What is local SEO?

Local SEO (search engine optimization) is a set of practices that increases the likelihood that people will find your business online. SEO stands for search engine optimization.

Local SEO practices try to make the most of search engine results page features that highlight businesses in a specific city, county or region.

The two most popular search engines, Google and Bing, both show similar results at the top for local searches. Both show a map, highlighting a few businesses, and below that a list of business names with reviews followed by the more traditional “blue links” showing website results.

If you own a business and haven’t taken steps to implement local SEO, you’re essentially hiding from your customers online. Yet many businesses don’t do much, if anything, to optimize their placement in search results.

Below is a screen shot of a local search for shoe repair in Portland Oregon, where I live.

Local SEO Google Results

Local SEO results from Google, with well-optimized sites getting the most exposure.

Note the top three results are in a boxed area with ratings. Google uses this area to highlight some, but not all, local businesses offering shoe repair.

Below the top three results, websites for local businesses appear. Note that the first two business sites listed mimic the results in the local, highlighted results above. That’s what every local business should aim for.

For now, in most locations, and for most business types, there is no cost to have your business appear in local results. This could be changing, but that’s another story for a separate post.

In this example, the top business have such a strong local presence that’s likely that results of some intentional efforts to optimize those businesses for local results. That’s local SEO in action.

So how can you optimize your business listings for local searches? Well, that’s what this blog is going to be all about.

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