Having your small business pop up on Google is vital in today’s fast-paced modern world. That’s why performing a local SEO audit is critical if you want your business to grow and succeed. If you are having trouble attracting customers to your small business’s website or want to improve your search rankings, a local SEO audit might be the answer.
A local SEO audit is a thorough breakdown of your company’s website that provides valuable information on improving search engine performance. It can help your small business grow by making it easier for customers to find through search engines like Google.
Having your company listed in the top search results can drive more customers through your doors and sustainably increase your revenue. Around 88% of people who search for a local business on their smartphone end up calling or visiting the store within twenty-four hours. If your store doesn’t appear in the search results, you could miss out on a significant amount of potential business. Luckily, increasing your Local SEO through audits can make your small business the next local hotspot.
What’s the difference between local SEO and SEO?
Before performing a local SEO audit, it’s essential to understand the difference between local SEO and SEO. Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that increases your business’s chances of appearing in local search results. It typically restricts the search engine results to a specific geographical region like your local city or small town. SEO is a broader search engine optimization strategy that makes your webpage more visible nationally or worldwide.
Most small businesses want to focus on local SEO since it focuses on their specific geographical area. You probably don’t want to pop up in New Jersey’s Google search results if you have a small business in Dallas, Texas. You want to limit your business to local SEO searches to generate more traffic in your local area.
How do I increase my local SEO before starting the audit process?
There are many ways to increase your Local SEO before starting the audit process. People want detailed information about your local business when they visit its webpage. Creating a contact page that lists the company’s name, address, email, and phone number can substantially increase your local SEO and customer traffic.
It’s also a good idea to make the company’s phone number clickable to make it easier for customers to contact you or your business. Most people don’t want to switch applications to type in a phone number manually. Displaying a clickable phone number will make it easier on the potential customer, driving them to your business while increasing its Local SEO search results.
Adding a map to your business’s webpage is another fantastic way to increase your Local SEO organically. It can save potential customers time and give them a rough estimate of their proximity to your business’s location. Studies show that around 86% of people search for business locations through Google Maps, so including a map on your website is always a good idea.
Testimonials can also significantly drive up your local SEO. They help paint your business positively and help potential customers trust that you’re a real business. You might be surprised by how much some simple testimonials boost your local SEO business.
Performing a local SEO audit will provide most of the information above, but implementing these changes before starting the audit process will make things easier for you moving forward.
Why are audits important in SEO
Now that you’ve increased your Local SEO organically and know the difference between Local SEO and SEO, you’re probably wondering how an audit can improve your search results. Local SEO audits give you an in-depth analysis of your webpage that will allow you to increase your rank in the local search results. They can provide you with essential keywords, proximity results, and other ranking factors to put your small business in the top rankings on popular search engines.
Most business owners want to be in the top three local search results in Google. People know these top three results are the Google three-pack. They typically appear alongside a map pinpointing their exact location. Local SEO audits provide useful data to help your business make the Google three-pack organically. They can also identify issues preventing your website from appearing higher in popular search engines. Performing a local SEO Audit is one of the best ways to climb the search engine ladder and increase customer traffic in-store and online.
How to perform SEO audits
SEO audits can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start. However, once you understand the auditing process, it becomes second nature. If you need help, you might want to check this guide for the most common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them.
The first step in any SEO audit is laying out keyword research. Using popular keywords that relate to your business or services is vital. Including your location (city and state) and a few descriptive words about your business is a great way to increase your local SEO. A few tools like Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends can help you create and find keywords and phrases prevalent in search engines. If you own a plumbing company in Kansas City, Missouri, phrases like Kansas City plumbers or best plumbers in Kansas City can considerably increase your rankings in popular search engines. Although adding keywords and phrases might sound rudimentary, it’s vital to the local SEO strategy of creating these niche- and location-specific SEO pages.
Research Local Competitors
Researching your competitors is a great way to get a leg up on the competition, especially if you continue ranking behind them on search engines. You don’t have to elaborate in detail when studying your rivals but thoroughly look into keyword usage and other factors driving their search results.
Optimize Your Google My Business Page
Having a first-class Google My Business Page is incredibly important for small businesses. It allows you to connect to your customers and see how they interact with your business. It also helps increase web traffic while improving your search ranking. It’s free to use and can sometimes be the saving grace for a struggling small business.
Every Google My Business page should have relevant information describing the business and its specialty. If you own a restaurant, you should include a menu, the location, hours of operation, and anything else that a customer might find important or interesting. Incorporating keywords in your descriptions is also incredibly important when creating a Google My Business page. It brings more people to your website, driving more potential customers through your establishment’s doors.
Having a few high-quality images on your Google My Business page is also extremely important. Most people don’t want to be greeted with a large body of text when they visit a webpage. Including a few pictures of your business in action can sometimes convince potential customers to visit your location. You would be amazed how a few simple photos can increase your local SEO results, driving more people to your small business.
Check Your Links and Citations
The number of links directing people to your webpage can substantially increase traffic to your business. Adding your company’s link to social media pages, Google My Business page, or review pages like Yelp is one of the best ways to move up the search engine ladder. However, it’s essential to have your business link attached to only high-authority pages and relevant domains. If your business connects online to an assortment of low-authority web pages or irrelevant domains, it will severely hinder your search engine rank.
You’ll also want to ensure your business’s citations are up to date across all the web pages linking to your business’s website. Having your company name, address, and phone number uniform across all web pages is vital to growing your search ranking. This protocol means that all your citations must contain precisely the same information. If you decide to use abbreviations on your citations like St. instead of “Street,” make sure every citation you have includes the correct abbreviation. Inconsistent citations will only hurt your search ranking and make your business look unprofessional.
Gather and Interact Online Reviews
Studies show that over 90% of Americans consider reviews before visiting a business. If your business isn’t featured on popular review pages or has multiple poor reviews, it can drive away potential customers and bury your company in the Google rankings. Having good reviews from trusted reviewing platforms like Yelp is one of the best ways to increase your search ranking while bringing in more patrons for your business. Sometimes simply asking a customer to leave a five-star review explaining why they love your business can make all the difference in local SEO rankings.
If you already have quite a few positive reviews but still can’t seem to break into Google’s top search results, interacting with your company’s reviews can sometimes help. It shows Google that you’re an active business that cares about your customers. Tell your customers that you appreciate the positive feedback and hope to surpass their expectations upon their next visit. If you have a negative review, apologize for the bad experience and tell them how you plan on improving next time they come in or patronize your business. Interacting with reviews is a simple yet effective way to improve your rankings with minimal effort.
Useful tools to help you with your local SEO audit
Conducting your local SEO audit without the proper tools can be time-consuming and frustrating. That’s why most small business owners use special applications to help them with the SEO audit process and automate some of their SEO tasks. Below are a few helpful tools that will help take your local SEO Audit to extraordinary new heights.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free online tool that helps business and website owners better understand how they perform in Google Search. It also gives some helpful advice on improving your SEO ranking in the Google search engine. There are no steep learning curves or confusing technical jargon. Everything is easy to use, allowing you to improve your SEO ranking in a simple, straightforward fashion.
Instead of constantly forcing users to check their Google Search Console profile, the application sends alerts to your email address when new issues or problems arise. It’s perfect for small business owners to manage their company’s website and learn what it takes to climb up the search engine ladder. Suppose you want to maximize your local SEO ranking without spending money on expensive SEO auditing tools. Google Search Console is for you.
Google My Business
As stated before, Google My Business is vital for small businesses to improve their local SEO rankings and eventually make it in Google’s glorified three-pack. It’s a free online tool that helps business owners increase their online presence in Google Search and Google Maps. Google My Business gives potential customers all the information they need, including your hours, website, and address, after they search for your company in Google Maps. It also allows customers to review your company through the application, increasing the number of links and citations on high-authority sites.
Google My Business makes it easy to interact with your customer reviews and post photos to their business profiles to increase web traffic and consumer interaction. Recent polls suggest that businesses with a profile picture receive 42% more direction requests and 35% more clicks on their website. A Google My Business profile is a surefire way to increase your local SEO ranking and drive people toward your business.
Google Analytics is another free tool from Google that allows business owners to analyze and keep up with valuable data about their business. It tracks different aspects of website activity like pages per session, session duration, bounce rate, number of visits, sources of traffic, and other critical data brought along by website visitors. Google Analytics even tells you what device people use to visit your web page.
Unlike other analytic programs, Google Analytics takes a straightforward approach to data. Everything is presented in a simplistic fashion that nearly anyone can understand. Thanks to their easy-to-understand layout, you won’t have to worry about hard-to-read or confusing charts. If you are searching for a reliable analytics program that isn’t overly complicated, check out Google Analytics.
Moz SEO Toolbar (MozBar)
The Moz SEO Toolbar, better known as the MozBar, is a free Chrome extension that provides link metrics for every domain and website the user searches. It displays the number of backlinks on each site and the domain and page authority. This tool can benefit business owners trying to add links to their website on high-authority pages and disable links on low-authority domains. Mozabar also allows users to view search results from a variety of different engines as well as from various cities, regions, and countries. It even allows you to highlight multiple links on a webpage.
Although the basic version of the Mozbar extension is free to download, an upgraded version called Mozbar Pro provides even more valuable information for a small subscription fee. Mozbar Pro allows users to run unlimited page optimization reports, keyword difficulty scores, analyze necessary SERP data, and more. Interested business owners can sign up for a free trial of Mozbar or download the basic version through Moz’s website. It is one of the more valuable tools to help small businesses increase their search engine ranking and find crucial information about their web pages.
Paid tools to maximize your local SEO audit
Some business owners want to go above and beyond to make their local SEO audits the best they can be. The best way to get the most out of their local SEO audit is to purchase one of the many auditing tools available to dedicated business owners. We’ve put together some of the best auditing tools that can take your local SEO audit to the next level.
KWFinder by Mangools
Keywords are pivotal in increasing your search engine ranking and the overall local SEO auditing process. Mangools makes finding the perfect keywords for your company’s website easy with their incredible KWFinder. The program helps users find keywords with low SEO difficulty, making it easier for potential customers to find your business while increasing your search engine ranking. It also suggests keywords, lists all backlinks to a specific web page, and displays an in-depth analysis of the first SERP page.
One of the best aspects of KWFinder is its affordability. Subscriptions start at only $29.90 a month and provide almost all the information you need about SEO keywords. It also comes with a bundle pack that includes Mangools’ SERPChecker, SERP Watcher, LinkMiner, and SiteProfiler. If you are looking for a reliable program that will help improve your search ranking and make your local SEO audit a breeze without breaking the bank, check out KWFinder by Mongools.
The only downside to SEMrush is its somewhat expensive price tag. Business owners must shell out at least $99.95 monthly for the premium auditing tools. However, SEMrush offers a free 10-day trial for people curious about the product. SEMrush might seem costly, but it’s a small price to pay for such an extraordinary tool.
Much like SEMrush, interested parties can expect to pay top dollar for Ahrefs’ first-class services. There are four levels of Ahrefs subscriptions, starting as low as $99 for each one. However, the agency status will cost business owners around $1,000 a month. The good news is that Ahrefs offers a $7 weekly trial for people who want to test out their phenomenal SEO services.
SpyFu is one of the leading SEO research and auditing tools available to small business owners. It features multiple premium programs that provide ways to improve your search engine ranking and help with your SEO audit. The SpyFU package includes a keyword research app, PPC and competitor research, backlink tracking, rank tracking, and more.
Instead of using a dedicated site audit tool, SpyFu combines several programs to give users valuable insight into their SEO campaign. It will spot inadequate keywords and identify flaws within your company’s webpage.
SpyFu offers three monthly subscription services ranging from $33 to $299. It’s a more affordable alternative to expensive SEO programs like SEMrush and provides valuable information for small business owners conducting local SEO audits. With a 4.5-star review rating with over 380 reviews, you can’t go wrong with SpyFU.
Performing a local SEO audit for your small business isn’t as daunting as it seems, thanks to these simple steps and outstanding SEO programs. Suppose you follow our guidelines for running a successful local SEO audit. In that case, you can transform your small business into one of the city’s biggest hotspots while increasing your web traffic and search engine ranking. Don’t stress out next time your small business is due for a local SEO audit; follow these easy steps, purchase one of the fantastic SEO programs listed above today, and take your small business further than ever!
If you ever need help, feel free to contact us, as we can guide you and give you better direction to boost your SEO and search rankings.