As a business owner, you need to keep your website updated by regularly auditing your site to ensure that it stays optimized. SEO audits are a good way to do this. However, if your business has multiple locations or franchises, how do you go about performing local SEO audits? In this post we’ll explain how to perform an SEO audit on your local websites and what makes it different from regular audits.
In this guide, you will learn how to perform a local SEO audit for your multi-location business. You will be able to identify potential issues impacting the visibility of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs) and implement changes that improve rankings.
The purpose of a local SEO audit is to evaluate the current state of your site’s performance in search engines, identify areas that require improvement, and create actionable improvements with measurable results. An effective audit helps ensure that your online presence is strong enough to attract new customers and drive revenue growth.
Why do you need a local SEO audit?
The main reason you need to perform local SEO audits is because they provide valuable insights into how your business is performing and where you can improve.
- Local SEO is a complex process that requires a long-term strategy, which means there are many moving parts that need to be optimized for success.
- Local search ranking factors change frequently, so it’s important to stay on top of what’s new in the industry and make changes as necessary.
- The competition for local searches is fierce, so you have to constantly monitor the results page and see what keywords your competitors are targeting.
Technical SEO Audit for Local Businesses
Technical SEO audits are an important part of local SEO. A technical SEO audit often reveals issues that can be easily fixed, thus improving your site’s performance and helping you rank higher in the SERPs. The most common issues that affect local businesses include:
- Duplicate content on your website
- Broken links pointing to your site from other websites
- Crawler-blocking tags such as Robots.txt or meta tags
- Unoptimized images (e.g., image file names not correctly labeled)
1. Check for Duplicate Business Listings
The first thing you should do is check for duplicate business listings. This is the most important ranking factor, so it’s very important that you don’t have any duplicates if you want to rank.
It’s easy to find duplicate listings by uploading your address file into Moz Local or Yext and letting them run a report for you. If you’re working with a local agency or using tools like Locabox, make sure they’re doing this as well. You can also use Google My Business (formerly Google+ Local) to check for duplicates via their “Check for Listing Errors” tool within GMB Dashboard: https://www.google.com/business/dashboard/#local-listings
2. Verify Your NAP Information
Another critical part of local SEO is verifying your NAP information. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. This is essentially the foundation of your local search presence because it helps Google identify which location you’re ranking for in search results. If you have multiple locations across different cities and states, having a consistent NAP across all of them will help ensure that people can easily find their way to the right place (which may not always be the closest).
It’s important to keep these details accurate—if they’re wrong or outdated then customers could have trouble finding your business when they look online or ask Siri where to go when they’re out shopping. In addition to being accurate and up-to-date, your NAP must also be unique: if two businesses have similar names then Google will assume that both are talking about one entity instead of two separate ones. Finally, make sure that potential customers can easily find this information when looking through listings on Yelp or FourSquare (or any other platform where businesses display their info).
3. Improve GMB Reviews and Ratings
You’re not alone in this quest. Local businesses everywhere are clamoring to get more reviews and improve their ratings, while at the same time they’re trying to retain what they already have. This is a great thing, because you know that reviews and ratings play an important role in local SEO. In fact, Google recently said that “reputation signals” like review counts and star ratings carry about 15% of the total weight of your search engine ranking algorithm (SERP).
That said, there can be some challenges when it comes to getting the best possible results from your reviews—and we want you to have all the information you need so you can get it right!
4. Clean Up Your Site Architecture
- Clean up your site architecture
- Reduce the number of pages on the site
It’s a good idea to reduce the number of pages on your website. This will help with both indexing and crawling. It also helps with reducing duplicate content, which can be a problem for multi-location businesses.
- Make sure all pages are accessible:
If you have a lot of internal links from one page to another, make sure that these pages are actually accessible. You may need to add 301 redirects if you aren’t using them already (see step 5 below).
- Make sure all pages are mobile friendly: If your business has multiple locations and you’re using location specific URLs (e..g subdomains), make sure that each of these is also mobile friendly by checking it in Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool or another similar tool like Firebug Lite or Accessibility Developer Tools for chrome extensions.
5. Perform HTML Validation Checks
- Use the W3C HTML validator to perform a quick check of your site’s code. You can find it here: https://validator.w3.org/.
- Check for broken links or redirects that point to non-existent pages on your website (such as 404 errors).
- Check for duplicate content across multiple locations, as well as within individual pages on one location’s website (e.g., if you have two locations that sell the same product but are selling it under different names).
- Verify whether alt tags exist and contain descriptive text related to images used throughout the site, including logos and banners, photos used in listings/reviews, etc (for example: “[Logo]”). This helps with crawlers’ ability to understand what a page is about based on what they’re seeing visually–and makes it easier for customers who use screen readers because they’ll know more about what they’re looking at without having any additional information needed beyond just describing what was seen visually using only text itself!
6. Check the Status of Indices on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
You should check the status of your indices on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. This is a process that may take some time, so it’s recommended to do this before starting any other local SEO audit tasks.
What is an Index?
An index contains links to all the pages in your site that Google has found and crawled, and which are eligible to show up in its search results.
How do I Check The Status Of My Indices?
You can use two main tools to check the status of your indices: Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmasters) or Bing Webmaster Tools. These tools let you see how many pages have been indexed by each search engine and what errors are preventing some pages from being indexed at all.
7. Check the AMP Status of Your Local Web Pages in Google Search Console
AMP pages are a Google technology that allows web pages to load faster. AMP also stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, which means it’s geared toward mobile users. Because of this, AMP pages can get preferential treatment from Google Mobile Search when they rank in the top results for mobile searches.
AMP page audits should be performed by a developer who knows how to check them using the Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). Even if your site uses an agency, you should make sure they’re actually checking them properly!
8. Use Robots Testers to Evaluate Robots.txt Files and Check for Meta Robots Tags on Key Landing Pages
It’s important to evaluate your website’s robots.txt file and meta robots tags to ensure that they’re structured properly. Many sites have incorrect configuration settings, which can lead to crawling errors, duplicate content issues, or other problems with their search engine traffic.
Use a tool like Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools to check the status of your site on Google and Bing.
If you need help creating an appropriate configuration for your site’s robots.txt files or adding unique meta tags (e.g., “noindex” or “follow”), contact us today!
On-page Optimization Audit for Local Businesses
- Keywords and keyword research:
- Relevance of the keywords to the business
- Title tags:
- Meta descriptions:
- Landing page content:
- Keyword density in text and image alt tags. Make sure they are not overused, as this could lead to a penalty from search engines. Use synonyms and variations instead (e.g., “coffee roaster” instead of “roaster”).
- The right domain name for your location. For example, if you are selling furniture in Chicago, use the keyword “furniture chicago” as part of your URL structure (i.e., https://www.examplefurnitureshopchicago.com/). This will help Google understand that your website is relevant to local searches related to furniture in Chicago area.* From our experience we found that using geographic modifiers (i.e., city name) at the end of a URL makes it easier for users to find websites on local search results pages.* URLs with relevant information about products/services offered by businesses are much easier for crawlers like GoogleBot or other bots from other search engines such as BingBot or Yahoo! SlurpBot etc..
1. Gather Keyword Suggestions
- Gather keyword suggestions.
- Use a keyword research tool to gather short, medium and long tail keywords for your business.
- Use the Google Keyword Planner for broad search volume and cost-per-click data on keywords that you’re targeting. Don’t forget about local intent! The AdWords Keyword Planner will help you find popular searches related to your business that won’t show up in the “Autocomplete” feature of Google Search (which is based on autocorrected queries). This tool also includes local search volume information so you can see how many people are searching for businesses like yours nearby.
2. Determine the Relevance of the Keywords to your Business and Landing Page Content
- Determine the Relevance of the Keywords to your Business and Landing Page Content
The next step is to determine the relevance of your keywords to your business and landing page content. This will help you identify which keywords are more relevant than others, allowing you to more easily determine which ones need an optimization effort, or if those search terms can be removed altogether. Since this step involves determining what makes up a good keyword in general, we recommend reading our article on keyword research for a more detailed explanation of how it works. Once you’ve determined which keywords are relevant and which ones aren’t, make sure you’re including them in your audit report so that any future SEO efforts can be targeted towards these commonalities instead of wasting time on irrelevant ones!
3. Review Title Tag and Meta Description Content to Ensure Relevance, Completeness, Accurate Phone Numbers and Inclusion of Geographic Modifiers Where Appropriate
As the content of your website is an important factor in local search, you’ll want to ensure that the words used in your title tag and meta description are accurate and relevant. You should also make sure that these elements are between 150-160 characters long to ensure they’re seen in search results as well as not cut off by Google’s algorithm.
The meta description should include a call to action and be written according to best practices for search engine optimization (SEO). For example, if you have an “About Us” page on your website, you might write something like “Learn more about us at ABC Company.” In addition, it’s important to include a geographic modifier where appropriate if there is one for which you’d like to rank higher than others nearby; for instance: “Yelp business profile for ABC Company – San Francisco” or “Business information about ABC Company located in San Francisco”
You’ll also want to make sure that any phone numbers listed on your site are accurate and consistent across all pages with contact information
Takeaway:Learn how to perform an SEO audit
The takeaway here is that the process of performing an SEO audit for a website can be easily adapted for use by businesses operating multiple locations. The same tools and techniques should apply, but with a few minor tweaks.
First, you’ll want to start by identifying all of your locations (we’re talking physical addresses). This can be done through Google Maps or Bing Maps by entering “X location” as the search term and clicking on each result to see if it’s actually yours or not. If you have multiple storefronts in different cities or states, make sure they’re all included in this step so you know where exactly you need to focus your efforts when performing your audit.
Nextly, consider how each physical location differs from one another—for example: Which ones have been around longer? Which ones have more foot traffic? These differences may impact how much time should be spent optimizing each site individually versus collectively across all sites at once—and what kind of results are most likely going to come from either approach!
If you’re looking for a way to increase your visibility in local search results and drive more traffic to your business, an SEO audit is a great place to start. Now that you know how to perform an SEO audit, you can use these tips at all of your locations!