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Local SEO Checklists & How to do Local SEO by Industry

 Local SEO Checklists & How to do Local SEO by Industry

If you’re asking yourself, “how do you rank in Google Maps,” then you’ve come to the right place.

We have a comprehensive guide of local SEO ranking factors, tools, considerations, tips, and guidance on how to do local SEO Service with checklists for different industries. If you’re interested in a specific section, you can use the links below to jump to specific blog sections.

Why wouldn’t you want to trick Google to improve local rankings?

One in three Google employees has a Ph.D. Even if you can “trick” Google into ranking your local business better than it should be, you’re not going to out-think or trick thousand’s of Ph.D.’s. If you can fool all those smart people, then you’re probably in the wrong business and should use your knowledge and skills for more valuable endeavors.

You may trick Google into ranking your local service business for a while, but once it stops working, you run the risk of being removed entirely from Google Maps listings. Not a situation you want to find yourself in.

So, if you’re looking for ways to “trick” Google into ranking your business in the 3-pack of Google Maps results, this post is not going to be your cup of tea. However, if you’re looking for local SEO guidance to improve your rankings and driving relevant local traffic to your business, we’ve got everything you need to dominate local SEO.

Local SEO & Google My Business

When local SEO service companies refer to Google My Business rankings, they are actually referring to local SEO rankings. This is an essential distinction because Bing also has local map results for businesses and shouldn’t be ignored.

The local SEO ranking factors for Bing and Google are pretty much the same with some differences in how they weigh each factor, but for this post, we’re going to refer to Google mostly but keep in mind that Bing is essential as well.

Local SEO & Google Maps Ranking Factors

Local SEO has its own set of ranking factors. Some of these ranking factors you have control over, and others are out of your control, but for a good reason.

The actual location of the user searching

The actual location of your business

NAP (name, address, and phone number) consistency

Website landing page relevance and UX, which is why it is also referred to as NAPW (name, address, phone number, and website)

Presence of a Google My Business listing

Presence of relevant keywords in your Google My Business listing

Categories and Services selected

The overall sentiment, quantity, and average rating of Google reviews

Presence of relevant keywords in your reviews

Number of “check-ins” at the location

Social metrics

How to Rank in Google Maps

Google’s goal is to provide relevant and accurate information to users. With that in mind, one of the best things you can do is give as much information as possible to Google via your Google My Business listings and keep that information up-to-date.

By providing as much information as possible and keeping your listing up to date, you can help improve your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your Search and Maps presence.

Tip: If you have multiple local listings, you can edit business information for several locations at once; you can create a bulk upload spreadsheet.

Complete Google My Business Listing Data

Google is looking to provide the most relevant information to local searchers. Businesses with complete and accurate Google My Business listings are more likely to match local searchers’ intent.

Verify Business Location(s)

Verify your business locations to give them the best opportunity to appear for users across Google products, like Maps and Search.

Learn more about verifying single and multi-locations for your business

Keep Business Information Up-to-Date

Entering and updating your opening hours, including special hours for holidays and special events, lets potential customers know when you’re available and gives them confidence that it will be open when they travel to your location.

Learn how to edit your business hours and how to set special hours for holidays and events.

Manage and respond to reviews

Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.

High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews.

Learn more about managing and responding to reviews.

Add photos

Adding photos to your listings shows people your goods and services and can help you tell your business’ story. Accurate and appealing pictures may also show potential customers that your company offers what they’re searching for in Google.

Learn how to add, edit, or remove photos on your Google My Business listing

Local SEO Ranking Factors

Local results are primarily focused on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are all considered to find the best match for someone’s search. For example, Google may decide that a business that’s farther away is more relevant and likely to have the service you’re looking for than a closer company and therefore rank it higher in local results.


Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for in Google. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and serve your listing for relevant searches.


Just like it sounds–how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what is known about the area.


Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results reflect this in the local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.

Prominence is based on Google’s data about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score factor into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve local ranking. Your web results position is also a factor, so best seo services in india also apply to local search optimization.

There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We do our best to keep the search algorithm’s details confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone.

Location Pages SEO Best Practices

A location page is a web page on your website that provides all the necessary information a potential customer would be interested in when visiting your business or contacting you.

These pages should be as specific to your business location as possible. There are many examples of great location pages for SEO, but it’s hard to find a “perfect” model.

Home Depot is a good example of a company with well-optimized location pages for SEO.

Here are a couple of items to consider when creating an awesome location page for local SEO:

Use structured data to tell Google and other search engines what type of business you are and necessary information like your phone number and address.

Learn more about structured data for local SEO.

Make sure your structured data markup is correct.

Ensure the page’s content is unique and specific to the office or store location. It is not recommended to find and replace the city/state, so make sure you include as much relevant business information for that location.

Photos of your actual business location and even better if you can also include images of happy clients at the office/store!

High-quality cameras and phones include location information known as EXIF Metadata.

Embed a map of your Google My Business listing, including reviews, directions, etc. Embedding a Google Map can be a little hard to do since, by default, it can include other businesses on the map. However, you can use the Google Map API, which allows a developer to control its appearance, refer to syntax styling:

Map Features: A map consists of features, such as a road or park, specified using a MapTypeStyleFeatureType.

The feature types form a category tree, with all as the root.

The full list of features for selection within a map is documented in the Maps Javascript API V3 Reference.

Specifying the feature as all will select all map elements.

Include reviews about the specific business location as the reviews include natural language about your product, services, or solutions, and the location’s local area.

This is also great for improving conversion rates (getting new customers to contact you) as you’re showing proof that you’re great at what you do.

Markup your reviews with review schema to improve the way your page shows up in search results like this:

Include FAQs new customers might have when visiting your office or store, as well as any FAQs about your products and/or services.

This will help improve users’ experiences and make them more likely to stay on the page than navigate elsewhere to answer their questions.

If you have the page marked-up with structured data properly and have good authority, this can help improve your search results as well:

Home Depot Local Results Example

Local SEO Checklists

There are several tasks that every business should complete, no matter what the industry. However, each industry has slightly different needs to improve its local SEO rankings.

Mostly these differences have to do with ensuring that you have a listing and your NAP information is consistent across all of the most important industry-specific referral sites relevant to your business.

You’re probably already aware of the most popular directory listing sites for your industry. Still, the best way to ensure you’re on the most important referral websites is performing a search in Google as your potential customers would.

We’ve included those primary directory listing websites for several industries, but if you don’t see your industry listed, contact us, and we’ll let you know.

Local SEO Checklist for any Business

Create a location page on your website for each of your office/store locations.

Add or claim your Google My Business listing(s).

Ensure that you’ve entered all of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you.

Provide information like (but not limited to) your physical address, phone number, category, and attributes. Make sure to keep this information updated as your business changes.

Select the most specific category for your business as your primary category. Don’t select more than five categories to water down the relevance of the most important categories for your business.

Learn how to edit your Google My Business location information

Update something on your business listing every 1-3 months to show Google you’re keeping the listing up to date and avoid providing outdated information to potential customers.

Add or claim listings on general national directories like Yelp and Angie’s List.

To streamline the process, it is often worth paying for a local citation management tool so you can update information in one place and have it apply to directories across the internet.

Learn more about the top local SEO tools and services.

Add or claim listings on local directories. Every city/state has websites focused on providing a comprehensive guide of businesses in the focus area.

Perform searches your potential customers would use near your office/store locations to set the best local directory website in your area.

For example, near our office in Washington, DC, “Shop In Place DC” is a directory specific to DC businesses and entrepreneurs.

Depending on the city/state, these directories may even outrank national websites.

Search to see if there are more specific directories that might exist for your specialties. The travel and accommodations industry is very complex and segmented, so, depending on what type of accommodations you offer, there will be particular directories for your accommodations. For example, my parents own and operate a bed and breakfast in Chestertown, MD, and one of the top local directories is the county’s directory listings. However, there are also more specific directories for B&B’s like bnbfinder.

Local SEO Tools & Services

One way to save time making sure your local listings are accurate and up to date is by using a local SEO tool or service. If you have sticker shock about the price of some of these solutions, it is understandable but keep in mind that the price will be minimal compared to trying to keep everything up-to-date yourself manually.

Many of these tools also push data to local data aggregators, which are large business data gathering companies that source, clean up, and distribute your NAP information to publishers, marketers, and location-based services providers like search engines, review, and social media sites.

In the United States, there are 4 primary local data aggregators for business data; Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, Data Axle (formally Infogroup), and Factual, which was acquired by Foursquare in early 2020. These companies are the source of business data for hundreds of websites, as you can see from Whitesparks local SEO data ecosystem infographic below (originally the brainchild of David Mihm at Moz).


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