Today, we're diving deep into the world of local SEO audits. If you're looking to enhance your visibility in local search results (with or without on-page SEO services) you're in the right place. This strategic guide will walk you through the process of conducting a local SEO audit to pinpoint areas for improvement and boost your rankings in your locale. Whether you're a business owner or a digital marketer, this is your roadmap to success.
Why Conduct a Local SEO Audit?
Before we delve into the specifics of conducting a local SEO audit, let's clarify why it's so crucial for your online success. A local SEO audit is essentially a health check for your website's local search optimization. It involves evaluating your website's performance in search engines like Google, ensuring you appear prominently when users search for products or services in your area.
So, why should you conduct a local SEO audit?
- Improved Visibility: Local SEO optimization ensures that your business ranks well in local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find you.
- Enhanced User Experience: By addressing SEO issues, you provide a better user experience, leading to increased user engagement and conversions.
- Competitive Edge: Local SEO audits can uncover opportunities to outperform your competitors, securing a dominant position in local search.
Now that we've established the importance of a local SEO audit, let's move on to the step-by-step process.
How to Conduct a Local SEO Audit?
Step 1: Keyword Research and Analysis
Effective local SEO begins with comprehensive keyword research. Start by identifying the keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business and target audience. To do this, you can use various local SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner, Moz, or SEMrush.
- Begin by brainstorming keywords related to your business, products, and services.Analyze the search volume, competition, and relevance of each keyword.
- Focus on long-tail keywords, as they often have less competition and can be highly relevant to local users.
- Create a list of primary and secondary keywords for your website.Important: Make sure there is a good use of terms related to your region.
- This is something Google watches for when making associations with your business and the state/city/town you want to showcase your authority in.
Step 2: On-Page SEO Analysis
Now that you have your list of keywords, it's time to analyze your website's on-page SEO elements. Ensure that your website is optimized for these keywords with the following elements:
Title Tags: Check if your title tags include your primary keywords and are within the recommended length of 60 characters. In Google Sheets, you can use the LEN formula to count the characters of a cell and you can use the IMPORTXML formula to extract a page's meta title.
Meta Descriptions: Craft engaging meta descriptions that also include your keywords and provide a clear call to action.
Header Tags: Use header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to structure your content and include keywords where appropriate.
Content Optimization: Review the content on your pages to ensure it is informative, engaging, and keyword-rich. Avoid keyword stuffing.
Image Optimization: Optimize image alt text with keywords, and ensure images are compressed for faster loading times.
URL Structure: Make sure your URLs are clean, descriptive, and contain relevant keywords. Something to assess is how your competitors use their locations in the URL structure. For instance, is it mentioned in the URL slug or folder? These all have an impact on your site's SEO in your city/state.
Step 3: Local SEO Checklist
This comprehensive local SEO checklist will help you ensure that you've covered all the essential elements. Here's a quick rundown:
Google My Business (GMB) Optimization: Claim and verify your GMB listing, ensuring that all information is accurate and up-to-date. Keep in mind you will want to do this for eveyr
NAP Consistency: Ensure that your business's Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) are consistent across all online platforms.
Local Citations: Audit and correct any inconsistent or inaccurate citations across various online directories.
Customer Reviews: Monitor and respond to customer reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
Local Link Building: Build high-quality, local backlinks from reputable websites in your area.
Mobile-Friendly Website: Ensure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly to cater to the growing mobile user base.
Local Schema Markup: Implement local schema markup to provide search engines with structured data about your business. Examples include local business markup (organization), review markup, breadcrumb markup, local business service markup, event markup, and local markup (if your business has multiple locations, you can mark up each location individually to provide detailed information).
Site Speed Optimization: Optimize your website's loading speed to improve user experience and SEO rankings.
Step 4: Technical SEO Audit
In addition to on-page and local SEO factors, it's crucial to perform a technical SEO audit. This step ensures that your website functions properly and is accessible to both users and search engines.
Site Structure: Review your website's structure, taxonomy, and faceted navigation to ensure that it's logical and easy to navigate.
Mobile Optimization: Test your website's mobile responsiveness and make improvements if necessary.
Crawl Errors: Use tools like Google Search Console and Screaming Frog to identify and fix crawl errors, broken links, and duplicate content issues.
Page Speed: Optimize your website's load times by compressing images, using browser caching, and reducing server response times.
SSL Certificate: Ensure that your website is secure by installing an SSL certificate, as secure websites are favored by search engines.
Robots.txt and XML Sitemap: Review and optimize your robots.txt file and XML sitemap to guide search engine crawlers effectively.
Step 5: Content Audit
Content is king in the world of SEO. Evaluate your website's content for quality, relevance, and engagement with these four measurements.
Content Relevance: Ensure that your content aligns with your target keywords and audience's interests.
Content Quality: Review the grammar, spelling, and overall quality of your content. Remove any duplicate or thin content. Watch out for potential cannibalization between organic and paid search.
Keyword Integration: Check if your target keywords are strategically integrated into your content.
Content Freshness: Regularly update and refresh older content to demonstrate your website's relevance. Here's a solid guide from SEMrush on how often you should update on-page SEO.
Step 6: Backlink Analysis
Backlinks play a significant role in SEO. Conduct a thorough analysis of your website's backlink profile with these three guidelines.
Backlink Quality: Assess the quality of your backlinks. High-quality, authoritative backlinks are more valuable. When it comes to local SEO, the more backlinks from local blogs and thought leaders, the more topical authority you'll have in your local area.
Toxic Backlinks: Identify and disavow any toxic backlinks that may be harming your SEO.
Competitor Backlinks: Analyze your competitors' backlink profiles to discover opportunities for link-building and assess where you compare against them.
Step 7: Performance Tracking
After completing your local SEO audit, it's essential to track your performance over time.
Google Analytics: Set up Google Analytics to monitor website traffic, user behavior, and other essential metrics.
Google Search Console: Continuously monitor your website's performance, indexation, and any issues reported by Google.
Rank Tracking: Use rank tracking tools to monitor your keyword rankings and assess the impact of your SEO efforts.
Conversion Tracking: Implement conversion tracking to measure the effectiveness of your local SEO campaigns.
A well-executed local SEO audit is the key to improving your website's search engine visibility and attracting local customers. By following this comprehensive guide, you can identify areas for improvement and implement the necessary changes to boost your rankings.
Remember, the digital landscape is constantly evolving, so make local SEO audits a regular part of your online marketing strategy. Whether you're a business owner or a digital marketer, the insights gained from an audit will help you stay ahead of the competition and connect with your local audience effectively.
If you'd like professional assistance in conducting a local SEO audit or need help implementing the recommended changes, our team at PBJ Marketing is here to help. Contact us today to get started on your journey to local search success.
So, go ahead, perform your local SEO audit, and watch your online presence flourish in the local marketplace. The results will speak for themselves, and your business will thank you for it.