Solid Checklist to Enhance Your Local SEO Performance
While the buzz around unlocks and re-opening phases are getting interesting, having a strong presence on search engines locally is still important. For local businesses, letting your potential customers know about your whereabouts and the current status is easily possible if you have a solid local SEO checklist with you.
At Evincera, we have helped more than 20 local businesses varying in the domains like domestic essentials & supplies, grocery stores, residential & commercial maintenance, HVAC businesses, healthcare professionals, and many more.
The current state of local SEO
Since the public health emergency created havoc in the world, the first ones to get affected were local businesses with no essential offerings. At that time, local SEO was important to combat the future competition when we were planning to combat COVID-19 or at least we’re trying to contain its spread.
Now that things are getting back to normal, the new ‘new’ suggests we have to stand up and learn to live with the virus around us. And thus, getting back to normal shape and to re-open, you, as local business owners need to strengthen your local SEO.
Over the years, we have achieved success for our clients through our own local SEO checklist, and with this article, we are presenting some of the most important elements of local SEO which you cannot afford to ignore.
So, what you’ll get with this local SEO checklist?
If you are new to this form of marketing (local SEO), you should learn about how local website optimization works, why NAP consistency is important, how reviews matter in your local performance, and more. For all this information, you will find a link at the end of this article.
With this local SEO checklist, you’ll get to know what factors you need to take care of while optimizing your business on local search engines. Google is the giant one and it offers a wide variety of marketing options for local businesses, but to convince Google, you need to follow this SEO checklist. Read on and you’ll understand.
Let’s start with Location Data Factors
Before you start marketing your brand on search engines, make sure you have all the following information handy:
- Current, real-world business name, address, and phone number for each location
- Name, address & phone number for each public-facing department (if applicable)
- Hours of operations for each location, department, and practitioner
- Email addresses, fax numbers, toll-free numbers, and any secondary numbers for your entity
- Google My Business (GMB) landing page URLs for all locations, departments, and practitioners
- Existing or needed GMB categories for each location, department, and practitioner
- Access to Google My Business, Google Search Console, and other relevant platforms
- High-quality images of each of your location or establishment
- List of all relevant social media profiles for the brand and its locations
- Documentation of any past penalties or suspensions
- Names, job titles, and contact information for any staff members you’ll need to work with
- A contract/agreement and statement of goals.
These are some basic yet vital business information that you need to keep handy all the time while promoting your business on search engines locally. For its optimization, you need a local SEO expert.
For Google, while promoting your local business to catch attention, Google My Business is of the best features Google provides you and for Google My Business, we have another checklist where you’ll find how you can make your business eligible for this feature.
Here it is
Things which make your business eligible: (Check if your business/establishment falls in any of these categories)
- Legitimate physical addresses
- Face-to-face contact with customers
- ATMs, video and food kiosks, express mail drop boxes
- Seasonal businesses with year-round signage
- Independently operated co-located brands each with their own listing (not combined listings/branding)
- Public-facing departments within businesses, universities, hospitals, and government institutions
- Public-facing multi-practitioners contactable at published hours
- Food trucks with permanent locations
- Some co-working spaces
- Rental/for sale property offices.
Things which may make your business ineligible:
- PO boxes, virtual offices, and mailboxes at remote locations
- No face-to-face contact with customers
- Rental/for-sale units
- Services/classes/meetings at properties you don’t own or officially represent
- Personal, non-business addresses belonging to employees/family/friends
- Multiple listings representing brands carried, specialties, services, or support staff
- Phone numbers that refer users to entities other than the actual business
- Website URLs that refer users to social media landing pages
- Separate listings for brands and solo practitioners.
But what should be done with your website in order to strengthen your local SEO? Here’s what to do…
Basic pages with clear, unique selling propositions and clear CTAs:
- Guarantee/Policy/Disclaimer pages
- Complete contact information on Contact Page or location-wise landing pages:
- Schema markup for local business pages
- Accurate hours, directional maps and clear driving directions
- Create unique pages for:
- Each location (if you have a multi-location business)
- Every key service and product offered
- Every public-facing practitioner or expert (if applicable)
- Reviews/testimonials page or reviews embedded in location landing pages
- The unique title tag on each page, between 50–60 characters
- Social media, local business profile, and review profile links
- High-quality, accessible & interactive/engaging media
- Compressed photos with alt tags
- Videos with transcripts
- Proofs of local community involvement/civic benefit
These are some engagement factors which will attract and engage your potential users on your local business profiles, but with the technical elements, you need to take care of some of the following factors:
- Usable navigation and strong internal linking structure
- Mobile-friendliness and fast load speed
- Secure HTTPS URLs
- Proper HTTP redirects in place
- Proper URL canonicalization
- Consistent header tag structure/usage
- Short, optimized, human-readable URLs
- The unique meta description for each page, around 160 characters
So, the above information is necessary for your technical optimization and local profile optimization. The local SEO checklist continues with optimizing your local reputation.
Here’s how to optimize your local reputation
To develop and maintain a positive reputation, you need:
- An active review acquisition program
- Continuous review monitoring and a quick response policy
- Review spam detection and reporting
- An in-store strategy to catch and resolve complaints face to face before they turn into reviews
- A resolution plan to turn negative reviews into positives
- Sentiment analysis to identify and combat emerging issues
- Customer-centric policies
- Robust staff hiring and training practices
- Strict adherence to platform and review guidelines
- To cultivate and maintain good public relations
Sometimes, you may experience a drop in your local rankings. This might be an alarm for you where you need to evaluate the following things:
- GMB ineligibility, guideline violations, suspensions, and duplicates
- Reports of new Google bugs or algorithm updates (change your website elements or content accordingly, for more information about Google algorithms updates, do check out our blog section)
- Filters like Possum
- Technical website errors and penalties
- Review count, rating, and recency vs. competitors
- GMB categorization problems and missing fields
- Organic signals vs. competitors (DA & PA, on-page SEO, links, unstructured citations)
- Content quality, publication rate, and expertise
- Presence of competitive GMB spam
- Structured citation consistency, accuracy, and spread.
While you can rely on an SEO expert to handle your local SEO checklist if you are not comfortable doing it alone (due to complexity it has), you need to make sure your content is full of local-focused information through which, you can easily attract them to your business. But do you know which things you need to take care of your content when it comes to local SEO? We have another section in this local SEO checklist…
Your content needs to full of:
- Company USPs
- Customer guarantees
- Customer FAQs
- Company history
- Your team
- Nearby attractions
- Company news
- Customer stories/testimonials
- Loyalty programs
- Local business allies
- Green practices
This SEO checklist for your local business doesn’t end here. With advanced knowledge in Google My Business, you can easily optimize your company profile on search engines and start attracting local clients and increase footfalls, sales, and profits.
For more on local SEO services from Evincera, here’s what we offer.
In the unlocking process in various regions, Google has announced some of the updates and support for local businesses. Here’s an article we published recently on it.