Three organic search opportunities for your local business

30-second summary:

Local marketing has become even a more trending topic following the pandemic-driven pandemic. Many local businesses that relied on local foot traffic were forced to turn to the Internet to get found by customers. That digital transformation brought this huge challenge to any local business – how to get found online.

local business

Step 1: Claim your business profile on Google My Business

Google offers huge organic search visibility to local businesses through the so-called Local 3 Pack that shows up on top of organic results when search intent reflects buying (or doing) something locally. Local Three Pack is Google’s search element that includes three relevant businesses from Google Maps results: Ranking your business in the Local 3 Pack is no easy task. It heavily relies on the proximity of those businesses to the customer’s current location. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your local rankings:

  • Ensure you have a detailed (and original) description of your business and what you do.
  • Add your website (often, Google would grab text from the associated website and rank a business based on that content). A few great plugins allow you to embed your local listing onto your website for better visibility.
  • Upload pictures and videos of your office and team
  • Add your products and services (Note: Services are not believed to have a huge (or any) impact on your local rankings, but why not add those anyway)
  • Your business categories. Keep those categories as relevant as you can, as they can harm your local rankings

Most importantly: Keep an eye on your Google reviews

Business reviews are known to be crucial for your provincial (and hence Local 3 Pack) rankings, so make sure to keep an eye on your reviews and reply to all of them. Note that Google may remove your review if they find you have been using manipulative or misleading tactics when getting those reviews, for example:

  • If that review is repeated across other business profiles on other sites (which, by the way, can be quite natural… I’ll be the one to admit that I may leave my favorite business the same review on a few platforms I am registered at. But again, I think we are talking about suspicious patterns here rather than one-on-one cases)
  • If you had a massive influx of reviews overnight
  • If Google suspects that you and your team are reviewing your business pretending to be clients.

While you may notice your competitors implement these manipulative tactics without no negative impact on their rankings, I’d still suggest avoiding these at all costs. You can invite your customers to review your business on Google through a short URL specific to your local business (and even note that on your business card). But you cannot request positive (five-star) reviews or segment your customer base only to invite happy customers to review you. If you have a budget, investing in google maps and ads are also a great idea. This could bring in more customers and reviews.

Step 2: Claim your business profile everywhere else

Yelp marketing is tricky, but if you start getting reviews there, you can display those reviews on your site to boost conversions. While claiming your business is generally a good idea to get better control over your branded content, it also gives you additional organic exposure because those listings may rank in organic search results and bring additional exposure. Hence, your next step is identifying important local directories (like Trip Advisor and Yelp)and claiming your business everywhere. Just about any local business out there will need to ensure a strong Yelp presence, for example, so that one will always be on top of your list. Here’s a huge list of those you can consider.

When putting your business on maps…

  • Ensure your business name and address are consistent across all channels, including the phone number format.
  • Complete all available fields and use all available characters! More content generally means higher rankings for your listings!
  • Monitor your listings for reviews, add updates, and ensure your info is up-to-date!

Step 3: Develop a hyperlocal content strategy

Similar to how foot traffic works for a local business (passers-by may check a store out of curiosity), a well-planned content marketing strategy can drive customers who never intended to buy anything or didn’t know they needed you.

Here are a few ideas for hyperlocal content:

  • Ideas for local vacations and where your business can be of help
  • Local events and how your brand participates
  • Local partnerships like local charities

Take note of local People Also Ask results because those are great sources of hyperlocal content.

Generally, answering local questions is a great idea!

Look at this search query: “How far is Central Park from Times Square.”

People searching for this may not necessarily be looking to buy anything, but there are still some opportunities here, as your content may give them ideas on where to dine or stay. The beauty of hyperlocal content marketing is that your clients don’t have to be in the area to find your content: They may be planning a trip to your site and discovering your business before going. This is something local maps placement won’t be able to help with. Semantic search is another good way to come up with hyperlocal content ideas because it will help you identify location-based keywords that can generate organic traffic.


Organic search provides quite a few opportunities for local businesses to generate traffic and get found by customers. Keep an eye on your local listings and create hyperlocal content to generate relevant traffic for your local business. Good luck! Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty. Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more. Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Tyson Houlding
I’m a lifestyle blogger with a passion for writing, photography, and exploring new places. I started this blog when I was 18 years old to share what I was learning about the world with family and friends. I’ve since grown into a freelance writer, blogger, and photographer with a growing audience. I hope you find inspiration and motivation while reading through my work!