Local SEO Audit: 10 Proven Strategies to Rank Higher on Google

Do you want to understand how to conduct a comprehensive local SEO audit that yields beneficial results for your company?

Successfully ranking in local search can be tricky, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are many moving parts, including on-page and off-page optimization strategies, website analytics, and competitor analysis to name just a few. 

With so much to cover, it’s easy to make mistakes that hurt your chances of outranking your competition locally. 

That’s why this local SEO audit has been organized into 10 specific strategies that will make sure you get the most bang for your buck when optimizing for local search keywords.

What is Included in a Comprehensive Local SEO Audit Checklist?

  1. Keywords/SERPs
  2. Website Audit
  3. Google Business Profile Audit
  4. Review management
  5. Local business listings and citations
  6. Local content Audit
  7. Google Search Console Audit
  8. Analytics Review
  9. Backlinks Review
  10. Competitor analysis

1. Keywords/SERPs

The first step in any local SEO audit is to identify the key terms and phrases that prospective customers are using to find your business online. 

The easiest way to do this is to run a search for the key terms and phrases on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. From here, you can start to piece together where your business appears for these terms and phrases and make improvements where necessary. 

You can also use the information from this step to set a goal for the amount of organic search volume you want to achieve over the next few months.

People search in a variety of ways, so don’t limit your research to single keywords; instead, consider the various ways and phrases your target audience might use to locate you or your products.

Your keyword research and subsequent content should address searchers’ purpose, which varies based on where they are in the purchase cycle.

Some people are just starting their search for a product or service and need information, such as “Where can I find a hardware shop?” Others are ready to buy right now, such as “cafe near me.”

A broader keyword view will provide you a better idea of your entire presence’s strength and where you should focus your efforts.

2. Website Audit

You now have the information you need to conduct a full keyword and technical website audit to ensure your site is optimized for maximum crawl-ability, index-ability, and visibility in organic search results. 

Using your data and guidance from this SEO audit checklist, you can make edits to your on-page content and structure, further enhance your internal linking structure and architecture, and work to remove any additional barriers to high-volume organic search engine traffic. 

This will help you to achieve the highest possible organic search engine ranking for your targeted keywords and content, which in turn will drive high volumes of quality traffic to your site.

3. Google Business Profile Audit

Google has long been a powerhouse when it comes to conducting online searches. But over the years, the search giant has added an array of services designed to help local businesses build a digital presence. 

One of those services is the Google Business Profile (GBP), a web page that represents a secondary website for most local businesses. 

A GBP acts as a highly visible point of presence for your business, helping to attract prospective customers and build your online brand.

An audit of a Google Business Profile should focus on the accuracy and completeness of the profile’s many components, including:

  • Information about the company and its location.
  • The principal business categorization is correct.
  • The operating hours.
  • Google Maps pin position is correct.
  • Appropriate classification as a physical location or service area company.
  • Services and products.
  • Photos.
  • Offers.
  • Updates.
  • Events.
  • Link to the appointment (s).
  • Content that is educational.
Google Business Profile Audit

4. Reviews management

One of the most important aspects of a great Google Business Page is reviews. Local customers have an opportunity to write reviews and appear on their Google Business Page for other customers to view. 

This not only provides potential new customers with a chance to see what other customers think but also provides businesses with a way to build their online reputation and establish a larger online presence. 

In many industries, a Google Business Page is the first point of contact with potential customers, so having a strong and compelling profile is critical to success.

On the other-hand, if you have a large number of negative reviews, you may consider asking customers to reference the product or service they are reviewing, in order to improve your search ranking in Google. 

This can also have a positive effect from a keyword perspective. This approach is a bit more aggressive, but can help you gain an edge over your competitors. 

You should consider being respectful and discreet when making these requests, since it should in no way be seen as an attempt to influence the opinions of your customers.

5. Local business listings and citations

Local business listings and citations provide search engines with a way of confirming a business are both local and reputable within a specific geographic region. 

By aggregating the most reliable data on local businesses, local citations help build the profile of a region on search engines. 

This, in turn, helps locals achieve higher rankings in their respective search results and aids in the discovery of local businesses by visitors. Locals can use local citations to build their online presence and attract new customers.

An audit of your listings and citations might be automatic or manual, depending on the size and breadth of your local business.

All primary citations with your proper Name, Address, Phone Number (aka NAP), and other essential business facts available in larger listings may be found, monitored, and updated using business listings and citation management tools (e.g. website address, business description.)

If you only manage a few locations and have the time, conducting a search on your company name is a quick way to find out where your current listings may be found.

6. Local Content Audit

Take a hard look at your site’s content and make sure it doesn’t contain any duplicate, thin, or incorrect information. Consider including more local keywords in your content, as well as Geo-targeted images and text links. 

Make sure your business information is up-to-date on Google My Business and other local directories; many of these listings also allow you to add a link back to your website.

Sharing is a great way to spread the word about great content, particularly if the share buttons are visible and easy to find. But those share buttons are only useful if your audience can find them. 

Unfortunately, many website owners neglect to optimize their content for maximum visibility and ease of sharing, which makes their readers feel like they’re contributing more than they actually are. 

And once your readers realize this, they’ll start looking for content that includes share buttons or links to their own websites.

7. Google Search Console Review

For most businesses, Google Search Console is an invaluable free resource for data related to keyword and content performance, indexing, schema/rich results validation, mobile/desktop experience monitoring, and security/malware detection. 

Search Console is a comprehensive dashboard that allows users to monitor and track the health of their online presence from a single dashboard. 

Users can access Search Console in a number of ways, including the web interface, mobile app, and API. 

The Search Console interface provides users with a wealth of data that can be organized and analyzed to help businesses optimize their digital presence.

8. Analytics Review

The data available here is useful during an audit to validate top and lesser-performing content, traffic sources, and advertising campaigns, whether you’re using Google Analytics or another site/visitation tracker solution. 

This data can also be used to optimize campaigns, design better interfaces, and enhance the user experience. Audits can be complex processes, however, so using data from other channels can help simplify the process and save time. 

Audits are an important step in the content marketing process because they help you understand how your content is performing and where you can improve.

One of the best ways to determine the quality of your backlinks is to evaluate the anchor text and the link authority of those links. 

While you certainly want to have a lot of backlinks, you also want to be sure that you’re attracting links with the proper anchor text, which will help you build brand awareness and attract more customers.

Connections from non-relevant or untrustworthy sites, on the other hand, can cause more harm than good in terms of SEO, and these links can occasionally be made without your knowledge.

As a result, depending on the size and scope of your website, a backlink audit should be performed every six to twelve months.

There are various solid free and commercial backlink tools available, including a link tracking service in Google Search Console, which is a wonderful place to start, as there are for other components of an audit.

Check Backlinks for Local SEO Audit.

When it comes to auditing connecting domains, you should look for those that you don’t recognize or that appear to be untrustworthy or irrelevant to your local business.

It may be necessary to inquire about having the link deleted, depending on the source, nature of the link, and the information it connects to.

An efficient backlink audit serves the twin aim of detecting and creating links from potentially useful backlink sources, which can help you rank higher and be more visible.

10. Competitor Analysis

A local SEO audit should be the first step in any robust SEO campaign. It’s the best way to identify your specific competition’s strengths and weaknesses in the space you’re targeting. 

This helps you tailor your strategy to take advantage of the opportunities you find, and avoid the pitfalls that could provide a competitive advantage to your rivals. 

A new Google algorithm update appears to indicate that more emphasis is being placed on results related to a business’s near neighborhood, implying that your closest high-ranking competitors should receive the most attention.

If any of your competitors’ websites or pages are ranking higher than yours, you should investigate what they’re doing to get this advantage.

You can use the same checklist of steps to determine how they may be improving their keywords, content, Google Business Profile, reviews, local business listings, or backlinks as you would for your own audit.

In general, the best strategy to outperform your competitors is to give a superior overall experience both online and offline, which includes producing more relevant, high-quality material to answer issues your mutual customers have.

Conclusion:

For the best chance of being found by your local target audience, these audit elements should be evaluated every 6-12 months, depending on the size and extent of your web presence.

I hope you like this article on how to work on an effective Local SEO audit strategy to increase your customer ratings.

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