As we kick off 2024, the evolving dynamics of local SEO continue to present new challenges and opportunities for businesses trying to stay ahead in their local packs.
Whether you're a local SEO professional, a digital marketer, a business owner, or anything in between, staying on top of local SEO trends and continuing to apply local SEO best practices in 2024 is a major key to success.
So, without further ado, here are some of the top best practices for local search engine optimization to learn and master — implement them starting now to boost your local rankings this year!
Our Top Best Practices for Doing Local SEO in 2024
1. Optimize Google Business Profile (GBP)
In 2024, Google Business Profile continues to be a cornerstone of local SEO, increasing online visibility in local searches and allowing businesses to connect with more potential customers in their local area.
To optimize Google Business Profile listings in 2024, businesses should focus on providing comprehensive and accurate information. This includes updating business hours and contact information and including a detailed business description.
For multi-location businesses, now is a good time to conduct a GBP audit and ensure each location has up-to-date information.
Regularly posting engaging content, responding to customer reviews promptly, and leveraging newer GBP features, such as posts and Q&A, can also enhance visibility in local search results.
2. Optimize for Voice Search
With the increasing prevalence of voice search, via AI-powered voice assistant tools like Siri, Alexa, and others, optimizing for voice search is no longer optional — all businesses should tailor their content to align with conversational queries and long-tail keywords.
For example, the use of natural language, or phrases that people would say in a voice query, in content can help search engines better understand and rank your content for voice searches, giving your business an edge in the local market.
3. Optimize for Mobile
The fact that mobile searches continue to dominate the local search market shouldn't be news to you, and therefore mobile optimization should remain a top priority for your local SEO efforts in 2024.
To optimize for local mobile search, ensure that your website is not only mobile-friendly, but also provides an excellent user experience.
Fast-loading pages, responsive design, and easy navigation contribute to a positive mobile user experience, ultimately influencing your local search rankings on Google and other search engine results pages (SERPs).
4. Conduct Local Keyword Research
Understanding your unique local search market is crucial for effective local SEO, and conducting local keyword research is the foundation for gaining such an understanding.
Conduct thorough local keyword research to identify the terms and phrases your target audience is actually using to find products or services similar to yours in your local area.
Incorporate these keywords strategically throughout your website and business listing content, including in meta tags, listing categories, business descriptions, review responses, blog posts, and landing pages, to improve your chances of ranking higher in local search results.
5. Implement Localized Content Marketing
Creating localized, or locally relevant, content is a powerful strategy to connect with your local audience, as well as appeal to the local search algorithms.
Aim to develop content that not only speaks to the specific needs and interests of your target audience, but also provides opportunities to incorporate those local keywords we mentioned above.
6. Pay Attention To Online Reviews and Reputation Management
Online reviews continue to play a pivotal role in influencing consumer decisions, and search engines like reviews and factor them into their rankings.
Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on platforms such as Google, Yelp, and industry-specific review sites. Consistent positive reviews contribute to building a strong online reputation, a key factor in local search rankings.
Additionally, responding to both positive and negative reviews in a timely and professional manner demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and can increase relevance in local search results.
7. Engage on Social Media
While social media is not a direct ranking factor that Google looks at, other search engines, like Bing, do look at social signals, such as likes, shares, and comments, when determining local search rankings.
Direct ranking factors aside, social media plays a role in local SEO by enhancing your online visibility and engagement, which can indirectly contribute to your online authority and positively impact local search rankings. For example, content you promote via social media has a better chance of getting shared and generating backlinks, which do directly affect rankings.
Additionally, social media profiles themselves can also rank for local keywords, providing another opportunity for people to come across your business online.
So, maintain an active presence on social media platforms relevant to your audience and industry to take advantage of all the potential benefits. Share local events and promotions, engage with users in the comments section, and share your content to get an extra local SEO boost.
8. Take Advantage of AI Integration
As search engines and their algorithms continue to evolve faster than ever, incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) tools into your local SEO strategy has become essential to staying on top of optimizations.
These technologies, such as Local Falcon's Falcon AI tool, can analyze rankings and provide actionable insights that help refine your SEO approach — all in a fraction of the time it takes a human to do these things.
9. Focus on Hyperlocal Targeting
Refine your local SEO strategy by focusing on hyperlocal targeting. This involves tailoring your optimizations to specific neighborhoods or even down to street-level commercial district targeting.
Utilize geo-targeted keywords, create location-specific landing pages, and leverage local events or partnerships to strengthen your connection with the community and outrank competitors in hyperlocal areas.
Such hyperlocal targeting enhances your relevance in local search results, especially for users conducting searches with explicit hyperlocal intent (like "near me" type searches).
10. Start Optimizing Your Apple Business Connect Listing
At the beginning of 2023 Apple launched Apple Business Connect, the company's version of Google Business Profile, allowing users to claim and optimize business listings on Apple Maps.
Although Google and Google Maps still dominate the local search market, statistics show that more iOS users are going back to or sticking with Apple Maps for their local searches, both non-navigational and navigational searches (including those for nearby businesses).
Because of this, Apple Business Connect is sure to become more relevant over the coming year and optimizing for Apple Maps should be part of any comprehensive local SEO strategy in 2024.
11. Test for Open Hours as a Ranking Factor
After one of Google's big core algorithm updates back in November 2023, the search giant confirmed that "openness," or whether or not a business is currently open at the time a user conducts a non-navigational search, is now a stronger ranking factor.
This provides an opportunity to run local rank tracking scans both during and outside of business hours to see how exactly open hours are affecting a business's rankings during those times and help you make optimizations accordingly.
In 2024, local SEO remains an indispensable subset of organic SEO for businesses looking to stand out among the local competition in their communities.
Staying abreast of the latest trends and implementing these best practices can make a significant difference in your local search rankings.
Local Falcon is a powerful, AI-integrated local rank tracker that can help you analyze your SERP positions and make valuable, cost-effective optimizations to outrank vulnerable competitors in the local market.
Try Local Falcon today to help you effectively implement some of the local SEO best practices outlined above for your GBP and other online business listings!