Think about it. If you need to order an incredible cake for your child’s birthday, where do you search for the best bakery? The internet. When you want to find an affordable and reliable auto repair service, where do you look first? The internet. Local SEO is about optimizing your business for an audience in a specific geographic area so that they find your product or service. It’s also one of the few battlegrounds where small businesses can gain the upper-hand on the big dogs in the industry. What is Local SEO? If your business has a physical location, like a shop or an office, local SEO makes sure people find you in real life. But even if you don’t have an open shop or office, local SEO helps you target specific buyers by geographic location. Unlike social media marketing, paid search, or display ads, local SEO is not a pay-to-play arena, which puts you on level ground with all of your competitors. So how does it work? Here's how Google determines local ranking on search pages: Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that's farther away from your location is more likely to have what you're looking for than a business that's closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results. How to Improve Your Local Rankings Improving your local SEO needs to be a long-term strategy, but you should start building your local digital presence sooner rather than later. You can start by completing your Google My Business account. Next, be sure to accurately fill out all of the information on your social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). You should also create profiles on local-search services such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and Yellow Pages. Then you can start collecting reviews on Facebook, Google, and other local-search services while optimizing your website content (about page, blog post titles, title tags). SEO is Always a Long Game No, you’re not going to see overnight success from any of these tactics. You likely won’t see the fruits of your labors for months, but the reward is worth the effort. Imagine in the future when someone lifts their phone and says, “Hey Siri, find me the best coffee nearby,” and your cafe appears above Starbucks. That’s not a pipe dream either—that’s the real power of local SEO. Start playing on the digital battlefield where size doesn’t matter.