If you’re running a business, it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to optimize your website for local searches. This means making sure your site is visible and easily found by potential customers in your area. One way to ensure your local SEO is on point is to regularly audit it.
This Local SEO Audit Checklist will help you keep track of everything you need to do to make sure your site is optimized for local searches. So whether you’re just getting started with local SEO or you want to make sure you’re covering all your bases, read on for our top tips!
Why is Local SEO important for businesses?
Before we get started, let’s quickly review what local SEO is and why is it important for both big and small businesses.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search results for searches that are specific to a certain geographic location. For example, if someone searches for “pizza delivery near me,” Google will show them a list of nearby pizza places that deliver. This is important for businesses because it allows them to connect with people who are looking for their products or services in their area. And, according to the 2022 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal, 99% of consumers say they use the internet to find local businesses in 2021.
Furthermore, 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information, which means that if your business isn’t optimized for local SEO, you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers.
To get a deeper understanding of both Local SEO and Local SEO Audits – check this page.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s get into the checklist!
Claim your business on Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
One of the first things you need to do when it comes to local SEO is to claim your Google business profile. GBP is a free platform that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google, including their hours, business location, contact information, and more. Not only is claiming your business on GBP important for helping customers find you, but it also allows you to control what information about your business is displayed in search results.
If you haven’t claimed your business on GBP yet, now’s the time! And if you have claimed it, make sure all your information is up-to-date and accurate.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when claiming or editing your GMB listing:
- Make sure you select the correct business category. This will help customers find you when they’re searching for businesses like yours.
- Use keyword-rich descriptions to describe your business. This will help you show up in more relevant search results.
- Include your services/products/offerings in the relevant sections. Be specific and describe things. Being transparent by also putting in pricing won’t hurt either.
- Actively add relevant photos and videos of your business. Customers are more likely to choose a business that has photos or videos than one that doesn’t. Think of your GBP as another Instagram feed. You need to keep it updated, otherwise, you’ll look like an inactive business. For good ideas think about seasonality, achievements, sales, community efforts, and activities.
- Post updates regularly, and make sure you mention your offerings/services in them. Just like photos/videos can be the equivalent of being considered your mini-Instagram, you can think of the update/posts feature like a Twitter feed. It’s also a great way to plug into discount offers and promotions.
- Include your business hours, address, and contact information. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many businesses forget to include this basic information!
Assuming you’ve already claimed your business on GBP, the next step is to…
Verify your website with Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free platform that allows you to see how your website is performing in Google search results. You can use it to see how often your site appears in searches, which keywords people are using to find your site and more.
One of the most important things you can do with Google Search Console is verify your website which allows you to see data about how your site is performing. Without verification, you won’t be able to access this valuable data.
To verify your website with Google Search Console, you’ll need to add a HTML tag, file, or DNS record to your site. Once you’ve added the verification code, Google will crawl your site to make sure it’s been added correctly.
Once your website is verified, you can start using Google Search Console to track your site’s performance and make improvements as needed.
And speaking of making improvements…
Add NAP information to your website
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. NAP information is one of the most important factors when it comes to Local SEO because it helps Google understand where your business is located and how to contact you. There are a few places you’ll want to add your NAP information:
- Your website’s contact page
- Your website’s footer
- Listings on directories and review sites.
When adding your NAP information to your website, make sure it’s consistent across all platforms. Inconsistent NAP information can confuse Google and hurt your chances of ranking in local search results.
In addition to adding your NAP information to your website, you’ll also want to…
Optimize your website for mobile
More and more people are using their smartphones to search for businesses online. In fact, 61% of consumers say they’re more likely to contact a business if they have a mobile-friendly website. That means – if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers! Luckily, there are a few easy ways to make sure your website is mobile-friendly:
- Use a responsive design. A responsive design is a type of web design that makes your website look great on all devices, from mobile phones to tablets to desktop computers.
- Use large font sizes. Small font sizes can be hard to read on mobile devices, so it’s important to use large font sizes that are easy to read.
- Use large call-to-action buttons. Call-to-action buttons should be big and easy to click on, so make sure they’re visible on all devices.
- Keep your design simple. Mobile users don’t want to be bombarded with too much information. Stick to the essentials and focus on making it easy for mobile users to find what they’re looking for.
Now you’re set, the next thing you want to do is to…
Optimize your website for local search by adding relevant keywords and phrases: Talk about what it is you do.
Think of your website as a menu, a menu doesn’t just list “food” on one page and make people guess what you make or do. We recommend you have dedicated pages for every single thing that you do for every specific type of client/customer at every specific location.
Then you can get technical with the basics below:
One of the most important things you can do to improve your website’s local SEO is to optimize it for target keywords and phrases. But how to implement relevant keywords and phrases?
There are a few different ways you can do this, but one of the simplest is to add them to your website’s title tags and meta descriptions.
Your title tag is the HTML element that defines the title of your web page. It appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for your listing. As for your meta description, it’s the short paragraph of text that appears below your title tag in the SERPs, designed to give searchers a brief overview of what your page is about.
When people search for businesses like yours in their area, they’re likely to use keyword phrases like “local [your city/town]” or “[your city/town] businesses.” So, if you want your website to show up in these search results, you need to make sure you’re using these keywords and phrases on your site.
In addition to optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions, you can also add competitive keywords and phrases to your website’s content, image tags, and URL.
Once you’ve optimized your website for local search, it’s time to…
Create location page(s)
A location page is a separate web page on your website that’s specifically designed for a particular location. If you have multiple physical locations, you’ll want to create a separate location page for each of them.
Start by creating a new page on your website then, add the following information:
- NAP information
- Business hours
- Contact form
- Local Business structured data.
Including this information on your location pages will not only improve your website’s local SEO but also make it more user-friendly. And when it comes to local SEO, user-friendliness is key.
However, if you really want to step things up, you can also…
Create a blog and post regularly about topics related to your industry or city
Blogging is another great way to improve your website’s local SEO. When you blog about topics related to your industry or city, you’re giving Google more content to index and rank. Plus, blogging gives you an opportunity to use relevant keywords and phrases throughout your post which can help improve your site’s ranking signals even more!
If you’re not sure what to blog about, try coming up with a list of FAQs related to your industry or city. You can also check out Google’s Trends tool to see what people in your area are searching for.
Once you’ve created your blog, be sure to post on a regular basis and promote your posts on social media platforms. The more people that read and share your content, the better!
Speaking of social media…
Claim and optimize your social media profiles for local SEO
When you claim and optimize your social profiles, you’re giving Google more information about your business which is another way to rank higher in local search results.
Hopefully, you already have social media accounts for your business. If not, now’s the time to create them! Find the platforms where your customers are most active. Then, fill out your profile information completely:
- NAP information
- Profile and cover photo
- Website URL
- Business hours
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start posting! Be sure to post regularly and use relevant keywords and hashtags in your posts. You should also promote your blog posts on your social media channels to drive even more qualified traffic to your website.
And last but not least…
Get positive reviews from customers
Customer reviews are one of the most important ranking factors when it comes to local SEO. In fact, research has shown that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses at least occasionally (including 95% of people aged 18-34).
The first step is to claim your business listings on popular review sites like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. And the good news is that there are a few things you can do to encourage customers to leave reviews:
- Make it easy for them to leave a review. Include links to your business listing on your website and in your email signature.
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews. Show potential customers that you care about what they think!
- Offer incentives. You could offer discounts or coupons in exchange for customer reviews.
Once you’ve collected some reviews, be sure to publish them on your website and social media. And if you see a negative review, don’t be afraid of it, and don’t delete it! Instead, reach out to the customer and try to resolve the issue, and respond in the review platform as soon as possible.
Remember, if you can make your service/product memorable, they’ll talk about it. Just like when we said “talk about what you do”, try to have the customers also do the same. This will resonate in local searches.
The 67-Point Local SEO Checklist
To help you ensure you’re doing everything you can to improve your local SEO ranking, we’ve put together a checklist of all the things we’ve discussed in this blog post, plus a lot of other ideas that might be useful. Use it as a reference as you’re working on optimizing your website for local search and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Local SEO is a long-term SEO strategy but it’s definitely worth the effort! Just remember to be patient and keep track of your progress over time. And if you need professional help – we’re here for you. LFDM specializes in creating local SEO audits and we would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.
How do I know if my website is SEO friendly?
The first step is to check your website’s loading speed. If it’s slow, potential customers are likely to click away before they even have a chance to see what you have to offer. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get a report on your site’s performance.
Next, take a look at your website’s design. Is it easy to navigate? Does it look professional? These are important factors in whether or not potential customers will stay on your site. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help you determine whether your site is up to snuff.
Finally, check your website’s content. Is it well-written and relevant to your target audience? If not, it’s time to make some changes.
How do I know which keywords and locations are worth targeting?
The first step is competitor analysis. Use Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner to see what keywords they’re targeting, and how much traffic those keywords are generating. Once you have a list of potential keywords, it’s time to start testing them out.
Create a list of the locations you want to target, and then use Google’s My Business to create listings for each one. Make sure to include keyword-rich business descriptions and images, and take the time to respond to customer reviews.
Finally, keep an eye on your website’s analytics. Google Analytics can give you insights into which keywords and locations are generating the most traffic – and potential customers.
What are Citations?
Citations are complete or partial references to your name, address, phone number or website (NAP+W) anywhere on the web. They help search engines find and verify your business, and they can also improve your local SEO. You can create citations by claiming your business listing on directories like Yelp, Foursquare, and Google My Business.
How do I clean up duplicate content?
Duplicate content is any content that appears on more than one web page. This can happen when a single piece of content is published in multiple places, or when multiple pages have very similar or identical content. Duplicate content can be harmful to your website because it confuses search engines and makes it harder for them to index your pages.
To clean up duplicate content, you can use a free SEO tool like Moz Local to find and fix duplicate listings. You can also use the rel=”canonical” tag to tell search engines which version of a piece of content is the original. Finally, you can use 301 redirects to redirect users from duplicate pages to the original page.
How do I find my business?
If you’re having trouble finding your business on Google, it’s probably because your listing is incomplete or inaccurate. The first step is to claim your listing – you can do this by going to Google My Business and clicking “Add a Listing.” Once you’ve claimed your listing, you can begin editing your business information.
What are the potential tag issues raised in an audit?
The potential tag issues raised in an audit are:
- Missing Title Tags
- Duplicate Title Tags
- Keyword Stuffing in Title Tags
- Missing Meta Descriptions
- Duplicate Meta Descriptions
- Keyword Stuffing in Meta Descriptions
- Missing H tags
- Incorrect H Tag Ordering
- Keyword Stuffing in H tags
- Missing Alt Text
- Duplicate Alt Text
- Keyword Stuffing in Alt Text.
To fix these issues, you can use a free SEO tool like Moz Local to find and fix duplicate listings. You can also use the rel=”canonical” tag to tell search engines which version of a piece of content is the original. Finally, you can use 301 redirects to redirect users from duplicate pages to the original page.
What tools can I use to monitor customer reviews?
There are a few different tools you can use to monitor customer reviews, including Google Alerts and Yelp Review Tracker. Google Alerts lets you track when your business is mentioned online, while Yelp Review Tracker sends you an email whenever a new review is posted. There are also many other tools out there such as BirdEye, ChatMeter, OnDemandReviews, and ReviewTrackers.