In the world of SEO, “local” refers to searches and search results having to do with a specific geographical area. If a user conducts a search for “dispensary near Boston,” Google and other search engines will display several pages of results for businesses that match those characteristics — and will even highlight a select few in a mini-directory at the top of the page.
Of course, search engines can’t just pull these local listings out of thin air. They rely on businesses to provide relevant information and robust content. That’s where your local SEO audit comes in.
Conducting a Local SEO Audit
While conducting an audit of your local SEO strategy should be an ongoing and detailed concern, there are a few steps you can take right away.
- Research Your Keywords: Using a tool like SEMRush.com, type in your site’s URL to see a list of the top keywords that are driving traffic to your site. Are they what you expected? Are they any important ones missing?
- Research Your Competition: Now do the same for some of your local competitors. Is there a qualitative difference in their organic search traffic? Take notes of any competitive advantages they may have when it comes to keywords.
- Check Your Content: Once you have an idea of which terms are bringing people to your site — and which terms are lacking — you may want to develop a content strategy to improve your local SEO profile. For example, if organic products are part of your business model and you’d like to rank higher for the term “organic dispensary” in your area, consider hiring an SEO writer to create some articles that incorporate those keywords and mention your location.
- Check Your Metadata: This may sound obvious, but it’s important to make sure your site includes the basics that allow search engines to identify your business: name, location, telephone number and operating hours are all essential when it comes to ranking in local search results — and showing up in spotlights like Google’s “Local 3-Pack.”
- Look at Reviews: Although they can be unpredictable, online reviews can actually improve your search rankings; they can serve as a measure of your digital reputation — and the more reviews you have, the better. Even negative feedback can help boost your credibility, as it decreases the chances that you’re artificially inflating your dispensary with fake positive reviews. While you’re at it, read our article on effectively responding to negative reviews.