11 Local SEO Lead Generation Methods Ranked By Difficulty

Posted by Devon Moore on
Devon is the Director of Content & SEO at BAM. He is responsible for driving organic growth strategy for B2B and B2C clients.

Quick Summary: It covers key tactics like optimizing your Google Business Profile, adding internal links, implementing schema markup, getting listed in local directories, acquiring competitor backlinks, and leveraging local influencers. The post provides practical advice and tools for each method, catering to businesses of various sizes and budgets to improve their local SEO efforts.

9 minute read

In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, the competition can be tough, especially for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). With a limited budget and resources, standing out from the crowd can be a daunting task. Yet, an effective strategy exists that can help you rise above the competition – Local SEO for lead generation.

Through this article, we will delve deep into the intricacies of local SEO, how you can leverage it for effective lead generation, and the specific steps to enhance your online visibility and drive organic, high-quality leads to your business.

But we also wanted to show you where to start — and maybe some aspirational tactics that may be outside your budget or current effort range for now. You’ll see that there are some simple, easy and effective ways to help get your business on track with search engines, and then plenty of options to expand your efforts once you have a solid foundation.

1) Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly known as Google My Business, should be your first port of call in your local SEO journey. It’s a free tool that allows you to manage your online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

A BrightLocal study found that 5% of Google My Business (now Google Business Profile) listing views result in a website click, call, or direction request.

To optimize your GBP for lead generation:

BAM Advertising Pittsburgh Google Business Profile
A well-optimized GBP listing can boost your visibility in local search results, attract more customers, and ultimately enhance lead generation.

2) Adding Internal Links To Your Site

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to other pages on your website. They help distribute page authority throughout your site, improve user navigation, and enhance your SEO. While adding them is easy, it can sometimes be time-consuming to go back through all of your content and add the appropriate anchor text.

According to a study by Reboot Online, internal links have a significant impact on page rankings. Pages with cleverly positioned internal links have a 40% higher ranking power than those without.

Make sure that your most important pages are easy to reach from anywhere on your website. Use descriptive anchor text for your links, and try to integrate them naturally into your content. If you are using WordPress, a plugin such as Internal Link Juicer can make this process easier.

3) Schema Markup

Schema Markup is a form of microdata added to your website, making it easier for search engines to interpret your content. This helps your website to appear more prominently in search engine results pages (SERPs) and can significantly boost your local SEO.

A study by Searchmetrics found that just 0.3% of websites use Schema markup, despite it being a powerful SEO tool. This can give you a major advantage if you are able to find a way to leverage Schema to your advantage.

For local businesses, you should focus on Local Business Schema, which includes details like your NAP information, operating hours, and services. Implementing this can improve your visibility in local search results and generate more qualified leads.

Other types of schema markup you may want are Reviews and Ratings, Organization, and Product schema, depending on your business offerings. You can easily check and validate your markup on Schema.org validator, or Google’s Rich Results Test.

While schema markup is a set-and-forget execution, you need someone with expertise in creating and implementing JSON-LD scripts. If you have a WordPress site, there are plugins such as Schema and Structured Data for WordPress & AMP that can be helpful in creating and managing your markup.

4) Local Directories and Citations

Citations are mentions of your Name/Address/Phone (NAP) information on other websites, and local directories are a great source for such mentions. Being listed in local directories improves your chances of being found by potential customers and boosts your local search rankings. Notable directories include:

  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • TripAdvisor
  • Angi

According to a study by Search Engine Watch, 85% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses, and online directories are a significant part of this search.

Remember, consistency is crucial. Your NAP information should be the same across all directories to enhance your local SEO rankings. Use citation management tools like Moz Local or BrightLocal to track and manage your listings.

If you want to supercharge your listings, you may want to look into location aggregate data services such as Neustar, Data Axle and Foursquare.

These aggregators play a vital role in Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by providing accurate and consistent location data that search engines rely on to deliver relevant search results to users. These services ensure that businesses’ location information is up-to-date, consistent, and optimized for search engines, improving their visibility in local search results.

5) Finding Competitor Backlinks

A Moz survey on local search ranking factors revealed that link signals (inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc.) accounted for 28% of overall factors considered by Google’s local search algorithm.

Backlinks, links from another website to yours, play a pivotal role in local SEO for lead generation. They act as votes of confidence from other sites, enhancing your search engine rankings.

Start by identifying who your top local competitors are and analyze their backlink profiles. Tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs can provide insights into where their backlinks are coming from, giving you ideas for potential link opportunities. You can then reach out to these sites for guest posting, partnerships, or other link-building strategies.

If you’re looking for a no-frills, cheaper way to find these types of backlinks, just Google some of your top competitors and check out the search listings. Your data will be less comprehensive but for many small businesses, it’s a great place to start if you do not want to pay for an SEO tool.

Ahrefs Screen Shot
SEO tools like Ahrefs can help you find ideas for websites that are linking to your competitors.

6) Niche and Resource Link Building

Niche link building involves acquiring backlinks from websites that are directly related to your industry or business. Meanwhile, resource link building involves getting your website included in resource pages of other websites, typically as part of a list of recommended businesses or services. Both strategies can improve your website’s authority, drive targeted traffic, and generate leads.

Research popular blogs, forums, and resource pages in your niche and reach out to them for link opportunities. For example, in the agency world, Clutch is a great example of a business service platform used for finding business like BAM. These niche sites are typically freemium in nature, and it would behoove you to take the time to get your business listed on there.

Clutch is a great example of a business service platform used for finding business like BAM.

7) Local News, Magazines, and Podcasts

Getting featured in local news, magazines, or podcasts can boost your local SEO. It enhances your brand’s local reputation, drives targeted traffic to your site, and can result in high-quality backlinks. Start by reaching out to local publications or podcasts and proposing story ideas, interviews, or guest posts.

Create a media list with local journalists, trade publications, events, and anything and anyone else you could contact that might have a mutual interest in amplifying your brand.

Many times, building links through these ways and means is a pay to play scenario. It’s up to you — and your SEO team — to know how much value there is in a media appearance or link sharing scenario. Your mileage will vary dependent on the quality of the outlet, readership, and the content you provide.

Media opportunities should be approached as a high-value opportunity with one chance to get it right. Make sure you plan to execute ahead of time with the proper messaging, whether it’s a story in a local newspaper or appearance on a podcast, to squeeze the most out of it and make it memorable for the intended audience.
Bill Berry iHeart Radio
Podcast appearances can increase your visibility through getting your brand mentioned on sites such as Apple Podcasts.

8) Local Awards

Participating in and winning local awards can improve your local SEO rankings — but this often comes at a cost. It raises your local profile and provides a high-quality backlink if the awarding organization features you on their website, and enhances trust in your brand. Look for local business awards in your area or industry and submit your business for consideration. Often the best place to start is the local papers and magazines, and the business times magazine if you exist near a large metropolitan area.

Local awards are varied in difficulty. Some are quick and easy signups designed as a contest, and some simply require you to pay. Many require more difficult barriers to entry — and these of course, are the ones you want to earn. So while not every award is a difficult and expensive endeavor, you often get what you pay for.

Pittsburgh Business Times Awards
Participating in and winning local awards can improve your local SEO rankings.

9) Blogging & Written Content

Writing and publishing may seem easy to some local businesses, but not all have the bandwidth to properly execute a content marketing plan. What makes content marketing difficult is the requirements to publish high-quality content consistently to get great results. Local search terms related to your business should be paramount on the list. Focus on a handful and go deep on them with research within your own business. People are more likely to read if you’re able to uncover something new and interesting from your experience.

Google search console can provide you with data on what your site is already ranking for — you should build on that and try to improve before starting to create new initiatives. Likewise, SEO tools such as Ahrefs and SEM Rush offer free trials to provide you with a base of what your competitors are ranking for in local search terms.

10) Attending Conferences and Events

Although time consuming (and not everyone is a social butterfly), participating in local conferences and events can improve your local SEO. It provides networking opportunities, enhances your local reputation, and can often result in mentions or backlinks from the event’s website or attendees’ websites.

Traditionally, the most common local group that many businesses participate in is the local chamber of commerce. If you are a local business, paying a little to be in the chamber and attending some of the networking opportunities provided by it are a no-brainer.

Likewise, donation opportunities for local schools and charity events can provide a huge boost to your credibility as a business. I advise doing research on your chosen charity path if you don’t have one and find something that you and your business can truly practice social responsibility for. These sort of initiatives are often not sustainable if your heart is not in it. Driving real relationships and becoming a trusted member of the community carries obvious benefits far reaching and beyond your bottom line.

11) Finding Local Influencers to Build Links

Collaborating with local influencers can boost your local SEO — though the outreach and cost isn’t always viable. Influencers can expose your brand to a broader audience, enhance your local reputation, and often provide high-quality backlinks.Influencer marketing comes in different shapes and forms, from social media to bloggers. The ones that would be most helpful to your SEO efforts are the local bloggers and publishers. This may not be available in your area, depending on population.

Research local influencers in your niche, reach out to them for collaboration opportunities, and build mutually beneficial relationships. It should be noted that link building is not always easy, and can sometimes be a “pay to play” ordeal. Research your influencers wisely and make sure they are the right ones for your audience (and that they have the following they claim to have).