In the final part of our Local SEO Checklist, we look at the crucial roles of creating new (and checking old) citations and building quality local backlinks. All of which are essential if you want to get your business in the Map Pack and benefit from all the leads you’ll get from being in that most coveted position.
A citation is an online reference to your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP), that usually come in the form of local business directories like Yell. The GOLDEN RULE to remember here is your NAP must be EXACTLY the same everywhere it appears online.
So let’s get started with our top local SEO tips;
 You’ve got your Google My Business profile, but don’t forget to do Bing Places as well, because it helps with your ranking and Google isn’t the only search engine in town.
 But first, let’s start with a thorough check to make sure any citations you already have online are complete and consistent. Go to this free citation checker at Moz and fix any errors that you find there. It’s really boring work, but DO NOT skimp on this step, as it’s very important.
 Now it’s time to build some new foundation citations like Yell. A good place to find good quality citations is HERE where you can discover the best opportunities in your town or city. Make your way through the list and submit your website to them. Again, it ain’t sexy (In fact it’s downright tedious and boring, but it must be done and done right).
 Once you’ve done that, it’s time to spy on the competition to see what citations the top 3 websites are using and get as many of them for your website as possible. Go back to Moz, but this time enter (one at a time) the top 3 companies in the map pack for your main keyword. Make a list of all the citations they have and submit them all for your website (Top Tip: Also submit to the ones they don’t have as well).
Now it’s time to do the most important part when it comes to local SEO (or any SEO for that matter), and that is getting links coming from local authority websites back to your site. This is how Google decides how popular you are, and it’s the #1 ranking factor. So make sure you spend some time here to get it right.
LOCAL SEO BACKLINKS
 Getting links from local directories, professional organisations, business groups etc. will help establish a strong local relevance for your website. A link from the local Chamber of Commerce for example is very powerful, but you do have to pay for it. You can also donate to a local charity for a backlink, offer to write articles or guest post for local newspapers, blogs, social influencers and businesses, in exchange for a link back to your home page. Thinking outside the box here will reap dividends.
 Google Custom Maps provide authority links from Google itself. Go to Google Maps, sign in and click on ‘Create A New Map’. Give it a title that includes your keyword. Put in your NAP, URL and a description of your business. You can also add images and YouTube videos. Make sure to make it Public (You need to save and open your map to do this). You’re going to need about 125 of these to make a difference. It’s time-consuming work but will give you a real edge over your competition.
 Local Relevance Web 2.0 sites are another great tool to help with your local SEO ranking. Build a WordPress blog about a local attraction with quality content (about 500-1000 words). Embed a geotagged images, a related YouTube video and a Google map with driving instructions from the attraction to your business address. Make a link to your website and a link to any other Web 2.0 sites you build about other local attractions (About 10-20 are good and use different blog platforms).
There are other more advanced backlinking options you can also use like Google Map Stacking etc., but they can do more harm than good to your website if done incorrectly, so best left to SEO experts.
So that’s it (That’s more than enough, I hear you say!). This extensive Local SEO Checklist is a complete roadmap on how to rank high in Google Maps. I know it’s a lot to do, but if you really want to learn how to rank using local SEO, then just take your time by going through the list in Parts 1,2 & 3 and tick them off one at a time as you complete them.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but trust me, it’ll be worth it, as having your business website listed in the Top 3 Google Map Pack is a total game-changer. Your phone will ring off the hook and you’ll at least double your revenue. Guaranteed.
You have to be able to turn those new leads into customers of course and be ready to invest in your business as it grows, but this stuff will change your life. We’ve seen it happen so many times with all the businesses we’ve helped over the years.
In my next blog post, I’ll be revealing the most important Google ranking factors 2021, so don’t miss it.
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Pete Skuse (The SEO Guy)
Plymouth SEO Services – Let’s put your website to work for your business