Local SEO

Local searches: How to be the solution to customer queries

How to make sure your franchise ranks in local search in the face of stiff competition

Quick summary
  • Local searches connect customers with businesses in their area.
  • There are plenty of things businesses can do to boost their visibility in local searches.
  • Semrush Local makes appearing in local searches easier with a full set of local SEO tools that lighten the workload.

Customers looking for products and services today rely on local searches to guide them to the best possible solution.

In fact, Google’s Consumer Insights 2022 Retail Marketing Guide found a 400% YoY increase in users searching “open now near me”.

Local search is your opportunity to have more residents and visitors in your area discovering your business online.

But if you don’t have the right tools to take advantage of this free traffic, you’ll be losing out on valuable revenue that your competitors will be more than happy to snap up.

What is local search?

Local search is a digital marketing strategy geared towards positioning businesses in front of people searching with a local intent.

It's like having a virtual billboard right on the user's smartphone screen, directing them straight to your door.

Screenshot 2023-10-12 at 15.46.46.png

Optimization for local searches, also known as local SEO, primes you to capture potential customers precisely when they're looking for what you offer.

A huge 60% of people that use local search engines get in touch with businesses directly from SERP results.

Ignoring the maintenance of your NAP data (name, address, phone number), online reputation and content could see you lose your slice of this very lucrative pie…

Your local searches guide: With Semrush Local, businesses with zero local search experience can quickly scan their rankings, reviews and listings to highlight areas for improvement.

What local search means for businesses

A well-executed local search strategy gives businesses a competitive edge against rivals with far greater resources.

Positive reviews in local search results build trust and credibility in lieu of the brand recognition that large corporations enjoy.

Businesses that rank in the top three results for Google local searches (known as the Local Pack) get more profile engagement and stand a better chance of converting.

Screenshot 2023-10-12 at 15.46.53.png

It might seem impossible for some to compete with businesses with thousands of reviews and a full-time team to manage listings. But free and affordable local SEO tools offer businesses of all kinds and sizes a path towards getting similar results—and the revenue boost that comes with it.

Rankings boost: Unlock the full potential of local searches with Semrush Local’s suite of tools designed to help you showcase your business in Google’s Local Pack.

How to improve visibility in local search

Your business’s visibility depends largely on local ranking factors. Fortunately, Google has revealed the most important local ranking factors, so there’s no secret to improving your local SEO.

Relevance: The matchmaking factor in local search. Relevance gauges how closely a search result aligns with what a user is looking for. For instance, if someone searches for "pet-friendly hotels in San Francisco," the search engine is likely to prioritize hotels that explicitly advertise themselves as "pet-friendly" over those that don't emphasize it.

Distance: How close a local result is to the user's location. The distance factor allows businesses that are closer to the user earn more than larger counterparts further away. With so many people using mobile devices for local searches, GPS plays a pivotal role.

Prominence: Your business's online reputation and how well-known it is. Prominence is a combination of various signals: the number of times people mention your business online, the quality of your online reviews, the credibility of websites that link to your business, and the overall content and structure of your website and blog.

The first step to better visibility in local searches is to claim or set up your Google Business Profile for your location. Once verified, get to work optimizing your profile with accurate business information (including local keywords), photos, and your products/services.

Screenshot 2023-10-12 at 15.54.20.png

Next, move on to claiming other locations should you have them, followed by getting published in other business listings like Yelp, Apple Maps and Bing. A lot of businesses stall here because of how tedious the task is, but you can use a Listing Management tool to tick this off your list quickly.

With all that out of the way, it’s time to launch your review generation campaign. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your platforms by reaching out with a simple text message and link. Positive reviews can significantly boost your local search presence and improve conversion rates.

Screenshot 2023-10-12 at 15.47.07.png

Work with a developer to make sure your website is in good shape and mobile-friendly. Semrush’s Site Audit tool is useful for getting a general overview of your website’s health.

The content on your website can also impact your local search rankings. If you’re not confident in search engine optimization, consider hiring an agency or freelance writer with experience in researching and writing content with local keywords.

Good content attracts backlinks from other relevant websites and social media. Links drive traffic and also indicate to local search algorithms that others think your content is good enough to send their audience to, and therefore worth ranking.

The best local search tools

Businesses now have access to a wealth of free and affordable local search tools to help them boost their positions in searches with local intent.

Here are just some of the top local search tools you should be using to give your business the best chance of success:

Google Business Profile: The go-to tool for managing your business's presence on Google Search and Google Maps. A Google Business Profile is your digital storefront, bridging the gap between your physical business and users conducting local searches.

Yelp for Business: When it comes to customer reviews, businesses simply can’t afford to ignore Yelp. The platform allows business owners to manage their essential information such as location, contact details, hours of operation, and a brief description.

Bing Places for Business: While Google may dominate the local search landscape, Bing remains a formidable player. A lot of businesses ignore Bing in favor of Google Business Profile, but it’s well worth including the platform in your local SEO strategy.

Semrush Local: A suite of time-saving tools to boost your local search game. Semrush Local is a centralized hub for your business listings, online reviews, competitor analysis and position tracking.

Screenshot 2023-10-12 at 15.47.15.png

Google Trends: An invaluable free tool for keyword research. Google Trends identifies the most relevant and popular search terms related to your industry over time. Great for generating content ideas that your audience are really going to engage with.

Google Search Console: Another fantastic tool for analyzing your website and content. Google Search Console provides insights into potential issues that might be affecting your site's performance in search results. The free tool also offers data on how your website ranks for specific search queries.

Pay nothing: Start using Semrush Local for free today. Just type in your business name and get an instant report on your current listings and reviews.

Check your
local listings for free

Appear in more local searches for your keywords with Semrush Local

Within mere days of using Semrush Local, your business will see a huge jump in visibility, with your essential details published in 70+ top directories.

But don't settle for just being visible; make sure your business shines in local searches with Semrush Local’s other time-saving tools.

Visibility in a flash

A business that doesn’t list on the top directories is essentially hiding from a huge percentage of its local customers.

Semrush Local links your details to all the prime places in next to no time so your business pops up in more local searches.

This not only ensures visibility on every major platform but also signals to Google that your business is prominent—a key local ranking factor.
A business location connected to Facebook, Bing, Yelp and Instagram

Smart review replies with AI

Getting back to all the customers that leave you reviews can quickly become a difficult job to manage on your own.

Semrush’s AI-powered Review Management tool suggests thoughtful responses, saving you time while ensuring your replies hit the right note with customers.

Other users will see how much you value customer feedback and will be more likely to leave a review of their own.
The interface for replying to Google reviews directly in Semrush’s Review Management

Heatmap position and competitor tracking

There’s no need to rack your brain wondering why competitors are nudging you out in Google Maps.

Heatmap’s position tracking and competitor analysis gives you a visual representation of where your business stands in the Google Maps landscape. It also offers you AI-powered suggested keywords for your area and business.

The tool empowers Premium Location subscribers with the insights to better focus local SEO strategies and surpass rivals.
Semrush Local’s Heatmap tool

Beautiful online reputation charts

Getting a read on your overall review score across multiple different platforms can be a data-entry nightmare for businesses.

Leave it to Semrush's Review Management to transform complex data into easy-to-digest visuals.

Say goodbye to the hassle of toggling between platforms and the tedium of manual data collection for reports.
 Data visuals in Semrush's Review Management
Still have questions? We’ve got answers!
I agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy