In last week’s blog, we talked about the importance of Local SEO. This week we want to give you some practical advice on how to perform your own audit. With the right tools and following these steps, you’ll start to understand what opportunities exist to improve your local SEO and feature more highly in those all important SERPs.
However, if like me, you are too busy running your business to spend time doing it yourself, then you we’ve got something that might give you back at least an hour of your time: a complete overview of your Local SEO performance in minutes; including Search Rankings, Local Listings, Reviews, On-Site SEO & Social Media.
Pop your business name in and we’ll do the rest. Click here for your Free Local SEO Audit
However, if you still want to unpack the murky world of SEO and learn for yourself what you are measuring and why, then read on and know it's never too late to start claim what’s rightfully yours in the online stakes.
Step 1 - Keyword Analysis
It all starts here. Knowing which keywords you want and need to rank for is the very foundation of Local SEO. What are your target keywords? Which ones do you currently rank for and where are there opportunities to improve your keyword ranking?
If you chose to do this yourself, then there are plenty of FREE keyword tools to help. These tools will help you pull together a list of high volume local target keywords, which you can quickly match to your own target list.
After you’ve determined the ‘what’, you’ll want to understand the ‘which ones’ and ‘how well’. To gauge which keywords you are ranking for again, there are plenty of tools out there to help: Spyfu, Keyword Spy, Moz, Ahref to name a few, using these you can get a clearer picture of how many and which keywords your site is currently ranking for and in which positions.
To be clear, not understanding your organic keywords and their positions is not an option if you want to maximise your local search potential.
If you’re already out of time, then let us help and get your Free Local SEO Audit now.
Step - 2 - Competitor Audit
Next you’ll want to know which other competitors are ranking ahead of you. Whether you’re in favour or against competitive analysis, knowing where and how your competitors are performing, particularly with regard to their Google My Business and organic rankings for top keywords will give you a frame of reference and ideas on what they might be doing that you are not.
A competitive analysis will show you which local businesses are competing for your keywords in your location. Taking note of both the organic results and paid search (AdWords) results will be important, as this could also inform any paid advertising you may be doing. If you are not doing any advertising, it will of course reveal the opportunity that exists were you to start.
As part of this audit you’ll want to look at their:
Step 3 - Meta Tags and Descriptions
Now you’ve understood your keyword ranking and that of your competitors, you’ll want to test your geo-targeting. What you’re ensuring here is that your site contains geo-modified keywords in its meta data.
The content in title tags, meta descriptions, and other meta tags play a major role in how your website ranks on search engines. Adding geo modified keywords will help improve your ranking for given search phrases. i.e. “the keyword + location”
So, if you’re a dentist in Berkhamsted - you will want to test a geo targeted search phrases such as: ‘invisalign dentist Berkhamsted’ to see where and how you appear. Once you’ve done this, then check that the title tags and descriptions on your website include the city/town where your practice is located, this will ensure you rank higher when someone searches for a query that contains your locality in it.
You can do this by looking in the source code of your website, or again there are tools which can do this for you. You’ll want to make sure that the title contains fewer than 55 characters and the description contains no more than 155 characters.
Running out of time - how about you let us help? Click here for your Free Local SEO Audit
Step 4 - Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business (GMB) is one of the biggest drivers of local SEO success. Optimising your GMB listing for target keywords is vital for your online reputation.
Your GMB listing should provide accurate information about a business’ name, address, phone number (NAP), opening/closing hours and website URL and google reviews. You’ll also want to link it to reviews from other websites such as Facebook.
Other things you’ll want to check are:
Again, there are a number of tools available to help you review exactly what google expects you to do with your GMB listing. Or, we can do it for you. Check my GMB listing now
Step 5 - Citation Analysis
Online directories are a mainstay of local SEO. Ensuring you are listed in top local business directories will improve your local SEO and help your customers find you. For structured citations you’ll want to look at social platforms and directories to check that the correct business information is listed.
Auditing your citations will determine just how many online mentions exist of the name, address, and phone number for your business and will highlight which ones you can target to increase your visibility. Your presence on important directories on the internet and brand citations improve search engine confidence in your site and helps you rank higher in results. Don’t let something as a simple NAP error, or not being seen somewhere where you ought to be undermine your local SEO performance.
Step 6 - Social Pages
Having a strong social media presence can significantly boost your Local SEO efforts.
Social factors such as ratings, reviews and likes all contribute to and impact local SEO and organic search rankings. The bigger and more engaged your audience is on these platforms, the more they’ll contribute to your local SEO.
Furthermore, social media sites such as Facebook allow you to sync your review score with your Google My Business Listing. It’s a no brainer. Businesses with more reviews not only attract more eyeballs. Google perceives you as a quality business, delivering a good customer experience.
Evaluating your social platforms is an essential part of your local SEO audit. You’ll want to look at:
Being active on social media presence will not only impact the traffic that you drive to your website and business but it also positively contributes to your Local SEO score.
Step 6 - Audit Reviews for Quality and Quantity
Reviews are your secret weapon in terms of local SEO. Search engines regard them as an authentic measure of a local business’s quality and popularity. Furthermore in terms of customer confidence, they immediately tell your potential patients that others like them have had a positive experience. .
The more reviews you can acquire across multiple platforms like Google, Facebook, Yelp or dental specific sites, the more your customers will trust you.
Google will crawl your reviews for keywords and location, so the more reviews you have the more likely it is for you to rank well in Google My Business results.
In your audit, you are looking to review the number, quality and diversity of your reviews and that importantly, they are linked to your GMB listing.
So you’ve come this far and I’m sure you’ve made a ton of notes of what you need to do and how, but how about we do the heavy lifting for you: Get your Free Local SEO Report now.
Step 7 - Backlink and Spam Analysis
Backlink analysis is a key part of your local SEO audit. Gone are the days when hundreds of backlinks meant better ranking. Google is interested in the quality not just the quantity of your backlinks, so examining the health of your current backlinks is critical, not least because you will be penalised for spammy links.
Again tools are your best friend here. Moz’s Open Site Explorer shows you the source of the backlink, the anchor text for that link, and the authority score (PA – Page Authority, DA – Domain Authority), it will also give you a spam score making it easier for you to decide which ones to keep and which ones to cull.
I’m not going to lie - you can do this yourself, search the web and you’ll find a bunch of free tools. But in using ours, you’re going to get so much more: Search Rankings, Local Listings, Reviews, On-Site SEO & Social Media as well. Besides, its new and we’re really excited about being able to help you!
We hope you enjoyed our blog. If you’re thinking about doing digital marketing, want to benchmark your current activity, or simply want to talk through how we can help, then book a call with us below. We’d love to hear from you!
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