Consumers today typically use Google as their first port of call when looking for anything in their immediate area.
Our cell phones connect us to the people, places, and things we need every day, whether it’s a plumber to fix a leak, a place to eat, or a pet groomer. When people search for anything on Google, they are more likely to visit a nearby company and buy something.
If you want to make sure that as much of that local traffic as possible can find you, a local SEO audit is a must. It’s also an opportunity to find and fix any structural problems that are helping your rivals outrank you in local search results.
When you’re conducting your first local SEO audit, there’s a lot of pressure because of how important it is. Taking a deliberate, step-by-step approach reduces what could otherwise be an insurmountable burden.
Due to the frequent updates to local SEO algorithms, this practice will need to be repeated at regular intervals.
Table of contents
- The Local SEO Audit: What Is It?
- Types of SEO audits
- The SEO Audit Tools Needed
- Step 1: Research Keywords
- Step 2: Find Local Link-Building Opportunities
- Step 3: Locating Repetitive Material
- Step 4: Modify Your Google My Business Page
- Step 5: Read Existing Feedback
- Step 6: Checking Local Listings
- Step 7: Boosting Homegrown Material
- Step 8: Metrics Inspection
- Step 9. Measure the Page Load Time
- Step 10: Analyze the Competition
- Top 10 Reasons to Invest in Local SEO
- 1. Increased Online Exposure
- 2. An Increase in Shoppers
- 3. Get in on the Local Shopping Craze
- 4. Directed Web Views
- 5. Increase in Contacts Made Via Maps
- 6. Create an Image as an Industry Leader
- 7. Improved Levels of Trust
- 8. An Increase in Revenues
- 9. Increased Success Rates
- 10. Your Company Gains a Competitive Edge
- Learn How Local SEO Can Help Your Company
The Local SEO Audit: What Is It?
Local search engine optimization audits are in-depth analyses of your online presence and current website placement on SERPs.
It will show you what parts of your website are working well and what needs improvement.
You will also learn about particular areas and actions you can take to improve your rankings, expand your audience size, and boost sales.
Think of it as a survey or checklist that you can use to check off items and make sure everything is in working order on your site.
Why Should You Conduct a Local SEO Audit?
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), localization is all about making your site relevant and authoritative in your immediate area.
You may increase your chances of being found by local customers by demonstrating to Google that your business offers the most helpful response to their questions.
Having regular local SEO audits performed can help you get there.
By doing a thorough local SEO audit, you can avoid wasting time on ineffective strategies and instead concentrate on those that will yield the best results.
Discover the strengths and weaknesses of your website, as well as the ideal areas to focus on for improvement.
If you’ve seen a decline in website traffic or a slip in search engine results, the audit will help you figure out why and where you went wrong.
Types of SEO audits
If your website is very extensive, you may wish to break up your SEO audit into many parts for easier management.
Analysis of SEO Content
Finding ways to enhance the relevance, timeliness, and quality of the material on the sites where you hope to see an uptick in visitors or rankings is what this term refers to. You may use Google E-A-T as a map. Later in this piece, we’ll go more into the topic of content updates and refreshes. Featured snippet, people also ask, and passage ranking optimization are all areas that could be examined in such an audit.
SEO Page Analysis
By “backend SEO,” we mean the process of enhancing a page’s readability for search engine spiders. An on-page SEO audit would involve reviewing the meta descriptions, meta titles, image alt text and compression as well, and more.
Off-page Search Engine Optimization
An off-page SEO audit would entail looking at other sites and even other domains that link to the pages you’re attempting to improve—which may encompass the amount, quality, distribution, and recency of these connections
An Analysis of SEO Techniques
This sort of SEO audit will entail on-page work like image optimization but mostly pertains to performance metrics like site speed and security. An SEO technical audit may help you find places in your code that could use some TLC, as well as ways to cut down on spam and move from HTTP to HTTPS, among other things.
Analyzing Local Search Engine Optimization
When you want your business to do well in local search results, you need to implement a local SEO strategy. Though more limited in scope, a local SEO audit will nevertheless cover many of the same bases as a national or even international one, including off-page (listings), on-page (content), off-page (keyword insertion and targeting), and technical (site speed and security).
The SEO Audit Tools Needed
Obtaining the necessary equipment is the initial step before beginning the audit’s procedures. To begin, you’ll need search engine optimization (SEO) software including a site crawl tool, a keyword research tool, and a backlink assessment tool. SEMrush and Ahrefs are two well-known examples.
Click-through rates (CTRs) and other keyword data may then be accessed using Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Having access to analytics is vital to monitor the impact of your SEO efforts.
Finally, a local management tool like Yext or SEMrush will make it easier than ever to ensure that your company’s name, phone number, location, and website are correct throughout the web’s most influential local directories. As a consequence of these adjustments, your name-address-phone number (NAP) will be consistent in local search, which is a ranking criterion for the precision-oriented Google search engine.
Businesses should use every SEO tool at their disposal. Although the technical aspects of conducting a local SEO audit may seem daunting to some businesses, they can always choose to work with a digital marketing agency for expert SEO services, and research shows that investing in efficient SEO campaigns is an effective long-term marketing strategy.
Step 1: Research Keywords
If a company wants to dominate the local market online, it has to pay attention to the search terms its consumers are using. Businesses need to ensure that their optimized keyword list corresponds to the terms their target audience is using while conducting searches.
To choose the best keywords for your business and its target market, you may use the keyword research tool on SEMrush or Ahrefs. If you haven’t already, you should make sure that all of your website’s pages and content are optimized for the most relevant business and service-related keywords.
Step 2: Find Local Link-Building Opportunities
Finding internal and external link-building possibilities is an important part of a local SEO analysis. Having relevant local backlinks organically put inside the content of a website is essential if it is to rank well organically in search engines.
Inevitably, authoritative editorial links will outrank irrelevant blog articles. To increase your site’s organic traffic, submit it to relevant local directories, link to other local businesses and organizations, and be featured in online media in your area are all good options.
Step 3: Locating Repetitive Material
Your SEO efforts will suffer if your site contains anything that might cause a search engine crawler any trouble. When the same piece of material appears in many places, we say that it has “duplicate content.” When this occurs, the crawler may be penalized since it cannot determine which version best answers the user’s question. Although unintentional material duplication does occur, Google’s algorithms are sophisticated enough to detect intentional content duplication.
Duplicate web pages may be found with the use of site audit tools like SEMrush’s or Ahrefs’. If your website uses a content management system (CMS) that generates duplicate material, you should set the canonical URL for each page in the Google Search Console.
Step 4: Modify Your Google My Business Page
Google uses a boxed layout to provide information about companies and services to users during searches. This includes the business’s name, hours of operation, and location. If you want your company to show up more prominently in Google Maps and in local organic search results, you need a Google Business profile.
Google’s algorithms are designed to provide users the very best experience possible. If you want to be seen as a credible source in Google’s local search results, it’s important to keep your Google Business profile up-to-date with relevant and accurate information.
Step 5: Read Existing Feedback
Reviews from satisfied customers are a valuable asset to your Google Business profile’s local SEO. Reviews from local clients are especially important to your online reputation since they often contain valuable keywords. Reviews from locals might help or hurt your position in local search results.
Google will alert you anytime a rating is posted, but it’s possible you’ll miss the message. As part of your local SEO audit, read and respond to any customer reviews, and double-check that your Google My Business listing is complete.
Step 6: Checking Local Listings
Your business’s legitimacy and reliability in your region will be affirmed by its inclusion in local directories. The name, address, and website of a local business are all included in local internet listings. Website visibility in local search results is boosted by the presence of these elements in local directories, blogs, and social media.
One of the search engine optimization (SEO) tools we discussed is useful for monitoring and updating local listings. Local listing management is critical for businesses since inaccurate information about them may have a negative impact on traffic, rankings, and conversions if not corrected.
Step 7: Boosting Homegrown Material
The SEO process begins and ends with content. The length of content varies from page to page; a blog post with 250 words of content would be too short, while a homepage with 1,000 words of text would be too long. Include well-researched keywords whose primary focus is on addressing consumer questions and publishing material that positions your company as the local authority.
Using Google Analytics, you may get detailed data on the kinds of queries your clients are making. You can use this to your advantage by publishing locally-relevant content and feeding Google’s crawlers with useful data that directly addresses the needs of your local audience. Maintain the EAT (Expert, Authoritative, Trustworthy) status of your material at all times.
Step 8: Metrics Inspection
Key performance indicators (KPIs) for a website may be tracked and analyzed in real time across all devices and platforms with the help of two free Google products: Google Search Console and Google Analytics. As part of a local SEO audit, you should look at your site’s analytics to determine its SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).
Analyzing your analytics data can provide you a full picture of your site’s success in terms of popular content, traffic sources, user actions, and conversion paths.
Step 9. Measure the Page Load Time
Search engine algorithms now include page speed as a ranking factor. Customers looking for information will want to get their hands on it as soon as feasible. Websites that take too long to load might lose visitors, which in turn can hurt their bottom line.
Google’s ranking algorithms won’t work properly with websites whose pages take too long to load. The most popular and quickly loading websites also tend to be the most productive. You can maximize your website’s performance by viewing the site speed report in Google Analytics.
Step 10: Analyze the Competition
The local SEO audit concludes with a look at how you stack up against the competition for your chosen keywords. You can learn a lot about your local competition and how well they are doing in search engine results with the help of business intelligence tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs.
You may learn a lot about your competition, their strengths and shortcomings, and how you can improve your own SEO approach by checking out their Google Business Profile, social media pages, and local listings.
Top 10 Reasons to Invest in Local SEO
1. Increased Online Exposure
Local search engine optimization (SEO) includes a wide range of tactics that can boost your online profile in general and raise your profile in local search results specifically.
Local search engine optimization always includes tasks like citation development. You may do this by ensuring that your company’s name, physical address (complete with zip code), and phone number appear in various internet directories, social media accounts, and review sites.
Your company will be more visible to the appropriate people (those who are interested in your specific product or service in their local region) at the correct moment (when they are actively searching for a business like yours) if you do this in as many locations as possible.
2. An Increase in Shoppers
Whether you own a café, a dry cleaner, or a hardware shop, increasing your company’s exposure in the neighborhood may boost foot traffic. The more people that visit your establishment, especially if you’ve made significant investments in things like specialized machinery or the layout of your space, or if your items are best experienced in person, the more of an uproar you’ll generate and the more money you’ll make.
3. Get in on the Local Shopping Craze
Consumers’ shopping habits have shifted significantly in recent years. One of the most noticeable is the rise in importance given by consumers to small, neighborhood shops.
Consumers, according to studies, are increasingly favoring supporting small, locally owned businesses over larger, nationally recognized ones.
Over half of customers (56%) say they prefer to shop at independent businesses and they actively seek out goods made in their region.
Additionally, 76% of customers indicate they want to purchase locally over the next 12 months, which bodes well for independent local companies. Local search engine optimization’s primary value is that it helps you connect with customers in your area at the precise moment they are searching for your offerings. As a result, you may be able to take advantage of this change in consumer habits to expand your firm.
4. Directed Web Views
Every second spent communicating with a lead that isn’t likely to become a customer or client is money down the drain for a small business.
If you want your business to just be visible to people in your immediate region, local SEO may help you filter out non-local visitors and get rid of the time wasters that are holding you back.
This may be a huge benefit because 59% of people who use Google to find something to buy end up using that information to inform an in-store purchase.
5. Increase in Contacts Made Via Maps
Improve your company’s discoverability on Google Maps by updating your Google Business Profile. Since Google Maps was intended to help users identify local services and plan their routes, this can result in more phone calls and in-person visits.
Any optimizations you make to your Google Business Profile will have a direct impact on your Maps visibility, which in turn will increase the amount of calls and visitors to your physical location.
6. Create an Image as an Industry Leader
In order to rise in local search engine results, it is essential to engage in content marketing and link building to establish prominence and relevancy. Similarly, engaging in this activity may boost your credibility as a go-to authority in your sector.
Local content marketing calls for organically include and discussing locals and locales. Building greater connections, brand loyalty, and consumer engagement with your business may all result from speaking like an authority in your field.
You may increase the number of inbound links to your site from other local companies if you take the time to produce evergreen materials with a local emphasis. These backlinks, whether from a regional publication like your town’s newspaper or a more specialized business site (like your local chamber of commerce), may help establish you as an authority in your sector.
7. Improved Levels of Trust
It’s common knowledge that positive reviews play a significant role in how well a business ranks in local search results. Your local search rankings will improve as more reviews are collected and utilized in your reputation management approach.
Customer trust is the foundation of every successful organization, and reviews play a crucial role in establishing that trust.
The majority of customers (about 50%) now frequently read internet evaluations and find that these ratings are just as trustworthy as personal recommendations, according to studies.
Increased exposure combined with glowing new testimonials is a surefire way to rise to the top of local search results and win over skeptical shoppers.
8. An Increase in Revenues
Customers often consult internet reviews before deciding on a local company. One in eight consumers use the internet to research a neighborhood company at least once every week.
Local search engine optimization is crucial because it allows you to show potential customers genuine testimonials from their peers about your company.
9. Increased Success Rates
You may be wondering, “What are the advantages of local SEO?”You may be tempted to ignore your own website in favor of monitoring Google and other platforms, but doing so would be a mistake.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is aided by the local SEO practices of adding new locally-focused optimization, revising landing page copy, and improving on page load speed. Conversions, such as the amount of people that fill out your contact form, call your business, sign up for your newsletter, or buy something on your site, should go up from there.
10. Your Company Gains a Competitive Edge
Doing research on your local competition is crucial for establishing and perfecting your own local SEO strategy.
Your company will be in a much stronger competitive position if you can spot these areas for development (and implement the things you have learnt without the trial and error that may have been required to arrive at a successful plan). You may learn what their consumers like about them by reading their evaluations, which can provide you ideas for how to improve your own service.
Learn How Local SEO Can Help Your Company
The moment to begin implementing local SEO strategies for your organization is now. Improve your local results, increase traffic, and win more clients by using the aforementioned local SEO best practices.
We understand that as an SEO consultant, you have a lot on your plate already, so if you need help optimizing your site for local search, give us a call. To help you dominate the local search results in your market, we’d be pleased to talk about your alternatives and develop a tailored local SEO plan.