There are endless posts and tutorials about best practices for Local SEO, and while they are useful, they will not guarantee a Page One listing (UGH!).

Why? There is only room for a handful of listings on Page One. If your client is in a competitive niche, Local SEO is difficult.

It’s time to do something that all great marketers do – get creative! Use this step-by-step guide to dive deeper into the possibilities for Local SEO success.

1. Use Buyer Personas to Discover Related Searches

When someone does a search for a local business, Page One results often deliver neighborhood or community websites. As a marketer, you can use these results to get creative with Local SEO.

For example, if you are a marketer for a carpet cleaning business, you can use related search results to boost your visibility in local results.

For example, take a buyer persona for a carpet cleaning business:

  • Homeowner
  • Age 30 – 50
  • Female
  • Annual household income $70K+
  • Location – Suburban
  • Goals – Juggle roles of motherhood, wife, job
  • Challenges – Lack of time to do everything, struggles to hold it all together

If you step back and look at that persona, it’s easy to make a list of related searches:

  • Restaurants and Entertainment
  • Home decor
  • Meal services or grocery delivery
  • Pet care

Now that you have a list of related searches, move forward with your creative Local SEO research.

2. Perform "Related Searches" on a Mobile Device

Local and mobile go together like peas and carrots. If you’re researching Local SEO, get off of the laptop or desktop, and pick up the phone or the tablet.

Let’s perform a search for items related to the list above:

Search query #1: kids eat free schaumburg

Bingo! A list of community websites.

How To Find Local Directory Targets

How To Find Local Directory Targets


Evaluate each listing in terms of relevance, domain authority and followed links. There you have it: provides a relevant directory with followed links.

Search query #2 : window cleaning wicker park

local search results

local search results


Page one is filled with Yelp, Angies List, and Yellow Pages. Keep digging.

Another great target for links

Another great target for links


Bingo again! with a rocking domain authority, and ads have their own listing page with followed links.

Using buyer personas and related searches to improve visibility in Local Search is a creative, thorough SEO tactic.

While our clients tend to think of success in terms rankings and page one placements, we know the real value in SEO comes from driving new visitors to a website.

Scoring referral traffic from a high-value local site can be just as valuable as Page One results.

3. Search Operators and Advanced Search

Remember those old-fashioned "search operators" from way back when? Guess what: they’ve been upgraded to Advanced Search, and it’s available on your mobile device. You can use search operators and Advanced Search to find relevant blogs that accept guest posts.

Search query all these words: submit

Search query exact word or phrase: chicagoland

google advanced search

google advanced search


Do you see another goldmine?

Listings such as GoChicagoland and Homeology Chicago appear. These listings require vetting for SEO value.

local directory opportunities

local directory opportunities


If the site has low domain authority or does not have a professional layout, do your homework. Consider a no-follow link if the site has the potential for referral traffic.

4. Location Pages for Local Nicknames

As marketers, we tend to rely on data. A data mindset often rules out the obvious, especially when it comes to local searches.

For example, if our client is located in the Chicago area, we’ll create landing pages for Cicero, Blue Island, Downers Grove, etc., but we don’t create anything for Chicagoland, North Center, West Ridge, Forest Glen, West Town, etc. Search volume on these terms may show no value to a marketer, but if your client can identify local nicknames that everyone uses, they’re worth pursuing.

Local search is valuable not only for traffic; local search also has an incredibly high conversion rate. Conversely, high search volume does not translate to high conversion rates, especially when it comes to local search.

5. Don’t Forget Social News & Events

Does your client’s business relate to community events or news? Social community pages have very valuable audiences, and creating content that gets shared on these channels can send highly targeted prospects right to your client’s website.

Local Meetup Pages

Local Meetup Pages


Local MeetUp groups also fall into this category. Use the Buyer Persona information to identify key MeetUp groups, and set your client’s website up as a sponsor. Not only does that link provide SEO value, but the potential for referral traffic is incredible.

6. Resources

Last but not least, create a robust resources section on a client’s website that will capture attention from potential leads.

For example, a resources section for a residential carpet cleaning business may include a resources page dedicated to residential cleaning services, lawn maintenance, home organizing services and more. Use the buyer persona and related searches information to help you make a list of resources, measure each category against keyword search volume and proceed.

Remember, search engines deliver results to the searcher in an effort to display the best responses to the search query. By incorporating these six recommendations into the standard Local SEO checklist, you are creating value beyond ranking. If there is an uptick in website visitors and conversions from referring websites, then SEO is a success, regardless of rankings.

Don’t settle for a flimsy checklist for Local SEO. Leads are too valuable, and investing a little more time and effort will yield significant rewards.