Operating a business on a local level takes more hard work to draw in hot leads. You don't have the luxury of attracting customers from around the globe, which means you need a solid local SEO strategy.
Hopefully, you've already got business pages, social media accounts and a website using localized key phrases. Whatever strategy you've been using it requires a checkup every now and then.
After all, how else will you know if your SEO plan is succeeding? So in this quick guide, we'll show you how you can do a quick local SEO audit for your web properties.
Let's begin with your Google business pages.
Ensure Your Google My Business Page Is Optimized
The first step is to look at the business profiles you have on My Business. These listings are what prospects find when searching for your products and services. So it plays a vital role for your lead generation.
Now, once you've logged into your Google My Business dashboard, you want to look for duplicate pages. This is a grave threat to your local SEO campaign.
One way to look for duplicate pages is to use Google MapMaker. Just log into your Google account and go to www.google.com/mapmaker. From here, you will look for your business phone number or business name.
If you see several local listings pop up, then all but one will need deleting. It's possible to have duplicate pages show up if you moved your office and created a new listing.
Also, make sure your business page is verified. This is normally done using your phone or a postcard sent in the mail.
Next, go through all the data on your profile to ensure accuracy. This includes your business name, phone numbers, address, emails and website URL. It's also a good idea to fill in your business days and hours, products/services offered and so on.
The more complete your profile the better. So don't forget to include a description that's local keyword-focused (but not overly done).
Optimize Your Website and Landing Page
Since the Google Pigeon update emerged, optimization became more important than ever. Local algorithms and organic signals are now intertwined, which calls for businesses to have properly optimized websites.
On your Google My Business dashboard, you can link to your website. This can either be to the home page or a landing page.
If you have multiple locations, it's best to have multiple landing pages - one for each location.
The following tips are useful for landing and web pages alike.
Check the Crawlable NAP on Your Site
Now, it's very important for your name, address and phone number (NAP) to be accurate on your website. This should match the NAP that's on your Google My Business page as well.
Avoid using an image of your phone number unless you add a corresponding ALT text. Anything else on the image isn't seen by Google bots (i.e. address, hours, etc.).
Go Over the Site Structure
There are different ways you can optimize your site structure. For instance, having a separate page for each of your products or services. The home page should act like a nucleus, branding off to each page within your site structure.
Your home page should also have a lot of detail and links to relevant subpages, including your blog, which should be on the same domain.
Your URL structure needs to be set up with your geographic area. Ensure each of your pages within the site has city and state information as well.
Your local landing page should contain local keywords and 100% unique content. If you have someone else creating it for you, make sure to use Copyscape or another similar tool to check for plagiarism.
As a rule of thumb, your landing pages should have a minimum of 400 unique words.
During your local SEO audit, check to see if your pages are being indexed in Google. All you have to do is search for your landing page URL. If it doesn't show up, then there could be big organic issues causing the penalization of your site.
The meta description and title tags are highly important, so don't overlook these. Ensure the landing page title has the city and state within it, as well as the meta description. Other areas that require optimizing is the heading tags.
Also, consider including an embedded map on your landing page, along with driving directions.
Optimizing for Mobile Users
Mobile devices really helped kick off the local SEO craze, given the fact mobile users use their smartphones to find local businesses.
So don't ignore mobile optimization during your local SEO audit. The best way to ensure you're complying with Google's mobile-friendly requirements is to go with a responsive web design.
This ensures your web pages show up properly on any device the user is on.
Better Citations vs More Citations
At the end of the day, having better citations will always trump having more citations. Quality is king in Google's world.
Citations are nothing more than a listing of your business NAP. For instance, your Yelp profile will have your NAP and other important business details. The key is to categorize your citation within the business directory.
Unstructured citations (without a category) are low-quality and will do more harm for your local SEO.
Verify the Quality of Your Links
We all know how important backlinks are for SEO. This is especially true since the Pigeon Update Google released. The quality of links is more important now it's integrated with the local algorithm.
The key is to earn your links through news mentions, guest blog posts and other organic methods. Keep in mind, it's better to have one strong link than 1,000 low-quality links.
So the links referring back to your website should be from sites that are high-quality and relevant.
Get a Professional Local SEO Audit
Sometimes, it takes a professional eye to see all that's wrong with your SEO strategy. At Bear Fox Marketing, we have a team of experts who can perform a local SEO audit for your business.
We also offer a variety of other services, which include content marketing, Facebook advertising, PPC, custom web design and branding and consulting.
Bear Fox Marketing has already helped countless businesses in various industries. Contact us today to see how we can help improve the local SEO for your business!