Local SEO Audits: How to Find and Fix Your Biggest Problems

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Imagine your website as a shop sign. It either lures customers in or leaves them lost in the online wilderness. Local SEO audits act like X-ray goggles, revealing the roadblocks and helping your digital storefront shine.


In this guide, we’ll delve into Local SEO audits, your trusty compass in the ever-changing world of digital marketing. They show you what’s working, what isn’t, and how to improve.


Imagine having a fantastic product, but buried like treasure at the ocean’s bottom. That’s frustrating, right? We’re here to fix that.


We’ll equip you with the tools to find and resolve SEO issues that have been hindering your website’s success. Plus, we won’t just identify problems; we’ll provide practical solutions to make your site shine in local searches.

Why a Local SEO Audit Matters

Now, you might be wondering, “Why on Earth do I need to bother with a local SEO audit?” Well, my friend, the answer is simple: because it’s the secret sauce to getting your business noticed by the right people in your neighborhood and beyond.

 

Imagine your website as a digital storefront, tucked away in a bustling alley of the World Wide Web. You want folks in your local area to find you easily, right? That’s where the local SEO audit swoops in to save the day!

 

Here’s the lowdown in a nutshell:

 

  • Spotting Glitches: An audit helps uncover the cobwebs and glitches that might be hiding in your website’s code and content. Think of it as dusting off the old bookshelf to find hidden treasures (or in this case, keywords and meta tags).

  • Google’s Love Language: Google is like that picky food critic at a fancy restaurant. It wants websites to be well-organized, responsive, and lightning-fast. An audit helps you serve up a website that Google can’t resist.

  • Local Flavor: For local businesses, showing up in local search results is gold. A local SEO audit ensures your business info is consistent across the web, so Google knows exactly where to place you on the map.

  • Outsmarting the Competition: Competitors are like those pesky squirrels stealing your digital acorns. With a local SEO audit, you can figure out what they’re up to and strategize on how to one-up them.

  • Boosting Traffic: More visibility means more traffic, and more traffic means more potential customers. An audit helps you fine-tune your website to attract the right crowd.

So, there you have it! A local SEO audit is your trusty sidekick in the quest for online domination (in the nicest way possible, of course). It’s like giving your website a spa day, a makeover, and a GPS all rolled into one.

 

Here are some data that show why a local SEO audit matters:

 

  • 97% of people who search for local businesses online never scroll past the first page of results. This means that if your website isn’t ranking on the first page for the keywords that your target customers are searching for, you’re missing out on a lot of potential traffic.
  • Local businesses with complete and accurate Google Business Profiles get 3 times more clicks than businesses with incomplete profiles. This shows that having a well-optimized Google Business Profile is essential for local SEO success.
  • 72% of consumers say that positive online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. This means that it’s important to actively collect and manage reviews for your business.
  • 52% of consumers say that they’ve used social media to research a local business before making a purchase. This shows that social media can be a powerful tool for local SEO.

These are just some of the many benefits of having a local SEO audit performed. You may boost your website’s rankings and bring in more local clients by doing frequent audits to find any problems and implement fixes.

 

Here are some other statistics that you can use to support the importance of local SEO audits:

 

  • Local businesses that rank on the first page of Google Maps results get 35% more calls than businesses that rank on the second page.
  • 70% of consumers use their smartphones to search for local businesses.
  • 61% of consumers say that they’re more likely to visit a business that has a strong online presence.

If you’re still not convinced, just think of it this way: Not doing a local SEO audit is like hiding a treasure chest in a desert and hoping someone will stumble upon it. But with an audit, you’re handing out maps, compasses, and neon signs saying, “Treasure This Way!”

The Local SEO Audit Checklist

To determine what, if any, problems may be harming your website’s or online presence’s position in local search engine results, you should do a local search engine optimization audit. Increasing your company’s exposure in the community is crucial if you want to grow your consumer base there.

1. Review Your Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business)

Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, helps your business stand out on Google Search and Maps. 

 

If your business has multiple locations and doesn’t have one of these, you should join the crowd and make one right away. 

 

Now, when you’re jazzing up your local listings on GBP, here’s the lowdown on what to keep in check:

 

Hours of operation: Make sure your opening and closing times are as accurate as your grandma’s apple pie recipe.

 

Correct pin location: Your location should be pinned like you’re marking the spot for buried treasure. X marks the spot, matey!

 

Proper categorization: Categorize your business properly, because if you’re a coffee shop trying to pass as a car repair shop, well, that’s just confusing.

 

Products and services are correctly listed: Ensure your products and services are listed correctly. We don’t want people expecting lattes at a car repair shop!

 

Photos and reviews are readily accessible: Photos are worth a thousand words, so upload some snazzy ones. And while you’re at it, encourage your happy customers to leave some stellar reviews!

2. Examine Your Keywords and Intent

Keyword intent

A keyword audit may appear like a complex process, especially for large companies and enterprises. You need to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and use a powerful keyword tool to conduct a successful keyword audit.

 

Google Keyword Planner is a free add-on to Google Ads that helps you research keyword volume and ranking difficulty without breaking the bank. Some of the better keyword tools include Ahrefs, Moz, and Semrush, if you have room in your marketing budget.

 

Think like a customer when developing a keyword strategy and completing related research. Consider the terms customers might use to find what you’re selling online. Pluckers, a wing bar with locations in Texas and Louisiana, might use these keywords to increase their visibility in their respective regions:

 

  • Wings restaurant
  • Eat wings
  • Chicken wings
  • Wings sit down restaurant
  • Places to eat and drink close by

Top keywords should also be modified for use in different regions. Adding “near me” or “Austin, TX” to a search for “wings restaurant” would improve local search engine optimization and the user experience. More people are looking for things “near me” than ever before. Between 2013 and 2018, searches on mobile devices for “open” + “now” + “near me” climbed by more than 200 percent.

 

The title tag and meta description of each page should also be examined as part of your keyword audit. In case you aren’t familiar with it, the title tag is the HTML element that defines the page’s title. The meta description is the little blurb that appears under the link to your website in SERPs.

 

Your page’s title and meta description should both have a keyword, but that’s not all you should be doing to optimize for search engines.

3. Inspect Backlinks and Be Aware of Penalties

When other websites link back to yours, you have backlinks

 

They’re like endorsements from other sites that can boost your site’s authority and visibility in SERPs. However, not all incoming links are built the same. There are both high-quality and useless backlinks out there.

 

Here is a breakdown of positive and negative backlinks:

positive and negative backlinks

Low-quality backlinks can be detrimental to a website’s search engine rankings. Black hat SEO techniques, such as purchasing backlinks or employing spammy anchor text, might result in a penalty from Google.

 

That’s why it’s crucial to keep an eye on your links. To assist you in this endeavor, employ a backlink checker tool. The following details about each backlink will be displayed by a backlink checker tool:

 

  • The website that the backlink is coming from
  • The anchor text of the backlink
  • The date the backlink was created
  • The number of other websites that link to the same website

You can instruct Google to ignore a certain backlink when calculating your site’s page rank by using the “disavow” command. Google Search Console allows you to disavow links.

 

You may help maintain your website’s position by checking your backlinks and disavowing those that are of poor quality or spammy. This is a topic that would interest any SEO professional.

4. Double Check for Duplicate Content

Search engines, like Google, strive to provide users with the most relevant and unique information.

 

Duplicate content muddles the waters for them, making it difficult to determine which version to show in search results. It’s like a chef trying to decide which dish to serve when they have two identical recipes – they’ll scratch their heads and may not serve anything at all!

 

The Consequences of Duplication:

Now, here comes the not-so-funny part. When search engines find duplicate content, they might choose the “wrong” version to rank, or they might not rank it at all. It’s like going to a comedy show and getting the worst seat in the house – you’re there, but you’re missing out on all the laughs.

 

Common Culprits:

Duplicate content can sneak in through various avenues. It might be unintentional, like having multiple URLs for the same page, or it could be the result of content scraping – where someone copies your content and puts it on their own site. Imagine someone borrowing your jokes and telling them at a different comedy club without giving you credit – not cool, right?

 

The Solution:

To tackle this duplicate content conundrum, you should regularly check your website using tools like Copyscape or Siteliner. These tools act like the fashion police for your website, sniffing out any identical content. Once you spot it, you can take action, whether it’s consolidating similar pages, setting canonical tags, or sending polite cease-and-desist letters to content scrapers (well, maybe not the last one).

 

Remember, in the world of SEO, originality is key. Unique, high-quality content is like a one-of-a-kind designer outfit at that fancy dress party – it’s what makes you stand out from the crowd.

5. Capture Citations and Mentions

Citations have an effect on your local SEO similar to that of backlinks. When other websites refer to your business, that is called a citation. Your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is the standard information to include in a citation.

 

However, not all references will provide a clickable link back to your site. These NAP mentions may also include erroneous data at times. Incorrect listing citations, as you might expect, cause problems for both search engines and your customers.

 

Checking with data aggregators to make sure they’ve properly documented your NAP citations is one technique to check and correct them. Your local listings or business information (including NAP) may be gathered and distributed by such groups.

 

The four leading data aggregators in the U.S. are: 

 

  • Acxiom
  • Infogroup
  • Localeze 
  • Factual

Both citations and mentions can help improve your website’s SEO in a few ways:

 

  • They can help Google understand what your website is about.
  • They can help Google determine the authority of your website.
  • They can help Google rank your website higher in search results.

There are a few things you can do to capture citations and mentions:

 

  • Create high-quality content. The more high-quality content you create, the more likely it is that other websites will cite or mention your website.
  • Promote your content. Share your content on social media and other channels to increase its visibility.
  • Claim your business listings. Make sure your business is listed on major directories, such as Google My Business and Yelp.
  • Use citation management tools. There are a number of citation management tools available that can help you track and manage your citations.

You may boost your website’s search engine optimization and exposure by collecting citations and mentions. This is a topic that would interest any SEO professional.

6. Do a Competitor Analysis

competitive analysis table

Almost every company strives to get an advantage over its rivals.

 

Finding out how your competitors are outranking you in your geographic area is a crucial part of any local search engine optimization audit. To outrank the competition, you need to know their general and local SEO techniques.

 

You may learn more about your rivals by simply doing a Google search using your chosen set of keywords. Then, choose three to six rivals operating in the same market as you.

 

There are a few things you can do to do a competitor analysis:

 

  • Identify your competitors. Who are your direct competitors? Who are your indirect competitors?
  • Research your competitors’ websites. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their marketing strategies?
  • Analyze your competitors’ social media presence. How active are they on social media? What kind of content do they share?
  • Track your competitors’ search engine rankings. Where do they rank for their target keywords?
  • Read reviews of your competitors. What are people saying about them?

Once you’ve done a competitor analysis, you can use the information to improve your own business. You can:

 

  • Target the same keywords as your competitors.
  • Use the same marketing strategies as your competitors.
  • Learn from your competitors’ mistakes.
  • Find ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

7. Diagnose and Respond to Reviews

Diagnose and Respond to Reviews

Customer input is invaluable, and reviews provide just that.

 

“Reviews are like gold. They’re valuable, but they can also be heavy. So make sure you know how to handle them!”

 

They can aid in the development of better goods and services, as well as the recruitment of new clients.

 

The time spent reading a customer review in depth and identifying the problem it raises is time well spent. What exactly is the customer upset about? Is it anything you could repair? Is there room for development here?

 

You can reply to the review after you’ve identified the problem. Your response must be polite and professional, and it must address the customer’s issues. You should volunteer to solve the problem if you know how to. If you are unable to resolve the issue, please offer an explanation.

 

Here are a few tips for responding to reviews:

 

  • Be timely. Respond to reviews as soon as possible. This shows that you value your customers’ feedback and that you’re willing to take action to address their concerns.
  • Be personal. Address the reviewer by name and thank them for their feedback. This shows that you’re taking the review seriously.
  • Be specific. Address the specific issue that the reviewer is complaining about. This shows that you’re listening to what they have to say.
  • Be apologetic. If the reviewer is unhappy with your product or service, apologize for their experience. This shows that you’re committed to providing a good customer experience.
  • Be helpful. Offer to help the reviewer resolve their issue. This shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile to make them happy.

How to Find and Fix Your Biggest Problems

Picture this: Your website is like a high-end sports car. To keep it running smoothly, you need to perform regular check-ups, identify issues, and fix them promptly. In the world of SEO, this means optimizing your site for search engines like Google to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.

 

Step 1: Diagnose the Issues 

 

Imagine you’re a doctor and your website is your patient. The first step is to diagnose the problem. Here’s how:

 

  • Google Search Console: Start by checking Google Search Console. It’s like your website’s health report card. It reveals issues Google has detected on your site, such as crawl errors, mobile usability problems, and more.
  • Google Analytics: Dive into your website’s traffic data using Google Analytics. Look for drops in traffic, high bounce rates, or pages that aren’t performing well. These could signal underlying issues.
  • SEO Tools: Equip yourself with powerful SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs. They provide in-depth site audits, keyword analysis, and backlink reports, helping you uncover hidden problems.

Step 2: Prioritize and Plan

 

Now that you’ve got a list of issues, it’s time to prioritize them. Think of it like a to-do list for your website. Focus on the most critical problems that are affecting your SEO and user experience.

 

  • Keyword Research: Are you targeting the right keywords? Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords with high search volumes and low competition.
  • Content Quality: Review your content. Is it informative, engaging, and up-to-date? Revise or refresh it as needed.
  • Technical SEO: Fix technical issues like broken links, slow page speed, and mobile responsiveness. These can significantly impact your rankings.

Step 3: Implement Solutions 

 

Time to put on your fixer-upper hat! Here’s how to address those pesky problems:

 

  • On-Page SEO: Optimize your content by including relevant keywords, meta tags, and user-friendly URLs. Ensure each page serves a clear purpose.
  •  Link Building: Build high-quality backlinks from reputable websites. Quality over quantity is key here.
  • Technical Fixes: Collaborate with a developer to tackle technical issues. Prioritize tasks like improving page speed and fixing broken links.

Step 4: Monitor and Adjust 

 

SEO isn’t a one-and-done deal; it’s an ongoing process. Keep a watchful eye on your website’s performance:

 

  • Regular Audits: Schedule regular SEO audits to catch new issues as they arise.
  • Analytics Tracking: Monitor traffic, conversions, and rankings. Adjust your strategy based on the data.
  • Algorithm Updates: Stay informed about search engine algorithm updates and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Finding and addressing your website’s major issues in the ever-changing world of SEO is an ongoing process. It’s like taking care of a garden: with consistent effort, you’ll see lovely results. To succeed in SEO, you need the correct resources, an active mindset, and the knowledge that persistence and patience are rewarded.

Conclusion

Let’s summarize our journey through local SEO audits. We’ve explored how to identify and address key SEO issues, and I trust you’ve found this guide insightful.

 

Ongoing Exploration:

Keep in mind that local SEO is a dynamic field. Just as a garden needs constant care, your SEO efforts require ongoing attention and adaptation.

 

Never Stop Learning:

Your SEO journey doesn’t end here. Keep learning and stay curious about the ever-evolving SEO landscape.

 

Community Connection:

Consider joining the SEO community for shared insights and strategies, akin to sailing alongside fellow explorers.

 

Ready for Transformation:

By addressing your SEO challenges, you’re on the path to improved online visibility and business success.

 

If you ever need SEO guidance, we’re here to assist you. Thank you for joining us on this SEO adventure. Here’s to your digital success!

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