Ranking highly on Google can be a daunting task for most local businesses, as a successful Local SEO strategy has many moving parts.

So for those of you who are DIYers…

Enjoy our Top 21 Tips For Local SEO below!

1. Conduct Keyword Research on Google Using The Keywords Everywhere Plugin

As many people know, keyword research is a vital starting point to a successful Local SEO strategy. Knowing what people are searching online related to looking for your product or service in a city or metro area can help a ton with knowing what should be focused on for SEO efforts.

I am sure there are a ton of reputable keyword research tools out there, but I have not come across any as easy and seamless as Keywords Everywhere, that are also free. The Keywords Everywhere extension is pretty easily installed on your browser for Google Chrome or Firefox and allows you to see estimated keyword search volume, est CPC, and more, right in Google’s Search Results. See some examples below-

This feature alone is pretty convenient, as after a quick setup and API email confirmation, you can do keyword research right in Google. The Keywords Everywhere extension also shows you the “Volume, CPC, and Competition Ratio” stats for the “Searches Related To” phrases at the bottom of the search results-

These “searches related to” phrases are a great way to discover new keyword phrases to target or even possible blog post topics. I recommend having an initial goal of finding 10+ keyword phrases that you target & track your Google rankings for & then you can always add more to your list of tracked keyword phrases as you discover them (more on that in Tip #18).

2. Include Your Target City Within The Pages’ Meta Title

So this is a fairly basic tip, but one that is hugely important for local businesses located in or serving a metro area. The Meta Title of a Webpage acts as essentially the “Main Title” of the website page as read by Google and other search engines. It is also the clickable big text that shows in blue within organic Google search results. See examples below for the search “lawyers in Kansas City”-

Looks pretty familiar right?

One thing to notice though is that all of the top listings have “Kansas City” within the ranking page’s Meta Title, and most of them have “Kansas City” right at the beginning of their Meta Title.

We recommend having a unique keyword target phrase for all of the main pages on your website, and for local businesses, including the city you want to rank for (as well as the page’s relevant product or service) in the Meta Title is a simple but powerful strategy. I’d even venture to say this is the easiest thing you can do to improve your rankings on Google if you are not already doing it.

3. Optimize Your Website Pages’ Meta Description For CTR.

Much like the Meta Title, the Meta Description is a unique piece of each page on your website that you while show up in search results whenever your website page ranks for a keyword phrase. While the Meta Title is large and clickable blue text that shows in search results, the Meta Description is the smaller black text under the URL, which is shown below.

While we recommend you focus on using your target keyword in the Meta Title first and then improving CTR or “clickability” second, the opposite applies for Meta Descriptions, since keywords in meta descriptions do not directly impact search engine rankings. While it is still a good idea to include the target keyword for that page in the Meta Description if you can do it naturally, as Google and other search engines will often bold the keyword phrase as seen above, it is more beneficial to write Meta Descriptions that encourage people to click and stand out from the rest.

Read more about Writing Great Meta Descriptions from Neil Patel!

4. Have A Website Page For Each Service/Product You Want To Rank For

This tactic is fairly self-explanatory, and most websites naturally will do this anyway, however, it is still vital for local SEO and not to be overlooked.

An example of this is if a Kansas City remodeling company’s website just had a “services” page that overviewed the different types of remodeling projects they focus on as opposed to having individual pages for each type of service. It is far better and more beneficial for search engine optimization to have a “bathroom remodeling” page, a “kitchen remodeling” page, and a “basement finishing” page with their own unique copy, than simply a service page that talks about all of them.

Check out https://www.vieodesign.com/blog/how-to-write-a-services-page/ for tips on how to best write individual service pages for your local business! See an example of a local carpet cleaner’s individual service pages below.

5. Make Sure Each Website Page Has A Unique H1 (Title) With That Page’s Target Keywords

Outside of a Page’s Meta Title, I believe the most influential and weighted on-page factor for your rankings is your H1, also known as your main Header or Page Title. Unlike the Meta Title, the H1 is actually visible on your website and one of the first things read by users once on your site. Due to this, you want to include your target keyword within the H1, while also encouraging users to read more or contact you.

An example of this is if you are trying to rank on Google for “Overland Park electrician”, don’t just have your H1 be “Overland Park electrician”, make it something like “Experienced Local Electricians In Overland Park, Kansas” or “Top-Rated Overland Park Electricians Available 24/7” as an example.

So superlatives, credibility factors, and unique selling points are your friends when implementing in the H1 & surrounding your keywords (while still keeping the H1 fairly brief).

Also, Check out This Article on “How To Write A Header Tag for SEO” by Pear Analytics for more information on H1 Optimization.

6. Internally Link Between Pages On Your Website

I’m going to let my friends at Moz explain Internal Linking best practices here- https://moz.com/learn/seo/internal-link.

I will share that this is one of the most under-utilized and easy optimization tactics that you can implement to help page’s on your site rank on Google. Generally speaking, the more internal links you have pointing to a page on your site, the more authority and better ranking-ability that page will have. So it is always a best practice if you create a new city page or new service page, to find 3-5 other page’s on your website that you can put an internal link to your new page on.

Internal Linking can absolutely be a game-changer for your search engine optimization results. (see what I did there) ;). I recommend utilizing at least a 1-2 internal links that are in-copy per page on your website to other page’s you are wanting to improve the rankings for when appropriate. This helps distribute your website’s authority between the different pages on your site that you want to improve the rankings for on Google.

7. Add H2s (Headers) On Your Web Pages With Topically Related Keywords

Ahh, the often overlooked H2s…

Some non-optimized page’s don’t even have them, other sites just use them for improving readability, and while they do help with improving your content’s readability, they can also have a pretty solid SEO impact.

While not as heavily-weighted as the H1 in Google’s eyes, H2s are a great opportunity to include topically relevant keywords, also known as LSI keywords. So how does this all relate to improving your Kansas City SEO efforts? See an example below-

Let’s say your page’s target keyword is “Kansas City Lawn Care”, your H1 is “Top-Rated Lawn Care Services in Kansas City”, some possible H2s could be “Local Seeding, Aerating, & Lawn Irrigation in KC“, “How We Keep Your Lawn The Greenest In The Neighborhood”, or “Local Lawn Mowing From Kansas City Professionals” depending on what the content is underneath the H2 of course.

I do highly recommend not just repeating the keyword you already have in your H1 over and over, try using H2s for including topically related words or parts of your total keyword phrase, while still making sense for your page’s content under the header. As far as Google is concerned, the purpose of Headers is to declare emphasis and importance, and an H2 can definitely have a significant impact on your organic rankings.

8. Include Google Map Embeds On Pages When Appropriate

You can grab the code to make Google Map embeds, by simply going to https://www.google.com/maps/ and searching for a city or business entity. You can then click the “Share” button just above your address, and then click “Embed A Map”. Google will give you an HTML code to copy and you can paste it anywhere HTML code is accepted.

The most common form of a Google Map embed would be of your business entity, which I did above, however you can also do Google Map embeds of cities, counties, and states, which can often be a great tactic to include on “City Landing Pages”, which I break down on Tip #16.

Including Google Map embeds of your business entities or the city/county you are trying to rank a service or city-landing page for can be a great boost in search relevance and we have also seen it help with your local SEO rankings in Google Maps. If you have an especially wordy page, a Google Map embed can also help break up the copy a bit.

9. Make Pages Have Short, Keyword-Centric URLs

A quick explanation of domain versus a URL, your website domain ends after the .com, so https://seo-kansas-city.com/ is our domain, whereas the URL is the full web address string, like https://seo-kansas-city.com/services/. Once you pick a domain you are pretty much stuck with it, but internal page’s URLs can be easily updated & chosen per page.

When choosing a page’s URL (what comes after the .com/), always use “-” between words and don’t use “_” or any other forms of punctuation, this helps Google and other search engines easily read the URL to help determine what the page is about. Using “-” between words also helps the search engine read each individual word of the URL.

We also recommend writing short, keyword-centric URLs, like a local example of this local Kansas City company’s basement finishing page- https://jwbuildremodel.com/basement-finishing/, they also probably could’ve gotten away with https://jwbuildremodel.com/kansas-city-basement-finishing/ if they wanted. Either way, you don’t want a long, spammy URL like https://jwbuildremodel.com/best-local-basement-finishing-remodeling-serv.... This applies for essentially all internal pages, whether it is a service page, city landing page, product page or blog post.

More Information on How To Write URLs for The Best SEO Impact here- https://backlinko.com/hub/seo/urls.

10. Add 1-2 Relevant External Links Per Page On On Your Website
In addition to having at least a couple internal links within your page’s copy, I always recommend at least 1, if not a couple, external links (aka outbound links) to relevant and highly authoritative sources.

If you are willing to link to an external source for the benefit of giving your readers more information, you are doing them a service and as long as it is authoritative and relevant, Google will recognize that.

If possible, I do recommend having external links open in a new tab, so that they still stay on your site and don’t have to backtrack if they go down a rabbit hole. See 4 other best practices for using external (or outbound) links on your site below.

11. Have 300+ Words Of Copy & Images With Alt Text On Each Page

In 2016, Brian Dean of Backlinko published an article titled “We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO“. One of the key findings in the study was-

“Based on SERP data from SEMRush, we found that longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.“

While we strongly believe this study was related to content marketing websites, and not so much local business websites, it is still important to note that Google seems to reward detailed content. We put 300+ words as a starting point for most local businesses, however, depending on what the competition in your local area is doing, you may want to shoot for 500-1000 words of in-depth unique & relevant content.

In addition to having a bunch of words on your page, it is also important to break up the copy with images, video, infographics, or map embeds. When adding images on your website, always make sure to add a descriptive and unique “alt text” to each image. Alt Text should accurately describe an image and can also be a great opportunity for adding in your page’s target keyword when appropriate.

12. Include Your Local Business Address In The Footer Of The Website If Applicable

Even if you are a service-based business, it is beneficial to have an official business address, that is not a P.O. Box, featured somewhere on your website (footer and/or contact page are recommended), in your Schema code (more on that in #15), and used for online directories/business citations.

If you run your business out of your home, your home address is your business address. If you do not want to display your home address online for whatever reason, that is your priority, but you will be sacrificing quite a bit of citation opportunities and on-site SEO opportunities that could help your local rankings on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

If you have multiple locations, I recommend having a page for each office/location, as well as having an “Our Locations” page, which features each locations along with its corresponding phone number & address.

13. Conduct A Site Speed Audit & Get Your Website To Load Around 2-3 Seconds

There are quite a few tools out there to help you perform a site speed audit, my personal favorites are Google’s PageSpeed Insights and my more often used Pingdom. When looking at a site speed audit (example below), the goal should not be to have a website that loads in 0.25 seconds and has “A+ Ratings” on any and every speed tool out there. I recommend just making sure your website loads around the 2-3 second mark (if not faster). If you are seeing 4+ seconds, it may be good to look at some options to help speed it up.

If you are a WordPress user, check out the Smush WordPress Plugin to help optimize your image file sizes, usually the free version works fine. There are also multiple free caching plugins that could help speed your site up as well.

Quick Disclaimer: Minimizing image file sizes and editing your website’s CSS, Javascript code, etc can be a risky game. I recommend you work with a developer and always make sure your website has been recently backed up before implementing any Caching or Image Optimization Plugins.

14. Run A Broken Link Check & Fix Any Broken Links On Your Site

This is a more technical clean-up item, but broken links can usually be easily fixed. I would also argue that if you have a bunch of broken links throughout your website, users are eventually going to click them and get thrown on a 404 page, which definitely falls into the “bad user experience” realm you want your website to avoid.

I have tried multiple tools to run broken link audits, and my favorite by far is https://brokenlinkcheck.com/. It’s free and easy, you just have to give it a few minutes to run the audit (depending on how many pages your site is).

See an example of a broken link audit From Broken Link Check below-

15. Add Local Business Schema Into Your Website’s

So if you are not super familiar with Schema code, here is Neil Patel’s definition-

“Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users.” – Neil Patel from Boost Your SEO Using Schema Markup.

Here is an example template of what local business Schema can look like-

If raw HTML gives you the shivers and coding isn’t your thing, fret not, for there is a great, free & easy tool to use- Schema Markup Generator by SerpSpace. I use it for all of the Kansas City-based businesses I do local SEO for and it essentially writes the code for you and all you have to do is enter your (or your clients) business information to generate the Schema code.

Once you have the Schema code, definitely test it on Google’s structured data testing tool- https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/. If you have 0 errors, I recommend simply dropping the copied Schema code right above the closing tag on your website’s header (or have your web developer help).

16. Create “City-Landing Pages” For Different Cities You Want To Rank Online For

A simple, but effective strategy, especially for local, service-based businesses. As you know if you live in the Kansas City metro, it’s not just “Kansas City”, there is Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, Lee’s Summit, Shawnee, Belton, North KC, Leawood, Prairie Village, Blue Springs, Independence, MO and more. If you are a local Kansas City business who wants to potential rank for ” (your service) overland park” or other cities outside of just “Kansas City”, then City Landing Pages can be a great asset.

Here are some real-life local examples of City-Landing Pages-


When creating a City Landing Page, I always recommend referencing the one city you are targeting in the URL, H1 and Meta Title, as well as a couple of times within the copy. It can also be beneficial for search engine optimization efforts to add a Google Map embed of the city, external links to relevant, city-related resources, and 300+ words of unique copy per City Landing page as well.

17. Setup & Verify A Profile In Google Search Console And Submit Your Website’s Sitemap To Google

Google Search Console can be accessed at https://search.google.com/search-console and is a free platform by Google that is a great “sister system” to Google Analytics. While the popular and also free Google Analytics tracks how people interact with the website and who they are, Google Search Console tracks how your website performed showing on Google Organic Search, before a user lands on your website.

You can verify Google Search Console for your website fairly easily, especially if you have admin access to your Google Analytics. I recommend you set it up as soon as possible so that it can start collecting data, and also submit your Sitemap to Google, which you can do by clicking “Sitemap” once you are verified and logged into Google Search Console.

Here is an example of our sitemap- https://seo-kansas-city.com/sitemap_index.xml, which was automatically created by the Yoast plugin on WordPress. Often times your websites’ sitemap will just be “yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml” as well.

18. Track Your & Your Competitors Local Google Rankings Using SEMRush (Or A Similar SEO Tool)

Something that is key to working towards any goal, TRACKING! After doing keyword research and finding the keywords you want to target, I highly recommend using a professional keyword tracking tool like Moz Pro, Ahrefs or SEMrush. I also like a mobile app called “SEO Edge”, which I believe costs around $10-15 dollars per year, and allows unlimited keyword tracking.

These SEO software providers often allow you to do some things for free, or offer a free trial of some kind for you to test it out (like SEMrush’s 7 Day free trial), but to track your keyword rankings within them over time, you should invest in a paid version (often the lowest level of the paid versions is good enough, unless you are a marketing agency).

Try Analyzing Your Website or One of Your Ideal Keyword Targets on SEMrush below-

19. Claim, Fill-Out & Fully Optimize Your Google My Business Profile

No matter what kind of Kansas City business you have, if you are locally-based and serve people within the KC metro, you should set up a Google My Business and optimize it as much as possible.

If you are not familiar with Google My Business, it is essentially just the free platform that Google gives you in order to optimize your Google Maps listing, along with your reviews, business info, pictures, etc. They also give you the ability to create a free website that is simple to set up and usually looks something like this- https://seo-services-kc.business.site/.

If you already have set up and verified your Google My Business listing (which just requires Google to mail you a postcard with a PIN verification code on it), I encourage you to log back in and add anything and everything that you can. You can add additional categories, a business description, additional pictures, and even posts that can show on Google search results.

20. Build Citations For Your Business On Authoritative Online Business Directories

Often overlooked and undervalued, local citations can still be hugely beneficial when it comes to helping local SEO results. In addition to referral traffic, you also gain new links, company mentions, and opportunities to accurately list your business name, address, and phone number (or NAP info). This helps build your authority as a local business in Google’s eyes and adds to your online credibility as a local business as well. I definitely recommend starting with the most popular ones first; like Yelp, MerchantCircle, Yp.com Angieslist, the BBB, Manta, etc.

When filling out your business info on these online business directories, it’s important to fill out your listing as much as possible, add pictures, add a full business description, multiple categories (if applicable), and your social media profiles if you can. Doing this helps Google find and index your listings within their search index to give you “credit” for the online listing.

21. Conduct On-Going Link Building Research To Discover New Linking Opportunities

Link Building is such a big topic and one that we are barely even going to scratch the surface on here, but my biggest advice is don’t be afraid of it.

Also, once you have done the other 20 Local SEO Steps from this article, link building is something you are going to have to put some ongoing effort into in order to outrank your local competition over time, especially if you are trying to rank for “(your service)(your city)” as those are usually going to be competitive.

There is no shortage of info online when it comes to link building tactics, tips, and strategies, and I recommend you do some research on your own. I will advise staying away from any blatant “black hat SEO” strategies like PBNs, link wheels, paid links, or link exchanges, which can lead to Google penalties, both manual and algorithmic.

Below are some of my personal favorite link building guides & resources-

Chapter 6 of Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Backlinko’s Link Building For SEO
9 Easy Link Building Strategies by Ahrefs
Search Engine Journal’s Link Building in 2019

If all of those seem a little overwhelming, fret not! The simplest and one of my favorite strategies is to pick 2-3 of your competitors who are ranking highly for your target keywords, throw their website into a backlink analysis tool like Moz, Ahrefs or SEMrush, and then see what links they have that you can duplicate or pursue for your own business website.

Simple… Yet Effective, And A Great Place To Start Your Link Building Efforts.

We hope the above tips for improving your Local SEO efforts will help you in your quest for dominating Google, increasing your free & highly valuable organic traffic from search engines, and helping make your website a true long-term business asset. Godspeed fellow business owners!

Author's Bio: 

Owner of SEO Services KC- https://seo-kansas-city.com/
Founder at Piles of Pillows- https://www.pilesofpillows.com/