Checklist for On-Page SEO for Local Businesses

17 min readDec 19, 2022

Did you know that 93% of consumers use online searches to find local businesses in their area? And of these, more than a third were conducted daily — that’s a massive opportunity you can’t afford to miss out on.

More than likely, you already know that getting your business “found” online (by the right people at the right time) is essential. And so, the odds are good that your website was built with some level of search engine optimization in mind.

However, the digital marketing landscape is always evolving. Some strategies that worked last year may not be as effective. As a local business owner, you must stay ahead of the curve to remain competitive in the marketplace. This is a major challenge because Google often makes changes to its algorithms. As a result, you must adapt your SEO campaigns in order to rank high in search engine results and gain more traffic and sales.

As you know, getting your product or service in front of an online audience is critical to your success. With this in mind, we’ve prepared an extensive on-page SEO checklist to help you dominate search and drive more customers to your website. This list includes the best SEO optimization practices that can take your business to the next level.

DIY Approach to On-Page SEO

Many local businesses work with an SEO agency to develop, implement and monitor their online marketing campaigns. This is an ideal situation when you consider the complexities of digital marketing. Generally, small-to-medium size businesses don’t have the expertise, time or staff for this endeavor. One of the benefits of working with a marketing agency is it gives you access to all the resources necessary to handle your marketing needs. This, in turn, allows you to focus on running your company. However, if you’re a DIY type of person, this on-page SEO checklist can steer you in the right direction.

There are several steps you can take to improve your company’s rankings in Google. On-page SEO has many components, so we narrowed the list down to spotlight a few of the most important aspects. These include:

• SERP Research

• Keywords

• Modifiers

• Content

• Frequently Asked Questions

• Consumer Reviews

• Images

• Video

• Title Tags

• Internal Links

• URLs

• Meta Descriptions

• Headings

• Structured Data

• Mobile-First Indexing

As you can see, we have quite a bit of territory to cover, so we present the information into an easy-to-read, digestible format. What we included helps you optimize your web pages in a way that inspires consumers to bond with your brand, boosts time on site, and increase conversions. Additionally, this checklist puts you in the driver’s seat and allows you to control how well your pages perform in the search rankings.

Before we take this deep dive into the specifics of each of these strategies, it’s important that we establish a clear understanding of what on-page SEO is and why it’s so important.

A Closer Look at On-Page SEO

First, let’s cover the basics: what is local search engine optimization (SEO), and why does it matter?

Local SEO is a specific form of SEO focused on optimizing your website to be more effectively findable in local search results. It’s somewhat of a complex science comprising various tactics that address content, link building, and on-page optimizations.

Higher search engine rankings mean more traffic to your website. The more traffic you generate, the more opportunities you have to convert visitors into paying customers. The key to a successful digital marketing campaign for local businesses begins with on-page SEO.

On-page SEO involves optimizing single pages on your website. The optimization process not only includes what you see, such as content, images and videos, but also the unseen elements of your page. These include such things as HTML code and meta tags.

Optimizing for local search is critical, particularly for brick-and-mortar businesses that serve certain cities, regions, or states. Properly executed, local SEO ensures that your website is included in relevant search results for people in your area. For example, if you have a hair salon in Tulsa, OK, a great local SEO strategy can help you get to the top of the search results for queries such as “hair salons in Tulsa.”

It’s not hard to see why local SEO can be so beneficial in growing your business. When highly qualified prospective customers in your geographic area can find your website — especially when they’re searching for the products or services you offer — your traffic, sales, and profits are bound to rise.

A well-optimized page is the foundation of an effective search engine strategy. When done correctly, you can achieve a substantial improvement in your rankings on Google and other search engines. Keep in mind that overhauling your on-page SEO is a detailed process. It requires more than a basic working knowledge of SEO, which you will see as you continue reading.

Local SEO Ranking Factors

Ranking factors for local SEO are slightly different from those for general SEO.

Here are the top eight most important factors for your local SEO ranking:

Link signals

On-page signals

Google My Business signals

Citation signals

Behavioral signals

Review signals

Social signals


Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

SERP Research

As a local business owner who’s seeking to level up your digital marketing results, you must get inside Google’s brain. You must learn to think the way the search giant thinks. Specifically, you need to know what Google likes. How do you do this? You start by researching search engine results pages (SERP). Type in the keyword you wish to rank for. Review the top three results and pay attention to the titles, snippets and URLs. Also, click the links to see what the companies’ content and pages look like. Conducting this basic research shows you what Google considers the most relevant, valuable sites related to that specific keyword.

Examine these results closely to generate ideas. Look for ways you can outrank your competitors. For instance, maybe there’s a question related to the keyword the competition hasn’t addressed. If so, this is an opportunity for you to fill in that knowledge gap. You can craft your own unique, relevant content. In turn, you have a better chance of ranking for that keyword.

SERP research is an important first step when it comes to on-page SEO. Google algorithms change constantly. What Google liked a few months ago may not be what it likes now. To keep your hands on the pulse of what’s working from an SEO perspective, you must conduct ongoing SERP research. This way you’ll know the right SEO optimization steps to take without wasting time, money and resources.

Keywords & Keyword Themes

We can’t overemphasize the fact that Google is always making changes. The upgrades it makes is generally focused on delivering the best possible user experience. One example of this is how the company is placing more value on user intent. It’s like Google is getting into the minds of people conducting searches. In other words, it’s not enough to know what phrases people are typing into the search. It’s also important to know why they are using certain terms. Knowing the “why” helps Google find and deliver the most relevant results that match the user’s intent, and not just a keyword.

Obviously, keywords and keyword research are still a central part of any SEO strategy. However, in lieu of Google’s emphasis on user intent, it’s necessary to approach your keyword strategy a bit differently. As a result, you must have a clear profile of your target audience before you decide on which keywords and keyword themes you want to target.

Do you know who your ideal customers are? Do you know what they like? Do you know what their needs are? Gather as much detailed demographic information as you can. The more you know about your buyers, the better chance you have of tailoring an SEO strategy that will draw them to your website.

Once you identify your primary target consumer, take things a step further. Divide your audience into subgroups. Why? Because your audience is diverse. Among your consumers, there are smaller niche markets that have different needs, desires and interests. Taking this extra step really helps you zero in on the right keyword phrases along with identifying your primary keyword.

When it comes to segmenting your audience, there are two broad groups to pay close attention to. These are information seekers and buyers. These two groups have different user intents. As a result, they use distinct keywords when conducting search queries. To understand their keyword usage, you must familiarize yourself with the following four types of user intent:

• Informational — Users seeking information. A keyword example is “how to tie a tie.”

• Transactional — Users seeking to make a purchase. A search term sample is “buy automotive paint online.”

• Comparison — Users comparing products and services. A keyword phrase a user may type is “wireless vs. wired gaming headset.”

• Navigational — Users looking for a specific company and/or company page. An example of this search is typing “Amazon,” “Walmart,” or “Apple.”

Let’s look at the first two user intent types.

An informational user is at the beginning of his or her buyer’s journey. They generally have a problem they want to be resolved, so they perform search queries seeking content that helps them resolve their issue. A few of the common search terms they use include “how-to,” “best,” “review” and “top 10.” Informational searches return results that provide users with a list of websites offering educational content that addresses their specific issue.

On the other hand, transactional users are close to the end of their buyer’s journey. They are in a buying mode and are ready to make a purchase. They used words in their searches, such as “discount,” “affordable” and “buy.” When someone types in these terms, Google will likely show results for an e-commerce site. This is the way Google factors in user intent into its rankings.

What does this mean for you as a local business owner?

You take all these factors into consideration when selecting your keywords and categorizing them accordingly. Once you do this, it allows you to optimize the way you structure your pages for better SEO. For instance, only include one primary keyword per page. Additionally, place buyer keywords on pages where you’re selling products and services. Likewise, add informational keywords on pages where you have educational resources, such as blog posts, lead magnets, case studies, reports and white papers, etc. This gives your pages maximum impact because you’re aligning your content with the user’s intent.

There’s another search engine trend that you can take advantage of. Increasingly, more users are conducting voice searches. Often these search queries involve asking specific questions. Google responds with results that provide users with the best answers to their questions. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to include content on your page that answers questions your audience has. Consider placing FAQs or a Q & A section to your pages. We explore this optimization strategy a bit later in the checklist.

The bottom line here is that solid keyword research begins with knowing your audience. Like Google, tap into the intent of your consumers. Make sure you draw a distinction between informational and transactional users in particular. Doing so helps you target the correct keywords and allows you to get the most out of your on-page SEO.

Keyword Modifiers

What are modifiers? These are words that accompany your targeted keyword. Examples of these include, “buy”, “review” and “best”, etc. A local car dealership may target the keyword “Silverado for sale.” Someone seeking this vehicle may type “Silverado for sale in Dallas, TX.” As you can see, modifiers turn a broad keyword into an ultra-specific, long-tail keyword. This is good news for local businesses because using modifiers gives you a competitive edge. In many cases, large companies and national brands dominate search results for broad keyword phrases. However, as a local business, it’s easier to rank for long-tail keywords than for search terms that don’t use modifiers.

We mentioned above that voice-activated searches are growing in popularity. Often these users include modifiers when they perform voice searches. Adding modifiers to your keywords allows you to tap into both traditional and voice-activated searches. If you’re not sure which modifiers to use with your keywords, Google gives you some solid intel right at your fingertips. You can type your target keyword into the search box and see what the auto-fill feature displays. Additionally, take a look at the related searches at the bottom of the results page. Either option helps you pinpoint exactly what your audience is looking for.


Despite the number of changes Google has made to its algorithms, one thing remains the same: Content is still king. The information on your page is the heart and soul of your business website. It has a major impact on your bottom line when it comes to online marketing.

There are several best practices that can amp up your on-page SEO and increase the chances of your page ranking high in the search.

Write Long Form Content

Blog posts with 1,500 to 2,000 plus words do very well in search engines. Writing lengthy content helps establish you as a thought leader in your business sector. Additionally, it increases backlinks to your pages, which bolsters your search rankings. Quick tip — only write long-form content if it provides value to your readers. Not every page and post needs to be long-form if shorter form content gets the point across just as well. You never want your content to be overkill.

Focus on Evergreen Topics

Evergreen content never goes out of style. When you focus on topics that have staying power, the pieces you write often outperform trendy or news-related content over the long haul. Examples of evergreen material include tutorials, how to, guides, resources, tools, lists, and industry definitions.

Emphasize Local SEO

Even though your local business has a global platform online, don’t forget to appeal to consumers and prospects in your backyard. To do this, simply use hyperlocal references and keywords. Also, use client testimonials on your location pages.

Use Your Primary Keywords

Incorporate your primary keywords throughout your copy. If possible, use it in the first sentence. Focusing on one primary keyword per page helps Google identify your page’s topic.

Utilize Keyword Variations

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm not only recognizes topics but also identifies themes. This is where using phrases related to your primary keywords come in handy, such as relevant synonyms and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords.

Your page may sink or swim based on its content. When it comes to optimizing on-page SEO, it’s imperative that you produce unique, high-quality pieces that are keyword-rich.

Frequently Asked Questions

The number one spot on Google is a coveted position. One way to reach the top of the rankings is to answer a specific question your audience has. Google usually helps users find answers by pulling content from FAQs pages. This is called a featured snippet. Sites with the best answers make it to the top of the SERP, which is known as position 0.

Even though there’s intense competition involved with getting to the top of the rankings, don’t ignore FAQs. Including this section on your page is a good standard SEO practice. Make sure your answers are clear and keep the information updated. To get started, use Google’s related searches to discover what your audience wants to know.

Consumer Reviews

Customer reviews matter. Not only do they boost your credibility, but they also boost your SEO. In 2020, a Bright Local survey revealed that 86% of individuals read local reviews. This can be a major step up for your business. If you struggle with obtaining customer feedback, use a review generation platform such as Grade. Us and Bird Eye, which solicit reviews for you. Additionally, list your business on local or industry-specific review sites as well as top review platforms, such as Angie’s List, Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook.

Positive reviews position your local business as a trusted source while sending your SEO into overdrive. Consumer feedback is the kind of social proof that can translate into more revenue.


Optimize images on your page to boost your ranking. Focus on improving the file name, description and ALT tags. Include your target keyword in the file name. Next, describe what’s in the photo. If it’s a picture of a meat lover’s pizza mention “meat lover’s pizza” in the description and ALT tags. Also, add your target keyword here as well.

Search engine crawlers view all this information so the images can be properly indexed. It also helps in situations where the photos don’t load. In these cases, the viewer can read the text to know what the image is. Flesh out the details for all your images because it has a positive impact on your page’s SEO.


People love visual content, especially videos. Studies show that social media users are 40 times more likely to share a video than other content. Placing video on your page keeps visitors on your site longer and reduces bounce rates, which are two of Google’s ranking factors.

As a local business, it’s imperative that your videos get indexed by Google. It’s also important that Google (and viewers) understand what your video is about. You can appeal to search engines and real people by following these tips:

• Write short, compelling titles that include your target keyword.

• Craft a multi-paragraph description explaining what the video is about. Make sure you include the primary and secondary keywords.

• Create a relevant, eye-catching catching thumbnail that matches the topic. Have a demo video? Show your product.

• Make sure the video and page content relate to the same topic.

• Use subtitles. In many cases, viewers watch videos without sound.

Many marketers around the globe use video. Why? Because it’s popular among viewers and it has a healthy ROI. With the optimization tips above, you’re well on your way to maximizing your on-page SEO.

Title Tags

Google bots scroll websites to decipher the nature of your content. This is how it considers what to rank, and title tags play a vital role in your site rankings. Title tags are often displayed in search results, so you want to follow best practices.

Place your primary keyword at the beginning followed by a secondary keyword. Google only displays 50 to 60 characters, so you want to stay within those parameters. If you don’t have enough real estate for a secondary search term, that’s fine. Just make sure the title tag is click-worthy and matches the content of your page.

Internal Links

Internal links are a central part of an on-page SEO checklist. The key here is to link related content throughout your website. This includes linking to related categories, subcategories and posts. Adding an HTML site map also helps Google do a better job of linking to your pages. Internal linking helps with the following:

• Crawlability

• Indexability

• Site Authority

Stay on top of your links. Make sure none are broken. Properly maintaining your internal links is an SEO necessity.


Give Google what it wants. You may want to use that phrase as digital marketing mantra for you and your marketing team. Repeat it several times a day if needed. But seriously, an effective SEO strategy takes Google’s preferences into account. With that said, one of the things Google (and users) like is short, clean URLs. Generally, pages with shorter URLs perform better in the rankings.

It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Short URLs is a small, but a significant ranking factor. It’s worth taking the time to tweak your URLs to help you stay in Google’s good graces — and ahead of your competition.

An example of a lean URL is one that’s three to five words long and contains your primary keyword. Avoid having a URL that looks like this: 2022/page/5. Instead, go with something more pleasing to the eye like In the eyes of Google (and users), shorter URLs are simply better. So, cut the fat and keep it clean.

Meta Descriptions

What is your page about? Your meta description must answer that question. This snippet of information normally appears below the title when the search engine results show up. In some cases, Google rewrites the snippets by using the first few sentences from your page’s content. Regardless, it’s still necessary to write an effective meta description that perfectly summarizes what your page is about. Here are a few key factors to consider when writing this summary:

• Keep it concise

• Make it clear

• Provide accurate details

• Include a call to action

As stated earlier, Google keeps refining its search engine parameters. In 2022, Google increased the character limit on meta descriptions from 160 characters to 320, only to roll it back to 160 a few months later. We suggest sticking under the 160 character limit. Having an optimized meta description results in enhanced SEO and improved click-through rates.


In recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on user experience. You can expect this trend to continue. User experience is a major factor that influences the success of your business website. It can be the difference between losing a potential customer and gaining a loyal client. With this in mind, the way your content appears to the reader is very important.

The best sites provide readers with easy-to-digest text. This is especially critical when you consider the vast number of people who consume content on mobile devices. Because of this, your page layout is a key factor in your business’s online success. To improve readability (and SEO), use Headings (H2’s and H3’s) to your advantage.

Heading tags are used as sub headers throughout your copy. You can optimize them by including your target keyword in the subhead titles. Don’t overdo it. In other words, you don’t need a keyword in every sub header. A good rule of thumb to follow is to include your keyword in three or four subheadings, depending on the length of your content. This is good for your page’s SEO, which gives it a boost in the rankings and search results.

Structured Data

Structured data is also known as schema markup. Reportedly, Google uses this as part of its algorithm, so it’s worth taking into consideration. Essentially, structured data is microdata that enhances the way pages display. It also helps search engines understand your content, which provides users with better search results.

Let’s say someone searches a term related to your business. If a picture or star review shows up, this is an example of structured data at work. Not familiar with how to use structured data or schema markups? Look no further than your Content Management System. Many CMS’s have a built-in structured data feature that can do the markup for you.

Mobile-First Indexing

In today’s digital-obsessed society, a website optimized for mobile devices is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. In fact, it’s so crucial that Google likely won’t rank a page if it isn’t mobile-friendly. Furthermore, Google gives preference to mobile-optimized sites when it comes to indexing and ranking. To make your site appealing to mobile viewing audiences, keep sentences and paragraphs short, use big buttons and easy-to-read fonts. Need feedback on your site? Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. It’s a free tool that shows you how well your pages stack up in terms of mobile optimization.

Better On-Page SEO Equals More Sales

Our on-page SEO checklist is pretty extensive, but there’s even more to consider. SEO is complex and involves many factors. Even though there are several things you can do on your own, let us help you with your ongoing SEO needs. We’re a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO services for local businesses. As a Premier Google Partner, we deliver visibility, traffic, leads, and revenues for our clients. Contact us now to see how we can help you dominate the search engines today — and beyond.

Local SEO Ranking Factors

Ranking factors for local SEO are slightly different from those for general SEO.

Here are the top eight most important factors for your local SEO ranking:

Link signals

On-page signals

Google My Business signals

Citation signals

Behavioral signals

Review signals

Social signals


Make Local SEO Work for You

With this checklist, you have a solid start on optimizing your website for local search users. And from here, the Abloxic team is happy to help.

Our digital marketing agency provides comprehensive SEO services, Web Development empowering clients to implement smart strategies that align with their business objectives, audience expectations, and more. We conduct intensive research to create targeted local SEO plans, then manage all implementation and maintenance.

Because we deliver measurable, meaningful results, investing in our local SEO services can be the best decision you make for the future of your brand.

Get more details about how to use local SEO to further your business when you contact us today!