12 Point Local SEO Checklist For Old & New Websites

12 Point Local SEO Checklist For Old & New Websites

Completing an SEO health check on your business website is imperative if you want to remain relevant and competitive. I can guarantee you that your competitors are doing this on a weekly basis.

Not only is this to be carried out weekly, make sure you double check every page and post you create to ensure you adhere to the best SEO practices. Your business will benefit from this in the long run.

Running a website audit will highlight areas in which you can improve or do better and also help aid your agency if you choose to use one for more advanced SEO techniques.

On page SEO Techniques

Title Tags

A title tag basically defines what your document is all about. They are used by search engines like Google and Bing to display preview snippets for pages in the search engine results pages (SERPS). Don’t put anything in your title that isn’t relevant to the content you have just written (this is a big no, no).

Back in the day, people used to try and game the SERPS by writing whacky titles and were designed for clickbait. Keep it simple, be relevant and you can’t go wrong.

HTML Code Sample:

<head>
<title>This Is Basically An Example Title</title>
</head>

If you want your pages to rank high in the SERPS and you want plenty of social sharing, then it’s important that you ensure that you have used your main keywords in the title (typically closer to the front than the end).

Clean URLs

Uniform Resource Locator or as it’s commonly known “URL” lets you know where an identified resource is available.

Code Sample:

http://www.example.com

Imposed Limits

When constructing your URL (web address), you must make sure they are shorter than 2083 characters, otherwise, they won’t render in most search engines.

Optimal Format

Optimal URL Format
1. Prefix
2. Company name
3. Category
4. Primary keyword

Header Tags (Google is now using these for snippets)

HTML Header tags are used to show the difference between sub-headings and main headings of your page from the rest of your content.

Headings are defined with the use of <h1> to <h6> tags.

<h1> defines the most important heading. <h6> defines the least important heading.

Here’s a quick crude example when used in WordPress for one of the posts on this site:

If you use Yoast (the popular SEO wordpress plugin), then the plugin will guide you in the appropriate use of HTML tags in your content.

Duplicate Content

Even though the duplicate content isn’t as harmful as it once was to your SEO results. It’s still a good idea to check it at least once a week.

You can use Copyscape to complete this task. As long as it’s an article that is already published then this should be free to do. If not, you’ll have to pay Copyscape a small fee to check. (I won’t list the price they charge as this could change at any time).

If the duplicate content is on your own page or if you posted to social media sites like Facebook, Medium or Twitter you can ignore these types of duplicates.

Logos & Images

Ensuring your images are better optimised is really important for things like page load times etc. The larger the file size of your image, the longer your page will load (not good in Google’s eyes).

The reason you make the image size as small as possible is the fact that this is actually a major ranking factor in the SERPS. The faster the page loads the better experience your readers will have. They’ll also continue to read your content and not click away.

You can use a free online tool called Optimizilla to optimise your images. It uses a clever combination of the best optimisation and lossy compression algorithms to shrink PNG and JPEG images to the smallest possible size while keeping the required level of quality.

If you use WordPress there are a few plugins that can help like:

WP Smush
EWWW Image Optimizer
CW Image Optimizer (Hasn’t been updated for 2 years, so do due diligence with this plugin or choose one of the other two)

Here at XenMedia, we don’t actually use any type of image optimiser for our client sites. We use Amazon’s S3 or Simple Storage Service to store all the images for their sites. This reduces the website’s bandwidth dramatically.

use Amazon’s S3 or Simple Storage Service to store all the images

If this is done sitewide, the benefits far outweigh the price you pay to host your images on Amazon’s server.

The costs are pretty reasonable too:

  • No start-up fees, no minimum charge
  • $0.15 per GB for each month of storage
  • $0.20 per GB of data transferred

non-www to www
Setup Google Webmaster Tools
Install Google Analytics Snippets
Indexable Menus

Off page SEO Techniques

Social Networking Sites

Have you inserted or submitted your content to social networking sites like Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? If not, make sure each post (from your blog) has been submitted.

Make sure each social networking profile includes your website URL. This is important as it links back to your main business page and is also useful for citations.

Blog Marketing

It’s actually a good idea to read blog posts and articles within your industry. Where possible, leave a comment. This is not only a small form of networking but it actually allows you to get a link back to your site.

When using this strategy, never and I mean never link back to your home page (front page). Always link to a sub-level page or blog post since this will help this particular page rank for whatever keyword you’re targeting. This, in turn, will provide link juice to the home page anyway.

Video Marketing

If you are not implementing video into your marketing mix you need to start today. Even if it’s a crude video recorded on your smartphone recording one of your staff at work. Start today and try to pump out as many videos per week/month as possible.

If the video is uploaded to Youtube then this is an additional traffic source since Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine.

Google – The Basics

Google My Business Page Claim

If you haven’t claimed your Google business page – You need to claim that ASAP.

NAP = Google My Business Page

You may have seen 3 letters bandied around which are (NAP). NAP stands for name, address and phone number. First of all, you need to ensure that your NAP is located on your website’s “contact us” page. Additionally, try to locate these details on the footer (the bottom) of your website. That way, it will show up on every page of your website correctly.

Google Profile

Make sure your Google profile is up to date and ensure your blog posts are also posted on your Google profile.

Logos & Cover Photo

Ensure you have uploaded both your logo and any photos to your Google profile.

Content Marketing

If you haven’t got a content marketing strategy, then you need start one. If you haven’t got a blog then set one up (see our resources page) and start posting news updates and interesting articles your clients might find interesting.

The goal is to post interesting content at least once a week and then post that content on social media sites like Facebook.

If you’re just starting out, then try to write at least 500 words and as you gain more experience try to write at 1000 words. This will help your SEO efforts.

The Basics: Make sure your meta tags are correct, install and use Yoast if your site is built on WordPress, use H tags where appropriate that should help with getting summarised on Google along with rich snippets.

Schema Markup

Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users.

Check Schema

You can check your schema markup here

Generate Schema

If you need to generate schema, you can do that here

Schema WordPress Plugins You Could Use

All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets
Schema Plugin
WP SEO Structured Data Schema

Business Directories – Get Listed

Get your business listed in the main business directories. You can also download the business directory clickable links here: excel format or PDF (signup not needed) (right click “save as” “save”)

Local SEO Citations – Grab Those Listings

– Local SEO Citations

Business Blog – Make Sure You Create Or Manage One

Create or Manage Your Blog

If you haven’t got a blog for your site then you need to add one. I recommend WordPress (see our resources page).

Write blog posts/articles or get someone else to write them. This is imperative to help aid your SEO and also promote your site via social media.

Mobile Responsive Website

Make sure your website is mobile responsive. This allows your site to automatically adjust its size to fit the device your client is reading it on.

We recommend using WordPress (see our resources page) to build and design your responsive website. If you don’t or can’t use WordPress since your site is built on another platform, then get your webmaster to do this for you.

Note: On April 21, 2015, Google released a significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that’s designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results. They have also stopped updating the desktop search algorithm.

In essence, your business isn’t relevant if you don’t have a separate mobile site or have made your website mobile responsive.

If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile responsive then either do a search on your favourite search engine for your website and take a look. Alternatively, you can have a look on a smartphone emulator.

Company Reviews – Clients Need To Rate You!

Negative Reviews – Respond Back To Negative Review

Always respond to negative reviews. Find out the reason for the negative review by talking with your staff. If their view is valid, then make sure you take the time to make things right and then reply by first apologising and then letting the client know that you improved the service/product.

If you still have the client’s details like mobile number or email, reach out to them directly and offer them a free service or product. This will stop further bad reviews (yes some clients will take the time to do this) and will also put you in good stead.

Generate Reviews – Ask Existing Customers To Leave A Review

Ask existing and past clients for a review of your business (where possible get them to leave a review on Google. This will help your local SEO).

If you send your client an invoice or a receipt, then at the bottom simply ask them to leave a review.

Make Easy To Review – Make It Easy For Customers To Review You

Send them the direct link to leave a review or point them in the right direction on your website where they can leave a review.

Tip: If you’re using WordPress, simply create a new post called “Testimonials” and ask the client to leave a new comment on that post. You can copy and paste the post URL into your receipt or invoice correspondence.

Web Conversions – Essential For Your Marketing Mix

Call To Action (CTA)

Make sure your pages and posts have a clear call to action:

Are you contact details prominent?
Can they contact you by both phone and email?
Do you have “subscribe” or “buy now” buttons on your pages?

Is your contact number on every page and post of your website (is is contact page in the top menu of your website)?

Testimonials – Are they prominently displayed

You can either add these to the side widget on your site or copy and paste them into the copy of your post and pages.

Social Signals – Improves Your Ranking Factor

If you are not registered with any social networks, then you need to register for at least Twitter and Facebook. You can then post any news or updates to your social profiles.

When your client is researching you and your company, the first port of call is normally Twitter or Facebook. if you are not registered and your competitor is, your potential client is likely to choose them over you.

Note: You don’t need to register with all social media channels. Do some research on your competitors and find out what platforms they use and where they get the most interaction.