in heaven for attorneys. When potential clients need the services of a lawyer, their priority is to find the legal expert available nearby.

A local law practice can focus on ranking for their specialized field of law in local search results. This niche focus can push the law practice to the top of local search results for that keyword.

Let’s use Sikorski Law Firm Taylor as an example.

It is a law practice based in Taylor, Michigan that specializes in bankruptcy, family and criminal law and represents clients in the Downriver area.

Local SEO Divorce Lawyer Search Results Image

The firm focused its local SEO efforts on ranking for the niche keyword – “divorce lawyers in Taylor, MI”, and it makes the Map Pack.


Bars and restaurants can only serve local customers and the only suitable type of SEO is local SEO.

Restaurants that invest in local SEO will get a ton of exposure from Google. Search results will show opening and closing hours for each day of the week, type of service (dine-in, takeaway, delivery), ratings, and much more.

Local SEO Restaurant Search Results Image

Looking at the image above, Sneaky’s Sports Bar & Grill ranks in the Map Pack for the niche keyword – “outdoor dining restaurants near Woodhaven, MI”.

Final Thoughts

This blog post has provided you with a better understanding of local SEO and why it is so important to your efforts to drive local search traffic to your website.

To ensure your business ranks high in local search results, get listed on GMB, optimize your website for local SEO, and adopt best practices in optimizing your online presence for local search.

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