If you have a local business it is crucial to localize your SEO, no matter what product you sell or service you provide. Without localized SEO your website will never have the chance to truly fulfill your digital marketing needs. Keep reading to learn how to localize your SEO.

SEO vs Local SEO

To make your website SEO optimized is to improve your website’s search engine ranking on a national level.  Local Search Engine Optimization (or Local SEO) increases your website’s visibility to the area geographically around your business.

Any business aiming to serve a local clientele can benefit from Local SEO. Especially if you’re open for business even if people are not currently walking through your door. 

It is essential for local businesses that are selling products or offering services to rank locally in search engines. Search engines, such as Google, have specific ways to process information. Therefore, it’s extremely important to give search engines the information they need, in the format that makes sense to them, for your best ranking opportunities.

illustration of how localized SEO connects many aspects of your small business website

how to localize your seo for Google

With multiple search engines to choose from, although they may have ranking similarities, one search engine stands out from the rest. And that search engine is Google. Google dominates the search engine market, with 92.18% of the market share (Gs.statcounter, 2019). With that being the case, we will focus on Local SEO best practices for Google specifically.

If I Google “bakery” or “bakery near me” or “bakery Huntington NY”, the query returns local results no matter which phrasing is used. However, the order in which the results are displayed would all depend on how well the bakery websites ranked.

Local SEO isn’t achieved by one piece of code or a plugin. Local SEO comes from a combination of variables.


There are three key points to Google’s local ranking scale. Google considers relevance, distance, and prominence with each search that is “local” in nature.


Relevance is as simple as: does your website match what the user is looking for?


Distance is a huge component of Localized SEO ranking. The right combination of relevance and distance will improve your ranking. And the closer your business is to the area being searched, the better. Henceforth, it’s very important that Google can find exactly where you are located. Note that posting your address on your website is not enough.

The easiest way to optimize for Local SEO is to have a business address in the city you want to rank for. If you service multiple areas, even if you don’t have an address for each city or region, it is still possible to optimize your website. To do so, focus on optimizing your website through content by writing a lot about the areas you want to rank for.


There multiple ways to communicate your location to search engines. Let’s review two pieces of scripting vocabulary and Google features that help you localize your SEO.

First, you’ll want to make sure your business address is discoverable by search engines with tags or JSON-LD.

  • (often called Schema) is a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs” (Source: MOZ
  • “JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data) offers a simpler means to create machine-readable data from websites to promote search results” (Source: Ignite Visibility

Definitely create a Google Business Profile to utilize the features of a Google My Business Listing. By creating an account you can add photos of your business and manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps.

If your business has multiple locations make sure the main NAP (name, address, and phone number) on your website matches the NAP on your Google My Business Listing.

Customer reviews are another important feature of your Google My Business Listing. Similarly to word of mouth, when people talk highly of your business in reviews others will want to do business with you too. Make sure to ask satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Listing. Speaking of word of mouth, and your business’ reputation – this ties into prominence.


Prominence is all about how well your business is known. And the more popular your business is, the higher it will rank, and the easier it will be to find.


When it comes down to it, if Google can show a result from a well-known brand or business, it will. This may put a brand that’s got a location in your town, even if it’s not necessarily from your town, such as a big box store as the number one search result for your local keyword. Don’t let this discourage you.

Remember, Google won’t rank your site for a keyword if it’s not on your website. Optimize your content to rank for your local keyword. Do this by writing about why you chose your business location. You could talk about your personal connection with your town or city. Or maybe you picked a central location that makes servicing an entire region easier. The reasoning will differ from business to business, but the point is to clearly mention your location city on your website, and not just in your address details. 

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