Implementing local SEO is 16-20 times more cost-effective compared to traditional SEO in terms of return on investment (ROI).
What if your customer compliments you “Your products are great!”
or “The food is delicious here!”
or “We are happy with your service!”
followed by a complaint “But I couldn’t find you online.”
Won’t that raise a question on the existence of your well-established local business? And this will simply make you think what’s wrong and how it can be fixed.
This is where the Audit of Local SEO comes into the picture. Before we jump to it, one must understand what is the importance of Local SEO.
The Need of Local SEO Audit:
Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location. It helps in the most effective way to get your business rank online and promote your products and services to the customers who are looking for them locally.
Who is interested in Local SEO?
- it concerns SMEs with headquarters accessible to the public or their customers, thus increasing the visibility opportunities, even for generic search keys.
- medium and large businesses with multiple locations across the country or with a network of property stores whose results on local SERPs may be of interest to users seeking information about activities close to them or looking for a specific location.
And who may be less interested in Local SEO?
- to companies offering online or direct contact with the public.
- a brand that operates on the territory exclusively through intermediaries and independent dealers.
Furthermore, Local SEO audits are helpful in identifying areas on the website those lag behind in terms of being searched locally.
Without wasting time, let’s go through the doable basic techniques required for Local SEO Audit of your website:
1.Google My Business
The most important thing is to get sensible local rankings by setting up Google My Business account.
Google My Business is a great tool for advertising. Local activities can create your page free by entering information such as business name, contact information and opening hours, and appearing on both Google Maps and SERP page results.
This is a checklist to verify the details added in Google My Business:
- Your business falls in the right category.
- There is no duplicate business listing.
- Business listing is claimed and verified.
- NAP (name-address-phone number) is right.
- A minimum 100 words company description with a backlink to your website.
- Custom reviews are responded positively.
- Cover, graphics and product images are relevant.
- Google+ Business Page is up-to-mark (with photos, videos and post updates).
You must find out any Duplicate or Wrong Citation of your business. In case, you find more than 1 listing on a platform like Google My Business that represents the same business, it will be considered as duplicate. Ideally, ABC Catering in Wellington should have a single entity on all the given channels like Google My Business, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, Yellowpages etc.
2. Relevance of Keywords in Metadata
The first step is to check whether the title and description of your homepage and internal pages are relevant to the services you offer and above all geolocated.
For example, If a customer is looking for “pizza in Central Wellington” make sure Metadata Description is optimized for this keyword on your site:
The meta-description has some norms which should be followed as below:
- Title tag: The location should be present in the title track between 55-70 characters to be displayed with 90% accuracy.
- Meta-description: Search engines consider the length between 155-170 characters for a meta-description. Rest of the text is truncated, so keep it descriptive enough that fits in this length.
- H1 Heading: An H1 heading with the city name.
- Alt Text: It should be mentioned for all the images with the city name.
3. Duplicate Content Optimization:
A very common mistake that penalizes positioning in SERP is a duplicate of content.
Remembering that a 25-30% duplication rate is psychological because headers and footers are replicated as well as the sidebar menu.
The Google Webmaster Tool (now Search Console) where you can register your site for free. You just have to look into the left side of the screen and click on “HTML improvements” you will be able to have an account of any duplicate title or description or other useful information such as knowing whether the descriptions are too short or missing.
Often it is found, many companies copy the content from their competitors and compromise with the uniqueness of content. This can be verified using many tools like Siteliner or Copyscape. Pass your website’s URL to these tools and they will show the duplicate instances over the internet.
Many sites have a little duplicate content written in their headers and footers which displays throughout the website. According to Siteliner, 20%-30% of duplicate content is bearable but more than that needs to be removed.
4. Contact Information:
You will hardly be able to compete in geolocated searches without having your NAP with your location on your site.
The term NAP refers to Name, Address, Phone Number that is much required for any business to get ranked in Google’s organic search results, because Google considers these parameters to determine which businesses should be shown to the user according to its location.
Place the contact information in the header and footer and link your site to Google My Business to allow Google Maps to geolocate and receive calls directly from the results page.
5. Google+ Business
As mentioned above, if a local business does not have a verified Google+ Business account, it will be hard to place itself organically ”above-the-line” on the front page.
It is by far the most important Google+ feature, especially if your business has a local presence.
Not only can a Google+ Business listing increase your visibility on local and mobile search, but it also allows potential customers to call you, get directions to your business on Google Maps and check out your verified business website.
This helps in the citation of your business that refers to the name, address and phone number (NAP) of your business.
You do not have to register, but complete the verification process by requesting an activation code that will be sent by e mail.
6. Social Media Optimization
The Social Media Optimization helps to differentiate the presence on online channels, serving a single brand strategy to give it consistency.
In other words, Social Media Optimization is the use of social media tools and communities to generate advertising and increase the respect, spread, and positivity of your brand, product or service.
Though the links acquired from social media are no-follow and have no affect on rankings, still your presence on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook or any other platform will increase your visibility to your customers and by adding more comments, mentions, reviews make it more effective.
Run an audit on Top 3 social media: Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn
- Your profile has strong branding.
- Your profile description is apt.
- Your company information is complete & up to date.
- Linking to your website.
- Link to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn from your website.
- No. of fans, followers & connections of your profile or page.
- The frequency of your postings.
- Engagement with your fans and followers.
Post regular updates on your social pages to keep your customers engaged and informed (for any events).
Find out if your customers have left a review on Google My Business, on Zomato, or Facebook. If yes, then it should be responded positively.
Reviews improve the CTR of your snippet and help improve the rank of your page.
Not only Reviews, the number of fans and their involvement in the conversations that you create is the best way to create brand awareness and value your business.
It is important for new businesses to appear on the map as quickly as possible from their opening. The pizza restaurant mentioned above did a decent job of building their online presence by improving their visibility on Google.
It’s clear that with the right moves and a bit of elbow oil, your online presence can be improved to get an immediate return to search results on Google Maps. And a greater visibility (Local SEO Audit) can help a new business in an attempt to establish itself.
If you need a more specific audit and an analysis of the status of your local business, feel free to fill this form.