Local SEO Checklist
Make sure that the city & state is in the landing page title: First and foremost, we need to ensure that the basic SEO meta data is in place to properly localize the site. One of the most overlooked, but critical pieces to tell the search engines for what you want to be found.
Product / service keyword in landing page title: This is a no-brainer, and the page should be titled in accordance with the services for which you want to rank. You should choose one or two keywords to implement into the title, include your location, and end on your company or brand name. Google has recently extended the length of their meta descriptions. Focus on 70 characters as your meta description maximum. Everything else will not be seen in the search engine results. A good example would be:
Transmission Repair | Clutch Repair | AAMCO Davis, CA 95616
City, state in landing page H1/H2 tags: This is another great SEO opportunity that is surprisingly overlooked by many. If you can mention what you do and where you do it in your landing page header tags (heading or sub-heading), then it will only help your on-page SEO grade from a relevancy perspective.
Keyword relevance of domain content for both the service and geographic location: Sure, it might be a challenge to make the whole website relevant for the keywords you are targeting on a single landing page. However, you can certainly audit your whole domain to ensure that it is relevant for the service-related keywords. It also helps to have geographic-specific mentions in the content as well, like driving directions on the “contact us” page.
Name Address & Phone Number (NAP) Syndication: Google (and other search engines) are always looking to rank the most relevant, authoritative, and credible result higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). A website with mismatched listings that are showing different business names or addresses throw off the user experience, and causes potential loss of business. Use a scan tool to ensure that your business is listed just the way that you want it. There are a few tools & services to help here. The correct process is to manually claim and verify these listings AND push these down each month via data aggregates to ensure any incorrect listings don’t creep back up. Once something is online, it doesn’t disappear. So, local listings management is a necessary ongoing service.
Optimized Mobile Site: As Google has rolled out algorithm updates rewarding those that have a great mobile user experience and penalizing those that do not, this is more relevant than ever for local businesses. We are seeing more than 60% of traffic coming in from mobile for our local clients and we need to make the process for the user to get what they are looking for as painless and streamlined as possible. Google released a new version of their mobile-friendly tool this year and reports directly on mobile user experience from their page speed insights tool to see how you are faring versus the competitive landscape. Also check out mobile navigation best practices to provide a clean and user-friendly site.
Optimized Google My Business Page: Last year, data indicated that your Google local business page accounted for 14.7% of the ranking factors, whereas this year we are discovering that this is closer to 19%. One thing is for certain: If you want to rank higher on Google, you need to utilize Google features wherever you can.
The key areas include:
- Claim your listing
- Ensure all details are up to date
- Double check opening hours and phone number
- Check the images you are using and upload high resolution & Geo-coded versions
- Encourage reviews whenever possible as these are HUGE for rankings
- Consider employing a Google certified photographer for an indoor street view tour
- Update your page and post frequently.
Load time of landing page: It’s obvious that slow pages are annoying and provide a poor user experience. Studies have verified that 40% of users will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Also a 1 second delay in load time can cause up to 7% reduction in conversions. 3rd party tools like GT Metrix and Google Page Speed do a great job of outlining where you currently sit and the necessary items to get things humming.
NAP in Schemaon landing page: Schema markup is a fundamental piece of local onsite SEO and any coding that you can do to signal Google that you are a local business only favors the user and the business.
Geographic (city/neighborhood) keyword relevance of domain content: This is somewhat above and beyond what most companies are willing to do, but local SEO is a game of inches these days—It’s definitely worth the time to do it. Wherever possible, consider all the locations where you operate in a sensible way throughout your site. Connect the dots between service pages and location pages with consistent usage of your main locations (ie: locations or service areas where necessary). Also pieces like driving directions on your contact form that also mention local landmarks close to you tell Google and the user that you are a local business and should be more relevant than your competitors.
Start a blog: As new website designs get sleeker and user experience driven, it is important to have a fresh stream of useful content to be able to drive mentions of your business and inbound links to your site. You don’t have to blog every day, but surely there is something notable each month that you can add to the mix. Think of the top 5 questions your customers have when they pick up the phone, and start there. Consider various forms of content like videos or infographics, as attention spans are shortening and users are demanding a short and concise experience.
Start building High Quality inbound links to landing page URL: This is a given, and if we have a local link, then we should point it to the local landing page. One of the lesser known, but highly relevant ranking factors having the city name in the anchor text of those backlinks pointing to those pages as well. You certainly have to be careful not to use this tactic too much, but a little goes a long way here. Unfortunately, building links to your site is a lot more challenging than it sounds and is really one of the reasons why SEO companies exist in the first place. All this other stuff sounds pretty easy right? A trusted network of publishers is generally a lot of the secret sauce for increasing your rankings. Unless your area and industry are not competitive at all, you need to get more fingers (votes) pointing to your site by investing link building.
Conclusion: While there are many variables and tasks for a national SEO campaign, local SEO is its own beast. The big changes here deal with site localization across meta data, Google My Business, and local directory syndication. Although local tends to not be quite as competitive, the task set is greater and 180fusion is a great resource to assist. Contact us to find out more information.