Local SEO is an important part of any modern digital strategy. For large and small companies alike, neglecting local SEO can mean losing out on customers.

In fact, research by Google has found that 50% of people who do a local search on mobile visit a store within 24 hours. What’s more, local search results are booming with a more than 500% increase of “near me” searches that include a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy”.

However, many companies neglect to focus on local SEO. Our experts from across Europe give their top tips based on experience in their locations explaining how you can boost your local SEO with a few small changes.


Tobias Hyldeborg

SEO and Webanalytics specialist at Quisma Denmark (part of GroupM)


What are your top tips for local SEO in your country/city/area?

If you’re a service company, you should create pages for every single city that you’re active in. If you offer your services nationwide, it is a big project, but it’s possible to prioritise cities by search volume, business importance and SEO competition. This should mean you’re able to create results pretty fast.

This technique won’t help you much in the Local Pack, but will definitely help you in the normal, organic results - just below the Local Pack. Many businesses, at least in the Nordics, have auto generated pages for this purpose, so by just adding a few hundred words, it’s possible to get great results.

Remember to give these pages some love! Even though the pages are mainly built for an SEO purpose, you’ll need to promote them on your site, mainly by creating internal links to them. A great way to do this is by linking to all of them from your ‘Contact’ or ‘Locations’ pages, and then link to nearby cities on specific pages.

What tactics have you found to be less effective in your country/city/area compared to the general recommendations for local SEO?

Simply following Google’s guidelines on Google My Business company names. It is possible to gain visibility on generic searches without adding keywords to your company name, but you will see results much faster with just one keyword.

I have yet to see any company being punished by using keywords in their company name, at least in the Nordics. Don’t overuse it, but a single keyword behind your real company name can help you succeed in the Local Pack.

What are the best examples of local businesses in your country/city/area that are doing really well in the Local Pack/Finder results?

I always think it’s interesting to see how companies that you wouldn’t necessarily describe as local, still embrace local SEO. Interflora in Denmark is a really good example. They’ll never be able to enter a local pack, but by creating local pages they match both the searcher’s intent of sending flowers and contacting a local florist in the area.

If you compare this to how other websites match a consumer with a local business, such as a website that allows users to order fast-food, they typically only serve the intent of getting the product delivered and don’t show the address and phone number of businesses.

Of course this is what the company is most interested in, but we can see that behavior is gaining importance in SEO. By ‘forcing’ intent on the user, rather than presenting all options, you could risk a competitor that seeks to instead match the intent of the user slowly taking over your higher position.

Tobias Hyldeborg is a SEO & Webanalytics Specialist at the Digital Marketing Agency, Quisma, in Denmark. He also writes about SEO, Webanalytics and Online Marketing on his own blog and has recently published an article on the best local citation sites in Denmark.

Matthew Kay

Head of Operations at Aira

What are your top tips for local SEO in your country/city/area?

It’s difficult to control some of the factors commonly associated with local SEO such as reviews and the proximity of your business to the searcher - so my top tip would be to focus on what you can control. Sure you can ask for reviews, and do some outreach to try and build some links. While this should form part of your strategy these tactics rely on others doing things for you. That leaves other areas you can control to get the best chance of appearing in the SERPs.

Ensuring the ‘hygiene’ factors like having the name of the city or town you are trying to target in the page copy, meta title, heading tags, etc is a must, but it’s also important to ensure that you’ve optimised your Google My Business (GMB) pages as much as you can.

The crucial element of GMB optimisation is categorisation - if you don’t select the right categories you can pretty much forget about appearing for your target phrases. Get those GMB pages verified and make sure you’re adding details like: company description, opening hours, photos, services, etc. It all makes a difference so take time to add as much information as you can.

What falls into this bracket of what you can control is authoritative, accurate citations. We categorise citations into two buckets - generic and niche.

Generic citations are often more authoritative - sites like Yelp are a great example of the generic citations that can give you more authority than niche directories. Niche citations are focused on either a geographical region or a particular topic/subject matter. Examples of these would include business directories that focus on a particular area like a city, or an industry like construction or recruitment.

Citations are a great way to build a steady flow of links to your site with reasonably little effort. If you don’t have the resources to do it yourself, I’ve found Whitespark's citation building service extremely valuable, and at a few dollars per citation it doesn’t break the bank. Whatever route you choose, make sure that the name of your business, address and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all directories. This applies to Google My Business and beyond, otherwise you risk issues with Google ranking your site in mapped listings!

What tactics have you found to be less effective in your country/city/area compared to the general recommendations for local SEO?

I think social falls down badly here - I’ve rarely seen examples in local SEO of social media being overly beneficial for rankings outside of making sure you’ve got good reviews on some other platforms like Facebook - and even that isn’t a direct correlation with ranking. It’s more likely to be the impact of someone seeing the review, visiting the restaurant and then promoting it via their own review or through referrals.

For reviews, I’ve seen mixed results. I think reviews are hugely important beyond the actual SEO impact. For some clients we’ve made an effort to get more reviews and for certain key terms and phrases it hasn’t made any difference at all. In some cases competitors have no reviews yet we’re still being outranked by them - even when our reviews are into double-digits. It’s something I’d like to test more but there are so many variables that it’s difficult to know how much of an impact reviews are actually having.

Generally though, most best-practice advice for local SEO has been pretty sound!

What are the best examples of local businesses in your country/city/area that are doing really well in the Local Pack/Finder results?

I’m biased of course, but our client Just Tyres have had two of their best months ever in terms of revenue on their website in the last three months! We have a steady drumbeat of links being built to their site using citations. They are at a slight advantage in that they have nearly 40 local stores, so for every generic citation - i.e. a citation that isn’t focused on a geographical region - we can build more. This is more difficult for a business with only three or four locations.

Matthew Kay is the Head of Operations at Aira, a digital marketing agency based in Milton Keynes, UK

Luke Fitzgerald

Head of SEO at Wolfgang Digital

Gustavo Pelogia

SEO Specialist at Wolfgang Digital

What are your top tips for local SEO in your country/city/area?

This is pretty rudimentary, but we still find a lot of local businesses forgetting the basics here in Dublin, Ireland. Many large brick-and-mortar retailers ignore simple housekeeping tasks such as adjusting opening hours and a surprising amount - over 20%, by our last count - haven’t claimed their own Google My Business profiles. Even if you're not familiar with SEO, this is something that’s pretty straightforward which most local business can relate to.

Since some business don't care that much about maintaining their GMB presence, we've seen examples where just one review has put a company’s website into the local pack for relevant searches, on the same day. It's rare nowadays to see a case where SEO can make such a quick impact but we've tested many angles and seen businesses jump straight into the local pack, and stay there, on the same day with minimal effort and a little TLC.

What tactics have you found to be less effective in your country/city/area compared to the general recommendations for local SEO?

This is not something that’s necessarily ‘less effective’, but probably because Ireland is relatively small, and none of the major Local SEO aggregator tools such as Yext, Whitespark or MozLocal have penetrated the market here with a decent offering, there's much less spam on Google My Business here compared to the USA or UK.

These cases where a ‘business name’ contains all possible keywords is not something we really encounter too often here, thankfully!

What are the best examples of local businesses in your country/city/area that are doing really well in the Local Pack/Finder results?

We're proud to work with Maldron Hotels, a major international hotel group that truly understands the value a local-minded SEO strategy can bring to a diverse search marketing strategy. For one of their locations, there are members of different teams taking time to reply to positive and negative reviews, and we can see this proactive approach paying off. Any new innovations or features that come onto the ever-evolving GMB landscape, we rollout as soon as possible, for example, the check-in and check-out times that were recently released within GMB but aren’t available to the public yet.

A business that we have no relationship with but does really great work on local is the Epic Immigration Museum here in Dublin. Google Posts haven't quite gained full traction here, but the marketers running the account at Epic seem to fully embrace everything available on GMB such as videos, posts, business description and events (using data from Facebook), which is great to see.

Luke Fitzgerald is Head of SEO, and Gustavo Pelogia is an SEO specialist at Wolfgang Digital, a digital marketing agency based in Dublin, Ireland.

Rasmus Himmelstrup Jørgensen

Group Director of SEO, CRO and Analytics at Resolution Media

What are your top tips for local SEO in your country/city/area?

Don’t underestimate the power of local search! The value you can get from local searches is huge and very few companies have a focus here. Building reviews for optimisation purposes are probably the most overlooked feature, alongside GMB Q&As.

Also look beyond GMB – there is so much more to local optimisation than focusing entirely on this.

What tactics have you found to be less effective in your country/city/area compared to the general recommendations for local SEO?

Citation building doesn’t seem to have the same effect it once did, although it is still valuable.

What are the best examples of local businesses in your country/city/area that are doing really well in the Local Pack/Finder results?

There is a fierce war going on in the take-away business. Many competitors are fighting for the same listings and a lot of tricks are being used to obtain the best possible result.

Rasmus Himmelstrup Jørgensen is Group Director of SEO, CRO and Analytics at Resolution Media, an online marketing company located in Denmark

Suganthan Mohanadasan

Founder of Basic Gravity and Digital Marketing Specialist


What are your top tips for local SEO in your country/city/area?

‘Near me’ and ‘around me’ searches are becoming more popular, with growth mostly found on mobile but there’s a noted increase in desktop searches too. Optimising for ‘near me’ searches is crucial for local businesses including: dentists, florists and restaurants.

For the latter in particular, getting page optimisation is crucial to ensure it reflects the type of service that’s being offered, for example: Thai restaurants want to show up in local searches including ‘Thai restaurants near me’.

The best way to do this is to optimise mobile sites as well as GMB pages. This can be done by attracting citations and ensuring that your name, address and phone (NAP) are consistent - for example with a review from a respected local newspaper. Getting customer reviews is also an important element, but remember: reviews don’t mean everything - Google needs to understand your site!

What tactics have you found to be less effective in your country/city/area compared to the general recommendations for local SEO?

Google is getting better at understanding overall context as well as search intent, and since they use multiple signals to assess your authority, citations alone won't be the main ranking factor for local terms - so I don't see it being effective as it used to be.

I would concentrate on building localised landing pages and creating multiple GMB pages for localised services to rank higher, e.g. 'service+city keywords'. It’s also an idea to focus on building more authority to your business and optimising your GMB pages for 'near me' and 'around me' searches.

What are the best examples of local businesses in your country/city/area that are doing really well in the Local Pack/Finder results?

As far as I can see the Local SEO is not widely executed in my area by most of the smaller businesses. I feel this is mainly due to a lack of awareness around this subject and also the fact Stavanger is a relatively small city.

However, Mester Grønn and Interflora (Florists) are two companies doing effective local SEO in my city. Both have multiple GMB pages, including localised landing pages that have been linked to the appropriate GMB pages. They're able to rank multiple GMB pages for 'near me' keywords, increasing their chances of getting clicks.

Suganthan Mohanadasan is the founder of Basic Gravity and a Digital Marketing Specialist based in Stavanger, Norway.

So there you have it. Be it something as simple as updating your Google My Business profile, to creating dedicated pages for the cities your company has branches in, all these approaches contribute to stronger local SEO performance.

Followed the advice above, but not sure if it’s helped? SEO is long-term game and knowing whether your efforts are reaping rewards can be difficult. That’s why AccuRanker allows you to track your keyword performance across your website and better understand SERPs on both desktop and mobile. AccuRanker also allows you to filter local results and be notified about changes in ranking.

AccuRanker offers a 14-day free trial, no credit card details required, helping you better understand and shape your SEO efforts.