When consumers search for anything online, they keep their location and proximity in mind. Therefore, it is a no-brainer that local searches are gaining prominence nowadays, which is quite evident from a research conducted by Google:

  • 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to get local information using their mobile devices. They search for local store addresses, business hours, products in stock and directions.
  • Consumers who search local are also more likely to take a call-to-action. As many as 50% of smartphone users visited a store within the same day after conducting local search and 34% of computer/tablet users followed suit.
  • 18% of local searches conducted on smartphones lead to more purchases as compared to non-local searches, which constitute to just about 7%, in a day.

These statistics point to the fact that higher local search rankings lead to an increase in traffic and revenue for businesses.

The answer to ranking high in local searches lie in local SEO audits, which make way for a successful search engine optimization campaign and fix the loopholes in the existing SEO strategies. But most importantly, businesses benefit from the influx of organic traffic, leads and ultimately, conversions.

Conducting a local SEO audit is a tedious process and for a rookie, it can get a bit intimidating as well. But with the right guidance and certain shortcuts, you will be able to manage everything smoothly right from the scratch.

Here’s our take on how you can conduct a quick local SEO audit.

Let’s start by knowing the basic steps of a local SEO audit in a nutshell:

  • Get an insight about the website
  • Check NAP visibility
  • Create a list of On-Site audit elements
  • Use Free online tools

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The prerequisite of any SEO audit is to have all the information related to the website ready. This includes answers to questions like:

  • Does the title tag of the home page include location, brand and keywords?
  • Is the homepage content spammy or plagiarized? Does it provide relevant information to the visitors?
  • Does the website have a contact page with all the necessary details?
  • Is the NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) located at the footer or header of the website and properly marked up in the schema?
  • Does the website have an active blogging section? What kind of posts are published on the blog?
  • Does the website list and link social networks?

These points will help you address a number of major issues on the website.

Check NAP visibility

NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) has an important role to play in local searches as it establishes your business identity in the virtual space. Even the slightest variations in the NAP of your business will make the search engines consider it as a different business. This is why you must ensure that your NAP is perfect to a fault. We’ll cover this later in the post.

Create a list of On-Site audit elements

Creating a list of on-site audit elements will help you identify core areas, where your website needs to improve. Here are some elements, which will help you conduct an on-site local SEO audit:

1

Competition Analysis

Identifying your top three competitors is the first step of any SEO audit. For this, find out:

Current Ranking Status: Use a combination of top keywords for your business along with your location to check your competitors’ rank and compare it with comparing your website’s ranking.

Meta Tags Status: Check whether Meta Tag has been implemented properly in the targeted pages and whether or not city/state is mentioned in all the landing page Meta Tags. Click here to know how to conduct a quick Meta Tag audit.

Links Report: Check for backlinks earned from high-quality websites. Click here to find out how to carry out this step by using tools.

Also, you need to take a look at your competitors’ metrics, which include but are not limited to:

  • Page Authority
  • Page MozRank
  • Page MozTrust
  • Total External Links
  • Total Links
  • Total Links from Root Domains
  • Citations

Estimated time – 5 minutes

2

Redirection – Canonical

Canonicalization refers to a single web address or a single URL for each web page.
Canonical redirection picks one URL from several URLs, which is usually the Home page of a website. If you don’t specify a preferred domain, then Google may include both ‘www’ and ‘non-www’ versions of the web pages as separate references to different pages, leading to content duplication.

Check manually: Type the domain name without “www” in the browser and then with “www”. Both should show the same web page if canonical redirection is implemented.

Check using tool: Web Sniffer

Use web-sniffer.net and enter your website with ‘www’ and without ‘www’ in the given box and hit submit.

Scroll down to the HTTP Response Header section to get two results:

  • 200 ok – If we get 200 OK for both www and non-www URLs, this indicates that redirection hasn’t been properly implemented.
  • 301 Moved Permanently – This indicates that redirection has been implemented.

Estimated time – 1 minute

3

Meta Tag Audit

Limit your “title” tags to 67 characters and include location as Google displays only up to 67 characters in the SERPs. Here are some examples:

  • Carpet, Upholstery, Tiles & Grout Cleaning | Houston, TX
  • Sydney Pastry & Confectionary Programs – Le Cordon Bleu

Use character counter tools or meta tag analyzer tools to conduct a quick meta tag audit. Alternatively, you can opt for spider tools, which thoroughly analyze your website.

Two such tools are – Xenu’s Link Sleuth, a handy, free tool and Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool.

The Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool crawls metas and provides detailed reports. Available for free for the first 500 URLs, it displays URLs that do not meet the 67-character limit and helps analyze and optimize title meta.

How to use the tool: Enter the URL in the field and click the ‘Start’ button. The tool will crawl and analyze the website. Click the ‘Page Titles’ tab and filter the tags by ‘missing’, ‘duplicate’, ‘over 65 characters’ etc. from the drop down menu. Click ‘Export’ to get all the data for optimizing the title tag.

Similarly, check meta descriptions (which improve click-through rates on your website) and other URLs using tabs of the same name.

Estimated time – 4 minutes

Time to Run Actual Local SEO Audit to See
How the Site is Currently Performing.

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4

Website Content Audit

Start content audit by checking the following elements on the webpage from SEO point of view:

  • Page Title
  • Page Headings
  • Images
  • Image ALT Tags
  • Inbound Links
  • Broken Links
  • Targeted Keyword

And from content marketing point of view, check:

  • Word Count
  • Type of Content
  • Call to Action
  • Accessibility on Desktop and Mobile Devices

To specifically check your website with low word count, use Screaming Frog.

Enter the URL in the field and click the START button and the tool will crawl and analyze the website. Click the INTERNAL tab and scroll to the WORD COUNT column to check the word count for each page.

Check content for duplication, plagiarism or syndication by using:

    • Copyscape:

Copyscape is considered as one of the best plagiarism checkers available. Copy and paste URLs of your website in Copyscape and you will be able to view the websites with duplicate or plagiarized content.

    • Siteliner:

An alternative to Copyscape, Siteliner is another free tool for content audit. Type the website URL in the search box and click the GO button to get a detailed analysis of your website content.

Estimated time – 7 minutes

5

URL Audit

While analyzing the URLs on your website, make sure they:

  • are short and user-friendly.
  • have a 115-characters limit.
  • don’t contain excessive parameters and are static.
  • include relevant keyword for the content described.
  • use hyphens and not underscores.

Analyze URLs on your website by using Screaming Frog. Click on the URL tab once the tool finishes crawling and then set the filter to ‘Dynamic’. You will be able to view a list of all the URLs on the website.

Estimated time – 1 minute

6

Site Speed Audit

The average page load speed for a website is around 3 seconds or less. For eCommerce websites, it’s around 7 seconds. Use the following tools for your website’s speed audit.

    • Google’s Page Speed Insight: The tool analyzes your website’s speed and gives additional suggestions to enhance speed. Click on the TEST NOW button after typing in the name of the website in the search box.

    • gtmetrix: Another alternative to checking your website’s speed and finding bottlenecks is gtmetrix. Click on the TEST NOW button after typing in the name of the website in the search box.

Increase your website’s speed by:

  • Minimizing https requests
  • Reducing the server response time
  • Enabling browser caching
  • Minimizing redirects
  • Optimizing visuals
  • Creating minimalist website

Estimated time – 1 minute

7

Local Schema Audit

Using a schema markup gives you an edge over your competition.

Here’s how you can check and create local schema:

    • Check Local Schema: Use Google’s “Structured Data Testing Tool” to check local schema. Input the source code or paste the URL and click VALIDATE to generate results.

  • Create Local Schema: Use the “Local Business Schema Generator Tool” to easily mark up the name, address, and phone number of your business using schema.org vocabulary. All you need to do is fill up the fields provided.

Estimated time – 1 minute

8

Interlinking

Interlinking affects search engine rankings of your website, helps spiders crawl the website, improves rankings of specific keywords and provides more options for the target audience to explore. An impeccable internal link structure with all your web pages linked together enables search engines to index those pages.

Optimize internal links on your website by:

  • making sure that each page on the site is linked to.
  • making use of a descriptive anchor text that includes location and business information such as – Texas Roofing Supply.
  • creating variations by not linking to the same set of pages and not using the same anchor text.
  • utilizing the potential of the homepage by adding direct links and removing links that are less important.

Estimated time – 5 minutes

Conduct a quick Local SEO audit of your website to identify major issues affecting its performance.

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9

Header Tags

The “H1” or Header 1 tag indicates what a webpage is all about. Optimize the tag by including the location of your business. Although the length of the H1 tag is of no significance, it should be between 15 and 67 characters. Ideally, you need to have only one header tag. But in case you require multiple titles, you can break it into multiple H2 tags.

Some examples of H1 tags are:

  • Housekeeping in Boston, USA
  • Pet Care Services in Texas

Use Screaming Frog to conduct a quick audit of your H1 tags and get the required data for analysis. Filter the data by – Missing, Duplicate, Over 70 characters or Multiple.

Estimated time – 3 minutes

10

ALT and Title Tags

The ALT tag on a website is important mainly because search engines can’t read any image without text, you lose out on a keyword opportunity. Also, it ends up providing a poor user experience for those who have no way of viewing images on their browsers.

Check whether or not ALT tags are missing or incorrectly described on the webpages. Ideally, the text should describe what the image is about in 10 words or less. It should be a descriptive phrase and include a local keyword. E.g. San Jose Cheesecake Bakers

The code should look like this:

<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”San Jose Cheesecake Bakers” / >

Image title on the other hand offers additional information about the image. It is more or less the same as Alt tag and a regular title.

The sample code can be something like this:

< img src=”image.jpg” alt=”image description” title=”Nike Women’s Shoes” / >

Find missing alt text or images that have lengthy alt text with Screaming Frog.

Go to the ‘Images’ tab and filter by ‘Missing Alt Text’ or ‘Alt Text Over 100 Characters’.

Estimated time – 5 minutes

11

404 pages

Usually ignored by marketers as a technical glitch, 404 Error pages can actually help you convert potential customers.

Custom-design 404 error pages for your website and turn the technical glitch as an opportunity to impress the visitors. Here are some brilliantly designed 404 pages for your inspiration.

Also, find out which of your web pages return a 404 Error by using Screaming Frog. Click the ‘Internal’ tab and sort the results by ‘Status Code’, ‘Any 404’, ‘301’ etc.

Estimated time – 2 minutes

12

Landing Page Audit

If you run a business with a single location, stick to the homepage of your company as a landing page. But if you operate from multiple locations, then use the landing page relevant to different locations as it makes more sense to create location-specific landing pages for better user-experience.

Here’s what you need to consider during landing page audit:

  • The website’s structure
  • Business hours
  • Crawlable NAP
  • Content on the page
  • Indexing of the page
  • Heading tags
  • Meta tags (including title and description)
  • Alt text
  • Reviews by customers or clients
  • Embedded map and driving directions
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Keyword spamming

Estimated time – 4 minutes

Perform Local SEO technical Audit for
Your Client in Minimal Time

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13

SiteMap Creation and Submission

Sitemaps offer easier navigation and better visibility by search engines. Also, they help index new content on the website, ensures less reliability on external links and resolves messy internal links issues.

Is your website missing a sitemap? Create one easily using – https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/.

Once you are done creating the sitemap, submit it to Google’s Webmaster Tool in easy steps.

Select your website on Google Search Console home page > Click CRAWL > Click SITEMAPS > Click ADD/TEST SITEMAP > Enter /system/feeds/sitemap into the text box > Click SUBMIT YOUR SITEMAP.

Proceed to check your sitemaps manually using- http://tools.weburlopener.com/xml-sitemap-checker.

Estimated time – 5 minutes

14

Robots.txt

The /robots.txt file provides instructions about a website to web robots and this process is known as Robots Exclusion Protocol. But then, robots can ignore /robots.txt.

Here’s how you can create and test robots.txt:

Estimated time – 1 minute

15

Google Analytics Implementation Audit

Google Analytics is a must-have for any local business website. The absence of which, makes it difficult for you to keep a track of issues within the website, note the changes in the traffic and conversions or get essential information about visitors.

Find out whether Google Analytics is implemented on your website or not by opening your browser’s VIEW PAGE SOURCE option. Search analytics.js (Universal Analytics) or ga.js (for classic Analytics).

Estimated time – 1 minute

16

Contact Details in Crawlable format

The contact details on your website needs to be in a ‘crawlable’ format or ‘readable’ by search engines.

  • Make sure that it is in text format and not image
  • It can be anywhere on the web pages or code.
  • For more than one location, list all NAPs separately for each page or on a common page.

Greg Hannah Plumbing - NAP
(Image Credit)

Estimated time – 1 minute

A Lot of Quick Wins Can be Achieved
As a Result of this Local SEO Audit.

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17

Mobile-friendly check on mobile device

We all know the importance of having a mobile-friendly website for business and so does Google.

Here are some of the criteria set by Google for mobile-friendly websites:

  • Don’t use any software that makes content unreadable or unplayable
  • Make sure that the links are not placed too closed so that they can be easily tapped
  • Ensure that the content fits the screen without the users having to scroll or zoom to read it

Check whether your website is mobile-friendly or not by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Estimated time – 1 minute

19

Google+ page Audit

Conduct a quick Google+ page audit by finding out the duplicate listings for more than one profile.

Steady Demand is a handy tool, which will help you conduct an analysis free of cost. Past the URL of your Google+ page in the search bar of the tool and click the ‘Go’ button. Scroll down to see a thorough analysis of the Google+ page.

Estimated time – 3 minutes

20

Citation Audit – NAP

Your website needs a flawless citation profile containing NAP as this has a huge impact on local SEO rankings. Doing some basic round of checks will easily give you the required information. However, if you are up for a detailed citation analysis, refer to this informative write-up by Casey Meraz.

To find all the existing variations of citation NAP and more, you can conduct a manual search by:

  • Searching your business’s name.
  • Searching your business’s name and a part of your street address.
  • Searching your business’s phone number.

Repeat the steps to find all the places where your NAP data appears incorrect.

When you find incorrect NAP listings, either get in touch with the websites that contain the incorrect information or try claiming/editing the listings.

Alternatively, you can use tools for the audit, which include but are not limited to :

  • Moz Local For $84 per location, check your website for inconsistent, incomplete or duplicate citations using Moz Local.
  • Yext Available for $500-$1,000, price is perhaps the only drawback of Yext, which comes with truckloads of benefits including saving your time.

Estimated time – 2 minutes

Perform Local SEO audit with
the help of this step-by-step guide.

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21

Google+ Page Review

According to Digital Insights, Google+ has over 1.6 billion users and 540 Million from the lot are monthly active users. Also, 53% of the interaction between a Google+ user and a brand is positive, hinting at the importance of Google+ page for local businesses.

Here are some points you need to know about Google+ reviews:

  • Its review system is constantly evolving.
  • Google+ local rankings get a huge boost from reviews, although the benefit is more indirect.
  • If a review is not in a good taste either on your page or on a competitor’s page, you can flag it and report it to Google.
  • Only Google+ Local business pages can have reviews written for them and not for personal branding pages or non-local business Google+ pages.
  • The number of reviews take precedence over the quality when it comes to rankings.

Conduct a quick review or scan of your Google+ Local page to check red flags such as:

  • Spammy descriptions
  • Category dilution
  • Bad reviews

Run a quick check by simply typing the name of your company or brand in Google search bar. You’ll get the details on the right side of the page.

Estimated time – 1 minute

22

Social Media Channels

The benefits of using social media for business are many.

Find out how your business fares on social media channels with this simple checklist:

  • How active are you on social media?
  • List down all the social media platforms where your business has its presence.
  • Are the essential channels missing from the list?
  • How many followers do you have and how many of them are engaged?

This checklist will help you manually review social media channels for your business. As an alternative, you can also use tools like Woorank/TheSEOTools.

Estimated time – 1 minute

23 Organized Local SEO Checklists That
You Can Follow During Your Local SEO Audit.

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Calling it a day

By conducting a local SEO audit for your website, you automatically pave the way for enhancing brand visibility, prepare for more visits and subsequent conversions, rise above competition and of course, get high returns on investment.

Have a tip or two to share with us on the topic? Let us know!

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE TEMPLATE NOW & CREATE ACTIONABLE LOCAL SEO AUDIT FOR YOUR WEBSITE.