Local SEO

Listing Management: All-in-one local SEO for small business

The fast-track solution for those that need to be seen online ASAP

Quick summary
  • With a solid local SEO strategy in place, small businesses can compete with larger companies for the top search positions.
  • Setting up your online presence across the most important directories is key to successful local SEO for small businesses.
  • Semrush’s Listing Management tool helps small companies win more business from local SEO without a huge investment.

The basics of local SEO for small businesses

Small businesses need to do everything they can to stand out from the competition and keep new customers coming through the doors. While paid advertising can be a valuable route to getting more eyes on your small business, appearing in Google’s local pack (or three-pack) when people in your area conduct a search could be your golden ticket to cheaper client acquisition and higher revenues.

Google’s local pack results for a restaurant search
Google’s local pack results for a restaurant search

Local users presented with three good-looking options are often happy to narrow it down from there and won’t bother to click “more places”, meaning the business in fourth place might as well not rank at all. Fortunately, there’s local SEO for small businesses who understand the importance of ranking well in the local pack and don’t want to see potential customers going straight to competitors. By working on their local listings, Google Business Profile, social media presence, blog and website, small business owners can steadily climb the local rankings and could even end up as the number one result for their target market.

Why invest in small business local SEO?

With 76% of local searchers visiting a business within 24 hours of looking it up, investing in a successful local SEO campaign tends to pay off for small businesses.
But if your small business is currently nowhere to be seen in the local rankings, you might wonder if it’s worth going up against competitors that can already boast hundreds of reviews and have clearly been at it for a while.
Well, following Google’s Vicinity update in December 2021, small businesses were actually given a fighting chance against larger businesses with bigger SEO budgets.
The algorithm change meant that the user’s distance from the business location was given more weight in local ranking factors.
This was good news for small businesses, who realised they could outrank a big competitor based on proximity, even if they had fewer reviews (assuming they’d covered the local small business SEO basics).
Local SEO isn’t just about spamming out review requests and huge content budgets. Quality matters, and while it can be a time-intensive process, great local SEO for small businesses can be done well for absolutely nothing.
So don’t count your small business out just yet! Pro advice: While SEO for small local businesses can be done using little more than an internet connection and some elbow grease, it’s well worth getting at least one powerful local SEO tool on your side to streamline things and make sure all your hard work isn't in vain.

Where to start with local SEO for small businesses

Unlike a lot of marketing channels, local SEO is actually pretty simple to get started with. The first thing you’ll want to do is roll out your business listings. This not only gives you a better presence on the web, but also helps Google check your citations to determine your local rankings. As a bare minimum, citations are your business’ NAP data (name, address, phone number), but there’s so much more you should add to give your small business the best chance of rising in the ranks. A good listing will feature a logo, tell users the opening hours, show some photos of staff and the location, categories, products, services… all the details that help remove any doubt that you’re a business worth visiting. The most important listing your small business needs is a Google Business Profile (GBP). This is the prime real estate that pops up on the Google results page when a user searches a business name and also what Google Maps uses to populate a business’ details.

The Google Business Profile of a dry cleaning business in Florida, a key listing for local SEO for small businesses
The Google Business Profile of a dry cleaning business in Florida, a key listing for local SEO for small businesses

Time saver: With Semrush’s Listing Management tool, you can distribute your listings to 70+ directories and only input your details once, letting you move on to the next stage of your small business’ local SEO campaign faster.

Review generation for small business local SEO

It probably goes without saying that the more rave reviews a business has, the better chance it has of rising in the local rankings. Google favours GBPs with lots of 4 or 5-star ratings and considers reviews to be an important ranking factor.

GBP reviews for a hairdresser in London
GBP reviews for a hairdresser in London

Getting more reviews for your GBP (or other platforms that could use some extra social proof) is essentially a simple case of putting together a good outreach strategy and making it easy for customers to share their feedback (texting them the GBP review link, for example). However, getting back to all of them is where things get a bit tricky. Businesses that reply to their reviews look better than the ones that don’t because they’re publicly demonstrating that they care about what their customers think of them. Using Semrush’s Listing Management tool to manage your reviews ensures they all get a nice reply, and you can also use it to keep an eye on your reply rate so no review falls through the cracks.

Content is king for local SEO for small businesses

Well-optimized website content is the path to top organic positions, but it can also help boost your local pack rankings if you get your keyword research right. Localized content and location-specific landing pages (with an embedded Google Map) make it clear you’re based in that geographical area and not, for example, simply trying to game the GBP platform as a national or global business.

Bonus tip: Semrush's Listing Management tool makes local SEO for small businesses a breeze, with its simple listings distribution, review management and local rankings tracker.

A location-specific landing page for a skip hire business in England
A location-specific landing page for a skip hire business in England

You’ll also want to make sure your website itself is in tip-top SEO health, with no broken links, and a nice user-friendly site structure. Aim to build a few local links from other local websites that are happy to give you a recommendation, or offer to write some content for them in exchange for a backlink to your site. On top of your website and blog content, make a plan to regularly upload fresh content to your GBP, such as photos, videos and posts about what’s going on in your business.

Check your
local listings for free

Let Semrush’s Listing Management tool get to work on your small business’ local SEO

Semrush’s Listing Management tool gives small businesses the edge when it comes to boosting local rankings and getting more eyes on your products or services.There’s a lot to do to get your local small business SEO running optimally, but Semrush is here to get some of the cornerstones checked off your local SEO list for a few instant wins.

Go from zero to 70+ listings in seconds

Getting your NAP data out there is a great start to local SEO for small businesses, and it’s best to start with the biggest directories.
But creating profiles on all these different platforms, keeping track of all the passwords, and logging in to each one separately every time you need to make a change isn’t much fun (and, let’s be honest, the kind of tedious job that tends to work its way to the bottom of to-do lists).
Get your listings distributed the right way with Semrush’s Listing Management tool, which connects with all the top citation sites to make sure your details are consistent across all of them.
Correctly published business listings in Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Stay in control of all your business listings

Small business local SEO calls for a keen eye to watch over every online mention of your business and make sure there aren’t any duplicate listings in the same directory.
Duplicate listings confuse both search engines and users, as well as negatively impacting your local rankings—especially if they’re out of date and the NAP data is inaccurate.
Let Semrush’s Listing Management tool scan the web for rogue listings so you can suppress them with one simple click and rest assured that all your listings are safely monitored under one roof.
Duplicate business listings flagged in Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Let people know you appreciate their feedback

We know that getting more reviews on your business listings goes a long way to moving your small business up the local rankings.
But once your review generation campaign is up and running and the feedback starts pouring in, you’ll need to get back to everyone and say thanks.
Semrush’s Listing Management tool allows you to reply to reviews in one place and aggregates the average star ratings across platforms so you can take the pulse of all your customer opinions at once.
The review dashboard in Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Drill down into the areas that need work

User location factors heavily into your local rankings, but how do you know which areas you’re ranking well in and which areas need more focus from your local SEO efforts?
Semrush’s Listing Management features a Heatmap tool for premium users, displaying your rankings over your local area so you can see how you’re doing at a granular level.
Heatmap also shows you which competitors are getting the upper hand, making it clear who you need to research and knock off the top spot.
Listing Management’s Heatmap from Semrush
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