How to Conduct an SEO Audit for a Local Site
Do you want to boost your local SEO? Here’s a guide on how you can do an SEO audit for your local website in 7 steps.
Local SEO is different from regular SEO. You need to perform an SEO audit for your local business because it helps in improving the visibility of your business in local online searches. Read on to discover how you can use local SEO audit to get your business in front of your customers.
Why Do an SEO Audit for a Local Website?
Your goal as a local business owner should be to improve your website’s organic rankings. According to HubSpot, 25 percent of searches done on Google will go beyond the first page. If your business is already ranking on the top page, then you must have been experiencing an increase in traffic, clicks, and customers.
An audit is necessary to know your standing and the things you need to do to improve the results you get from your SEO efforts. Carrying out an SEO audit for your local website will help you know what to work on so that you can continue ranking high (providing you’re already ranking high) or the actions you need to take if you’re ranking high lower than your expectation.
Although your SEO audit will not solve all the problems you’re encountering, it will set your feet on the right path to reaching your local customers.
Things to Know Before Performing a Local SEO Audit
Before you analyze the specifics of your website, you need to have the right information. Highlighted below are questions that you need to ask before you begin an SEO audit process:
- Is the homepage’s title tag optimized? Are there keywords, your brand name, and location in the title tag?
- Do you have a contact page that showcases the crucial details (i.e. name, email address, business location, phone number, and lots more)?
- Is the homepage content relevant to your ideal audience? Is the content unique or plagiarized?
- Does your local website have an active blog?
- Did you connect and optimize the website for social networks?
- Are the name, address, and phone number (NAP) placed at the header footer sections of the website?
Once you ask and answer the questions above, you can then go ahead and perform a local SEO audit by following the steps below.
7 Steps for Performing an SEO Audit for Your Local Website
Step 1: Create and update your GMB (Google My Business) account
Apart from helping customers to discover your business, your Google My Business account also helps you to update Google on who you are, the products you sell or services you offer, and your location. Your Google My Business profile allows you to share business information with users when they land on your business through Google Maps or Google search.
Here are the details that must be on your GMB profile:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Hours of operation
You can use your GMB account to maximize how people find you through local searches by providing accurate, complete, and engaging business information in your GMB profile. Keep these SEO practices in mind if you want to get the best result from your GMB profile:
- Visit your GMB profile once in a while and update information that has changed; this can be your services, hours of operation, or images.
- Ensure your NAP (name, address, and phone number) are consistent across your GMB listing.
- Keep your local customers engaged by using local content and let Google know that you’re an active local business.
- Use the GMB messaging feature to communicate with your customers via your GMB account.
- Use keywords in your posts and business description only if they fit into your sentences without appearing spammy.
Step 2: Update your Bing Places for Business account
While Google is responsible for most of the searches done throughout the world (92.1%), you can still use Bing, especially in the United States where Bing captures about 5.73% of the market share. You can get more of Bing’s traffic by creating and setting up your Bing Places for Business account. This is similar to Google My Business. You can import most of the information on your GMB into Places for Business while setting up the account. Review the data that you have on the account to ensure that they are accurate.
Although there are some differences between GMB and Bing Places, the tactics you use for Bing Places must be similar to the ones used for GMB. Provide as much information as possible to help customers and search engines choose your business over your local competitors.
Step 3: Pay attention to local keyword trends
A Keyword’s popularity changes with time and location. Therefore, it is important that while doing your keyword research, you need to understand what those in your area are searching for. You can use Google Trends to find regional keyword trends. Google Trends helps you see what people are searching for. As a result, you can streamline your searches geographically (even down to the city level).
Once you get some local keywords from Google Trends, dive deeper into the keywords’ difficulty, search volumes, and their value to your business.
Step 4: Create content that focuses on your local customers
You need to create locally-focused content so that the content will be interesting for your readers. As time goes on, this content will help your website rank for local keywords.
Keywords that you need to rank for include trending terms in your location or different forms of short-tail keywords. For instance, if you are a makeup artist, then you can create content that targets local keywords such as:
- Best makeup artists in Houston
- Reliable makeup artists in Houston
- Houston makeup studio
You can even create local content that is not related to your business. You can do this by finding the right keywords for your area. You can use something like “best Houston boutiques” and then find long-tail variations that are specific to what your audience needs. For instance, a makeup artist can create content on “Top 10 Boutiques in Houston” or “5 Best Boutiques in Houston.”
Although these topics are not related to the services offered by a makeup artist, a lady that wants to buy new clothes may find this and may decide to check out your makeup studio. This content is a way of getting local organic traffic and can increase the local authority of your website as time goes on. Just ensure that your content provides value to your audience.
This content creation process allows you to connect with other content producers in your location. You can feature another local business on your website. You can also partner with a local influencer or talk about how you feel about your community.
Irrespective of the direction you want to go, the content must be searchable and also valuable for your readers. Local content is a great way to showcase your investment in the community. Also, linking to your partners’ websites is a great way to strengthen your domain.
Step 5: Get backlinks from local sources
Search engines are interested in knowing if you are legitimate. Hence, getting backlinks from local sources to your local content will increase your local rankings. You can get these links by reaching out to active sites in your area. You can start from:
- The chamber of commerce in your town
- Patch and other local community websites
- Local bloggers
- Local newspapers
- Airbnbs and other local businesses that have local resource pages
If you have created content that highlights other businesses, get in touch with such businesses. A link from such websites will look good to Google and other search engines. The links will also help you get more traffic organically. This increase in local traffic can make search engines rank your website higher in local search results.
While auditing these backlinks, ensure you also watch out for inbound links that direct site users to the wrong web page. It is important to get rid of backlinks so that you can get good ones.
Step 6: Ensure your NAP details are consistent across all websites
Your NAP refers to your business name, address, and phone number. Having consistent NAP details across all websites and citations is important for both customer relations and SEO. However, it can be tricky to find all the websites where your business has been mentioned.
To find these mentions, check your website, your social media platforms, and citations (such as GMB, Yelp, or Bing Places for Business) across the internet. Follow these steps to ensure that your NAP is consistent:
- Choose a definitive version of your name, business, and address. All capitalizations, punctuations, area codes, and abbreviations must be consistent.
- Go through your site, social media accounts and posts, and business directories that include your business and make the necessary corrections.
- Search for your business on Google by putting your business name in quotation marks.
- Stay on top of new citations by setting up a Google Alert on your business name.
It is important to keep your NAP consistent because a slight difference in your NAP details can confuse potential clients and search engines. Ensure you check your NAP on all platforms whenever you perform SEO audits for your local website.
Step 7: Moderate ratings and reviews
When a customer rates or writes a review about your store, it will play a role in how you rank. When you have positive ratings and reviews, search engines will see your business as being valuable to users. A great way to ensure that your website enjoys a boost in search engine rankings is by encouraging your customers to give you positive ratings. This will also act as social proof to potential customers.
Irrespective of the method you use to get these reviews, understand that search engines consider the quantity and quality of the reviews. Positive reviews are a signal to Google and potential customers that your business is the best place to get the service they are looking for in their area.
When conducting an SEO audit for your local site, dedicate some time to go through popular review websites in your area (such as Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor). Most of these sites will allow you to reply to reviews by either thanking the reviewers for their positive reviews or providing solutions to unsatisfied customers.
Also, it can be beneficial to set up social media accounts so that you can have direct interactions with your customers. These social media platforms will help you to directly market your products or services to your customers while also allowing them to drop reviews, comments, and questions.
Engaging with your customers shows reviewers that you are active and also interested in your customers’ satisfaction. Commenting on your customers’ reviews helps to ensure that Google and potential customers know that you’re active and this should help your rankings in local search results as time goes on.
You can easily consider local SEO as a process that is completely different from national or international SEO. However, you need to remember that although there are other steps that you need to take to increase your local website’s ranking on search engines, implementing strong SEO practices will help any site to rank, irrespective of its size and geographical area.
After performing the SEO audit for your website, the next line of action is to conduct an on-page SEO audit. This will optimize each of your web pages for valuable keywords.
Conducting a comprehensive SEO audit for a local website using the 7 steps discussed in this article is important. It is also important to record your progress because this will help you to plan and execute your SEO strategy. Recording your progress will also help you discover the areas where you need to put in more effort; these are the areas that you can then evaluate when next you’re performing a local SEO audit.
SEO audits are not events that you do once. You need to be ongoing. It is advisable to carry out a full SEO audit for your local website once every year.