Local SEO Audit

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 21, 2017
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), one of the key drivers of business on the internet today is an important aspect of any company’s marketing plan. SEO is particularly profitable because it offers both the service provider and the end-user advantages. For the service provider, SEO allows for targeted marketing campaigns, which increase profit, as well as insights into the behavior of customers on the online platform. From the consumer or end user’s perspective, SEO provides an enhanced experience in that they are more likely to find information on topics or products that they are actually interested in, rather than being inundated with those that they are not. However, SEO takes proper setup and maintenance to work effectively. This article will cover SEO auditing workflows and tools that you can use in your own company.

SEO is primarily driven by keywords. Keywords are search terms that are entered into the search engine and are compared against the content of, for example, Google’s index to bring about a list of the most relevant results. Often, the keywords are only entered within the body text of a website, but there are plenty of other ‘hidden’ parts of any website that can be utilized to increase keyword relevancy. For example, a picture should always be included in any text, and the alt-tag should include the keyword. The URL of the page should also include the keyword and the URL should always take the shortest possible form, avoiding alphanumeric strings. Sites like WordPress can be configured to automatically shorten URLs to only be the title of the website.

When a search is performed, services like Google are able to decide relevancy by looking at the form and structure of the document. Simply filling up your website with keywords is not enough to achieve this. For example, websites with headings following proper order (h1, h2, h3) and containing the keywords are more likely to be listed on the top of a google search results than those that do not follow the sequential order.

Another aspect of relevancy is back-linking. Back-linking is one of the strongest criteria for your website to be listed in the top 10 of any search, as the search engine assumes that those websites that enjoy references from external websites must have good content. You can increase your backlink count by running a backlink search on competitor’s websites and then following these backlinks to their sources. It is accepted practice for webmasters to write each other directly and request back-linking.
Some services will even drive the registration email from the domain name, enabling you to bypass most red-tape and get directly to the website owner.

Don’t forget: the description that is listed in google searches should always include a call-to-action; for example “Click here to find out more information about SEO”. This meta-description should be at least 160 characters long and be placed in the header portion of the HTML script. If you have pages that might be irrelevant to a search result, which you would like to exclude (so that the user gets to the landing page, and not, for example, the contacts page, you can de-list this page for detection. This process is similar to the meta-description. Please refer to the use of google’s “robot.txt” for more information on how to exclude certain pages from indexing.

Your keywords should always be updated and new keywords that might lead to a higher listing should be included in all relevant HTML pages. You can view what keywords are being used, even down to your locality, by signing up for google Adwords. This is a free service provided by google that will significantly help you in achieving your goal of a high listing on search engines.

We hope these tips will help you during your local SEO Audit. Proper maintenance of SEO is the key to driving sales while also improving customer experience.