If you run any kind of local business, whether you’re a roofer, dentist, local bakery, etc., being able to be found on Google is a key essential piece of keeping your business running, as well as growing your business in the future. The next step after being able to be found on Google is to outrank your competition because let’s face it, people are searching for your services, and they are going to click on whomever they find the quickest. That could either be you or your competition. That is why local businesses should do a local SEO Audit.
Yet, many companies fail to do so because they just don’t fully understand what a local SEO audit is. To further complicate matters, it can get confusing between local SEO and organic SEO. So, let’s dive a little deeper into what is local SEO and what is a local SEO audit.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO, simply put, is your results on Google Maps. If you are looking for a garage door repair company, there is a good chance you’re going to look at the results on Google Maps, if for no other reason than that is where the Google reviews are. In 2020 when searching for businesses, consumers used mapping applications 44% of the time.
What factors go into local SEO?
GMB Rankings are based on three elements: Distance, Prominence, and Relevance. In regard to distance, if a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location. Because we can’t control the location of the user, the only element besides the physical location of the business that we have any control over is making sure that location and city keywords are used throughout the optimization process, both in the Google My Business listing and the linked website to the profile.
Prominence is the second factor we are going to look at. Prominence is based on information that Google has about a business from across the web, from your website to directories, to other sites linking to you and reviews. Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Google tends to rank higher than those who get more frequent and relevant reviews. Google’s logic in this equates to user data. Roughly 78% of customers focus on the most recent reviews. Google understands this, this is why Review signals make up roughly 15% of how Google ranks a business.
In regard to the directories I just mentioned, Google wants to see brand consistency. That is why Name, Address and Phone Number or what is known as NAP, is consistent across the whole of the internet.
The third major factor is relevance. Google states “Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches”. This is where your description needs to match search intent, your categories need to be correct and it’s best to have a physical location in the area of the search. If not, using location-rich keywords in the description may help to a degree.
What does a Local SEO Audit Cover?
When you’re getting a local SEO audit for your business, it can vary from company to company, but there are some things that usually all audits have:
- which prominent citation directories have your business listed and if it is correct.
- your general ranking on your most valued or wanted keyword.
- technical SEO aspects of your website.
- a review of your Google My Business listing if you have one.
- how many reviews you have and a review of backlinks to your website.
With this knowledge, you can begin to get a clearer picture of what you need to do in order to rank higher on Google Maps.
We here at Hughbanks Design believe in empowering small businesses with the tools and knowledge to grow their business using the power of Google and the internet. Contact us for a free local SEO audit. We go over your audit with you and give you some guidance based on your report, free of charge.