SEO is said to dominate the world of digital marketing. For the small business owner and entrepreneur, the mere thought of having to delve into the world of SEO can be somewhat daunting. SEO is said to be tricky and bound by the rules of Google. As such, entrepreneurs and small business owners often omit this vital component of digital marketing from their strategies. What is more, there is often a sharp focus on social media platforms as a basis for digital marketing. But, social media only has a limited reach. It’s time for small business owners to start looking at SEO and in particular, local SEO to maximise their potential. This is to ensure that their business can thrive and prosper in the competitive online marketplace.
It’s not as scary, or as daunting, as you may first imagine. On the contrary, getting to grips with local SEO may take some time, research and dedication, but it can pay out dividends in the future. Local SEO means optimizing your site for your local audience. Many small businesses are community-based and localized. As such, it makes perfect sense to utilize local SEO methods within their ventures for maximum online success. After all, global reach is not something that you are aspiring for. Local SEO, therefore, can be massively beneficial to a small business. Coupled with an amazing auditing process, small business owners can ensure that their site is prominent within their locality thus driving sales and customer acquisition.
An all encompassing approach to local SEO can be hugely beneficial for the small business owner in 2015 and beyond.
The Benefits of Local SEO
The benefits of local SEO are monumental. And, they are not that difficult to put into place. Whether you are tech savvy or a technophobe, there are some brilliant benefits to implementing this kind of digital strategy within your venture.
Local SEO is vital for your business because it can ensure that you are ranking high in Google search engine results. If your competition is showing in these all-important results, but your company is not, this will result in a loss of sales and overall revenue. You don’t want your competition to get ahead. You need to ensure that when your potential customers are looking for a business in the local area, that you are the first point of contact. Local SEO can ensure this.
With this in mind, you can maximize your conversion rates in a simpler way. When a customer finds you online, via search engines, they will know exactly what you sell and what services you provide. As such, this will ensure that you see a return on investment. But, it will ensure that you see a steady stream of sales. Local SEO and prominence within search engines is necessary for your business. It can help you get your name out there. Your brand will be recognized by the community. But, more importantly, you will ensure that you have a business that reigns supreme over the other local business in your area.
Local SEO is not expensive either. All you need to do is invest some time in an audit. A local SEO audit may sound complicated, but it’s not. When it comes to completing a review, you will need to consider a number of factors and amend your website so that it is fully optimized for your local market.
Why a Local SEO Audit is Important for Your Site
SEO audits are vital for keeping your website relevant, fresh and engaging for your clients. But, ensuring that you complete an audit means that your website is up to date and relevant in the eyes of search engines. Verifying your site is important. You need to think about the overall user experience, how your site performs and how visible it is in the online world.
Without considering these all important factors, your website will not last the distance. Sales can suffer, and you may find that you are not ahead of the competition. As such, an audit of your website and its SEO endeavors is vital for the longevity of your business. But, it also ensures that your website is compliant with algorithm changes and is up to date. Any website errors can be omitted, and you can give your clients a greater online experience when using your site.
In summary, providing your customers with a better experience is important for SEO. But, also being noticed in the realms of e-commerce is deemed as essential too.
So, now you know the importance of why you need to complete an audit, here are some things that you need to consider for putting this into place. Once you start checking off these must-do aspects of the audit, the fruits of your labor will start to become apparent.
The Ultimate Local SEO Audit Checklist: Things to Consider For Your Business
Your business needs to ensure that it has a fully optimized website. Looking critically at your site is important. But, you also need to consider other off page factors that contribute to your rankings too. Do make sure that you are organized and diligent in your approach to completing an audit. While the audit is not costly, it is labor intensive. So, keeping track of your efforts to date is vital.
Check 1: Complete a Citation Audit
Citations are where your businesses name is referenced within the online world. You need to ensure that this is up to date and correct. If it is not, this could harm your rankings within search engine results. So, check your contact details. Your business name, address and phone number should be clearly and correctly stated.
Check on Google to ensure that your business details are correct within their directory. Edit any variances in names. Even a misplaced apostrophe can cause problems when it comes to attaining that number one spot. Look through all directories where your business is listed. Google and Yelp are the most popular. But, if you notice that you are listed in other directories, edit them accordingly so that they all match and that the information within them is correct.
Check 2: Meta Tags
The Meta Tag is the blue link that your customers click on. Keep it snappy and concise. Ideally, within 50-100 words in length. Make sure that it is unique and not replicated elsewhere. Make sure that you utilize keywords, but use them sparingly. Keyword density can see you penalized by Google in the long term.
Check 3: Content
Content is deemed essential for your site. But, you need to ensure that you are using quality and engaging content. Avoid spammy links and keyword stuffing. Make sure that it engages with your target audience. That way, you won’t be penalized by Google. As always, check for duplication of this content on your site and beyond. Duplicated content, or out of date and irrelevant content, should be removed.
Check 4: URL Issues
Your URL is vital to your success. Do make sure that you have a URL that is readable. It should directly link to the homepage and that your URLs are not too long in length. Always use dashes to separate the URL and to make it easy to read. When your customers are typing your website name into their taskbar, auto fill should make your site come up first. With that, it can ensure that your site is always recognized.
Check 5: Mobile Optimization
As Google uses a phone’s location to see what relevant businesses are in the local area when a customer searches, it’s important that you have a fully optimized mobile site. Check out your website on a mobile device. Phones and tablets are now used more prevalently than laptops and PCs. Having a mobile website is important for rankings. A well-designed layout and optimized site is imperative. So, use a mobile validation tool to ensure that your site is ready for the world of mobile.
Check 6: Homepage Speed
A slow website will negatively impact on your rankings within search engines. With this in mind, you need to check the speed of your website and homepage. Does it take an age to load? Can you access all of the information on the homepage with ease? If not, you need to make sure that this action is remedied. This provides your users with a greater online experience when using your website. Usability, as you may remember from earlier in the article, is vital to local SEO.
Check 7: Social Media
Social media is more prevalent than ever. As such, you need to determine how your social media presence is used on your homepage. Do ensure that you’re that you have links from your main site to your social media sites. Icons and buttons for the social media sites that you are subscribed to are deemed as an essential part of your website. Add buttons and create a greater connectivity with your users. Connectedness is vital. But, it also helps with those all important higher rankings.
Check 8: Google+
As Google is the most influential search engine, it makes sense to optimize your site to appease Google. Having a Google+ page for your business is critical. This can ensure that you are ranking higher. But, this also means that Google knows that you exist. Google+ pages are treated like web pages. As such, you can ensure that you are ranking higher. But, it can also increase your visibility in the online world. Local businesses often strive to have a Facebook or Twitter platform. But, for local SEO purposes, aim to have a Google+ page in place.
Local SEO is important. Audits form part of that importance. As a small business, you need to optimize your site in line with the needs of your local community. Using this information will ensure that you are on the right lines to creating the perfect local SEO campaign for your business.
For more SEO tips be sure to visit our SEO Los Angeles Blog.