SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
Perform a SEO Audit to identify issues and opportunities to improve your search engine ranking.
Businesses on Page 2 of the search engine results page (SERP) might as well not exist. It sounds harsh, but it’s simply the reality that we all need to accept.
You know the drill—you want pizza so, you get on your phone and do a search. Google returns its top 3 local options in the “Snack Pack” and 10 other organic results. You pick one, make a call, or swing by the pizza joint.
If you’re the local pizza joint, you want and need to appear on the first page for those target keywords. So, how do you get them there? You’ll need to do a local SEO audit to find out. Here’s how to get it done.
Step 1: Audit Keywords
Where do you currently rank? What keywords are you targeting? What keywords are your competitors using? You’ll want to use a keyword finder to identify high-volume local target keywords.
Step 2: Audit Your Competition’s Local SEO
You don’t need to do a full diagnostic on each competitor, but take a look at the following, and compare the data to yours:
GMB ranking for top keywords
Organic rankings for top keywords
Number of links
This should give you a pretty good idea of why your competitor is successful in local SERPs.
Step 3: Audit Google My Business (GMB) Listing
If you want to appear in Google’s ‘snack pack’, your GMB listing should be robust, and well-optimized with your core target keywords.
Here are some things to look for:
Do you have a GMB listing? If so, is it claimed and verified?
Is all business information present and correct?
Do you have multiple reviews and a high cumulative rating? Are you responding to reviews?
Do you have appropriate business categories listed?
Do you have images of the business?
Have you created any GMB posts?
Are you participating in the Questions & Answers section?
Step 4: Audit Reviews for Quality and Quantity
Reviews pack a ton of clout in both the local ranking and reputation building arenas. Search engines regard them as an authentic measure of a local business’s popularity and viability. Potential customers trust reviews as an accurate gauge for that business’s quality level.
Getting an abundance of positive, glowing and wordy reviews across multiple review platforms like GMB, Facebook, Yelp, and vertical-specific sites like Houzz, Tripadvisor, and Healthgrades helps you win on many levels.
Step 5: Audit Links for Quality and Quantity
Links remain the bread and butter of Google’s ranking algorithm. A diverse array of quality links is crucial for any local business’s link portfolio. This means that you’ll need to evaluate your links, looking for links with:
Industry or vertical topic clusters
High domain authority
Step 6: Audit Schema-Markup for Local
Schema markup is code that goes on a website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. Schema tells the search engines what your data means, not just what it says.
This is a key way to tell search engines exactly what a given website is about, which will help them serve it up on SERPs for the correct search queries. One way to check to ensure that your site is using schema markup is to enter your URL in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool You’ll be able to check to see if all the correct info about your business has been included.
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Step 7: Audit Local SEO Citations
How frequently is your business mentioned online? Auditing your citations will determine how many online mentions exist of the name, address, and phone number for your business.
Step 8: Audit SEO on Main Pages
An audit of the main website pages is probably the most important piece of your entire audit. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming, if you have the proper tools. Screaming Frog is one of many excellent tools that’ll deliver a comprehensive look at your on-page SEO.
With your list of target keywords in hand, you’ll want to run through each page on your spreadsheet looking at the keywords on each page. Specifically, you’ll be looking at:
Once you’ve evaluated and recorded the weaknesses in your local SEO, you can make use of a SEO plugin to help you do your work.
Step 9: Audit Image SEO
Auditing image keyword optimization boils down to evaluating each image’s filename and alt text. Since Google can’t yet tell what visual content an image contains yet, site crawlers rely on things like the filename and alt text to determine what’s being displayed. These are places you should optimize with relevant target keywords.
You can get some big improvements in page load speed when images are optimized to reduce their file size without significantly impacting their visual quality. Again, there are several SEO tools that can help.
Step 10: Check Website Speed
Having a site that loads rapidly is crucial in today’s online business environment. For search engines, better results and performance is a sign of a healthy site that pleases customers and therefore should be rewarded with a higher ranking.
Step 11: Audit Site Engagement
What visitors do when they discover your business online affects your rankings. Engagement is simply a much more accurate signal of the quality of local businesses than the traditional ranking factors of links, directory citations, and even reviews.
Metrics like organic search click-through rate (CTR), dwell time, bounce rate, and conversion rate are all ranking factors. You can simply use Google Analytics to examine your engagement metrics and compare them to industry benchmarks.
Step 12: Audit Social Engagement
Although we don’t know exactly the weightings of Google’s search algorythms, there’s no doubt that a strong social media presence can significantly boost local SEO efforts. Therefore, evaluating your social platforms is an essential part of your local SEO audit:
Number of people that like your Facebook page + Facebook shares
Number of Twitter followers + tweets mentioning your brand name
Number of LinkedIn company followers and Linkedin Shares
Performing a comprehensive local SEO audit using the 12 steps I’ve outlined is going to show you what needs to be addressed—make sure you taking notes and keeping a good record of the identified problem areas. Fixing those issues is crucial to getting the ranking you want.
A good way to get started is to use MarketGoo, which automatically scans a website and generates a step-by-step SEO plan to help you increase your website traffic and rankings.
Want to skip all this work and let the experts at Praqtical Marketing Works handle your SEO? Contact us today!