Local Search Hacks You Probably Haven’t Seen Before

<br /> Local Search Hacks You Probably Haven’t Seen Before – Whitespark

Local search has seen an explosion of change over the last year. Tactics that used to work like gangbusters are now just table stakes. Darren shows you bleeding edge local search tips and tactics that you can implement immediately to boost your local search rankings.

The main tips and tactics from Darren’s SearchLove San Diego presentation are included below the slides. For the full experience with animated gifs, download the PowerPoint file or click here for the full PDF version.

The 6 Areas of Local Search

There are six main areas of local search based on Local Search Ranking Factors where you need to focus your main efforts and that will have the biggest impact:

  1. Google My Business
  2. Citations
  3. Website
  4. Links
  5. Reviews
  6. Behavioral

Here are some simple hacks you can complete to elevate your rankings in these core areas.

Hacking Google My Business

Find Competitors Categories
You can add multiple categories in your GMB listing, but you will only be able to see your Primary Category on your listing.

Find out what categories your top competitors are using by:

  • Going to their maps listing,
  • Right-click and view source,
  • Ctrl-F for and search for the primary category (enter the category name that is listed on their GMB listing).

(Hat tip to Joy Hawkins for this tip. It comes from her amazing guide, The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO)

Remove Spammers, Rank Higher
These spammers are the worst:

Take spammers down:

  • Go to their website and confirm their actual business names,
  • Find their listing in Google My Business,
  • Suggest an edit (if you’re a Local Guide your edit may get approved quicker)

Oh Snap – who’s laughing now?


Citation Consistency Shortcut
If you have multiple phone numbers across different important citation sources, this can have a negative impact on your local search campaigns and create bad data and information in the Local Search Ecosystem.

Update your GMB listing to include the additional phone numbers for a quick fix to citation inconsistency issues.

Get Your Citations Indexed
Many of your citations will not be indexed in Search Engines, with a little SQL injection to the index you can fix this.

  • Create a page on your website with links to the citation URL’s

  • Internally link to it,
  • Then submit it for indexing through Google Search Console
  • Once the fetch is done, request indexing

Hacking the Website

Get Stars in the Organic Results
Those glorious golden stars in search results help increase your click-through-rates, add micro-data/schema markup to your site pages. Click here for instructions on how to implement them on your site.

Before you go crazy trying to get all the rich snippets, here are a few rules/tips to making sure you do it right:

  • Doesn’t work on the homepage
  • Must be original content (no copying reviews)
  • The page must have page authority of ~25 or higher
  • Internally link with “reviews”/“testimonials” in anchor
  • Get external links to the page

Consolidate Your Content
Don’t be like the hundreds of other businesses in your city that have 1 page with a little bit of content, that no one reads, set yourself apart and have the best page in the city on the topic. Here’s an example of a business doing content right.

You can take this even further by consolidating your content from your blog to your service landing page an d 301 redirecting it. Now you have an even better service page, that is more informative, and ideally more helpful.

Hacking Local Links

In local SEO it’s truly amazing the impact just a few links can have.

Sponsorship’s are quick and easy links in your city that help you and other organizations that are important to your community. It’s a win-win.

  • One Search to rule them all – intitle:sponsors “Your City”,
  • Add &num=100 to the query,
  • Export to CSV with the Moz Bar,
  • Review results and find the best opportunity for your business.

Hacking Reviews

Get Your Keywords in Reviews
Reviews are not only critical to helping your rankings, but they are a must for reputation management. Take your review asking strategy to new levels, by simply adding more details to your request!

(If you want to learn more about keywords in reviews check out this episode of the Whitespark Weekly).

Ask For Yelp Reviews Without Asking
Yelp has a strict “don’t ask for reviews” policy. But you can create a check-in offer and get Yelp to do the asking for you (insert maniacal laugh here).

Incentivize Reviews The Safe Way
Offer incentives for Google reviews and they might all get removed. Do it the right way by creating incentives for your EMPLOYEES, not customers.

Rob Ousbey

Hacking Engagement
The future of local SEO is Entity Authority – David Mihm breaks it down for in his article on the Difference Making Local Ranking Factor. How can we impact engagement metrics?

Clicks from Search Results

  • Optimize titles and descriptions for clicks

  • Get the stars, get the clicks.
  • Emoji’s in your GMB business name (Guidelines violation – use at your own risk!).
  • Write a compelling GMB description (coming soon).

Clicks to Calls

  • Tons of glowing reviews = more calls.
  • Responding to reviews shows you care = more calls.
  • Have compelling photos and videos of your work on GMB

Driving Directions

  • Link to this on contact page, email sig, footer, etc.

Branded Searches

  • Link your email signature to a brand search.

  • Link to a brand search in your newsletters.
  • Sneaky: add a link to brand search in high traffic content.
  • Billboard to drive brand searches!
  • Ask people to Google your brand in TV or radio ads.


Darren Shaw

Darren Shaw founded Whitespark in 2005. The company specialized in web design and development, however, Darren’s passion and curiosity for all things local search led Whitespark to focus primarily on local SEO in 2010 with the launch of the Local Citation Finder, followed by the Local Rank Tracker.

Follow Me on Twitter

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