Are You Preventing Consumers from Finding Your Local Small Business?
Why You Need a Local SEO Audit Checklist
We talk with many small business owners about search engine optimization (SEO) and we hear the same things over and over. Many small business owners do not fully understand how SEO works, and what they need to do to make it better. Afraid of exposing their lack of understanding small business owners can be mislead by questionable firms into long-term contracts that provide no real value. We don’t think that is very nice, and we want to help. Here is our Local SEO Audit Checklist for small businesses to help business owners get started with local SEO.
72% of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location. Wordstream
Before you choose a local SEO company, take a little time to complete the following small business local SEO audit checklist and educate yourself about your website and where it needs improvement. The following audit checklist is intended for small business owners to get a better understanding of what all is involved in local SEO. Some of these tasks may be considered advanced by some business owners.
78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase. Search Engine Land
Follow the following checklist and give yourself one point for for each check mark. Find out what your score means at the end of our local SEO audit checklist.
Your Local SEO Audit Checklist
1 – Does your Site have a robots.txt file?
Visit www.yourdomainname.com.robots.txt and see if you have this file. If so, you will want to make sure search engines are indexing the site. Disallow means that search engines are not indexing that page or pages.
2 – Is your Site getting Indexed by Google?
In Google, search site:yourdomainname.com and see if your website is returning the appropriate amount of results. If your site returns no, or very limited results, you have an indexing problem that needs to be corrected.
3 – Does your Site have a Sitemap?
Your sitemap is a road map that you provide to search engines. To view your sitemap, visit www.yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml. Your sitemap needs to be up-to-date and submitted in Google Webmaster Tools for best results.
4 – Is your Site Clear of Any 404 Errors?
404 errors are pages that can not be found on your site. If a link on your site points to a page that doesn’t exist you will experience this error. Search engines frown upon this, and all occurrences need to be corrected. Visit http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com to see what errors you have.
5 – Does your Site have one URL?
Your site may have multiple pages indexed for the home page, such as http://www.yourdomainname.com, http://yourdomainname.com/index.php, http://www.yourdomainname.com/home, etc. Your site needs to have one URL as the home page.
6 – Does your Site have SEO Friendly URLs?
SEO friendly URLs are not only beneficial to search engines, but to the human visitors as well. An SEO friendly URL would be http://www.yourdomainname.com/yourservices/ yourserviceone This shows relevance to search engines and helps with your site’s rankings for the relevant keywords.
7 – Does Your Site have Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content on-site and off-site can be troublesome. Visit http://www.copyscape.com and enter your website. If there are results that have the same content on other sites, your website may be copying other sites, or other sites may be copying you. Either way, this is not a good thing and needs to be corrected.
8 – Does Your Site have Descriptive Titles?
Each web page should have a title tag. You can view this on the top of your browser or by viewing the source code and searching for the title. Your title tag should be descriptive of the page content and concise, no longer than 70 characters.
9 – Is Your Content Relevant to the Headings?
Search engines look for relevancy of content and major titles and headings. If your content is relevant and structured well you are in good shape.If not, your content needs to be re-evaluated and “optimized”.
10 – Does Your Site have a 75% Moz Local score?
Moz Local allows you to check your business for local listings that are a key component in the local search algorithm. Ideally a 100% completion is preferred, but having 75% completion or greater is a good start.
11 – Does Your Business have Positive Online Reviews?
Online reviews are becoming more relevant to local search. Yelp and Google reviews show signals to search engines that your business provides quality products or services.
12 – Does Your Site have a Domain Authority of 40+?
Moz, as previously mentioned, provides an off-site metric to evaluate a website’s authority in the search engine’s eyes. Links to your website help increase rankings and obtaining a 40+ Domain Authority is positive for local search. Visit http://www.opensiteexplorer.org to view your Domain Authority.
Your Local SEO Audit Checklist Results
Now that you have completed our local SEO audit checklist you will want to know what it all means. Remember, you get one point for each check mark indicating that you either don’t have or fixed an existing problem. How did you score:
0 – 3 Points
Your site is in dire need of help. A full local SEO audit is highly recommended.
4 – 6 Points
Your site has a few key components in place, but needs a lot more in order to rank.
7 – 9 Points
Your site may not need a full local SEO audit, but it still needs improvement.
10 – 12 points
Congratulations! Your site is in great shape. Continue your efforts and grow your business online.
Implementing Your Own Local SEO Audit Checklist Recommendations
If you scored less than 10 in our local SEO audit checklist you should consider making some changes. The need to make improvements increases as your score decreases. Using our local SEO audit checklist as a guide you can begin to make improvements. But before you start you need to understand that this process may be considered to be ‘advanced’ by many users.
18% of location-based mobile searches result in a sale within one day. ThinkWithGoogle
Therefore, unless you feel really comfortable with all of the above, you may want to enlist some help. Your webmaster will be able to help with quite a bit of this, especially if your score indicates only a few minor tweaks are required. If you scored on the low end you may need more firepower, so consider engaging a local SEO professional, or an agency specializing in local SEO.
Just Starting with Small Business SEO?
If you are new to search engine optimization, and how to use it to grow your small business online, you may find these posts from our ESPRESSO Shots Blog helpful.
- 9 SEO Basics to Grow Your Small Business
- 11 Local SEO Tips to Get Your Business Noticed
- 52 Local SEO Strategies Any Business Can Implement
- The On-Page Local SEO Checklist for Business
- 16 Persistent SEO Myths You Need to Ignore Completely
- 12 Tips for Building SEO-Friendly Links
- Key Web Page SEO Factors All Visitors Love
Need Help With Your Local SEO?
Of course, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble and have our team handle any fixes indicated by our local SEO audit checklist for your small business. Small business SEO is one of our specialties, after all! We are experts at helping businesses of any kind get found online. Our SEO strategists can help you perform each step outlined in our tips. And once we implement local SEO in your digital strategy we will help you get the most out of your local marketing. Why not get started with local SEO by requesting your free estimate?
And if you are still not sure about how our local SEO audit checklist applies to your business don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and make sure that your small business has all of the on-page and off-page local SEO benefits it needs. That is one of our specialties, after all!
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Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!