Although some may have been on hiatus during the pandemic, brick-and-mortar business locations aren’t dead. Consumers still want – and need – to visit physical locations these days to get things done. That’s why your business needs to invest in local SEO – no matter if you’re a global company with chains worldwide or a smaller, niche brand.
SEO is search engine optimization, which includes technical SEO, on-site and off-site SEO, and content strategy. Local SEO just tweaks those efforts and adds a few more tactics that anchor your business to the local community – indeed, local SEO is the mortar that holds the bricks in place.
These days local SEO simply isn’t optional. If you need more convincing, here are some Google-backed stats to back our advice up:
- Nearly one-third of all mobile searches are linked to location.
- Over three-quarters of those who conducted a local search visited the business within a day – oh, and of those who visited, over a quarter made a purchase.
- Local SEO isn’t just for local business per se. If you operate a business that provides goods or services throughout the country or worldwide, you should still provide geo-specific content to those targeted areas. About two-thirds of smartphone shoppers are more likely to buy from companies that cater info to their location.
You. Need. To. Optimize. For. Location.
To help you do just that, we’d like to share this local SEO checklist with you. We encourage you to save this and refer to it any time your site needs an overhaul, or simply refer to a specific section when you need to do some minor adjustments. Do this and your business has a better chance of ascending to the top of Google SERPs and earning features in high-value business directories.
The Local SEO checklist is broken down into eight parts:
- Know Your Rankings
- Optimize for Google My Business (GMB)
- Optimize Your Website’s Technical SEO
- Target Relevant Social Platforms and Submit Info to Business Directories
- Encourage User Reviews and Ratings
- Generate Backlinks and Referral Traffic
- Optimize for Mobile
- Track and Test
The Local SEO Checklist for Business Owners
Know Your Rankings
The following signals are used by Google to note the relevancy and usefulness of your page, which ultimately affect how high your website will rank on Google SERPs.
- Link signals
- On-page signals
- Behavioral signals
- Google My Business signals
- Citation signals
- Review signals
- Social signals
Optimize for Google My Business (GMB)
Google does not pull your contact info or address from your website, you must manually create a Google My Business listing. When someone conducts a “near me” search, these listings are given preference right after paid ads on Google SERP. Mobile users especially aren’t likely to scroll past the local map listings.
- Create a GMB profile
- Allow Google to publicly display your business information
- Enter geographical radius
- Select primary and secondary business categories
- Write a short business description
- Upload visual content
- Verify GMB account ownership
- Solicit customer reviews and questions
- Create content with Google Posts
Optimize Your Website’s Technical SEO
This is something you should be doing periodically to enhance the crawlability of your page for Google algorithms. Websites are not static. Technical issues will inevitably arise and updates will be needed.
Run a site audit to address the following issues:
- Duplicate content
- Zombie pages
- Broken links
- Missing metadata
- Title tags
- URL strings
- NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) data
- Keyword targets
- Re-submit your Google sitemap (or submit a Google sitemap if you haven’t already done so)
Target Relevant Social Platforms and Submit Info to Business Directories
You don’t necessarily have to check off every one of these social platforms and directories. Instead, focus on the ones that are best suited for your business niche. Where are your customers going to spend their time? Where are they most likely to find you?
- Better Business Bureau
- Angie’s List
- Yellow Pages
Encourage User Reviews and Ratings
Consumers rarely make purchases without first scrolling through the reviews. Believe it or not, even a few negative reviews are good for business so long as your overall review is high – people find five stars suspicious.
- Ask customers to leave a review on checkout pages
- Include links to your site directories
- Attach alt text to images uploaded to directories in order to appear in image SERPs
- Survey your customers after any interaction, purchase or otherwise, via on-page prompts or email
- Embed reviews and rating systems wherever appropriate on your website
- Include a GMB review request in your email signature
- Monitor brand alerts, mentions, and comments across social media
- Use review-monitoring software to track ratings
Generate Backlinks and Referral Traffic
Backlinks are external links to your website that boost your authority and rankings. Think of them as word-of-mouth promotion.
- Publish content catered to local users using geo-targeted keywords
- Pepper plenty of visuals and location-specific phrasing on your site and social platforms
- Connect with high-value, local influencers
- Partner with local establishments for co-branding campaigns
- Track company mentions across the web and social media
- Reach out to those mentioning you
Don’t Forget About Mobile Usability
All websites should be optimized for mobile users. Website design should be built to adapt to the device, not only in the way the pages appear but for how user interactions change across devices.
- Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check mobile-responsiveness
- Remove mobile site errors
- Format content with a mobile user in mind
- Make site navigation easy
- Enable one-click phone calls from touchscreen devices
Track and Test
All this work isn’t worth much if you don’t have the metrics to measure your progress. You should be tracking your SEO performance through tools such as Google Analytics and testing your changes against a control.
- Run A/B Split-Testing (If you want to learn more about this, check out our in-depth article here).
Important metrics to pay attention to:
- Conversion rate
- Time on page
- Pages per visit
- Bounce rate
- Scroll depth
- Campaign-specific traffic
- Traffic to site over time
- Isolate organic traffic
- Paid traffic
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Keyword rankings
- Number of backlinks
- Domain Authority & Page Authority (DA/PA)
Check the Boxes and Watch Your Rankings Climb
If you systematically and diligently run down this checklist, we promise your local SEO performance will improve dramatically. Of course, if you’d prefer to save time and let the pros take over, you can call our SEO virtuosos at (877) 736-1112 or fill out our contact form. We lay a sturdy SEO foundation brick by brick to secure your business’s position within the local sphere and beyond.