How To Show Up Higher On Google (Ultimate Local SEO Guide)

ultimate google local seo guideHow do I show up higher in Google?

2 out of 3 local business owners that I consult with start the conversation with this sentence.

It’s a natural question to ask in today’s competitive local business market.

Compiled below is a list of resources that will walk you through every step you need to start showing up higher and more often for your keywords and terms that potential prospects are searching for.

If you’re a complete newb to “SEO” techniques then that is great! Welcome!

Before you get started you’ll need to have some basic terminology down (this will make it a lot easier) to move through this guide and give you a general understanding of how the local search ecosystem works.

Bookmark this page then visit the two links below to get started. We’ll be here when you get back…


And Now…The Ultimate Local SEO Guide

You’ll find that throughout this process you’ll need certain information time and time again.

Keep track by printing out this form if you like a pen and paper method

Or download this excel form (under Step 4) for a more in-depth aggregation of your data.

Click on a chapter below to get started.

These will always be hosted on this page…

As you work your way through your local SEO campaign you can just come back here and click the chapter you left off at.

Chapter 1 – Getting Started With Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Chapter 2 – Google+ Local For Newbies

Chapter 3 – How To Keep Your Business Data Clean (3 Simple Steps)

Chapter 4 – How To Optimize Your Website For Local SEO

Chapter 5 – The Ultimate Guide For Building Citations

Chapter 6 – Why Customer Reviews Help Local SEO (and How To Get Them)

Chapter 7 – Local Link Building

Chapter 8 – Local SEO Case Studies

Chapter 9 – The Best Local SEO Resources, Bar None


Chapter 1 – Getting Started With Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

To get started you’ll need to understand some detail about how Google and Local SEO work. Then you’ll need to research your business’ proper category, make sure you are using the proper location data and how to drive leads in your door using keywords and terms.


Chapter 2 – Google+ Local For Newbies

You’ll need to get a handle on the basics of Google Local so you don’t negatively effect your rankings. These 7 resources will walk you through initial setup and best practices. Make sure that you read every article before you claim or make any changes.

The Ultimate Local SEO Guide (Tweet It!)


Chapter 3 – How To Keep Your Business Data Clean (3 Simple Steps)

Keeping your business Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) correct on listings across the internet seems like a daunting task (sometimes it can be). But, if you claim your local business information today with major data aggregators this “down flow” will positively affect you rankings as you work through the additional chapters.


Chapter 4 – How To Optimize Your Website For Local SEO

Do you have a website? No? Go have one built! Have a website but haven’t touched it in years? Now’s the time! Have an expensive webmaster that charges you an arm and a leg to update it? WORDPRESS, WORDPRESS, WORDPRESS! A vital element of local SEO is your website so make sure that you can update it.


Chapter 5 – The Ultimate Guide For Building Citations

Find all the citations your competition has AND then get more with Whitespark’s Citation Finder! (affiliate)

Now that search engines are starting to index your information correctly and your website is all tuned up you’ll need to start building mentions and links to your business information to help reinforce all the work that you’ve done up to this point. The guide below will get you up to speed in no time.


Chapter 6 – Why Customer Reviews Help Local SEO (and How To Get Them)

Most local businesses that use the above chapters will see  significant results if they stopped after building citations. But, if you’re in a competitive market OR you’d like to secure your rankings from future competitors then you’d better complete the local SEO puzzle with customer reviews. Some of these articles are redundant but there is a nugget of gold in each one.

The Ultimate Local SEO Guide (Tweet It!)

Chapter 7 – Local Link Building

So you’ve got all the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. But you are still missing some really strong signals for your local SEO campaign…Local Links! Yes, you need links from other local businesses to reinforce all the work so far. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff, so to speak.


Chapter 8 – Local SEO Case Studies: How Has Local SEO Paid Off For Other Businesses?

You’ve employed a SEO strategy for your local business and you may be wondering what to expect as a result of your labor. Let’s look at other businesses who have done the same and see what kind of results they are getting! Envision this chapter as the pay off of your hard work.


Chapter 9 – The Best Local Resources, Bar None!

Don’t let your hard work be for not. Make sure that you keep up with the latest trends and technology as it evolves.


Hidden Bonus – Video For Local SEO

Have you been thinking about using video for your local business? Well you should be! Maybe you already do some updates with video but chances are you have missed out on optimizing those. Check out these great resources for helping you get more local search exposure with these tips and tricks.


What’s Next?

Can you get your business to show up in the Google local results?

Try completing one chapter a week so your plan would look like this:

Week 1: Research categories and keywords. Create a document with your Name, Address and Phone number along with business details and save it to your desktop.

Days to work on it: M,W,F

Week 2: Claim and optimize your Google+ page. Add NAP, photos, hours, description, etc. Link and verify your page with your website and your YouTube account.

Days to work on it: M (claim/optimize), T (link youtube, verify site)

Week 3: Submit your business data (NAP and category) to the data aggregators.

M,W,F – One site a day

Week 4: Optimize your website by adding title tags, desription tags, schema, image markup, and contact page.

Days to work on it: M – title and description tags, T – shcema markup inheader or footer,TH – image optimization with alt tags ,F – optimize contact page with map, hours, video or images, trust symbols, etc.

Week 5: Build out citations (this will take the most time)

Days to work on it: M,T,W,TH,F – build 10 citations a day

Week 6, 7, 8, 9…: Work on earning local links by building relationships online with other local business, ask customers for reviews via email, in-house, on site,etc.

Shoot some videos teaching people how to do something or make them launch.

Keep up on local SEO trends and news so you stay ahead of the curve…

and when you hit #1 on the big G come back here and let me know in the comments below!


    • says

      Good to hear Kim.

      I’ll be updating this in a couple of months and the articles section is getting an overhaul so make sure you keep an eye out.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  1. says

    This is one of the awesome article which I came across regarding local SEO. Things that you discussed are really important aspects that every local business person/optimizer have to implement for their local ranking.

  2. says

    Looks like a great guide to local seo & after I manage to read it all
    I will be using the information (& David Mihm’s good advice) to enhance
    the visibility my own websites & those of my clients

  3. Ken Fagan says

    Terrific job/very useful.

    The only (very minor) criticism that I would have would be that the Citations section could have been even stronger with the inclusion of articles written by Nyagoslav Zhekov, in which case, the challenge would have been deciding which of his many Citation articles to choose. :-)

    • says

      I hear ya.

      I am actually updating this throughout the year so let me know if you think certain articles of his should be included. You can link to them in the comments if you’d like.

      Thanks for the input, Ken.

  4. says

    Mikel, thank you for collating such a comprehensive and extensive Local SEO resource. The best I’ve come across by far to date! In the photography industry striking a balance between SEO and Local SEO is integral to creating an overall successful online marking strategy. I will be sharing your efforts with all of our community and will keep you posted and of course credited. Credit where credit is due, well done and thank you again

  5. Nielle McCammon says

    Any chance you have an updated guide on Google Places/Plus/Local?

    These optimizing Plus/Places articles (while GREAT) are at least a year old and Google has just recently shifted and morphed their services.

    Google changes their format every few months and it’s difficult to stay on top of best practices.

    I read through their forums – but obviously they are not going to give away their tricks, otherwise every company would be rolling in money!

    Thanks for the comprehensive list though!

    • says

      This article will be updated soon, Nielle.

      Most the articles here are still relevant but we’ll be adding some new ones and taking a couple down.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. says

    Hi Mikel,

    This is a great resource for Local SEO. Thank you very much for putting it together. I am sharing it with a few of my clients whom may be interested in some of these SEO practices.

    Thanks again and keep the good stuff coming :-)


  7. says

    Thanks Mikel for sharing this amazing compilation SEO Guide. This will definitely help us newbies to understand how SEO works and also learn how to retrofit it to a particular business model.


    • Mikel Zaremba says

      Hey Scott – the same basic methods should work for you. But you’ll want to focus on niche citations for lawyers. Also make sure that you focus on the specific category of the lawyer and not just the broad “layers” or “attorney” plus town name.

      The guys at Nifty Marketing work specifically with lawyers so hop over there and check out some of their stuff.

      Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  8. Pankaj says

    Excellent Guide to read time to time for the newbie and experts as well …this is how one should start working on SEO for any site …appreciate how Mikel charted the content …cheers defiantly i will recommend to other as well and will follow the same personally

    Cheers !

  9. says

    I tried to get my google places listing approved in Google but unfortunately it is still pending and it is in review… Even though i have verified it through SMS still google is not responding what happened to my google places listing…. Why it is still pending review..Tell me bro what to do now?

  10. says

    Hi Mikel,

    Its very nice guide and collection of wonderful resources.

    Thanks for sharing with your readers.

    You have saved me a lot of time in finding good Local SEO resources.

    Thanks a lot

  11. says

    Thanks very much for this great article. I have a question: should I generate local backlinks to my Google Business / + pages or just focus on remedial massage anchor links to my website only?
    I am currently ranking well, but not always showing up in the map results section.

    • Mikel Zaremba says

      Hey Sunil – building links to your G+ Local Page is worthless. Focus on building links to your homepage but make sure they all don’t use what are know as “commercial” keywords – these are the money or SEO keywords. Try to mix it up with other anchor text that is generic or uses your business name.

      You may not be showing up in the pack for multiple reasons. You’d need to have an audit done to see exactly why that is.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. says

    Hi Mike,

    Too late here, but wanted to comment about your post. This is the most informative and valuable post I ever read about Local SEO. The work you have done for restaurant local result sounds very well. I am just going to share with my friends too.

    Keep sharing :)

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