In today’s digital world, having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any business. And when it comes to local businesses, optimizing for local search is key to a local SEO Success and to attracting potential customers in their specific geographical area.

This is where Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) comes into play. With the increasing use of mobile devices and location-based searches, it has become more important than ever for businesses to have a solid Local SEO strategy in place.

However, with the constantly evolving algorithms of search engines and the abundance of information available online, it can be overwhelming and challenging for businesses to navigate the world of Local SEO. That’s why we have created a comprehensive 6-step guide that will serve as a roadmap to Local SEO success.

In this guide, we will unlock hidden opportunities and cover all the essential steps to help your business rank higher in local search results and ultimately drive more organic search traffic or organic traffic and conversions.

So, let’s dive into the world of Local SEO and unlock the potential for your business to thrive in its local market.

There is Room for Improvement

Imagine this scenario: you are the owner of a small local business and you have a website to support your operations. While things are going reasonably well, you can’t help but feel that there is room for improvement.

If only your website had better visibility on the internet, you could attract more customers and increase your profits, ultimately making you feel more accomplished and successful.

But how can you make this a reality?

Perhaps you don’t have to imagine this situation because it is your current reality. Or maybe someone in this exact situation has approached you seeking assistance.

Fortunately, the solution is not complicated: combining a local business with a well-optimized website equals local SEO. However, the question remains, where should you begin?

Before diving into the task of improving your website’s ranking factors, it is crucial to understand its strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This necessitates conducting a comprehensive local SEO audit.

Think of a local SEO audit as a doctor carefully examining their patient before prescribing treatment. What aspects should you assess when evaluating a local business’s website and online presence?

Let’s embark on this journey and uncover the essential steps to conduct an effective local SEO audit.

1. Check For Google Penalties

Finding hidden opportunities to improve your search rankings is crucial for boosting your website’s success. The initial phase, which happens to be the simplest, holds immense potential in this regard. However, before delving into this, it is essential to ascertain if your website is currently facing any penalties from Google.

To determine if any penalties exist, it is necessary to connect your website to Google Search Console. In case you haven’t already done so, either you or the website owner will need to establish and verify the connection beforehand.

As the site owner, sign in to Google Search Console and choose the specific website you are currently assessing under the Search property section.

Next, locate the sidebar on the left-hand side and navigate to the section labeled Security & Manual Actions. Within this section, you will find an option to access Manual actions.

In the event that the message displayed is, “No issues detected,” congratulations! This signifies that everything is functioning smoothly.

However, if any other message appears, it indicates that there are initial obstacles that require your attention and resolution.

2. Run A Keyword Audit

Welcome to the first thrilling foray into exploring the untapped potential of local SEO. Within this crucial step, a myriad of hidden opportunities await your discovery and enhancement.

To embark upon this journey, it is imperative that you possess a comprehensive list of keywords aimed at boosting your search engine ranking. While some of these keywords may already come to mind, there are numerous others that can be unearthed through your diligent efforts.

Take, for instance, the scenario where you are the proud owner of a charming bakery nestled in the heart of London. In this case, a prime keyword contender would naturally be “bakery shops in London” – a phrase that aptly captures the essence of your business and its locale.

After identifying your targeted keywords, it is essential to assess two crucial aspects:

  • Evaluate your existing keyword rankings.
  • Analyze user search intent.

Now, let’s embark on the journey of uncovering the rankings of your chosen keywords.

How To Discover Keyword Rankings

To begin, it is essential to determine whether your website is visible on a search engine results page (SERP) at all. The ultimate objective is to secure a prominent position on either page 1 or within the 3-Pack.

One approach is to individually search the keywords from your list on Google. However, a more efficient method would be to employ an SEO tool that allows you to assess all the keywords simultaneously.

Easily monitor your website’s rankings using the Rank Tracking tool provided by WebCEO.

To begin, simply click on the +Add Keywords button. Input all the desired keywords that you wish to track. Afterward, save your selections and initiate the scanning process to generate a comprehensive report.

What makes this tool particularly advantageous for local SEO is its ability to scan specific locations. This feature allows you to focus on optimizing your website’s online visibility within your targeted area.

Moreover, the Rank Tracking tool can identify more intriguing search results, such as the local pack, hotels, or the Knowledge Panel. These insights provide valuable information about how your website is performing in relation to local search queries.

When you receive the generated report, pay close attention to the Position and SERP columns. These indicators display the precise rankings of your website, providing valuable insights into its overall performance.

Additionally, it is also worthwhile to review the Local monthly searches column. This particular metric showcases the frequency with which users input those specific keywords into Google.

If any of the aforementioned columns are missing from your report, worry not. Simply click the Manage columns button to effortlessly add them back into the report.

Next, we will delve into a comprehensive examination of the keywords used by users to determine their search intentions.

How To Discover Keyword Search Intent

The essence of search intent lies in comprehending the specific phrases that prospective buyers input into Google in order to find relevant outcomes that align with their desires.

To illustrate, an individual in search of a purchase might enter the phrase “purchase blue iced baby boy sugar cookies in London” – this particular type of search carries a purpose that is more inclined towards transactions. It is crucial for you to ensure that the keywords you employ effectively capitalize on this transactional or commercial intent.

Consider the following inquiries:

  • Are there any keywords in your relevant content or for your services that do not pertain to your website or offerings?
  • Have you opted for short-tail or long-tail keywords? Long-tail keywords, being more specific, tend to yield better results. It is significantly more challenging to rank for short-tail keywords unless you have considerable authority in your field.
  • Are your keywords inclusive of terms like where, closest, or near me? Location-based searches commonly incorporate such words, making it a prevalent local SEO practice to integrate them into your keyword strategy.

Having gained a comprehensive understanding of the role you play in keyword searches and the underlying purpose of these keywords, you now possess the necessary insights to effectively enhance your content strategy, thereby improving your website’s ranking.

3. Check Your Google Business Profile

First and foremost, I would like to inquire whether you or your esteemed customers have a listing on Google Business Profile (GBP). If not, I regret to inform you that it could have detrimental consequences for your local SEO. Rectifying this issue presents a remarkable opportunity to swiftly enhance your local search endeavors, thereby making it an advantageous endeavor!

However, if you do possess a Google Business Profile, I encourage you to log in and explore the various features it has to offer.

Is Any Information Missing From Your Google Business Profile?

Having an empty space in your GBP is like leaving a gap in your local SEO strategy. It is crucial to ensure that every detail regarding your business is accurately and presently filled out:

  • Provide the business name.
  • Offer a comprehensive description.
  • Specify relevant categories.
  • Include the address.
  • State the opening hours, and more.

By diligently completing all the necessary fields, you can enhance the effectiveness of your local SEO efforts.

It is essential to consider the restrictions imposed by character limits.

Are Keywords Present & Used Properly On Your Google Business Profile?

In order to optimize your website’s visibility in Google’s local pack, it is crucial to incorporate relevant keywords, particularly those with local significance, into your GBP (Google Business Profile). By doing so, you can greatly increase the chances of your business appearing in this highly competitive space.

However, it is important to note that simply including keywords in the title is not enough to comply with Google’s guidelines. These guidelines require businesses to use their real-world names. Nevertheless, resourceful business owners have found a clever workaround by strategically incorporating keywords into their business names. This loophole allows them to adhere to both the guidelines and the ranking algorithm.

It is worth mentioning that while leveraging this tactic, it is essential for the business name to sound natural and not forced. By striking a balance between incorporating keywords and maintaining a natural-sounding name, businesses can maximize their chances of success in the local pack rankings.

Incorporating pertinent keywords within the GBP categories is essential for optimal results. While it is not mandatory, it is highly recommended to include them within the description as well, amplifying the overall effectiveness.

Are Photos & Other Images Uploaded On Your GBP?

  • Your Google Business Profile offers a range of options for uploading images, which can greatly enhance your online presence. The more images you include, the more impactful your profile becomes. Consider Logo: A fundamental component for any business, a logo provides instant recognition and reinforces your brand identity.
  • Cover photo: This image is essential as it appears prominently in Google search results, attracting potential customers and giving them a glimpse into your business.
  • Exterior photos: By showcasing the appearance of your establishment, you enable customers to easily locate and recognize your physical location, fostering trust and familiarity.
  • Interior photos: Providing a visual preview of what customers can expect when they visit your premises can alleviate any anxiety or uncertainty they may have, leading to a more comfortable and positive experience.
  • Team photos: Including images of your team members adds a personal touch and can help establish a connection with your audience. If you have received favorable reviews praising individual employees, featuring their photos can elevate them to local celebrity status.
  • Product/service photos: A picture is worth a thousand words, and displaying images of your products or services allows potential customers to understand and visualize what you have to offer. This transparency builds confidence and sets clear expectations.

By leveraging these various image categories, you can enhance the effectiveness of your Google Business Profile and provide visitors with a comprehensive and engaging representation of your business.

Ensuring the utmost quality of all images is an unquestionable prerequisite. Furthermore, it is imperative to acknowledge videos as an additional form of visual content. Take the time to carefully view any videos and meticulously identify potential discrepancies or shortcomings that may arise.

What Is The Posting Activity Like?

The GBP platform offers users the ability to effectively connect with their intended audience by creating engaging posts. It is worthwhile to observe the level of activity and interactions happening on the page.

To ensure an optimal online presence, it is important to go beyond the minimum requirement of posting once a month. Take a moment to reflect on the following inquiries:

  • How frequently does the owner of GBP engage in posting updates?
  • What specific types of content are they sharing?
  • Are they actively engaging with their customer base?
  • Do they make an effort to promote events and sales?

Posting frequently and incorporating a wide range of content can greatly enhance the effectiveness of utilizing this feature. Additionally, it is highly beneficial for posts to encompass elements such as links, photos, and geo-mentions.

Is There An FAQ Page?

Having a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on a website can be an immensely valuable resource, as it ensures that customers’ queries and concerns are addressed. It is a certainty that customers will have inquiries, and providing them with a comprehensive FAQ can greatly enhance their overall experience on the website.

4. Find On-Page SEO Issues

The significance of on-page optimization cannot be overstated, as it presents a remarkable concealed prospect, particularly if your competitors have not tapped into it. Although it may require considerable effort and leaves room for potential errors, acing this aspect will unequivocally position you at the forefront of your industry.

By utilizing this tool, you will have the capability to conduct a comprehensive scan of all pages on your website simultaneously. This invaluable feature ensures that you are able to identify and rectify any on-page SEO errors that may exist.

When conducting a local SEO audit, it is crucial to pay close attention to the following significant matters:

  • The presence of broken images on your website.
  • The absence of a sitemap, which is a vital component for effective SEO.
  • The lack of a robots.txt file, which plays a crucial role in guiding search engine bots.
  • The omission of ALT attributes for images, which is essential for optimizing accessibility.
  • The occurrence of overly long, missing, or duplicate title and description tags, which can adversely impact your website’s search engine rankings.

It is imperative to give due attention to any additional concerns highlighted in the report, as they all have a detrimental impact on the rankings of the website.

5. Perform A Backlink Audit

Backlinks hold immense influence as a determining factor for search engine rankings, presenting an often overlooked potential to surpass your competitors in search results.

The impact of backlinks on your SEO cannot be overstated; their presence or absence can significantly affect your website’s performance, even if all other aspects of your optimization are executed flawlessly. A comprehensive evaluation of your SEO strategy would be incomplete without a thorough analysis of your backlink profile, including its relevance to local search engine optimization efforts.

Once you have completed your report, it is imperative to assess the strength of your backlink profile.

Firstly, it is crucial to determine whether you are experiencing a growth or decline in backlinks. While quality should always be prioritized over quantity, a continuous decrease in backlinks indicates a concerning situation.

Moreover, it is essential to evaluate the relevance of the domains from which you are acquiring backlinks. Backlinks obtained from domains within your niche hold the utmost value as they significantly contribute to improving your website’s rankings and authority.

Additionally, it is important to identify any spammy backlinks originating from undesirable pages or domains. If such links exist, it becomes imperative to take appropriate action to eradicate them, either by requesting their removal or by disavowing them.

Lastly, it is crucial to analyze the anchor texts used in your backlinks. These anchor texts play a vital role in determining your ranking keywords. Therefore, an ideal scenario would involve an abundance of anchors that align with your preferred keywords. It is worth noting that textless anchors also qualify as anchors; however, they are not as preferable as those with relevant text.

6. Evaluate Your Online Reputation

The success or failure of a local enterprise heavily hinges upon its standing among its clientele. Fortunately, we can rely on the vast expanse of the internet for this purpose. It serves as an invaluable platform to ascertain public perception and meticulously analyze customer feedback.

Upon completion of this crucial phase, it is desirable that your patrons continue to experience uninterrupted rest. So, what key aspects should you consider during this evaluation process?

Collect Reviews For Your Website & Potential Keywords

Collecting customer reviews is crucial for any reputable local business. It is imperative to gather both positive and negative reviews, as well as detailed feedback, to ensure that every aspect is taken into consideration. Particularly significant are reviews that contain keywords your website ranks for, as they hold substantial value.

Additionally, it is essential not to underestimate the significance of the review section on Google Business Profile. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to thoroughly review any business listings your clients have created on various review platforms. These platforms should not be disregarded as they can provide valuable insights for your business.

Be Sure Ratings Are Included In Your Reviews

Reviews and star ratings often go hand in hand when it comes to online content. This is particularly advantageous for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. However, it is not uncommon for business directories to present rating scores separately from user reviews. If your client’s website appears in Google’s local pack, you can quickly access their ratings.

Nevertheless, conducting a comprehensive local SEO audit will necessitate gathering additional information from various sources.

Get Notified When Your Brand Is Mentioned

In today’s competitive landscape, it is a common aspiration for businesses to garner widespread attention for their brand. However, one significant challenge lies in the limitations of personal perception and the extent of self-research one can undertake.

Fortunately, there exist invaluable resources designed to capture the buzz circulating across the digital realm, enabling businesses to stay attuned to the electronic pulse of public opinion.

Improve Social Media Engagement

It is essential to thoroughly review your client’s social media pages which they have established for their business, as it is a fundamental practice for all.

Determining the effectiveness of their management can be achieved by assessing the following criteria:

  • Frequency of updates: Assess the regularity with which they post new content. Do they maintain a consistent schedule or sporadically share updates?
  • Update formats: Examine the diverse range of formats employed to disseminate information. Are they predominantly text-based, or do they also incorporate visuals like images, videos, polls, or other interactive elements?
  • User engagement levels: Evaluate the extent to which users actively participate with the content. Consider metrics such as likes, shares, upvotes, comments, or any other forms of interaction.
  • User response in the comment section: Analyze how users react and engage with the updates. Are the comments generally positive, constructive, or critical? Do they foster meaningful discussions or generate valuable feedback?
  • Responsiveness of the client: Assess the promptness with which the client responds to user queries or comments. A timely and effective response reflects a well-run management approach.

By scrutinizing these aspects, one can discern the level of competence and efficiency exhibited by the entity in question.

Typically, a substantial level of engagement (both by the page owner and its users) on a social media platform signifies positive outcomes. Should any issues arise within such a context, it is advisable to make note of them for further evaluation and attention.

In Conclusion

As we come to the end of our 6-step guide to local SEO success, it’s clear that there are many hidden opportunities out there waiting to be unlocked. By following these steps, you can ensure that your business is well-positioned to be found by local customers and stand out from the competition.

Remember, local SEO is an ongoing process, so make sure to regularly monitor and update your efforts to maintain your visibility and continue to reach new audiences. With dedication and strategic implementation, you can achieve success in your local market and see your business grow.

So what are you waiting for? Get started on your local SEO journey today and watch your business thrive!

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Moreover, if you looking for a Local SEO and Marketing Company to help you rank locally, we at Brian Zenarosa Digital can help you out. Book a discovery call today.