Optimize Your Business for Local Searches: A 6-Step Local SEO Audit Checklist

If you’re a business owner in Portland, you have probably experienced competition with other similar business owners in your area.

Maybe your sales are down because potential customers are unsure of where to find you.

Have customers claimed they’ve tried to call your business time and time again and can’t get through to someone? Or maybe your potential customers are searching for you online but can’t find you.

If you’re struggling to achieve high rankings on Google or just want to improve your local SEO strategy, this 6-step guide provides a local SEO audit template and teaches you how to audit your online presence to:

  • Increase your rankings
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • And get clients to your door

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What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is all about optimizing your website so it ranks better on search engines and, in turn, increases leads, traffic, and sales.

With important information, like accurate and consistent phone numbers and addresses across various websites, local SEO allows businesses to rank higher and become more visible to: 

  • Potential customers
  • Potential clients
  • And visitors 

…who are searching the internet based on location.

What is Google’s ‘Local Pack’ and Why Does it Matter?

When an interested person searches for a type of business on Google, there is typically a set of 3 local businesses in that category that appear in a grouping at the very top of the Google results page.

This grouping, known as “The Local Pack,” pulls the: 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Website
  • Phone number

and any other available information from the top-ranking businesses, along with a map of their location from Google Maps.

The businesses that appear in Google’s ‘Local Pack’ are close in proximity to where the search was initiated.

They can also be generated from “near me” searches or searches conducted for a specific area.

The results that appear in Google’s ‘Local Pack’ are likely the ones that the reader will click on to view further.

Once these businesses are viewed, one of the three ranked businesses will probably gain a customer from the conducted search.

Why is it Important to Perform a Local SEO Audit?

A local SEO audit, or otherwise known as a local SEO report, will reveal how well your business ranks in a Google search.

But, performing a local SEO audit can be time-consuming.

And when you inevitably find room for improvement, making the adjustments can also take valuable time

Lucky for you, Portland SEO Growth can help.

Not only does Portland SEO Growth save you time, but we provide quality feedback on how to increase your website’s search engine optimization.

We know that Google’s algorithm looks at a handful of different things when a search is being conducted. 

They include:

  • The intent of the search
  • The location of the person conducting the search
  • Where the person wants the business to be located
  • How a business can solve a person’s problem based on their search

Because Google’s algorithm knows where a search is being conducted, your business must be optimized locally so it ranks in the results for searches in your area.

Potential customers often search phrases like, “Restaurants near me,” or “Restaurants in Portland.”

These searches, known as “near me” searches, have steadily increased as people spend more time out of the home searching for something for convenience.

Additionally, location-based searches are more popular from a mobile device than a desktop and tend to peak around the holidays.

What is a Local SEO Report?

When a business owner conducts a local SEO audit, they can create a local SEO audit report. 

This local SEO report is extremely helpful.

It can provide a handful of important information to the business owner that allows them to objectively view and evaluate their website’s optimization.

Ranking Factors

There are specific factors Google looks at to determine which websites will rank for certain searches. 

These are called “ranking factors,” and each factor should be evaluated in a local SEO Report.

If your business achieves these ranking factors, it is a well-optimized site. 

Over time, more traffic will come to your website. This will allow potential leads and sales to increase.

Local SEO Audit Guide: What to Look For

If you’re unsure how to do a local SEO audit, you don’t have to attempt it alone. Portland SEO Growth offers a free SEO Audit and can help.

The local SEO analysis will allow you to objectively look at your business’s online presence by revealing some of the following:

  • Does your business have an optimized ‘Google My Business’ page?
  • Are your ‘Google My Business’ landing pages optimized for different locations?
  • Is there consistent information provided for the name, phone number, and address of the business across different websites?
  • Does your business have abundant reviews? Are they mostly positive?

Step 1: GMB Audit: Is Your ‘Google My Business’ Page Optimized?

A well-optimized website has a complete ‘Google My Business’ profile.

A GMB profile is the top-ranking factor that Google’s algorithm looks for when a local search is conducted.

What is included in a ‘Google My Business’ Profile?

  • Your business title
  • A short description
  • The category your business falls under
  • What services your business provides
  • And more

When your ‘Google My Business’ page is well-optimized, it looks good in Google’s eyes and has the potential to rank higher.

Step 2: Are Your GMB Landing Page(s) Optimized?

Your ‘Google My Business’ page needs to link directly to your website’s homepage.

If your business has multiple locations, like a chain restaurant that is available throughout various cities, each location must have an individual “landing page” on the website.

Each ‘Google My Business’ landing page must be optimized with the same information:

  • An accurate address
  • Phone number
  • Correct and updated business hours
  • A functioning website
  • Abundant reviews, mostly positive

Step 3: Are Your NAP Citations Consistent?

A NAP citation is the area of the search results where your business name, address, and phone number are listed out when a search is conducted.

Google’s algorithm uses an SEO NAP checker to confirm that your business information is correct all across the internet.

For example, if your business phone number is listed as two different numbers on two different websites, Google is less likely to pull your website high in its rankings.

To evaluate NAP citations, business owners can check a variety of places for consistency in information.

Some places a business should double-check for accurate information include:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • Angie’s List
  • The Yellow Pages

Step 4: Do You Have a Wealth of Online Reviews?

An abundance of reviews is important. 

Even better than a wealth of reviews is a wealth of positive reviews.

When a customer leaves a positive review, they likely had a good experience and trust the business enough to return.

Their experience was satisfying enough to take the time to leave a positive review.

An increase of reviews shows Google that a business is worthy of a higher ranking.

When potential customers conduct searches through Google, most rely on reviews to make their decision. 

A consumer undecided about which restaurant is the best for lunch will search something similar to, “restaurants near me” and read the reviews before making a decision.

If your business has great reviews, it will probably receive more clicks.

How can you generate more reviews for your business?

You can generate a simple link for customers to easily leave a review when they search for your business. 

A gentle reminder in the form of an email, sign at the front desk, or an incentive for leaving a review can also increase the chances that customers will take action.

Be aware that not all reviews will be positive, but having some negative reviews sprinkled throughout will make your business appear more “real” to other potential customers.

The Importance of Interacting With Online Reviews

When a business responds to an online review, either good or bad, it can help your local SEO.

When Google sees that businesses have interactions on an online review, it helps the business appear as caring, reliable, and trustworthy.

The greater the interaction a business has online, the better chances it has of ranking in Google search results.

Step 5: Beyond the Local Pack - Evaluate Your Website for Organic Rankability

Your business website can have both local and organic rankability.

To rank in the local pack, a person must be searching for a business based on location. If your business is highly optimized with ‘Google My Business’, it can hopefully appear as one of the top three results in the Google Maps Pack.

Organic rankings are the websites that appear in the first available spots following the local pack.

To rank organically, a business must have a high search engine optimization (SEO).

You can achieve this by using keywords that potential customers are probably searching for to help them appear in a higher position on search engine results.

To help rank organically, businesses do not need to invest money into marketing.

Instead, they must understand how SEO works.

Ideally, they research keywords and learn how to naturally include them into the content on their websites to help pull their business to a higher position in a Google search.

How Website Content Can Elevate Your Organic Ranking

Creating content that is both relevant to the reader and provides quality information can help elevate the organic ranking of your business.

If you know what your potential customers are searching for, you can create the content that they want.

By including keywords that are highly searched for in content that is sought after, you can likely generate more clicks and gain viewership. 

This can help pull your business’s website to a higher position to consistently rank organically in a Google search.

Best Local SEO: Portland SEO Growth

Portland SEO Growth provides a free SEO Audit for businesses to evaluate their local SEO and online presence. 

Portland SEO Growth services both Portland-based businesses and businesses across the United States. 

Our goal is to help your website rank higher in Google for keywords that hold value and that your customers are probably searching for without spending more money on marketing.

Just like Bridgetown Aesthetics has proven by working with us, the results follow.

Common results our customers often see include:

  • An increase in online exposure
  • More website traffic
  • An increase in potential leads via email or phone calls
  • More potential clients taking action

Free Local SEO Report

Portland SEO Growth is here to help provide you with a free local SEO report.

With our free SEO audit tool available, we require minimal information before running a local search analysis on your business.

Some of the necessary information includes:

  • Your name and phone number
  • Your website
  • Your email address
  • Some information about your business

After you submit your free SEO audit, someone from our team spends time reviewing your online presence.

Once the audit is complete, our team sends you helpful videos, data, and tips on how to increase your business’s SEO.