In our fast-paced, digital world, few things help small businesses the way a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can.

Search engines keep getting smarter, but that doesn't mean SEO is no longer necessary. Your business will lose out to competitors if you're not working to keep it in the public eye.

Although all SEO hinges on great content and a responsive website, local SEO has its own practices and requirements that influence how you rank locally. There are literally hundreds of local SEO ranking factors to consider, but what I've detailed here are five of the most important.

1. Create a targeted landing page for each location

Creating a unique page for each city you service is the best way to earn organic rankings in different locales. Each page should be strategically thought out to appeal to your target city, and it should include the following:

  • Your business's name, address, and phone number (NAP)
  • Your products/services
  • A unique URL and page title
  • A map/directions to your business's brick-and-mortar location
  • Store hours
  • A business email address and/or contact forms
  • Social media buttons
  • Unique meta descriptions/meta tags that include location keywords

What you should never do is copy and paste the same landing page 50 times and merely swap out the city names. Doing that is a sure-fire way to earn yourself a duplicate-content penalty.

A lot of SEO-friendly Web design best-practices also apply to landing page optimization:

  • Your pages should be responsive, especially for mobile users.
  • Your copy should be clear and compelling.
  • Navigation should be seamless and intuitive.
  • Your descriptions should include relevant keywords that will help your search engine ranking.

2. Optimize your local listings and keep citations consistent

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image of Aleh Barysevich

Aleh Barysevich is the founder and chief marketing officer of the companies behind SEO PowerSuite, professional software for full-cycle SEO campaigns, and Awario, a social media monitoring app. He is a seasoned SEO and social media expert and speaker at major industry conferences, including SMX London, BrightonSEO, and SMX East.

LinkedIn: Aleh Barysevich