You’ve studied up on the most effective digital marketing strategies, you’ve created an awesome logo for your brand, and you’ve even built a little bit of a following on social media.

But for some reason, your business’ website just isn’t getting the number of hits you know you deserve. As a result, you weren’t able to finish out the year as strongly as you’d hoped.

So, what are you doing wrong?

Likely, you’re forgetting all about the importance of local SEO.

But what does it take to create a dynamic and effective local SEO strategy? Read and follow this local SEO checklist to find out.

1. Claim Your Google My Business Page

We’ll keep our first tip short and sweet:

Claim your Google My Business listing, and fill it out as completely as possible. Hire a photographer to take professional, beautiful photos of your products, storefront, and even team members.

Always list the forms of payment you accept, your hours of operation, and your contact information.

This is the foundation of your entire local SEO strategy. Without it, you’ll be left in the dust. So, go claim your listing, then come back and finish this article.

2. Don’t Forget About Google Maps, Either

No, Google Maps isn’t just important when it comes to giving your target market easy-to-follow directions about how to get to your business (though of course, that helps, too.)

If you place a Google Map on your website’s contact information page, you’ll be much more likely to end up on the first page of local search engine results.

Plus, if your soon-to-be-customer is already in the car or on the go, they can have Google Maps guide them directly to your place of businesses.

How’s that for convenient?

Don’t have a brick-and-mortar store? If you’re exclusively an e-commerce business, we suggest adding a Google Maps listing of your service area, or even your factory or office park. This will help to bump you up in the rankings, especially when it comes to the markets in these locations.

3. Beef Up Your Online Reviews/Testimonials

Here’s a shocking statistic: more than 84% of Internet users trust digital reviews as much (if not more) than personal recommendations from their friends and family.

The takeaway here?

If you’re not putting customer testimonials on your local SEO checklist, you’re already behind your competition.

Get in touch with your best clients and favorite customers and ask them to write a review about your business. If needed, you could enter everyone who writes you a review into a raffle to win a percentage off their next order or purchase.

Your local market will rely on reviews “from the neighbors” and other people in their communities to help them make a decision. They want to go with the option that locals trust.

Make sure to show them that’s you.

4. Concentrate On Location-Based Keywords

The next entry on our local SEO checklist is a simple one. By now, you’ve likely heard all about the importance of keywords, or the phrases people type into Google when they’re looking for something specific.

What you’re likely to have overlooked?

Location-based keywords, which can help to increase your local conversions. To show up in more local results, revise bland, generalized keywords like “fireplace installation” to “top fireplace installation Omaha NE.”

5. Submit To Local Digital Business Directories

Claiming your Google My Business, Angie’s List, and Yelp pages are certainly important.

However, an often overlooked item on your local SEO checklist?

Submitting your website to local digital directories. Think of these as the updated version of an old-school phonebook. Now, when people in your service area need what you have to offer, they can simply click on your service category in the neighborhood digital directory.

Especially if you’ve taken the time to collect testimonials and reviews, you should have no trouble winning these people over.

6. Check For Inconsistencies

Another crucial entry on our local SEO checklist?

Constantly checking for inconsistencies in your contact information, or NAP.

Especially if you have multiple locations, it’s incredibly easy to accidentally switch up some of your branch phone numbers. You’d also be surprised by the number of people who forget to update their office address after a move.

This isn’t just unprofessional.

If left unchanged for too long, you won’t just lose business — you’ll also plummet in the search engine rankings.

7. Became A Digital Voice In Your Community

The final entry on our local SEO checklist?

It’s time that you started a blog about your business. Blogging isn’t just a great way to prove your authority about your subject. It also tells Google and other search engines that you update your website often.

As you may have guessed, websites that are updated frequently land higher when it comes to overall search engine rankings. This matters because 3/4 of Internet users never bother to go beyond the first page of those search results.

However, blogging will also help you to connect with your local community — both potential customers and other businesses in the area. Get active in the comments section of your own blog, and of the blogs of other local businesses.

You might be surprised at how quickly you’ll become a voice in your industry and community both online and in person. Plus, blogging seriously increases your brand recognition.

This means that if people ever have a need for the goods/services your company provides, they’ll know exactly where to go to look for it.

You’ve Completed This Local SEO Checklist: What’s Next?

Now that you’ve studied up on all the most important items that belong on your local SEO checklist, it’s time to set up a monitoring system for your website/blog.

That’s where our SEO Booster Pro plugin comes in.

Our plugin will help to figure out which sites in your area are linking to you, will help to alert you about errors and missing pages on your site, will keep you posted about your most effective keywords, and much more.

Need additional SEO advice? Looking for a way to upgrade your social media strategy for the new year?

Our blog has got you covered. It’s jam-packed with tips relating to all things digital marketing and will ensure that you always have access to the latest information.