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The process to convert a random internet user to your customer is all that counts into Local SEO. Consider an example, when you visit some unfamiliar place after a drive of 8 hours, the first thing which you would do is search for food that suits your taste.

The next step that you will be taking is to raise a query like “Pasta near me” and on that, the search engine will take you to the nearest option available, bringing you a list of top results out of which you usually pick any restaurant listed in top 3 pack.

According to a report by Backlinko, the top 3 results account for more than 75 percent of all clicks. Thus, making your business rank on the first page or specifically top 3 is undoubtedly an essential requirement to thrive your business on the web.

However, the path to making your business rank in the top 3 of the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) is all about aiming at Local SEO.

Diving into the term, “Local SEO”

Local SEO is about creating value of your brand or service across a local region to drive extensive conversions. However, the process to work on Local SEO starts with links, local content, social profiles, and citations that help to build relevance of the business within a local region.

In short, Local SEO is about optimizing your website for a stronger local SERP presence and reaching the potential audience in a defined geographical region. Local SEO helps you to achieve the first page rankings addressing the local audience that can build you better conversions.

What is a Local SEO Audit?

When 85 percent of the customers are using the internet to find the service or business they need, it becomes very natural to understand how necessary it is to work on SEO. However, most businesses, either established or startups struggle on planning their first step to SEO or Local SEO.

Actually, the process to rank higher and drive better traffic starts with website audits conducted in routine. Local SEO Audit is about checking your website to identify any flaws that are required to be worked to gain a strong impression on the web. Local SEO audit comprises of so many significant ranking factors such as links, authority, reviews, on-page SEO, social media, GMB, and more. Now, as we have to build a brief idea of how local SEO audit works, let us walk through the article digging out on details that help to enhance the Local SEO Audit process.

Preliminary Checks

Though Local SEO Audit is all about checking on the factors that can create an impact on a business’s digital impression, certain checkpoints must be well understood before you proceed with the process. These are:

  • Check for your business’s NAP consistency and reach.
  • Study the geographical area of service.
  • Explore your business listing, website, and blogs.
  • Perform competitor analysis to extract potential data.

Local SEO Audit – A Detailed Guide 

1. Keyword Analysis

The foundation of a solid local SEO strategy is always laid with the best use of keywords. The relevant use of keywords plays a crucial role in establishing the impression of a website or a particular web page. Though you may get to find so many strategies or ideas on the web to enhance your SEO, keyword analysis is the primary step that leads to every process.

Even if Google has so many unique ranking factors that help the bots to decide the authority of a website, the organic SEO rankings are purely based on keyword use. the process to find the keywords with maximum potential starts with keyword research that could be made using tools like SemrushAhrefs, or Google Keyword Planner, etc.

To work on the keyword analysis, you can simply enter the URL of your website along with your business location, and the tool will direct you to the organic performance of keywords. Also, you can check one keyword at a time to analyze how your competitors are ranking on it.

Apart from this, you must try to aim at geo-modified and geo-targeted keywords since they help to build a reputation for your local business, taking the most searched terms in your service area as the base.

Remember, the right selection and use of keywords is everything that helps you to build your impression on the web, bringing you more conversions and leads at the local level.

2. Meta Data

The next important factor that defines the ranking of your website is the content in Meta tags. Therefore it is vital to check for the Meta tags on the website for effective keyword use. But how does the process goes? Here’s a 4 step guide you can follow:

  • Find a list of 5 keywords that can bring you the best exposure in your local area.
  • Create Meta tags that have perfect use of keyword plus easy readability.
  • Try using your business city/area or popular search term in the title tag.
  • Make sure your title tag should be less than 580 pixels/60 characters and the description should be 1000 pixels/135 characters long. You can take the help of tools like to the web to validate the pixels of Metadata.

3. GMB Listing

If you are a local business that is not registered at Google My Business, it is the time to get one. GMB is essential for a local business that helps to add to the local business reputation. GMB setup helps people find and review your business, along with all the information like name, address, & phone number (NAP).

A well-maintained GMB listing helps you to connect to your potential customers. Therefore when you are working on your GMB listing (either new or already established), make sure all the information like address, phone, zip code should be listed perfectly. Moreover, you must clearly mention the working hours and any other essential details that could help your customer find value in your service.

Also, you should try to keep a check on Google Guidelines for GMB set up because missing on even a single detail could bring you penalties. Apart from this, you can also add your GMB and Google maps URL on your website’s footer to help your keywords rank better.

4. Backlink Analysis 

Just like a person’s reputation is accounted for by the connections that they have in life, search engines determine your business reputation by the number of links you have. A backlink could be a do-follow or no-follow, but they both help search engines to know about your business.

Backlink analysis is an essential part of a local SEO audit that could be worked with the help of tools like Ahref backlink checker which can help you identify the total backlinks you have for your business. It just needs you to enter your website URL and you can quickly find all the active, broken, or spammed links.

Moreover, you can also take insights on the anchor text and authority of the website on which you have your backlink.

Remember, effective Local SEO needs you to aim at links with high domain authority and getting rid of any links that can add to your spam score or bring you Google penalty.

5. Citation Analysis

If you have noticed, every time you make a local search, the top positions are always captured by websites like Yelp, Foursquare, or other listings. Smart Local SEO Audit needs you to have your business listed on all popular online listing platforms. Moreover, it helps your business to be easily found and recognized by the users who can contribute to the conversions.

Consequently, if you need to make your business have a strong impression in local search results, all you need to do is work at establishing your business presence on the popular listing websites and directories that can help you with a stronger web presence.

6. Social Media Channels

When you have an active presence on social media, it helps you attract more users to your website adding to your website traffic. For instance, you can list your business on a social media website like FB that can be synced with your GMB.

Moreover, website like twitter allows people to follow your business based on the location similarity while Pinterest could help you get traffic when people search for some images relevant to your services.

It only takes you to keep a watch on the regular involvement on social media because it can directly add to the website on your local business website. Also, social media could act as a great platform to promote your products, content or any advertisements, giving you a wider reach of audience.

7. Duplicate Content Check 

If you have a brief idea of how SEO works, you must be familiar with the concept of how to duplicate or plagiarized content could make you penalized. Though it is true to some extent, it is not necessarily the case because only the websites that are spam and doesn’t align with Google policies have to bear penalties.

Google only avoids the content that makes it difficult for spiders to crawl eliminating any confusion for the spiders on which page to be taken to SERPs. Also, if you need to use duplicate content on your website, you can simply add the “No Index” tag on your website to hide the content from Google bots preventing spamming.

Usually, Google on finding duplicate content ranks one content higher than others based on the factors like the Domain Authority of the source plus the source where it was first published (along with other algorithms). But it is always good to avoid the use of excessive duplicate content since it negatively impacts the user experience. This can be done by taking the help of duplicate content checking tools and getting rid of any copied content that can increase your bounce rate and affect your customer experience.

Local SEO Checklist

Design & Layout Website Content CTA NAP & Local Citations Backlinks Mobile Responsiveness Content Marketing Review & User Ratings
Aim at a mobile-friendly design Post content that keeps people on the website Use visual cues for making effective CTAs Focus at consistency in NAP Make high-quality backlinks from sources with high DA Work on a mobile speed test Focus at case studies, interviews, local events, & more Get online reviews and testimonials
Easy to navigate for users Add volume of quality content Tweak your pitch to be more time-sensitive Put your NAP for all location pages as well as a footer section Build ethical backlinks from the news or local event sites etc. Check for mobile-friendliness of the website Post your content at related but non-competitive websites Expand your business to social media for more exposure with reviews
Faster loading website with compressed images & videos Avoid content duplicity Consider using the word Free Update all old citations Find your competitor’s backlinks and aim to get backlinks at the sources Consider using AMPs for quicker loading Follow trends in your area and use area-specific keywords Revert to all reviews and queries
Follow a logical sitemap to structure Keep adding fresh content that helps in branding Show your commitment through CTAs List your business on citation services like yext, bright local, Moz, and white spark. Avoid toxic links & aim at rebuilding broken links Optimize all your meta tags and header tags for mobile Go for PRs, Guest Posts, and cross-promotions Get your reviews on your website and make your business listed on local review websites

Mining Tools to Create Impact SEO

When you are working on the process to make your local SEO strategy better with a powerful SEO audit, you can always switch to the tools that can help in creating impact SEO. Here we have a list of some best tools that can be of great help in conducting audits and build a stronger presence of your business on the web.

Rank Checking Tools

Change your location in the browser or local SERPs

Review Management & Store Locator Builders

Conclusion

Search engine optimization is a crucial part of building your brand online. When you are aiming at local customers, working on Local SEO needs you to have all the information necessary for the optimization process and it could only be gathered through a smart local SEO audit.

A progressive site audit can play a significant role in attracting more customers to your business. Moreover, an SEO audit brings you all the information that can help customers reach relevant results when they need some service or information from the web.

Either you have a start-up or you have a business that is established for more than 10 years, intelligent local SEO audit and effective local SEO optimization could bring you required exposure with potential customers and leads to capture. However, it is entirely on your part to work on the above tips and tricks while planning your SEO strategy or local SEO audit.

Online marketing expert Amit is the Vice President of the Digital Marketing Division at Netsmartz. During his extensive career of 17+ years in Online marketing, he has helped multiple businesses with their Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Analytics, eCommerce Optimization, Go-To-Market strategy, Mobile App Marketing, ad e-Retail Marketing strategy and implementation. He is equipped with the relevant industry recognized certifications such as “Google AdWords partner certification”, “Google Analytics”, and “Bing AdCenter certification”.

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