Local Marketing

How to leverage SEO to boost your local business sales

Drum up higher revenues for your small business without the high ad spend.

Quick Summary
  • Learn how to get more paying customers walking through your doors by better positioning your business in local search.
  • Save money on paid advertising by building online assets for your business that will continue to drive conversions over time.
  • Get even more bang for your buck with Semrush’s Listing Management, which gets your local business in a position to attract more sales much faster.

Struggling to get more local business sales? Spending hours hitting the phones or handing out endless flyers, all while not making a dent in your sales targets? Maybe it’s time for a different approach…

Today, most people turn to search when they’re looking for local businesses. In fact, Google is reported to have claimed as many as 46% of searches have a local intent .

So ignoring the power of SEO (search engine optimization) to help you hit your local business sales targets could mean you’re slashing your chances of success by almost half.

And with easy-to-use tools like Semrush’s Listing Management on your side, you could start to see more sales on the board quicker than you might think…

Start with your competitors

Understanding who you’re up against is an important part of the market research phase of launching a small business. You may have already done a competitor analysis, but did you take a close look at how similar businesses are performing in local search?

The main battleground for local businesses duking it out for new customers is Google’s local pack—and there are only three coveted spots to compete for.

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If competitors are nudging you out of this online showcase of the best local businesses in town, you need to get an insight into what they’re up to in order to build a solid strategy.

First, take a look at competitors’ Google Business Profiles (GBP):

  • Which primary category are they using? Does it make more sense than the one you’ve chosen?
  • Is their GBP more complete than yours?
  • Do they come across as more approachable, with friendly images, updates, and attractive offers?
  • Are they in a better location? If you’re competing for a term like “bike repair shop in Cambridge”, but your business is just outside the city limits (as delineated by Google Maps), you might struggle to outrank a business that’s right in the city center.
  • What’s their average rating and how many reviews do they have? The quantity and quality of your reviews can make a huge impact on your local rankings.

Use Semrush’s Listing Management to get an average total reviews figure for your top competitors and build out a strategy to beat it so you can begin your journey to the prime position on the local pack (and the sales that come with it).

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According to Semrush’s Local SEO Rankings Study , the quantity of reviews may be even more important than average ratings—and fortunately, that’s something you can control.

Generating reviews can make a huge difference to your local business sales as it’s one of the biggest local ranking factors (so says Google itself).

Heating up: Semrush’s Listing Management premium subscribers get even more of an edge on competitors. The tool shows where you rank against rivals on a grid so you can work out which locations need more work to boost your position and attract more sales.

Get ahead with listings automation

Visibility is key to attracting more sales from local search, and publishing business listings on top directories (not just Google Business Profile) is your fast track to getting more eyes on your products and services.

Larger businesses understand this and tend to invest significant resources in building out their citations, which can feel disheartening when you simply don’t have that kind of time and money on your hands.

But Semrush’s Listing Management was built to level the playing field, making it easier for small businesses to compete with a simple solution for distributing your essential details to multiple platforms at once—and making sure they’re all consistent too.

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A strong local citation profile shows search engines like Google that your NAP data (name, address, phone number) is accurate and that it can be confident about showing them to its users. Plus, directories are common results in SERPs (search engine results pages), appearing even higher than the Google local pack.

With more visibility, sales will come far more easily, as long as you’re making the effort to paint your business in the best possible light.

Build relationships with your customers

We’ve covered how to increase your visibility in local search by generating more reviews and distributing listings to top directories.

And with these powerful local techniques, you’ll hopefully start to see an improvement in your local business sales and more customers reaching out online.

Customer retention is an important part of a local business strategy because it nurtures repeat business that you can rely on periodically.

Build stronger bonds with the people who love what you do. If you get a positive Google review, make sure you reply to say how grateful you are to them for taking the time to post their views.

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Not only will this encourage them to return, it’s likely to boost your review numbers too. A Harvard Business Review found that saying “thank you” to reviewers leads to a 12% increase in review submissions from other users (supposedly because it’s clear the feedback is appreciated).

Do the same with social media. Chat with people whenever they mention your page so they know they’re welcome back.

For those really-special customers, why not go the extra mile and attach a handwritten note to their next receipt so they feel truly valued?

Keeping it together: Replying to every customer that leaves you a review can be a tall order for most small businesses. Let Semrush’s Listing Management simplify and streamline your review management by connecting all the platforms that allow customers to leave a review.

Optimize your content and website

Carefully crafting your online content with the right local keywords should help attract more sales through improved local and organic positioning.

But did you consider that the right content can mean the difference between a potential customer deciding to make a purchase and bouncing from your site altogether?

Write content that establishes your business as an authority on what you do so readers feel confident they’ve found the right solution. Consider the problems they’re trying to solve and think about how this might affect them emotionally to inform your writing. For example, someone looking for a local insurance provider isn’t just looking for a better deal on their policy, they’re concerned about their family’s security.

Creating compelling content is a powerful sales technique whether you’re a car mechanic or fast food restaurant. If you’re not a confident writer, consider hiring a freelancer or agency to take care of your content marketing, or use a tool like Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant to give you a few pointers.

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Because while you want to focus on addressing customer pain points, you also need to make sure your writing is properly structured, doesn’t include any duplicate content and strikes the right tone.

You can also use Semrush’s Site Audit to identify any technical SEO issues within your content, such as missing meta descriptions or overlong titles.

Check your
local listings for free

Semrush’s Listing Management: Your SERP window dresser for attracting more local business sales

The key to more local business sales through search is higher visibility and making your profiles look as enticing as possible.

And small businesses need all the help they can get when it comes to positioning themselves in search, especially when they face stiff competition from rivals.

Semrush’s Listing Management was built with the underdog in mind, offering a set of powerful tools that lets you compete, no matter how deep your competitors’ pockets.

Let people know where you are

You’ll be hard pushed to improve your local business sales if people don’t know where to find you.

Paid advertising can help get the word out, but building out your citation profile is a sure-fire way to access a wider audience—and it doesn't have to take long to set up.

Semrush’s Listing Management publishes your essential details—including name, address, phone number, website, opening hours, and photos—to more than 70 top directories in next to no time.
Successfully distributed listings for a waste management company

Open up the dialogue

Building relationships with your clients leads to repeat business and can also transform them into brand ambassadors who will tell others about you.

A quick “thank you” to Google reviews goes a long way to making customers feel valued and also encourages others to leave their own feedback.

But rather than respond to the deluge of review notifications, let Semrush’s Listing Management gather all your reviews under one simple interface to speed up your reply process.
The interface for replying to reviews in Semrush’s Listing Management

Track your progress to 4.5+

If you find your average ratings lagging behind the competition, you’ll need to make a concerted effort to whip them into shape.

As you campaign for customers to post their positive feedback, the handy visuals in Semrush’s Listing Management let you know you’re on the right path.

The tool is the simplest way to track your month-to-month progress and understand what people think of your business beyond Google Business Profile.
Review progress in Semrush’s Listing Management

Identify your local weak spots

Semrush’s Listing Management is a reliable tool for checking your average local ranking, but if you really want to hit your local business sales targets, you might want to take it a step further.

Heatmap shows a detailed picture of your average positions mapped over your postcode so you can see exactly where you rank well and where competitors are getting the better of you.

Then, use the data to better optimize your local SEO—or perhaps focus alternative local business sales tactics on the areas that aren’t currently finding you online.
Heatmap, a premium feature in Semrush’s Listing Management
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