Local SEO Audit & Strategy

Local SEO Audit & Strategy

Do you need help to get your local business noticed online? Local SEO could be the game-changer you've been searching for, as it can increase your local business’s visibility on search engines.

However, this marketing strategy involves many moving parts that can skyrocket your online presence and bring customers to your doorstep. That said, it’s not a button you can press that magically makes everything happen for you.

Thankfully, this guide will walk you through the essential steps to supercharge your local SEO.

Already have a local SEO strategy in place? That’s fine–we'll also reveal little-known tactics for properly analysing your local SEO efforts to maximise your results and generate more leads for your business.

Sounds good? Well then–let’s get started!

What Is Local SEO?

Just like organic SEO, local SEO improves your business's visibility in search results. However, the latter ranks your business listing and website on the local 3-pack and search results.

The former refers to the snippet feature that appears on top of SERPs, showing a map with three businesses that Google deems as the most relevant ones for the search term, which usually contains the location (ex., Personal injury lawyer miami) or the phrase “near me.”.

This shows how important local SEO is for businesses serving specific geographic or physical locations.

This applies to a physical store in a small town somewhere in Ohio. It wouldn’t make sense for the store owner's site to rank for queries made by someone in downtown Los Angeles.

At the same time, local businesses can rank on local SERPs by optimising for specific locations that their business caters to. This allows them to expand their visibility on search engines both in the local 3-pack and organic search.

On both fronts, you simply can’t afford to miss that opportunity!

And that’s what a local SEO audit is all about.

Local SEO Strategies and Audit Processes

The number of available strategies might overwhelm the average business owner.

Should you feel this way, remember that you don’t have to tackle everything at once. You can always start with something simple and save the complicated ones for a later date. Or you can hire Charles to perform the audit for you.

Nonetheless, it is still best practice to learn how to develop and execute strategies that will help increase your business’s local SEO performance. Below are ways to get you started.

Optimise Google Business Profile

Being in Google’s business listing can only be good for business.

After all, people searching for a specific type of business (such as “restaurant near me”) will likely convert into paying customers.

Note: Google Business Profile (GBP) requires users to have a physical store. This is not for businesses that only exist online.

But before we optimise your GBP, you need to claim it first if you haven’t yet. Here’s how you create a Google business listing.

Go to Google Business Profile and sign into your account. You will then be prompted to enter your business name.

After you enter your business name, click Next. The next few pages will prompt you to enter other business information, such as your business address. Answer accordingly.

Select one that best fits your venture when asked to enter a business category. Google will give suggestions as to what categories might work best for you.

At the end of the process, Google will ask you to verify your business. Click Finish to proceed.

Google presents several verification methods for businesses, including postcards by mail, phone calls, email, Google Search Console, and video call verification. The company has also introduced instant verification for some eligible businesses and continues to refine its processes to make verification more convenient and secure for business owners.

You can verify by mail, by phone, by email, through instant verification, or by bulk verification.

Google simply wants to confirm the existence of your store and see if the address is correct.

Once verified, your Google Business Profile dashboard should show all the relevant information about your listing. You will see its performance data over time to help you scale your business based on the provided information.

Update the listing as needed.

Once you’ve secured your Google Business Profile account, below are ways to audit and optimise it to increase its chances of showing up on the local 3-pack.

Accurate and Complete Business Information


First, ensure your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) are consistent across all online platforms, and keep your business hours, including special holiday hours.

Whenever you change your NAP, edit your GBP to reflect those changes. Not doing this sooner will cause Google to show different contact information about your business, confusing prospects and leading them to contact the wrong number or email.

Your business description should utilise all available characters to highlight your primary services, unique selling points, and relevant keywords.


Additionally, fill out all applicable fields such as payment methods, accessibility features, and amenities offered, and clearly define your service area if you serve customers at their location.

Choose the most relevant primary category for your business and add additional categories that accurately describe your offerings.

Post Business Updates

Google Posts allows local businesses to share timely, relevant content directly on their profile and search results to keep their profiles active and engaging, which can attract potential customers.

When creating posts, focus on content that provides value to your audience, such as limited-time offers, upcoming events, new product announcements, or helpful tips related to your industry.

Also, include using high-quality images or videos to accompany your text, keeping your content concise and to the point, and including a clear call-to-action when appropriate.

It's recommended that users post at least once a week to maintain an active profile but avoid over-posting, as this can appear spammy to both users and Google.

Collect and Respond to Online Reviews

Collecting Google reviews ethically involves encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences without offering incentives or pressuring them.

You can do this by asking happy customers to leave a review and providing clear instructions on how to do so. Make the process as easy as possible by sharing a direct link to your Google review page from the email you’ll send them.

When responding to positive reviews, thank the reviewer sincerely and highlight specific aspects of their experience.

Regarding negative reviews, respond empathetically, address the concerns raised, and offer to resolve the issue offline if necessary.

Remember to respond to all reviews within a reasonable timeframe, ideally within 24-48 hours, to show that you value customer feedback. It also shows that you're attentive and care about customer satisfaction, which can positively impact your local SEO efforts.

Here are review management tools that can help local businesses generate more reviews and respond efficiently:

  1. Podium - Streamlines review collection by sending automated text messages to customers and provides a centralized platform for monitoring and responding to reviews across multiple sites.
  2. BirdEye - Offers automated review requests, sentiment analysis, and a unified inbox for managing responses across various review platforms.
  3. Reputation.com - Provides review monitoring, solicitation, and response management along with advanced analytics and reporting features.
  4. Grade.us - Focuses on simplifying the review request process and offers white-label options for agencies managing multiple local business clients.
  5. Trustpilot - While known for its own review platform, it also offers tools for businesses to collect and manage reviews, including integration with other major review sites.

Build Local Citation

We have already discussed your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on Google Business Profile. However, that’s not the only place where you can enter your NAP online.

You should also enter your NAP on websites, directories, or social platforms where you create profiles. This process of local citation validates your business information across the web and helps search engines verify its legitimacy and relevance for local searches.

Conversely, consistent or accurate citations can confuse search engines and potential customers, potentially harming your local SEO efforts and online visibility.

Therefore, observing consistent and accurate citations is in your best interest. This way, Google will only show the same business contact information online, enabling you to generate more leads from the calls and walk-ins you receive.

To properly manage local citations, ensure your NAP information is consistent across all platforms, including your website, Google Business Profile, and major directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and industry-specific directories.

To audit your existing citations and correct any inaccuracies, use BrightLocal’s local citation audit and cleanup services to fix inaccurate NAP or duplicate entries of your business.

Data aggregators like Neustar Localeze, Factual, Infogroup, and Acxiom collect and distribute accurate business information to online directories, search engines, and mapping services. They complement data about your business found on review sites like Yelp as they focus on factual business data.

Create Location Pages

It only makes sense that you have a location page on your website. This should include relevant information about your business.

It should have your venture's name, store address, and phone number.

This can help Google track where their users can get in touch with you.


What if you have multiple locations? Should all the information be stored on one page?

Not quite.

You need to have different pages for each location.

Many businesses do this now. But most of them make the crucial mistake of having the same content on all location pages.

You will need to do better. Make each page unique.


Outside the business information, there are other useful details you can add that will make each page unique.

You can have location-specific content like staffing information or customer testimonials.

Having navigation information will help customers find your store more easily. Add landmarks to make it even more convenient.

Having localized reviews provides unique content and increases your credibility. 97% of consumers said reviews had influenced their decision. Also, 97% of shoppers read reviews before they make a purchase.

This is also a good chance to have meta titles and descriptions that cater to a specific area in your community.

Embed Google Maps

Embedding Google Map on your localized page will also help.

Go to Google Maps and enter your location in the search field.

Open the menu. Work your way down the options until you see Share or Embed Map.

In the pop-up menu, click the Embed a Map tab. Here you will find an HTML code. Copy the embed code and add it to your location page.

The drop-down menu will let you choose how small or big you want your map to be.

Once you have the code, embed it on your site’s contact page or footer section. The latter is the most common place as it helps Google associate your website with the map location, which traces back to your GBP.

This confirms that your website is associated with your GBP and increasing its local search rankings.

Add a Schema Markup

Schema markup is a piece of code that you put on your business website.

Its main objective is to assist Google in relaying information about your business to its users.

There are different types of schema markups. You have a schema for articles, books, restaurants, movies, events, and more. There are even markups for recipes online.

But for local SEO, you’d want to use a small business schema. Not adding schema would be a shame considering how many businesses skip on it.

Think about it:

This could be the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for.

There are third-party products out there but if you’re a startup, you can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.

The tool is quite simple to use.

First, select the type of data you’ll be working on.

Don’t forget to enter your URL afterward.

On the next page, you’ll be asked to tag data. To do this, simply highlight sections of your page and select the appropriate tag from the list Google will provide.

Tags can include your business name, images, phone number, email, store address, reviews, and more.

Go over the entire page and tag as many details as possible.

When you’re done, click Create HTML.

You will then be presented a schema markup you can add to your page.

Aside from Google’s tool, here are alternatives that can help local businesses create schema markup:

  1. Schema App - A comprehensive platform that offers automated schema markup generation and management, with features tailored for local businesses.
  2. Merkle's Schema Markup Generator - A free tool that creates JSON-LD schema for various types of content, including local business information.
  3. JSON-LD Schema Generator for SEO - An online tool that generates schema markup in JSON-LD format, supporting multiple schema types relevant to local businesses.
  4. Microdata Generator - A simple tool that creates microdata markup for local business information, which can be easily integrated into HTML.
  5. Yoast SEO Plugin - While primarily known for general SEO, Yoast's WordPress plugin includes features for generating local business schema markup.


Secure Local Backlinks

We’ve covered the on-page or controlled SEO variables to help increase your site’s local rankings.

The next step is to secure authoritative local backlinks pointing to your site, which is the off-page aspect of SEO.

If other sites are linking back to yours, Google treats this as an affirmation that you are a credible source of information.

As a result, sites that have tons of backlinks are given priority in the SERPs.

As people discovered the benefits of backlinks, some have started to find loopholes and tried rigging the system in their favour. So, some marketers tried black hat tactics instead of relying on organic links, only to get caught.

There are cases when Google’s algorithms miss bad backlinks occasionally. However, they are constantly improving and gathering feedback from their users, which allows them to remove abusive websites from the system.

The bottom line:

Invest in getting links from high-quality sites, and don’t even try to use blackhat tactics to get ahead.

You want to be able to establish authority in your locale.

One of the ways you do that is by getting relevant backlinks from other members of the community.

It may not be easy, but there are a few ways you can get the ball rolling.

Work With the Local Community

Get in touch with local newspapers, magazines, and other organisations in your community.

You want to get backlinks from prominent sites in your neighbourhood. One way of doing that is by reaching out and offer a helping hand.

Not only will this earn you brownie points with fellow residents, but you might also get that precious backlink too.

Local Sponsorships

Local sponsorships involve supporting local events, organisations, or initiatives in your community, often through financial contributions or in-kind donations.

They can help your SEO by creating natural opportunities for online mentions and links to your website from event pages, local news articles, and community organisation sites.

For example, The Bettersworth Law Firm's Justice for All Scholarship grants $1,000 to aspiring law professionals. Provided they meet the sponsorship criteria, these chosen people are allowed to fulfil their dreams.

So, how does this benefit Bettersworth Law Firm?

If you check the page’s link profile, .edu websites with a Domain Rating of at least 54 are linking to the page.

These local backlinks signal to search engines that its business is an active and valued part of the community, potentially improving its local search rankings.

To develop a sponsorship campaign of your own, identify relevant local events or organisations that align with your business values and target audience.

Set clear goals for your sponsorships, such as increased brand awareness or specific SEO metrics. Create a budget, reach out to potential partners, and negotiate sponsorship terms that include online promotion.

Finally, track the results of your sponsorships in terms of both community impact and SEO benefits to refine your strategy over time.

Guest Posting

If there’s a great site that targets your local community, try guest posting.

The idea behind guest posts is getting backlinks in exchange of quality content. It’s a win-win situation for both you and the site owner.

Guest posting can sound intimidating but it really is as simple as reaching out and waiting for a response.

Just remember to be genuine and act like a real person.

Guest posting is popular because it delivers unbelievable results.

Believe me:

One company raised its revenue by 23.85% after six months of guest posting.

They did this by finding bloggers who are passionate about their niche. Eight people worked on the project.

That’s not bad at all, considering the small number of resources it took.

As a bonus, you’ll gain recognition from people in your niche. This helps you establish authority on the subject they’re interested in.

Closing Thoughts

Local SEO is the cornerstone of online success for businesses serving specific geographic areas. From optimising your Google Business Profile to building local citations and securing authoritative backlinks, each strategy boosts your local search visibility.

Remember: Consistency is key – ensure your NAP information is accurate across all platforms. Don't forget the power of customer reviews and community engagement. By implementing these tactics and regularly auditing your efforts, you'll be well on your way to dominating local search results.

Get a copy of my Local Kingdom: Lead Generation SEO course to maximise your local SEO efforts and generate the most prospects for your local business.

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