The reality of digital marketing in 2022 is we all need to be on the front page of Google, as being on page two just doesn’t cut it for inbound leads and enquiries. While many business and SEO agencies keep plugging away and rankings are not moving, something is being overlooked. The new buzzword in the industry is local SEO, so what you need is; a local SEO audit.
When you know your business directly corresponds to the needs of people in your area, it can be extremely frustrating. Still, with the proper local SEO audit technique being a simple procedure, this article will show you how.
Performing a Local SEO Audit – How to do it
The First Step: Audit Keywords
Analyse your existing keywords – Look into each one individually and their ranking positions; you’ll identify missed opportunities straight away.
Example – Your ranking well for ‘Weston Creek auto parts’ but nowhere for “Weston Creek Garage repairs’; something to look at already.
Start by sitting down and thinking about what services make you the most profit and what you want to push. When it comes to local SEO, don’t be afraid of high volume keywords. We are not talking about a countrywide or international business where you would be taking on massive firms.
In 2022 even local competition is fierce, so using an SEO company specialising in local SEO services is your best option.
Second Step: Audit Your Competition
Why not have a little peek at everyone else. What are they doing in the area? Competition is the sole of trade, as William Shakespeare once wrote.
You don’t go into a boxing fight unless you know what you’re up against.
So if you are looking to learn and do it for yourself, rather than hire an SEO company to get you out of the blocks, an excellent analytical tool is Ahrefs.
You don’t need to get too analytical, but you can find out the structure of their site and compare their results against yours, work out what they are doing you’re not and start making notes. Especially what keywords they are ranking highly for and what products and services they may be selling that you are not, even though you could.
Third Step: Google My Business Listing for Auditing
It’s a free and simple tool to help you manage your business across everything from your searches, maps, and general online presence. Trust me, you HAVE TO HAVE IT TO SUCCEED IN 2022.
It is already ranked as the number one driver of local SEO business success. Google uses what is referred to as the ‘three pack’ whereby it picks the most relevant three local businesses that represent the search their users entered.
Since the pandemic local SEO searches have gone through the roof. Recent stats show the ‘three pack’ will be in 93% of every local search.
Here’s what you need to ask yourself:
- Have I got a Google My Business Listing, and has it been verified?
- Are all my businesses details up-to-date and correct?
- Do I have any reviews?
- Am I responding to my reviews? Good or bad?
- Am I listed in the right areas and categories?
Fourth Step: Audit Reviews
The internet today is all about reviews; you only have to look at TripAdvisor and the like to understand the importance of how someone can make you or break you online.
Get Reviews Across Multiple Platforms. Good reviews on platforms can revolutionise your business. Look at what you can do when you get it right if you provide an excellent service or products. You need to respond to your enquiries and provide helpful information even if it’s not for your personal benefit. Make sure you get on platforms, use Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Facebook.
Google now monitor reviews like a hawk. They act in correlation with Google My Business. If your keyword is involved, plus your city, plus a positive review, Google’s crawlers will pay attention.
Note: Always respond to reviews, good or bad, as now people look for responses to judge the person who posted the review as much as they look at you. Then based on others who had a different experience, they form their opinion. Some people can just be having a bad day and take it out on you and your business; people are savvy and will see through it.
Fifth Step: Audit Links
Links are still links even though the dynamics of what a good link represents to a lousy link has changed, and what a NoFollow link does…..well, not much. Google relies on this as a significant indicator of a businesses worth to its users and therefore ranks your authority.
Link Audits are Diverse. This kind of audit is conducted to evaluate what links point to your site and their value to find out if any are damaging or what represents opportunity.
To start, it is best to look at these three points:
- Your local content
- Your topic clusters
- Your domain authority
Quality over quantity is as prevalent in link building as in any other walk of life. Spammy links that are not relevant = RED FLAGS! Again with Google Analytics, you will find tools to check if you follow the guides. It will help you dominate your local rankings; less can be more.
Sixth Step: Audit Your Website’s Main Pages
This should probably have been the first step as it is at the top of the tree for Google in 2022. But don’t worry, it is not massively time-consuming using the correct tools.
Companies like ScreamingFrog are helpful for the comprehensive analysis of your pages promptly.
A tool will crawl through your site’s URLs and audit your onsite SEO.
By now, you should have a list of target keywords, run those through and look for:
- Page title
- Title tags
- Word count
- Meta description
This will give you vital information to see if your pages are explicitly optimised for local SEO. Therefore you can see where improvements need to be made. Maybe you have content gaps that need filling with engaging content.
Once you have established any weaknesses, which must be there, you can then google ‘SEO plugins’ to learn what is there to help you do your local SEO service.
Ninth Step: Audit Images
It is important to remember that imagery is a significant power player in rankings today. People are being drawn more and more toward images, graphs, videos, etc. When someone makes a cold call, the average statistic is people take in less than 10% of the information after a mere 10 seconds. So, although this is nothing to do with cold calling, we are concentrating on attention spans.
Image Optimisation. This comes in two forms:
- Image keyword usage
- The load speed effect
ScreamingFrog can assist here as its tool can help evaluate both.
Google cannot read the content of an image. So Google crawlers look at the filenames and what alt text is used to understand what is displayed, so optimising your images using the correct keywords is crucial.
Your page load speed can see improvement once you have reduced the file size but not impacted the quality of the visual imagery. ScreamingFrog can take all of your images into an inventory to show you what is slowing you down.
A regular audit may sound daunting, but it really isn’t. Maybe others who have got ahead of you on local searches may be relaxing, thinking that we are okay. Or maybe due to the pandemic easing, they are now busy again, and local SEO they believe is something that will run itself. Once you sign up for Google My Business, follow their instructions, and do your own research and analysis. NOW could be your opportunity to pounce and get your business booming in your local area.