Is your business showing up when you search on Google?
In 2017 I started an SEO Agency called “The Guerrilla Agency.” Throughout (a little over) four years, I scaled the business to several million in ARR and sold it in 2022.
You can type in “Minneapolis SEO,” and we still show up number one in search results (see screenshot below). That term (and its synonyms) drove anywhere from 5-10 solid leads a week.
I thought it was only fitting that I write a step-by-step guide for local Small Business SEO.
If you’re already getting all the leads you need and aren’t interested in scaling or automating your inbound leads, this isn’t for you.
If not – let’s nerd out and dive in..
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that helps your business be more visible in local search results on Google.
The benefits are vast.
- Targeted Traffic: Local SEO drives targeted traffic from customers that aren’t familiar with your brand (the best kind)
- Reputation Increase: People love/trust Google. When your business appears at the top, it increases your brand’s reputation.
- Free Traffic: If you optimize your site yourself (or build a small in-house team), the traffic is free, AND you don’t have to pay for next month’s traffic.
- High ROI: Compared to PPC or Social, SEO offers the highest return on marketing spend at the lowest cost.
- More Local Reviews: Increasing your ranking in local search will also increase the number of reviews you get from customers.
SEO Step by Step Guide
Disclaimer – I’m making an assumption you already have a website.
Additional Disclaimer – I will be listing low to mid-cost services below. I’m not getting paid for my recommendations; these are all services I’ve used myself.
Step #1: Create a Google My Business Account (GMB)
Creating a Google My Business (GMB) account is a pivotal part of your local SEO strategy.
Having a GMB account allows your business to appear in local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find you.
To create an account, visit the Google My Business page and click the ‘Manage Now’ button. Follow the prompts, and make sure you fill out all the information regarding your business.
Here’s an example of ours at The Guerrilla.
Step #2: E-E-A-T
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, key factors that Google uses to determine the quality of content on a webpage.
While E-E-A-T is going to be baked into all these steps, we’re going to be focusing on T-Trustworthyness.
How does Google know your trustworthiness? It does what any machine does when it needs to know something–it looks for signals.
Signals like a physical address, a phone number, a domain email address, a meet the team page, an about us page, an author page, etc.
Here is the E-E-A-T checklist we use on every website. Download it and go step by step through each one.
Step #3: A Landing Page for Each Service
This one is the one I often see overlooked by small business owners—a landing page for each service you provide.
From here on out, we’ll just be calling them service pages.
Here is an example:
Say you’re a digital agency providing digital services (huh, why did I pick that one?)
You should have a digital marketing page, BUT you should also have more granular pages like SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing, etc.
In our case, we primarily provide SEO services, so we have pages for National SEO, eCommerce SEO, Law Firm SEO, Plumber SEO, Dentist SEO, etc.
I like this example because it shows how granular you can get with these pages. They are all essentially the same page but target different keywords businesses search for.
List all the services you provide (be as granular as possible).
For a home services company, it might be Roofing, Siding, Gutters, or Windows.
For a personal injury attorney, it might be personal injury, dog bites, car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, etc.
Step #4: Optimize Each Landing Page
We must have an optimization plan before you go off and write all the content.
For the sake of this blog post, we will be building off my SEO agency example.
When people search locally, they typically type in your services + the city you’re in.
- Minneapolis SEO
- Minneapolis Roofing
- Minneapolis Personal Injury Attorney
- Minneapolis Dog Sitter
If they type in “SEO” or “SEO Near Me,” our website shows up because we’re “targeting” each page for our city, Minneapolis.
Action Step: Write your first service page
Each service page should include
- A heading that matches your keyword
- Your unique selling points (why are you better than your competition)
- Why your service is needed in the first place
- What happens when you choose the wrong service
- Client testimonials
- Frequently asked questions about your service
- Several calls to action throughout the content
Here are the spots to add your keywords geo-targeted for your city.
- In the URL: Example – https://theguerrilla.agency/seo/minneapolis
- In the SEO Title: Example – Minneapolis SEO Services | Search Engine Optimization
- In the H1 Heading at the top: Example – Minneapolis SEO
- In the H2 Headings using Synonyms: Example – SEO Minneapolis
I use Ahrefs to find the best keywords, but you could also use SEMRush.
If you’re starting (and don’t have the budget), you could do some searches on Google and target what your competitors are targeting.
Step #7: Video First Content
With the rise of AI-driven content, I love owners willing to shoot videos.
You (Awesome): An expert talking on video about the services they provide
Your Competitors (Shitty): AI-driven content based on scraping other shitty content that another intern wrote at your competitor’s business.
Essentially, it involves putting a video on each landing page (and blog) of you, the owner talking about the topic.
This allows potential customers to put a face to your name, enabling them to get to know you before they buy your product or service.
And trust me, the benefits of video for SEO are too long to list in this post.
- Step 1: Get a camera (a nice iPhone will work)
- Step 2: Write a short script for each service page
- Step 3: Shoot the video
- Step 4: Post the video on top of each service page
- Step 5: Share the video on social
Here’s what most of our service pages look like.
Step #5: Take a NAP
Citation building is a key component of local SEO strategy, as it significantly boosts your online visibility and credibility.
When your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistently mentioned across various online platforms, it sends strong signals to Google about your legitimacy and relevance.
This helps Google trust that your business is legitimate, leading to improved local search rankings.
I use the Marketers Center. But you could use another provider to establish local listings throughout the internet (YEXT, etc.).
Step #6: Topical Authority (Blog)
At this point, you’ve got a beautifully optimized site with rich (video first) content on each landing page. Did you think you were done?
No way. Not even close. SEO is a long game that includes a TON of different things. The most important of which is consistent blogging.
Blogging builds topical authority with Google, and consistent blogging is essential for achieving this.
Regularly publishing high-quality, relevant content increases your site’s visibility to search engines, positioning you as a trusted source of information in your industry.
Let’s pretend that Google is looking at two websites.
- Website A: Has ten optimized service pages with no “helpful” content.
- Website B: Has ten optimized service pages with five hundred pages of optimized “helpful” blog posts about their niche
Google will rank Website B for ALL content (service pages and blog posts) because they have covered the topic in its entirety and (must be) the “expert” source of information.
Wrapping Things Up
This is not meant to be an ultimate guide to everything you should do regarding local SEO.
That being said, following the above steps will help you have a strong base that you can continue to build upon.
I guarantee you’ll be amazed at the results once you start to see SEO work.
Let us know if we missed anything in the comments below!