Step 1 of this Local SEO Checklist will get you on page #1 of Google and on Google Maps.
If you’ve tried SEO, you probably know that it’s all about creating keyword driven content on a consistent basis and praying people will share and link to it.
But creating content, optimising that content and doing link building campaigns takes a lot of effort. And getting results can take months, if not years.
So before starting an SEO campaign, you need some quick wins.
In this article I’m going to share the quickest and easiest way to get found online. A way to get your business on the front page of Google Search and on Google Maps (and more).
8 Point Local SEO Checklist
- Claim Google Business Listing
- Optimise Your Website
- Add Business Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)
- Get Citations
- Set Up Social Media
- Request Reviews
- Create Consistent Content
- Secure Backlinks
1. Claim Google Business Listing
By following this first step, your business will have a listing on the front page of Google. This is the most important step of the Local SEO Checklist. It also links your local business to your website, which will be a huge signal to Google that your site is legit.
a. Claim your Google Business Listing
b. Follow the prompts.
c. Fill out the ‘Info’ section
d. Once verified, your business will be shown on Google Search AND Google Maps.
2. Optimise Your Website
The next thing you’ll need to do is optimise your website aka On-Page SEO. If you are lucky, you’ve already built your website using WordPress. If you have built your website using Squarespace, Shopify, Wix or a similar Content Management System (CMS), your options might be limited compared to WordPress.
WordPress vs website builders like Squarespace and Shopify
WordPress is a great platform that gives you more design and functionality options than any other CMS.
But platforms like Shopify and Squarespace are way more user friendly, especially for beginners. If you aren’t that tech savvy and don’t have the budget to hire a developer to create your website and maintain it month to month, then Shopify and Squarespace might be a better fit for you.
These platforms are subscription based platforms so all of the backend workings are managed by the platform. Unlike WordPress where you need to manage it all.
So on one hand you’ve got WordPress that can do almost anything. On the hand you’ve got all of the other subscription based website builders that are extremely easy to use but lack the design and functionality options you would get with WordPress.
If you haven’t started building your website yet and don’t feel comfortable doing your own WordPress website maintenance, I strongly recommend looking into Squarespace if building a basic business website and Shopify if building an eCommerce website. Even though you might still get a developer to design and build your website, you want a platform that is easy for you or anyone else to manage following project completion.
The rest of this article is going to talk more about Local SEO for WordPress websites, even though most of this checklist applies to all websites, regardless of technology used.
If you aren’t using WordPress, check out this Shopify Checklist to optimise your website for search engines.
Or this SEO Checklist for Squarespace.
And if you have or plan on building a Wix website, here is a Wix SEO Guide.
Local SEO for WordPress
An SEO plugin isn’t a magic bullet, but it will help guide your Small Business SEO efforts. The main thing is making sure your website’s content is relevant to the topic you want to rank for. Let’s say you are a lawyer based out of Melbourne. If you want to drive traffic for people searching for ‘Lawyers in Melbourne’, which gets ~1600 searches per month, then make sure your website’s text content talks all about Lawyers in Melbourne.
a. Use WordPress for the many SEO benefits it has compared to other CMS platforms.
b. Integrate an SEO Plugin.
c. Do Keyword Research to determine high traffic, low competition keyword phrases.
d. Optimise your Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, URL’s, Headings and all text content to include the keyword phrases you found in Step C.
e. Follow prompts from SEO Plugin for each page. Examples might include ensuring your keyword phrase is used in the first paragraph, using just one H1 heading per page, use of H2-H6 headings that incorporate your keyword phrase, keyword frequency/density, total number of words, use of external links, etc.
To learn more, check out my On Page SEO Checklist.
3. Add Business Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP)
To ensure your new Google Business Listing is shown as high as possible within the listings, you’ll need to add your Business Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) to your website’s footer on each page. Then add it to your Contact page and About page (if you have one).
It’s very important that your NAP is the same in all places. Not just on your website but every place found across the net. Consistency is key!
4. Get Citations
Citations are places that reference your business including website link, business name, address and phone number. A great place to start is with local business directories like Google Business Listing (you should have already done this in step #1), Yellow Pages, Bing Local and True Local.
5. Set Up Social Media
If you haven’t already, set up your social media profiles. Start with platforms that your ideal customer uses. I recommend setting these up now even if you don’t plan on marketing through them yet.
Having a social media profile link back to your website will boost your local seo rankings. Each profile is like a citation with a backlink that increase your website domain authority. The more authority you have, the higher your rankings. Not to mention the ‘social signals’ that your website is getting when people interact with and share your content. The more social signals Google sees; the better.
There are 200+ social media platforms so you have quite a few options.
a. A good start is with a Facebook business page.
b. Add other social media profiles on platforms that your potential clients use.
c. Make sure your website is using open graph meta tags so your content is shareable.
> Yoast has this covered. Just add your social media profile links to its settings.
6. Request Reviews
Next you will want to start reaching out to previous clients and requesting reviews on all places where your business is listed. The most important place to start is your Google Business Listing.
a. Request reviews from previous clients by sharing your google business listing.
b. Request reviews for all other business listings
c. Request reviews for social media profiles like Facebook.
7. Create Consistent Content
This step is crucial to generating consistent leads. You don’t need to create content every single day (well done if you can!), but you do need to be consistent. Whether it’s monthly, weekly or daily, it’s all about consistency.
a. Research topics that your target audience actually wants to learn about.
b. Create a 12 month content plan using a different topic each week.
c. Commit to writing one blog article per week (or outsourcing it).
d. Share it across all social media platforms.
e. Send out to your list of email subscribers.
8. Secure Backlinks
This step is often the most difficult part of a Local SEO Checklist. However, if you are creating epic content, your followers will likely share your content, ultimately resulting in people linking back to your website (aka backlinks). So it could be easy…
a. Create epic content.
b. Share your content (hopefully people love it!)
c. Get some quick wins/backlinks by reaching out to website owners that you actually know. Ask them if they can link back to your home page.
d. Then start reaching out to relevant website/blog owners that you don’t know and seeing if they’d like to Link to some of your recent blog content.
Backlinks are one of the most important factors for increasing your search engine rankings, not just your local seo rankings. Some people will pay 1000’s of dollars for a single backlink. I don’t recommend doing this because it is against Google’s rules but it just goes to show how powerful and valuable backlinks are. So definitely do this step!
So there you have it, your Local SEO Checklist. The easiest and quickest way to get your business found on Google in the next few days, is by creating a Google Business Listing.
Imagine telling your friends to Google ‘your business name’ and seeing it on the first page. Boom! ?
Then do the rest to get your actual website found online and climbing the rankings.
Got any questions? Comment below.