10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Rev Up Your Local SEO Rankings

Patrick McFadden
6 min readSep 22, 2023

This article is published on the Indispensable Marketing blog

10 tactics that are working right now for local service businesses to improve rankings on Google

Are you ready to crack the 2023 code to Google success? If you’re running a local service business, you’re about to dive into a treasure trove of strategies that are lighting up the map!

In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, staying ahead of the curve is essential. And when it comes to local service businesses, the stakes are even higher. Your potential customers are out there, searching on Google for services just like yours. The question is, will they find you or your competitors first?

Here are the 10 tactics that work right now:

#1: Include keywords in your business name

Ever since the creation of local packs on Google, the keywords baked within a business’s name have had a substantial influence over rankings. 🌟🔍 It’s been one of those SEO secrets that savvy businesses have used to claim their spot in the local 3 pack. Changing the business name legally or registering a DBA that includes keywords can dramatically improve local search visibility.

#2: Add internal links to your GBP landing page

No doubt about it, the Google Business Profile (GBP) landing page is a total game-changer for local businesses. It’s your golden ticket to boost visibility in that coveted map pack for your GBP listing(s), and guess what? The URL you choose for your GBP listing plays a crucial role in rankings. So, here’s the big question: How do you optimize that GBP landing page for ranking success?

If you’re running a local business with just one location, chances are your GBP landing page doubles as your homepage. But here’s the twist: That’s not a hard-and-fast rule. So, how do you confirm which page is the chosen one? Pop into Google Search Console (GSC) to spot the page that’s getting traffic for the keyword you want to rank for in maps. A quick tip, though: Ensure your chosen keyword serves up a map pack in the search results. If it doesn’t, pivot to another keyword and try again!

Don’t leave any of your services off your GBP landing page(s). If you forget to mention a service there (or anywhere else on your website), Google might get a bit puzzled about what your GBP should rank for, beyond the primary keyword you’re aiming at. Besides, showcasing these services on your GBP landing page can give your “website mentions” a well-deserved spotlight.

#3: Move your physical address or double down on SEO

Since the Vicinity update at the end of 2021, we have seen many businesses opening new offices to overcome the fact that Google essentially shrunk how far you could rank from your physical location. Checking to see what physical city your business is actually located in and understanding how much it impacts ranking can help make you a super sharp business owner.

What if your physical business location is in a city, county, or business park that’s different from the area you want to service?

  1. Backlink Strategy: Start earning backlinks with anchors that prominently feature your target city’s name.
  2. Optimize Your Website: Give your website a makeover, including smart internal linking, to send a crystal-clear message to Google that you’re firmly serving a targeted group of service areas.
  3. Change Your Business Address: If possible, the most impactful move is to physically relocate your business inside the borders of the city you’re targeting. It’s like giving Google a geography lesson!
  4. Target long-tail keywords: If moving isn’t an option, I would focus on optimizing the website, and the GBP landing page in particular, for long-tail search terms. Onsite optimization has a direct impact on local pack/finder rankings and long-tail keywords, which are less competitive. This makes them easier to rank for even if you are located further away.

#4: Be active on Google Business

Here’s a little tip from the trenches that’s been working wonders: Get active on your Google listings! In addition to pulling in reviews, add photos, check services, and add posts. This activity will help gain visibility. Learn more about this here.

#5: Get links and mentions in third-party publications and sites

For single-location or handful-of-location small businesses, getting just a few quality links and mentions in trade publications and locally oriented websites remains tremendously helpful.

Getting backlinks can seem like a daunting task. If you don’t have any backlinks yet you can get up and running pretty quickly by tapping your existing partners and resources within your community. Things like the local Chamber of Commerce online listings, alumni directories for the founders’ schools, and church and community directories are great places to start. This is the low-hanging fruit, and getting these backlinks set up is a great way to ease into an advanced backlink strategy.

#6: Create service area pages

Service Area pages are something every local SEO is intimately familiar with. Creating quality local content for service area pages to rank organically, rather than relying on duplicate/similar content to rank well in multiple locations. I find similar content strategies still work in some industries/markets, but investing the time to create valuable content on service area pages has proven to improve organic rankings, increase traffic, and increase conversions on these pages.

Writing content focused on the same services for multiple cities can get repetitive really quickly. You need to talk about the services you offer on these pages but make it as unique as possible.

  • Write about local landmarks in the area
  • Talk about your company’s connection with the area
  • Highlight related businesses in the city that your customers may be interested in
  • Write about local nonprofits
  • Mention primary roads and highways
  • Talk about community events

#7: Use basic onsite SEO

You know, in the ever-evolving world of SEO, sometimes it’s the old-school tactics that still do the heavy lifting. When it comes to boosting your online rankings, think beyond linking to it in the main navigation, you also want to link to it on all relevant pages of your site; think the homepage, service pages, and even relevant blog pages. Simple tweaks to your website can go a long way too. Optimize your pages, sprinkle in some relevant keywords, and use schema! You’ve got the basics covered.

Believe it or not, these timeless tricks can move the needle like a pro. Sometimes, it’s all about getting back to the basics.

#8: Make sure your website is rock solid

What if I told you that your website has the power to lead visitors on a transformative journey — one that enhances your credibility, elevates user experience, and ultimately increases their willingness to pay (WTP) or work with you (WWY)? That’s the game-changer, and it all starts with understanding the main role of a website. Read more on the must have elements of a website here

#9: Build content in stages

A consistent strategy that I’ve leaned into is building content in a few stages. First, we build out the content that aligns with a client’s bottom-of-the-funnel sales process. Second, we develop all the content that supports all stages of the buyer’s experience with your product or service. Yes, it takes effort and budget, but this is how we’ve developed topical authority in different niches. We also have been focusing a lot on internal linking in order to reinforce those topical authority signals.

#10: Dig into Google search console

Digging into Google Search Console data constantly, and stepping extra hard on certain pages or topics based mostly on the “Pages” and “Queries” data and on the “internal links” report. Also, the minute you find a page that ranks for a term you didn’t even try to rank for, you create a dedicated page just on that topic. The main thing is to spend time in Search Console early and often. Pretty much all of the data can tell you something and inform your decision-making for the better. You can use the whole pig.

In conclusion, local SEO is a dynamic field where strategies and tactics must adapt to algorithm updates and changing user behavior. These insights provide a valuable roadmap for businesses looking to improve their local search visibility and drive more conversions. Whether it’s optimizing Google Business Profiles, creating quality content, or fine-tuning technical SEO, there are a wide variety of approaches that can yield positive results in the world of local SEO.

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Patrick McFadden

Small Business Marketing Consultant // CEO of @indispmarketing // I install a marketing process to increase visibility, grow revenue & make your phone ring