We understand that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can have a bit of technical know-how involved. But there are several user-friendly ways that any business owner can adopt for local SEO campaigns for Chicago and nearby areas.

You must be aware that SEO is the process of generating more traffic and leads from search engines like Google. There are several ways in which those leads can be generated, such as:

  • Visiting the website to search engines
  • Phone calls generated through local searches
  • Business directory page visits
  • Visiting social media pages
  • Visiting the physical store located in Chicago
  • Purchasing your products and services

These leads are mostly generated when a business website appears on the first search engine result page. For example, if you search for a local Chicago SEO agency, you will find a list of businesses that offer SEO services in the city.

The top two or three will be PPC advertisements, and you can differentiate them because Google mentions ‘Ad’ before the link. Next, you will find a pack of three results accompanied by their locations on Google map. Finally comes the list of organic search results.

People might use different keywords to look for various kinds of businesses in Chicago, depending on their needs. Business owners should know that the map pack and the organic results are generated based on two different Google algorithms.

Unfortunately, no one outside Google knows exactly how these algorithms work. Some marketing agencies have become quite good at guessing how to rank businesses higher on search engines through extensive experiments. However, even these experts face challenges from time to time as Google keeps changing and updating its algorithms.

Ranking factors for local SEO in Chicago can also depend on several other factors. That is why Chicago SEO experts must constantly monitor the local industry competition. They also need to stay updated with the current and upcoming changes in Google ranking algorithms.

We should mention that you must always concentrate on getting good online reviews before indulging in SEO efforts, or they might prove futile. These are some of the crucial local SEO ranking factors that you can use for the Chicago area.

Local Proximity Relevance

Proximity is one of the most relevant factors when it comes to search engine results. For example, if a person is looking for a particular product or service, Google will show the nearest businesses first. That is because a person looking for something in Chicago may not benefit if Google shows a business from Addison. 

These results can vary depending on what the user is looking for on Google. For example, if a person is searching for pizza places, they might not be interested in restaurants from Addison. However, if the user is looking for lawyers, they may be willing to hire someone from outside Chicago.

Google takes these factors into account while compiling the organic result list. You can decide on including these factors on your business website depending on your industry to appear on search results.

Chicago-Based Business Listings

Google My Business is probably the most popular way to help search engines determine your business location. However, there are several other ways to accomplish that as well. For example, if you have been operating your business for some time, you may have unclaimed mentions in local business listings.

These mentions might contain some incorrect details about your business, such as name, address, contact details, or hours of operation. So use a brand monitoring tool or some other methods to find these listings and correct any inaccurate information.

You can also use local Chicago business listings effectively to provide information about your products and services, such as current offers, new launches, positive reviews, etc. 

Local Link Building

Local links are essential for organic ranking and local SEO. Some experts say that local link building can be the second most necessary factor for Local Pack ranking. Link building is an elaborate process that is difficult to summarize in a few paragraphs.

However, you must understand that Google’s algorithm is largely based on trust factors and user experience. Google wants to deliver better results than other search engines, which is why the algorithms look for links to websites with high domain authority.

You can use links from the Chicago Tribune, Da Windy City, University of Chicago website, and other local sources that would add more value to your website. You should know that Google does not count all links equally, and paid links need to be marked as such with a no-follow attribute.

Also, refrain from adding too many links as it can actually hurt your SEO strategy. Here are some pointers for local Chicago link-building techniques.

  • Editorial links offer more value to content than self-created or directory links. 
  • Some local directory links perform better than search engine ranking because they can get you referral traffic.
  • You can search for links from niche Chicago directories that only businesses from Chicago can access. It will send strong local SEO signals to Google.

On Page Location Signals

Your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on directory listings should match your actual business website. Google will cross-check whether you have the same NAP on your business website, especially on the contact us page or website footer. There are several other ways to send on-page location signals to Google, such as:

  • Local Chicago business portfolio
  • Reviews posted by your customers
  • Structured website data
  • Specific pages for Chicago locations or suburbs
  • A parallel mobile-friendly website
  • Citations on local Chicago-based website and blog posts
  • Business NAP mention by local Chicago based influencers

Local Search Intent Keywords

If you want your small business SEO strategies to succeed, you should include intelligent long-tail keywords on your website content. Long Tail keywords are preferable over short-tail keywords when you are trying to target the local audience because most large companies miss out on using them.

So put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think of the keywords that they might use on search engines while looking for your products or services. Alternatively, you can use Chicago-based parameters on business analytics to create ideal buyer personas to find relevant keywords.

We hope that this article has given you some ideas to get started on local SEO efforts for your small business in Chicago. There are several other technical tactics to accomplish your goals. So contact some Chicago-based SCO experts if you want to know more about them or if you do not have adequate in-house resources.

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Lorenzo Gutierrez
Digital Marketing Consultant
Lorenzo Gutierrez is a Digital Marketing Consultant and a certified Google Partner. He helps small businesses and corporations grow their revenue online. He does this by mixing passion, innovation, & expertise.