Being visible in the marketplace is key. It’s no different in the search engines. Getting your business on the top of the search results is needed to attract your potential customers, especially if you’re competing on a local level.
But with so many SEO factors that you need to consider, it’s undeniably hard to decide where to begin. But don’t lose heart. Because in Local SEO, you only need to cover 5 major aspects.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a local SEO checklist so you can ensure you’ve got all your bases covered.
But first, in order to get the most out of this checklist, we need to understand the playing field.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO focuses on improving rankings and visibility to reach a target audience in a specific geographic area. Most of the factors in general SEO still apply, but there will be greater emphasis on location-specific keywords, users, and search intent.
Why should you focus on Local SEO?
By narrowing down your SEO efforts, you’ll be able to reach potential local customers who are searching for products and services that you offer.
Here are a few important statistics that highlight the benefits of optimizing local SEO for businesses:
As you can see, optimizing your local SEO offers a huge opportunity to target the right audience and bring in high quality leads to your business.
About the checklist
With our checklist, you’ll gain insight on the range of tasks required to improve your local SEO which will help you plan your time and efforts accordingly. It’ll ensure that your efforts will get the maximum impact for your business.
To keep you organized, we’ve broken down all the required steps to improve your SEO from start to finish into 5 parts:
Now that we got the basics out of the way, It’s time to roll up your sleeves and let’s dive into our 5-part local SEO checklist!
Part One: Gathering Intelligence
First things first. In order to create a solid plan, you need to gather all the necessary information and data. This includes insight on your keywords, rankings, competition and site health. By following these steps below, you’ll avoid making blind decisions to your SEO strategy which saves you time and money.
1. Identify your keywords
By performing research on which keywords and locations are worth targeting, you’ll have a better understanding of what will bring you the best results. To start your research, follow these strategies:
2. Check your competition
3. Run a site audit
A site audit will provide you with a detailed look into your site’s health so you can make improvements.
You can do this by using Nightwatch’s site audit feature, you can perform regular and automated crawls which will then identify all problematic issues and warnings on your website.
4. Check your current local ranking
It’s important to get a baseline for your rankings. That way you can measure how much you improve every month. Nightwatch supports tracking different search engine results for both local and organic rankings. This makes it extremely useful to see exactly how your Google My Business profile is performing compared to your organic rankings.
Now that we have gathered all of this data, it’s time to put it to good use.
Part Two: Optimize your website from top to bottom
In addition to your collected data, search engines will take your website’s performance into ranking consideration. The next step is to apply your keywords to your website and to make sure that your website is in tip top shape.
5. Include targeted keywords into your website
6. Optimize your page for better user experience
7. Optimize your website’s speed and performance
8. Optimize your website’s dwell time
9. Optimize for mobile SEO
10. Optimize for schema
Note: We have skipped some factors on this list. I can recommend the following onpage seo resources here if you need more information:
The items listed here are the two most important factors that you need to cover:
A. The experience of your visitors on your website
B. How you present your website for both humans and search engines.
Part Three: Optimize your other online properties
Being omnipresent on the web is important, but you have to make sure anything related to your business on the web is optimized. Having consistent and accurate information is key here because search engines will perceive your business as trustworthy and credible which are also important ranking factors.
11. Optimize your Google My Business listing
12. Optimize your social media profiles
13. Optimize your listings on relevant directories
Using the same information that you’ve inputted in your Google listing, enter that into relevant directories with high value of trust:
Part Four: Boost the performance on all your online assets
Once you’ve managed to create all these properties, It’s important to know that setting and forgetting them will only get you nowhere.
Let’s face it, It will require extra work before they transform into money-making machines.
An initial action step is to be active in the local community — keep in touch with other businesses and your customers. These are ongoing efforts that will help build up your online profile, grow brand awareness across your local area which further signals search engines that you are a trustworthy business.
14. Apply Google Maps marketing techniques to improve your listing’s rankings on the local maps pack
15. Get Google reviews and listing reviews
Reviews are the biggest driver of clicks in local SERPs. They are also a factor search engines use to calculate your search position since they help customers find the best local business for their needs.
16. Citations (NAP)
Citations are any mentions or references to a business on the internet. A complete citation includes the business’ name, address, and phone number (NAP) which needs to be consistent across the web. Unlike backlinks, citations don’t have to include a link and even if there is, it’s a “no follow” link. The purpose of citations is to help Google verify the authenticity of your business.
17. Local Backlinks
Participating in local sponsorships or events? Getting mentioned in press releases? Not only are these great ways to build relationships with your community and to put your brand in front of potential customers, it also helps boost your local backlink profile.
Here are ways to earn local backlinks:
18. Local Partnerships, Referrals, Groups
By working with others in your community or industry, there is much to gain online and offline.
Here are ways to increase your presence at a local level:
Part Five: Measure your performance
19. Monitor your performance and monitor your competitors
Once you’re finished all these steps, it doesn’t just end there! Since rankings fluctuate on a day-to-day basis, it’s critical that you’re keeping a close eye on how you and your competitors are performing. This maximizes your local SEO efforts and allows you to make data-driven decisions.
20. Monitor your visitor’s behavior using Google Analytics
Google analytics also provides a wealth of information to help you understand your visitors, check where your customers bounce and improve on those pages. Providing the best experience for your visitors will not only reward you with repeat visits but sustainable growth as well.
As more and more businesses transition to the online marketplace, getting the edge over the competition is important now more than ever. That’s why we recommend that you constantly do your research, test and improve on your results and hopefully our checklist can give you the slight advantage in your niche.
Have any suggestions to improve the checklist? Please, let us know.