Looking for the beginner’s guide on how to give your client’s website a local SEO audit? Look no further because, in this article, I’ll be sharing 10 steps as recommended by SEMrush to help you get started and complete it.
Tips from industry experts like Ahrefs and Neil Patel are woven in between as well to give you a different perspective.
Here’s the breakdown of what we’ll cover:
- Step 1: Ranking and Competitors
- Step 2: Website Duplicates
- Step 3: URLs
- Step 4: Manual Actions
- Step 5: The Speed of Your Website
- Step 6: HTTPS
- Step 7: Mobile-responsiveness
- Step 8: Issues Related to Indexation
- Step 9: How Visitors Experience Your Pages
- Step 10: On-page SEO
Essential to beginning an audit is to prepare the tools you’ll need. Be prepared to use the following as you do a local SEO site audit:
- Google Analytics
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Google Search Console
- An SEO tool that has an auditing feature: SEMrush, Ahrefs
Ahref’s Joshua Hardwick recommends these too: Copyscape, Web Page Word Counter, and SERP Simulator.
Step 1: Determining Your Ranking & Standing VS Competitors
Check out your client’s competitors and see how their website compares against them. Knowing how they match up to those they’re competing with will give you insight as to what opportunities your client may be missing out on. You’ll also see here through each one’s site performance what strategies aren’t working and which ones do.
You can do this using an SEO tool like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Ubersuggest.
Step 2: Checking For Website Duplicates
How could a website possibly have duplicates when you’ve only been using one? This usually happens when:
- There are variations in the website’s URLs coming from click tracking or an analytics code.
- Different website versions from ones that carry the “www” and “https://” prefixes to ones that are without the “www” prefix and/or use “http://” only.
- Republished blog content on other sites, reused product descriptions
Check for duplicate website versions by typing this in Google: “site:websitename.com search”. This will show the results of all the indexed URLs for the domain you’re auditing. There should only be one version each URL redirects to.
Step 3: Use Google Search Console to Check For Issues Related to Indexation
See if Google is indexing your client’s website which you can see using Google Search Console. This is important because the website won’t get ranked by Google if it isn’t being indexed.
You can do this in two ways:
- Open Google Search Console, click Google Index, and then Index Status
- Or, open Google search and then type in “site:search”
Your local SEO audit results of this will tell you what pages aren’t being indexed or crawled properly.
Step 4: Check If The Website Doesn’t Violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
This is called manual actions that means Google has penalized your website because of prohibited practices like spam action if present. A local SEO audit will reveal penalties like this and help you identify the problems that need to be addressed. You can check for this through Google Search Console’s “Security & Manual Action” tab.
Step #5: Check The Website’s Speed Loading Time
A website’s speed is one of the factors important to rank well on Google because they recognize that users need answers and they want it fast. The search engines were made to adjust to this need which is why Google has made it one of its ranking factors.
Because this means your website will serve anyone who’s searching on Google well which is why it’s important to include in your local SEO audit.
Check this out using Google PageSpeed Insights.
Step 6: Check If HTTPS Is The Prefix of Your Client’s Website
Simply click the URL at the search and see if the website uses HTTPS://. This prefix helps make a website secure which encourages people to click through since it’s safe. HTTPS also serves as one of Google’s ranking signals for a website
Step 7: Check For Mobile Responsiveness
Did you know that people search more on their phones than they do on desktops or tablets? That’s why websites that adjust well to a mobile phone as people visit, rank well on Google as it meets a searcher’s need.
A local SEO audit should also include this because mobile responsiveness is one of Google’s ranking factors.
You can check for mobile-friendliness using Search Console’s Mobile Usability under Enhancements.
Step 8: Fix Any Other Indexation Problems
You’ll see what else needs fixing through Google Search Console’s Coverage under Index. The results will tell you what problems are arising that’s keeping your client’s website from being indexed and correctly crawled by Google.
Step 9: Look Into The Website’s Page Experience
Check the data related to user experience (UX) to see how well a visitor’s experience goes. Reports to look into are the mobile and desktop reports under the Enhancement tab. Including this in your local SEO audit will help you give users a better visitor experience.
Step 10: Check The Website’s On-Page SEO
Checking this would mean looking at the following and making sure they’re ranking for the right keywords and search queries:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Image alt tags
- Internal linking
- Content optimized for the search engines
And there you have it! 10 simple steps to complete an audit for your client. While this doesn’t cover everything, it does help you cover the essentials.
Another good idea is to tap into the SEO auditing skills of experts like Milia Marketing. You can collaborate with pros like them to make a deep clean of your client’s website through an effective local SEO audit.