When you have a business that serves one or several local areas, regular SEO isn’t going to get you impactful results.  Your search engine marketing efforts should be focused on local SEO for brick and mortar businesses.

What is the difference between regular SEO and local SEO for brick and mortar businesses? The main difference is that local SEO uses geographical keywords and designators that let search engines know your businesses relevance in local search results.  Another difference is that optimizing for local search lowers competition for the top spots in search results because you are competing only with businesses within a certain radius of your geographical location.

Local SEO for Brick and Mortar Businesses

Mastering local SEO involves executing a handful of on-page and off-page SEO task that optimize your website for long-term local search visibility.  When done right it helps search engines and search users find, sort and prioritize your most important information such as location, services and benefits.

Local SEO for Brick and Mortar Businesses graphicWebsite Structure and On-Page SEO for Better Local SEO Results

You will rank higher on Google and other sites in local search results by location optimizing your web pages, creating a logical structure, and utilizing proper tagging and descriptors in content, URLs, and metadata. Terms like “site architecture” and “website organization” describe the proper structuring of your website for optimal results and as a small business owner focused on getting customers in the door of physical locations, you will want to focus on structuring your website to highlight your location and services.

Home Page

Your home page is called “Home” for a reason. Ensure all important pages are clearly part of your home page navigation. Search engines look for you to build out logically from your homepage so make sure your best stuff (top selling products, most popular services, testimonials, etc.) are there with easy to use navigational links.


Each of your locations should have its own page.  By having a dedicated page for each location, you let them provide location-specific information that internet searchers are looking for.


Is your main keyword or service and location in your URLs? It should be. Nobody loves a super long URL, but www.SmilesDallasDentist.com or www.SmilesDentist.com/denver-home is the easiest and most effective local SEO you can implement. If your domain name does not contain your business name, get your business name or specialty and location in the URL of your web pages.


SEO-effective information to put on your “Location(s)” pages can include content that describes products or services. Concise content that is keyword rich, and properly titled with location specific headers (H1-H2) is loved by all search engines. Blog posts, videos, images, and event calendars are all additions that, when tagged and labeled correctly, add to your search-ability and give you a competitive edge over weaker websites.

Meta Descriptions and Title Tags

Each page of your website has a meta description, and you have the opportunity to use title tags and image tags to help search engines understand what your web page is about.  The metadata is the words that appear beneath your hyperlinked page title (title tag) in search results and explains what a page is about.  Your meta data and title tags should include the keyword you are trying to rank for, as well as your city and state.

Off-Page SEO Where It Matters Most

It is very important that you have off-page signals that let search engines know what you do, where you are located, and that you are a legitimate business.  Google isn’t going to rank you high in search just because you had the foresight to buy the www.BestDallasDentist.com domain name and customers are going to trust it is true just because you said so.

Here are three off-page SEO signals that let Google and customers know you are a legitimate business, located in a search user’s area, that has been tried by other customers.

Name, Address, Phone Number or NAP

Accurate business listings and citations are the foundations of your local search optimization campaigns.  Your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) has to remain consistent across the internet, or search engines will distrust the accuracy of your information or even your existence and drop you in local search ranking.  Business listings management could cover hundreds of directories but here are extremely cost-effective ways to automate the management of your business listingsALSO READ: The What Why and How of Business Listings and Citations

Customer Reviews

User-generated content such as customer reviews is a powerful way to affect local search engine results positively and provide the trust-building social proof that customers need to choose new products and service providers.  ALSO READ: 3 Ways Customer Reviews Improve SEO

Google My Business

Google likes to keep things in-house as much as possible, so it favors its own accurate and current business listings in verified Google My Business accounts when giving local search results to its users.  If you want any chance of showing up in the life-altering Local 3-Pack which prominently displays the top three most relevant results for local search, you have to verify and optimize your Google My Business listing (preferably with dozens of five-star reviews).  ALSO READ: How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

optimize google my business local seoMastering Local SEO for Brick and Mortar Businesses

Look at Google SERP results with your business type and city to see how an effective URL, optimizing for local search and getting 5-star reviews keeps brick and mortar business owners at the top of their city’s local search results. If you don’t like where your business is ranking in local search results then now is the time to use the tips in this Local SEO for Brick and Mortar Businesses post.

Are you gathering and posting five-star customer reviews and testimonials on your site as well as top review sites? Should you start a business blog with better content to show your expertise and give the search engines more content to index and provide in search results? More traffic, more customers, and more profit starts with a search engine optimized website and smart structuring for local search, but there are many factors in play that you have control over as a business owner.

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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.