Local SEO Checklist for 2022

Posted at Oct 21, 2021 8:30:00 AM by THAT Agency | Share

You’ve seen the numbers. You’ve looked at the facts and figures. The statistics have convinced you: your brand needs to invest in local SEO. In your area, countless searchers are seeking out products, services, and solutions like the ones you offer. 

If you do not rank well in the search engine results pages, you are not only missing out on significant web traffic - you are missing out on good old-fashioned foot traffic, opportunities for engagement, and, ultimately, sales. You know you need to ramp up (or begin!) your search engine optimization efforts… but you’re not sure how. We’ve got you covered. Here is your 2021 local SEO checklist.

local seo checklist

Your Local SEO Checklist: At a Glance

To succeed, and to stand out from the competition, in local search, your brand must:

  • Claim your Google My Business Page.
  • Use Targeted Local Keywords.
  • List Your Business with Relevant Online Directories.
  • NAP Consistently. 
  • Build a Bank of Positive Reviews.
  • Put Schema to Work.
  • Build Your Backlink Profile.
  • Create Original, High-Quality Content.
  • Optimize for Mobile.
  • Optimize Your Metadata, Images, and Anchor Text.
  • Integrate Your Social Media Profiles.

Now let’s look at each of these to-dos in turn.

  • Claim Your Google My Business Page

Claiming your Google My Business page is job 1. It is the single most important step you can take to improve your ranking in local search. Yes, it is that critical. Why?

Because Google’s primary goal is to deliver the most relevant results to users; when your business is verified through GMB, it is a strong indicator of credibility. You cannot skip this and expect to perform well in the search world.

So, if you haven’t yet, go claim and verify your page. It’s so easy to do that you will be hard-pressed to find excuses not to! Be sure your business name, address, phone number, and other pertinent details are accurate and up to date. 

  • Use Targeted Local Keywords

Another step you can take relatively easily: make sure your website and any and all brand content include keywords/phrases that align with what local searchers are looking for. “Where to buy + near me” searches, for example, have increased a staggering 200% in the past 24 months. People are looking; local keywords help them find your brand. 

If you are a personal injury attorney, for example, your keywords may include:

  • Personal injury attorney West Palm Beach
  • Accident lawyer West Palm Beach
  • West Palm Beach personal injury law
  • Best personal injury lawyer West Palm Beach

While searchers often use the phrase “near me,” Google looks at your location to determine if your products or services are, in fact, near them. 

If you have multiple locations, be sure to build out About Us pages or even distinct websites that are optimized for each specific location to capture local traffic. 

  • List Your Business with Relevant Online Directories.

Online directories are today’s version of cracking open the yellow pages to find a business. It is important that you have a strong presence here as well.

Target general directories, such as Yelp, Foursquare, Spoke.com, Bing Places, Yellow Pages, etc., as well as those that are dedicated to your particular industry or field. For example, lawyers and firms may opt to create entries on Avvo, Nolo, FindLaw, Justia, and others. 

As with your Google My Business page (by the way, GMB is also a huge online directory!), make sure your profiles are complete, accurate, and up to date.

  • NAP Consistently. 

NAP refers to name, address, and phone. We have already emphasized the importance of ensuring this information is accurate. You must also make sure it is consistent across all platforms.

  • Build a Bank of Positive Reviews.

People place a great deal of trust in their peers, their fellow consumers. Before making a purchase or entering into a relationship with a brand - whether they are buying workout shoes, finding a healthcare provider, or looking for awesome sushi - they scour reviews

While there are some false or faked reviews (both positive and negative) out there, for the most part, they are reliable. While Google prohibits brands from asking for reviews, you can encourage customers to leave their feedback by making it easy, highlight reviews on your website, etc.

It is also worth mentioning negative reviews. Bad reviews happen to good brands. It is crucial that you get out in front of them. Always, always, respond in a calm, professional, and prompt way. If a situation seems like it’s getting out of hand, reply publicly and then ask that the reviewer take the conversation to another format (email, phone call, etc.).

You have an opportunity to turn a disgruntled customer into a repeat buyer, or at least, to show other current and potential customers that you take these reviews seriously and are willing to incorporate feedback when appropriate. But Google also looks at negative reviews to which you have not responded, and these hurt your search rankings.

  • Put Schema to Work.

Scheme is a type of framework, or language, if you will, that allows you to give search engines  (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex) information about your site. This enables them to understand your content and deliver relevant results to their users.

With Schema, you can also indicate to search engines that you want to display additional information, such as pricing, hours, and star ratings. You can also use geographic markup, or bits of code, that describe your location. 

Using Schema is a bit more advanced, so be sure to brush up on your Schema skills here and ask your digital marketing agency for assistance.

  • Build Your Backlink Profile.

Another important ranking factor that search engines look for is your backlinks or the sites that have linked back to your website. This indicates that your site is credible and authoritative, and you’ll be rewarded in the search results.

Generating high-quality backlinks is a marathon, not a sprint. Start by reaching out to “influencers” in your local area; these could be actual social media influencers but they can also be authorities in your space, complementary businesses, and others who have a lot of sway within your community.

  • Create Original, High-Quality Content.

Local SEO and blogging go together like peanut butter and jelly. Content is not just a chance to insert some carefully chosen local keywords; it is your opportunity to show your target audience that you deliver relevant products, services, and solutions, that you do it better than anyone, and that you care about addressing their needs or fulfilling their wants. 

Create content that aligns with what your potential and existing customers are searching for. Are there FAQs that you answer again and again? Is there additional information you can provide to enhance the experience? Can you do how-tos or tutorials? The sky's the limit; the opportunities to create rich content are limitless.

  • Optimize for Mobile.

According to eMarketer, there are over 8 billion local searches conducted via mobile devices each year. This is not a trend; this is how more and more of us search. Be sure your website responds seamlessly across devices; pay attention to load times, cut out any extraneous images and text, and keep it clean and simple.

  • Optimize Your Meta Descriptions, Images, and Anchor Text. 

You can include metadata that helps describe your website to search engines. Be sure these elements, too, are optimized with your local keywords. It is a simple way to boost your local SEO efforts. 

This local SEO checklist is just the beginning! Ready, and eager, to gain more web and foot traffic? To reach more customers? To close more sales and deals? Contact the best West Palm Beach SEO Company today. Our team is here to ensure you achieve your business-building goals. 

Tags: SEO

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