June 22, 2017 Lucie Towndrow

Essential Local SEO Checklist for Small Businesses

Local SEO Checklist Your Business Must Complete

Local SEO is essential for any small business. It helps businesses promote their products or services to a relevant local audience that are actively looking for those particular services or products. It is a targeted approach to digital marketing that helps businesses stand out in search engine results pages. Learning how to use local ranking factors such as reviews can really work to your advantage, but to do so, both on-page and off-site SEO tasks have to be completed to optimise your site for local search.

local search SEO

Here is our SEO checklist to ensure you’re ticking every box you can in order to rank locally!

Directories and Business Listings. – Claim your local listings on Google My Business and Yahoo Local. Ensure all necessary details are filled in such as business name, address, contact info and website URL. This information should come up on a local search query where your business appears as a result. Alongside local listings, national directory listings are also very helpful. We recommend Web.com and their high authority directory listings. The directory listings are not free, but they are worth it due to the quality backlinks. These backlinks give you higher domain authority and trust flow, therefore making you rank higher on local search SERPs.

optimise google my business

Website Criteria and Citations. – Every website needs to be optimised with sufficient and up to date contact details. Your name, address and phone number (NAP) should be consistent and available throughout the site. If you want to show up in local search, it’s crucial that Google understands where your business is located. These details should be optimised for mobile, meaning that your phone number is more accessible on mobile devices. Citations are every time your NAP or website is mentioned across the web. You can either manually or automatically build citations, through backlinks or simply text mentions. Google uses the consistency and quantity of NAP mentions as a ranking factor for local search.

local search SEO

Reviews. – Reviews are essential for local SEO. They provide trust and can often act as the final factor to convince a fan or follower to convert into a paying customer. Every time you have a happy customer, ask them to leave either a Facebook, Google or Yelp review. There are also dedicated review sites such as Trust Pilot. However, Google reviews are believed to have the greatest impact on Google local rankings. Google understands and rewards those you use their own social network.

SEO for small businesses

Optimise All Pages. – Optimising your website is the foundation of on page SEO. Ensure the site has headings (H1/H2’s), keywords (industry/location), remove duplicate content, implement title tags, write an accurate meta-description and reduce image size. The title tag is one of the most important page features, as this is the main text that appears in search engine results.

Blog. – Consistent content is a great way to rank for your desired keywords. Try and answer questions that both your local and national audience will have in an attempt to rank for those queries. All content needs to be unique and valuable to your audience, including images or videos. Any user generated content (UGC) that can be used, should be. Each piece of unique content that is uploaded to your blog has the chance to rank on SERPS as each piece will rank individually. This is why it is important for content to be consistent, so you can keep trying to rank higher with every piece. For more on how to optimise your blog posts, see here.

SEO optimised blog example

Mobile Friendliness. – One of the key elements of local SEO is mobile friendliness. The majority of searchers will be using mobile devices to find answers for their queries. This is why it’s essential to have a site that is fast, easily navigational and responsive. Your contact details, especially phone number should be clearly visible in the top right corner so people can contact you at the touch of a button. Failing to comply with Google’s guidelines for mobile will result in a loss of traffic, and you may be penalised if the site is not optimised for mobile.

These are just a few aspects of optimisation for local search that we recommend. If you complete this local SEO checklist, you’re set to move up in rankings! For more on how to help your small business grow, check out our guide to digital marketing for small businesses, and social media for business.

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