May 18


Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide

By Jeffrey Oravbiere

GMB, google my business, local seo

  • Are you a local business? 
  • Do you service your locality with products and services?
  • Would you like to attract new customers for free from the Search engines?

In this post, I am going to take you by the hand and show you step by step the best, easiest and faster way to get customers from the Google search engines.


  • What is Local SEO and Why Do It?
  • What is Google My Business and How To Set It Up?
  • How To Rank Your GMB and Website High On Google
  • What Are Citations (NAP) and How To Get Them
  • How To Do On‐Page SEO and The Best Tools To Use
  • How To Build Backlinks To Rank Your Local Website Fast
  • What Are Reviews, Why Get Them & How To Get Them

What Is Local SEO And Why Do It?

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  • 43% of all Google searches return local results
  • 82% of people searching locally take action immediately after the search
  • Searches in Google without a location still return local results
  • 40% of users who search online or mobile, search by locality i.e. Roofers in London
  • 61% of smartphone users took action after performing a local search

Local SEO is the old Yellow Pages. If you are not in it, you practically do not exist. Period! The age of the printed phone book is over as more and more people are turning to the internet to find information about local businesses.

Local SEO is the optimisation process for the local results in search engines to help attract more business from relevant local searches that take place daily on Google and other search engines like Bing, Yelp, Yell, Apple Maps, etc...

Local SEO isn’t just about Google even though Google commands about 87% of the market share. Local SEO cuts across all search engines including local directories.

Local SEO is a highly effective form of local online marketing.

Local SEO allows local businesses to promote their services to local customers at exactly the time they’re looking for their type of business.

Local SEO promotes your business (your name, your services, address, phone number…) not just only your website.

So your new customers will call you or even walk through your front door not simply visit your website.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 2

In fact, if you gave it enough attention, local SEO can prove an incredibly powerful strategy for obtaining leads and then converting them into profitable sales. If you ignore it, you may be doing more harm to your bottom line than you think.

Benefits Of Local SEO

According to

  • 96% of PC owners conduct local searches
  • 46% of all Google searches are local
  • 64% of local customers use search engines and directories as their main way to find local businesses
  • 50% of local mobile searchers look for business information (like a company’s address or phone number)
  • A whopping 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase

Local SEO Is Free To Do

Unless you’re hiring someone to do it for you, local SEO is absolutely free to do.

There are many tools online that you can use to help you with your SEO efforts and the good thing about many of these tools is that they are free as well.

There’s an SEO tool for just about everything out there.

As you grow in your knowledge of local SEO, you can use more and more of them to make your strategy even more effective.

To find local SEO tools, just perform a search on Google for ‘Free Local SEO Tools’ and a bunch of them will show up.

Local SEO Helps You Reach All of Your Customers

If you were around when The Yellow Pages were a hit, then you'd understand the importance of being listed somewhere everyone can find you.

The new Yellow Pages is now Local SEO. Customers can access the internet just about anywhere they are, even when they are on the go, because of how reliant they have become on their smartphones and tablets.

When you appear on local search results, then these customers will be able to easily find you. Every time they make a local search that is relevant to your business, you will be there waiting for them.

All you have to do is make sure you give them precisely what they want and when they want it.

Local SEO Can Increase Your Website Traffic

It’s always a good thing to have highly targeted and high quality web traffic flocking to your website.

You want this kind of traffic because it comes with a high conversion rate and is likely to push your sales revenue higher.

When you optimize your website for local SEO, then you make it easy for such traffic to find you.

Local SEO Gets You Great Conversion Rates

About 89% of people search for a local business on their smartphone. 61% of smartphone users took action after performing a local search. 

Most searches done on mobile phones eventually result in an offline purchase simply because the consumer knows exactly what they’re looking for and will buy it once they find a business that is willing to offer it to them.

One of the things that sets local SEO apart from other kinds of SEO is that most consumers who make local searches already want to buy whatever it is they are searching for.

They have intent and so it is much easier to convert them into paying customers than it is to convert random searches.

If you appear on search results at the right time, when your potential customers are actually looking for what you’re selling, then your chances of making a sale are much higher.

Local SEO is Easy To Do

The methods employed in local SEO are very easy and very practical, much more so than other SEO methods.

Two methods, in particular, that would help you increase your results and also happen to be easy are the use of maps and having relevant and accurate information about your business across all platforms online.

Leveraging the power of local SEO is in your best interests. You can use it to double; triple; or even quadruple your sales. All you have to do is take the first step. You certainly won’t regret it.

What is Google My Business?

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To explain this simply, let's make a search on Google. Let's search for dentist in Coventry.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 4
Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 5

You'll notice there are two types of results above - the Local Pack and the Organic results. When you make a search on Google, you are presented with these results and sometimes, you have some ads above the local results.

So, what are these results?

I am sure many people reading this will already be familiar with the normal organic results but what about the 'Local Pack'?

This is the Google My Business listing. It was previously known as Google Local, Google places,  Google+ Loca and now it's called Google My Business (GMB).  This is your business profile on Google.

Google My Business feeds information to a variety of places, including the local pack, Mobile, Maps and voice search results. Take a look at the different searches below:

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 6

 When a business name is searched directly on Google, the results displayed will appear in the top right of the result page (or top on mobile) as shown below.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 7

The information contained in your Google My Business profile can include your contact details, business description, category, opening times, websites.

However,  your customers can also submit information to your Google My Business in the case of reviews, attributes, Q&As and photos about your business. 

According to a study conducted by Moz, 33% of clicks go to the local “snack pack” results, with 40% going to the regular organic results. Out of the 40%, the first 3 results receive about 30% of the clicks. 

Therefore, it is important for a local business to be listed in the local pack as well as in the first 3 listings of the organic results to fully take advantage of the traffic going to the first page for their keyword.

A big part of local SEO is making your GMB profile as up-to-date and accurate as possible, so that it has a higher chance of appearing in the local pack, and trustworthy, attractive and appealing enough to warrant a clickthrough.

How To Add Your Business To GMB?

Before we get started with listing your business in Google My Business, it's important to be aware that your business may already be listed by Google. If your business is already listed by Google and you haven't claimed it, all you need it to do is simply claim it and then begin the optimisation process.

If your business is already added to Google My Business but you haven't claimed it, you'll see the link 'Own This Business' as shown in the image to your right when you visit the page. Just click on it and follow the step by step guide to claim it. I'll show you these steps in a few moment.

Google My Business Not Claimed

If you dont' claim your GMB page...

  • You cannot optimize the page. Unless you have claimed the page, you cannot add descriptions, opening times and more categories and keywords about your business. Practically, you do not have control over the page and so cannot make posts or take advantage of the full benefit of Google My Business.
  • You cannot reply to reviews. People are able to leave reviews for your business but you cannot respond to those reviews even if they are negative reviews.
  • It can harm your business' reputation. You may have wrong information like address, telephone number, opening times and description about your business on the page. This can adversely affect your business reputation

FACT: 61% of smartphone users took action after performing a local search.  With this high number, making your website mobile friendly becomes a necessity as 61% of people who found you while searching for your services on mobile are more likely to contact you if you have a mobile‐friendly site.

How To Setup GMB Step By Step

Have the following ready before you start...

Before you proceed to add your business to Google My Business, ensure to get the following ready:

  • Your current business name, address, phone number, email
  • Your previous business name, address, phone number, email (if any)
  • Your business category(ies)
  • Your business keywords
  • Your business description
  • Your business opening times
  • Your business website address

Use this spreadsheet here to get yourself ready

Step #1: Enter Your Business Name

There are two ways to get listed in Google My Business

  • Claim an existing business
  • Add a new business

Start by going here

Once on the page, start by typing your business name and if already in their system, it will show up.

In this case, select it and click 'Next'. If not in the Google system, enter your business name and then click 'Next'.

NOTE: do not enter your keywords, just your full business name as it appears on your website. See Google's guidelines here.

Enter Google My Business Name
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Step #2: Add Your Location

Google will ask if you would like to add a location. Select 'Yes' if you have a location and then proceed to the next step. If you don't have a location, select 'No' and hit next.

TIP: To make edit to the previous page just hit the left arrow.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 9

Step #3: Add Your Address

If you select 'Yes' in the location page, you would be taken to a page to enter your address.

If you have a business already existing in Google My Business, you'll see the option to select it. If you select it, the address will be prefilled. If you are adding a new business, just go ahead and complete the fields.

If you have selected 'No', you would be taken to a page asking you to enter your service area.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 10
Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 11

Quick Tip

Some people are often confused about what address to enter especially if they work from home.

If you have a storefront or a standard office address that's not a virtual office or a business center, you can just enter the address.

However, this can get a little confusing if you work from home, or are renting an office in a business center or a virtual office with no real physical location or you have more than one office or perhaps you are a mobile business.

My suggestion is that if you have a real physical office, use the address. But if you have a virtual office, you can only use the address if the office is staffed during business hours.

It is against GMB guidelines to use a virtual office that's not staffed. In this case, I'll advice to use your home address instead.

If you work from home or maybe you have partners who work from home, you can use the home address of the partner who is closest to your business primary service area.

Make sure the address you enter is the same as the one on your website.

If you are claiming an existing business check to ensure the address Google has is the same as the one on your website. If not, you can correct it before proceeding. The goal is to be consistent as you'll see later.

Step #4: Enter Your Service Area

You'll see an option that ask if you deliver goods and services to your customers. Tick this box if you do and this will indicate to Google that you are a serviced based business.

You should still tick this box even if you run a store or maybe a restaurant. 

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 12

You can then proceed to add your service areas. You can add more than one service area if you serve more than just your area. 

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 13

You may also be asked if you want to hide your address. I suggest you tick the box if you are using your home address.

This way, only Google will know your location for verification purposes.  It will remain private and unlisted on your Google My Business page.

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Step #5: Enter Your Location

Drag and zoom the map and position the marker on the exact spot where your business is located. If you notice the marker is pointing in the wrong location, just move it to the right postion and click 'Next'

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 15

Step #6: Enter Your Category

Google has a guideline here about how to choose a category.  You can add more categories during optimisation, but at this stage, Google will only allow you to add one category.

The category you enter here should describe what "your business IS” rather than what “your business HAS”.

Google wants you to enter your main business category, not what it offers i.e. "Plumber" not "Plumbing". 

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 16

Quick Tip

If you are not sure what your category is or perhaps the category you enter is returning no result, try searching Google My Business for your competitors and see what their category is. 

Step #7: Enter Your Phone Number and Website (Optional)

This is where you enter your phone number and your website address. Ensure to enter the same number as the one on your website. If you don't have a website, select 'I don't have a website'.

NOTE: Google usually prefers landlines but if you don't have a landline number, you can use your mobile number.

If you are looking for any guidelines, use this one from Google.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 17

Step #8: Finish and Verify Your Listing

You'll need to verify your listing before it can go live. Once you click 'Finish', Google will present you with options to verify via phone or by postcard.

The most common option is verification by postcard as Google will want to verify your location especially if it's a new listing. If you are adding a new location to an existing listing, you may have an option to verify by phone. 

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 18
Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 19

How To Optimise Google My Business

While waiting for your postcard to arrive, you can begin optimizing your GMB page. However, your optimisation won't appear live for the public to see until you have completed your verification. 

Add More Categories

Add more categories to your page. You can add up to 10 categories relating to your business but don't go overboard with this.

Add categories that are closely related to what your business IS rather than what your business DO. A good tool to find GMB categories is

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 20

How To Use Pleper

Upload Some Photos and (Videos)

You should add photos of your products, inside/outside of your premises, street view, team photos (if you have).

It's best to take these photos on your premises as they will have location metadata attached to them.

But, if you have taken them in other places, try to geo tag them so that Google can relate the photos to your location.

A good tool to use is There are instructions on the page on how to use it to geo-tag your images. 

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 21

Add Your Opening Times

List your opening hours and ensure it's the same as what you have on your website. You can also add any special hours that you are opened like, weekends, bank/public holidays or if you are opened at night.

Add Other Services

Add other services that you provide. A dentist would usually provide 'Dental Implant', 'Cosmetic Dentistry', 'Orthodontic' etc

Add Additional Phone Numbers

If you have more than one phone number, this is where to add them.

Add Description

Add a good description of your business.

You only have 750 characters here, so use it wisely.

Ensure to write a description that clearly describe what you do and how potential customers can contact you.

Use some of your keywords in your description as it can help your page rank when people are search for your products/services.

Add Any Relevant Attributes

Do you have disabled access or any other attributes in your location, this is the place to add them. Normally, Google would have pre-entered these, so you just need to select them.

For more on how to optimize your Google My Business page, check out this Whitespack guide

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Ongoing Activities

To get higher rankings of your local pack, keep active on Google My Business.

Here are the important ongoing tasks with GMB:

#1. Respond to customers/clients reviews. 

Always keep on top of your customer reviews by responding quickly to them. Doesn't matter whether it's positive or negative reviews.

#2. Look out for incorrect edits.  

Anyone can suggest an edit to any Google listing with the “Suggest an edit” button.

This can be acted upon by Google without notifying the business owner or validating the information. So make a check once a while to make sure everything is still accurate with your listing.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 23

#3. Make Google Posts regularly to keep your customers informed.

Google Posts is a micro-blogging platform within Google My Business. Any Google posts updates are visible in the Knowledge Panel and on your listing.

Google posts have been proven to boost ranking and conversions for local SEO.

You can create a Google Post from within Google My Business.

The maximum text size of Google post is 300 words. To enhance your post, try uploading an image and adding a call to action like: “Learn more,” “Sign Up,” or “Get Offer”, etc.

To learn how to create Google post and it's benefits checkout this article by Bippa Media.

A good tool I have found for posting and scheduling Google My Business post is With this tool, you can schedule and automatically recycle your Google My Business post and other social media posts. It's really simple.

  • Just add your social media post
  • Select the interval and frequency of automatic recycling
  • Post it now or schedule for the future

You can even manage your schedule via your Google Calendar. The tool is low cost and you can try it for free.

How To Rank Your Site and GMB

There are primarily three core elements to local search ranking:

  1. Proximity: How close is your business to the searcher?
  2. Relevance: How relevant to the search query are your products and services?
  3. Prominence: What do other consumers say about your products and services?

Factors That Influence Ranking released a study a few years ago that outlined the different factors influencing Local ranking for local SEO. 

Local Ranking Factors

Local Ranking Factors by MOZ:

As you can see in the above image, the key factor to ranking your pages are the links that are pointing to your website.

This can come in different forms like: citations (where your site is mentioned online), links from authority sites, links from community blogs, links from online directories etc

But before you run off to begin building backlinks to your website, there are a few foundational steps to take and things to do on your website to get it ready. 

On-page SEO represents 26.03% of organic ranking factors and 13.82% for local pack. This makes On-page SEO one of the key factors to consider if you want to rank your site higher in the search engines.

How To Do On-Page SEO

What's On-Page SEO?

According to, "On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.

On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals."

IMPORTANT PLUGIN: Before you start your on-page SEO, if your site is built on WordPress, I would recommend getting Rank Math plugin

This is the best SEO plugin in the market for optimizing your website and by far better that Yoast SEO. What's more, it's completely free and has everything you need to make on-page SEO a walk in the park for your local SEO activities.

Create a good structure for your website

The structure of your website pages is very important when trying to create rankable site.

If the structure is complicated, then it's going to be complicated for the search engines to read it and prefer your website above other sites for your keywords.

A simple website structure is the key.

Location Structure

If you provide services for multiple areas/towns/cities and want to rank in each of those locations, you need to set up landing pages for each of the locations.

A good structure would look like this:‐1/‐2/‐3/

This is easy for Google to understand and good for user experience.

Quick Tips

1. It is not advisable to go too crazy with location‐specific landing pages unless you have an actual physical presence (office) in the locations.

2. Only make landing pages for relevant nearby locations that actually make sense for your business.

3. Instead of creating multiple landing pages for the same location or slightly different terms, you should instead create pages for your main services. For example, instead of creating pages for 'dental services london', 'dentistry london' etc, create just one main page for 'dentist london' and use the other terms as variations within the page content.

Have the necessary meta tags for your landing pages and in your site contents

As a golden rule, ensure your landing pages has the following:

  • Keyword in H1 tag (you only need one H1 tag in a content)
  • Keyword in title tag
  • Keyword in URL
  • Short URLs
  • Keywords in meta description
  • Nice Enticing meta description
  • Keywords and keywords variations on page content

A good SEO plugin should be able to guide you through this step and point out what's missing on your pages. 

Optimise Your Site Footer

If possible show the following to appear on all your site pages. Better, if you can place them in the site footer:

  • NAP information (name, address and phone number)
  • Embed a Google Map showing your location
  • Opening Hours

NOTE: For better local SEO impact, have the same information above on your 'contact us' page.

Display testimonials, accreditations and reviews

If you have testimonials, accreditations and reviews, display them on your website and landing pages.

This makes for good user experience and can increase your credibility, trust and authority of your site/business.

Add relevant schema markup

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 24

Schema markup is a code that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. It is also often referred to as rich snippets and it's a good practice for local SEO even though not many businesses have implemented this.

It isn't difficult to setup Schema for your pages and you don’t have to be a technical wizard to implement it either. Google’s Structured Markup Helper can help you implement this for your site.

To add schema for a local business with Google’s Structured Markup Helper, just tick the “local businesses” checkbox, paste in one of your pages, then hit “start tagging.”

Your page should load in a visual editor. Then select the appropriate on-page elements and choose the markup items from the drop-down list.

The elements you want to markup should include:

  • Business name or Logo
  • Image on page
  • Address schema
  • Phone Number…
  • Opening hours
  • Any other relevant items

NOTE: Ensure the data matched correctly with the data on your Google My Business page.

When done, hit “create HTML” and select the JSON‐LD format. Copy the code snipet and add it in the header part of your web page source code.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 25
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How To Add Schema Markup To Your Site

How to test Your Schema

You can test the code using Google’s Structured Data Testing tool.

Just copy and paste the code you generated from Google’s Structured Markup Helper into the testing tool and it will highlight any errors. Fix the error before pasting it in your site.

If you need help, adding a schema markup on your website, contact us.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 27

There are apps for Schema Markup. One of such app is SchemaApp.  You can also use RankMath to setup rich snipet on your site. They will help you add Schema without messing around with code.

If your business have multiple physical locations with different addresses, phone numbers etc, you will need to follow this entire process for each and every local landing page you wish to add Schema to.

How To Build BackLinks

There are many ways to get quality links (backlinks) to your website for local SEO and below are some of them:

  • Links from Local Directories Citations
  • Links from Guest Posts on authority sites
  • Links from posting content on your website
  • Links from competitors backlinks sources
  • Links from local events/activities sponsorships
  • Links from Web 2.0 and social profiles

Let's examine each of these one by one...

Before you get started building links, there a few technical terms you should be aware of so that they don't sound like jargons when you see them being used. Here are a few of them below.

  • Nofollow links:  Nofollow links are links with a rel=”nofollow” HTML tag applied to them. The nofollow tag tells search engines to ignore that link. Because nofollow links do not pass PageRank they likely don't impact search engine rankings.
  • Dofollow links:   Dofollow links allow google (all search engines) to follow them and reach our website giving us link juice and a backlink. 
  • Trust Flow (TR):  Trust Flow, a trademark of Majestic, is a score based on quality, on a scale between 0-100. Majestic collated many trusted seed sites based on a manual review of the web.

    This process forms the foundation of Majestic Trust Flow. Sites closely linked to a trusted seed site can see higher scores, whereas sites that may have some questionable links would see a much lower score. Learn more about Trust flow on Gotch SEO.
  • Domain Authority (DA):  Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).

    A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank. You can view a website's DA by using MozBar (a free Chrome-extension), Link Explorer (a backlink analysis tool), the SERP Analysis section of Keyword Explorer, and dozens of other SEO tools across the web.
  • Domain Rating (DR):  Domain Rating is a proprietary Ahrefs’ metric that shows the strength of a target website’s total backlink profile (in terms of its size and quality).
  • Page Authority (PA):  Page Authority (PA) is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engine result pages (SERP). Page Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
  • Keywords:  Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they're the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called "search queries."
  • Anchor Texts:  Anchor text is the visible, clickable characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web. It usually appears as blue underlined text.

    Anchor text can provide both search engines and users relevant contextual information about the content of the link's destination.
  • Backlinks:  Backlinks, also called "inbound links" or "incoming links," are created when one website links to another.

    The link to an external website is called a backlink. ... Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a "vote of confidence" from one site to another.

These are commonly used in the SEO world and you should familiarize yourself with them. As you can see, they are pretty straight-forward and easy to understand.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's get to the main thing and start building links for your local SEO.

Link Building Method #1:

Local Citations

What Are Citations?

Citations are where your business Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) are mentioned online. This can be online directories or business listings websites like Facebook, Yell, Yelp, Trip Advisor and other directories.

Why are Citations important?

Citations are particularly important for local SEO and to get ranked online, because if you don’t appear in the places people are looking for businesses like yours, you’re likely to get overtaken by the competitors that do.

As we noticed previously, according to Moz, citation signals are one of the top local ranking factors.

When it comes to Citations, consistency is the watchword. And they are critical to ranking for both the Google local pack and the organic search results particularly.

This is because consistent NAP information across the web serves to validate the information Google has about a business.

If your business has incorrect or inconsistent listings, these can confuse both customers and Google. It can also easily lead to poor user experience.

Having an accurate NAP listed on sites online will allow potential customers to find your business, which of course will translate into more customers and revenue.

68% of consumers say they would stop using a local business if they found incorrect information in local directories.

Types of Citations

There are two main types of citations: structured and unstructured.

Structured citations are citations that appear in business listings and directories.

Such citations typically come from web forms that are filled when the listing is claimed and the NAP information is presented in a visually‐structured manner.

Structured citations are the types seen in directories and social profiles like Yell, Yelp, Scoot etc.  

Below is an example of a structured citation:

structured citation

Unstructured citations are mentions of your business that is in an unstructured format and are more likely to be the result of press mentions, local news piece and social media. Usually, this is where your business is referred to with the mention of the name.

To rank in local SEO, you need to make sure your existing citations are correct and consistent throughout anywhere it is mentioned online. And you need to build more relevant citations.

How To Perform a Citation Audit

Before you begin doing citations, you need to first check where your business is already listed.

Most businesses will already have some existing citations. In most cases, some of these citations will be incorrect and/or incomplete.

Some will have the correct business name and address, but the wrong phone number. Others will have the correct business name and phone number, but an old address. And some may have partial information—e.g., business name, address, but no phone number at all.

There are many ways to find inconsistent, incomplete, and duplicate NAP citations for your business. But I will list the easiest two below:

  1. Use Moz Local
  2. Use Our Citation Audit Service

Option #1: Using Moz Local

One of the ways to check your citation listings is to use Moz Local citation checker. This is a nice free tool to check the main data aggregators in your country and uncover any incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate listings. 

On Moz Local, enter your business name and zip code and hit 'Check my listing'. Moz will go to work and check the main data aggregators in your country and uncover any incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate listings.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 28
Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 29

In addition to Moz local, you can also check big aggregators like Factual, Acxiom, Thomson Local etc and use their tools to check and update your citations.

Another way is is to do Manual NAP Citation Audit by searching Google directly. But these methods can be complicated and time consuming.

Fixing any issues with the major data aggregators won’t clean up all your citations. You will almost certainly still have some inconsistent, incorrect or incomplete data out there.

The only way to clean up this data is to perform a manual citation audit and cleanup.

Option #2: Use Our Citation Audit Service

We offer a complete citation building, citation audit and citation cleanup service.

With our citation services, we can help you build citations no matter the country you operate in. We can also help you do citation audit and citation clean up service. Check out our citation services here

How to Build Citations

Now that you’ve done your search, found and fixed existing citations, it’s time to build more.

Using Whitespark you can start building structured citations very quickly. Go here to find your country and access the top citation sites. Just select your country on the page and access the citation sites. Then click on each site to submit your business details.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 1

See How My Agency Can Drive Targeted Traffic, Leads & Sales For Your Business...

Viral Referral Marketing, SEO, Email Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimisation, PPC, Digital Marketing Strategy, Lead Generation and Content Marketing 

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 31
Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 32

As we saw with the MOZ ranking factors, "link signals" are the most important ranking factor for local organic results and second most important factor for the local “snack pack”.

But how do you build links to rank your Google My Business and Website higher on the search engines?

Let's explore...

Link Building Method #2

Guest Posting

Guest posting is one of the best methods of getting quality backlinks to your website. It's natural and doesn't involve any tricky or sneaky ways that will offend Google. In fact, this is the type of links that Google loves.

Guest posting involves posting article on other websites and then having a link in the article pointing back to your site. 

Caution: when you write articles for other websites, your primary motive is not to get a link to your site but to provide useful content that will help their readers.

Many sites will not accept your article if they think you are writing it for the purpose of getting SEO backlink.

Providing useful content should be your primary goal. Once you do this, you'll get the backlink as well as exposure for your business.

Also, it's not about quantity but quality of the article. You should be writing for blogs that have the potential to send targeted referral traffic to your website. So a bit of research about the website you want to write for is advisable.

This is where you consider metrics like: Domain Authority and the traffic volume the site is getting.

How Do You Know a Site's Domain Authority?

Firstly, you can use Moz's link explorer for this.

On the page just plug in the domain you want to check and click search.

You'll get results like the one below. NOTE: you'll be required to create a free account and be already logged in before you can perform the search.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 33

Secondly, download the Mozbar Chrome extension. This will help you when searching on Google for sites that accept guest posting.

Once on the Mozbar page, click 'download Mozbar free' to add the plugin to your Chrome extension. Ensure you are using Google Chrome browser before downloading the plugin.


Once you have added the extension to Chrome, you should see an 'M' icon on your browser. Click on it to turn it on. If you are not logged in, you'll see a sign to login. 

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 34

The Mozbar plays two functions:

  1. To get site metrics while on the domain
  2. To get site metrics on Google search results listings

Mozbar metrics while on the domain page. 

If turned on, you will be able to see the PA and DA, including the backlinks of the page you are on right from your browser as shown in the image below:

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 35

How Mozbar works while doing a Google search.

To show you this in action, let me first show you how to find guest posting opportunities so that we can use one stone to kill two birds.

How To Find Guest Posting Opportunities

Finding guest posting opportunities is quite easy. All you do is search on Google using any of the search queries below.

[location] intitle:"write for us"
[location] intitle:"write for me"


[location] "write for us"
[location] "guest post"

An example of this will be something like: London intitle:"write for us" OR London "write for us".

You can replace [location] with [keyword] as in below:

[keyword] intitle:"write for us"
[keyword] intitle:"write for me"


[keyword] "write for us"
[keyword] "guest post"

Now let's put this to practice by doing a search for guest posting opportunities for London and for a Roofing niche. 

Searching: London:"write for us"

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 1

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As you can see in the image below, using the search parameters (london:"write for us") only returns results for sites in london that accept guest bloggers.

Turning on Mozbar plugin while performing the search on Google reveals the PA and DA as well as the backlinks of the sites in the search results. 

With this information, you will know first hand which sites are fit for your purpose before contacting them. This is a way to save time without the need to visit the site first. 

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 37

Searching: Roofer intitle:"write for us"

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 38

Guest Posting Google Search Queries

Keyword + “guest post”
Keyword + “write for us”
Keyword + “guest article”
Keyword + “guest post opportunities”
Keyword + “this is a guest post by”
Keyword + “guest contributor”
Keyword + “want to write for”
Keyword + “submit blog post”
Keyword + “guest column”
Keyword + “submit content”
Keyword + “submit post”
Keyword + “This post was written by”
Keyword + “guest post courtesy of ”
Keyword + “suggest a post”
Keyword + “submit an article”
Keyword + “contributor guidelines”
Keyword + “submit news”
Keyword + “become a guest blogger”
Keyword + “guest blogger”
Keyword + “become an author”
Keyword + “become guest writer”
Keyword + “become a contributor”
Keyword + “submit guest post”
Keyword + “submit article”
Keyword + “guest author”
Keyword + “send a tip”
Keyword + inurl:guest-blogger
Keyword + inurl:guest-post
intitle:guest post guidelines
intitle:guest blog guidelines

Location + “guest post”
Location + “write for us”
Location + “guest article”
Location + “guest post opportunities”
Location + “this is a guest post by”
Location + “guest contributor”
Location + “want to write for”
Location + “submit blog post”
Location + “guest column”
Location + “submit content”
Location + “submit post”
Location + “This post was written by”
Location + “guest post courtesy of ”
Location + “suggest a post”
Location + “submit an article”
Location + “contributor guidelines”
Location + “submit news”
Location + “become a guest blogger”
Location + “guest blogger”
Location + “become an author”
Location + “become guest writer”
Location + “become a contributor”
Location + “submit guest post”
Location + “submit article”
Location + “guest author”
Location + “send a tip”
Location + inurl:guest-blogger
Location + inurl:guest-post
intitle:guest post guidelines
intitle:guest blog guidelines

To find local blogs, use these search strings:

  • "city name"+"industry"+"blog" 
  • "post code"+"industry"+"blog"
  • "county"+"industry"+"blog"

How To Know The Traffic a Site Gets

You can learn more from this Ahrefs article.

The easiest way is to Download Similarweb Extension. This is compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

Once downloaded you should see the Similarweb icon on your browser as in the image below.

You can use other tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find out the traffic a site gets and other metrics. However, these are paid tools but they have trial periods and are very good.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 39

Once you are on the page you want to evaluate, click on the Similarweb icon and you should see the estimated traffic of the site.

NOTE: you may not be able to see estimated traffic for all the sites you check. This is because Similar does not provide traffic estimate for most small sites.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 40

Neil Patel SEO tool is another great tool for finding the traffic a site gets. This tool can get you site traffic whether the site is small or big.

Just search the domain url and the tool will tell you the monthly traffic of the site.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 41

Ask the site owner

Another way to know the traffic of a site that accepts guest posting is to simply ask the owner of the site when you contact them. They should be able to tell you.

Where To Find Writers

If you cannot write your articles, which is understandable, that shouldn't stop you from guest posting. You can hire writers to write for you and below are a few of the places where you can find writers for your guest posts or for your blog posts.

Link Building Method #3

Blog Content Posting

Making blog posts on your website can be an effective way to get quality backlinks and traffic - especially when you write shareable helpful contents that genuinely help your readers. This is also very great for local SEO.

The type of content that attract readers are 'How To' type content. For a dental practice, an article like this is a great content. Even better if you demo it on video.

To get locals to share these content, make sure it's got a local feel to it i.e. connect the post to the locality that you serve - local event, calendar or 'best-of' guides.


  • Local “best of” guides—Create a list of the best events, restaurants, attractions etc. in the area.
  • Local calendars—Create a local calendar, featuring the most notable events across numerous categories occuring in the next few months.

After you make this post on your blog, promote it on social media sites like local council Facebook groups and other local magazines and newspapers websites.

If you are a member of your chamber of commerce, this is a great place to promote the article as you can share the post on their website too.

What about your local council blogs. Can you make comments on these blogs or share the content there? These are different opportunities to explore.

You can even write a press release to promote the article on your blog. Good idea for local SEO domination.

Anything to get the word out at this stage is great publicity for your content and will not only attract readers and backlings but will bring you traffic too. 

Let this be a regular routine on your blog. Blogging regularly tells Google (and visitors) that your site is actively maintained and also will help you to attracts more backlinks. Making a post at least twice a month is a great way to start.

If you don't have the time, try using our guest posting services. We can do monthly blog posting too. 

Link Building Method #4

Competitors Backlinks Sources

This method involve analizing your competitors' backlinks and then go get backlinks from the source they are getting their backlinks.

This is called link intersect and it's great for local SEO to help your website rank high.

There are a few tools you can use to find who is linking to your competitors.

The best one out there in the market is Ahrefs intersect tool. You can use this tool to uncover thousands of potential link opportunities such as:

  • Finding Your Competitors’ Guest Posts… Then Write for the SAME Sites!
  • Finding Your Competitors’ “Superfans”… Then Build Relationships with Those People!
  • Spoting Easily‐Replicable Link Opportunities by Finding Sites That Link To More Than One Competitor
  • Stealing Links from Page‐Level Competitors (by Creating Something Even Better!)
  • Tracking Your Competitors’ NEW Backlinks… Then Jumping On Any New Opportunities
  • Finding Your Competitors’ Broken Links… Then Nabbing Them For Yourself!

For a complete guide on how to use Ahrefs to perform the above, read this post

You can also use Explorer and Majestic site Explorer but these are not as detailed or granular as Ahrefs.

You can also use Explorer and Majestic site Explorer.

All these tools are paid tools but they have free versions which you can use to get started. Ahrefs only offers $7 days trial for $7.

Neil Patels All-In-One SEO Tool is another great tool. Though the tool is still in it's infancy stage, it's good enough for newbies to get started finding competitors backlinks and it's free (for now).

Access the tool and paste in your competitor URL. It will analyze the url. Click on backlinks to see the backlinks of your competitor.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 42

The tool will show you who is linking to your competitor and will also show you which of the links are dofollow and nofollow.

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 43

Link Building Method #5

Local Events/Activities Sponsorships

Sponsor local event and activities to gain backlinks and traffic for Local SEO. Think of local football clubs, charities or other locally organized activities.

Use the Google search queries below to find local sponsorship opportunities in your area: 

  • inurl:sponsorship "city name" OR 
  • intitle:sponsorship "city name"

I performed a search for sponsorship opportunities in Coventry. See the results I get below:

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 44

Link Building Method #6

Web 2.0 and Social Profiles

You can create accounts on social networks and web 2.0 websites like WordPress, Tumblr, Hubpages etc and get links to your website.

These are usually very high authority website and Google loves these links.

Start with these top 50 sites.

You can order our Web 2.0 link building services here.

Reviews & How To Get Them

As we noticed in the Moz Ranking factors, Reviews is one of the key factors to ranking higher in Google local pack as well as the organic search listings.

The more reviews you get the better.

How To Get Reviews

Use this Whitespack GMB review link generator to collect reviews from your customers.

The tool is quite easy to use. To generate your review link, access the page and:

1. Type your business name, city, and zip/postal code in the “Enter a Business” field.
2. Your review link will appear under the map.
3. Copy the short URL to your clipboard.
4. Share the link with customers in emails, text messages, or even on printouts, and ask them to leave you a review on Google!

Click To Enlarge Image

Local SEO – The Complete Step By Step Guide 45

Want more ways to manage reviews across different platforms like Facebook, Yelp, Yell etc? Then signup for

They offer ways for local businesses to collect and manage reviews on multiple platforms.

Tracking Your Result!

I know this has been a long content but try to implement the suggestions here for your local SEO and you'll rank not only your Google My Business but also your website too.

Tracking Your Success

How do you know whether your effort is paying off i.e. your ranking is improving and you are getting more traffic, leads and sales? 

That's Tracking.

Yes, you need to track and measure your results...

  • Track your calls
  • Track the contact form on your website
  • Track your overall website

Install call tracking software on your site as well as Google Analytics and Google Search Console so you can monitor what's working and what's not.

Here are a few call tracking platforms:

That's it, folks.

Did you enjoy this post? Did you find it useful and helpful. Have I missed anything that should be in this guide? Please let me know in the comments below.

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