5-min DIY SEO Audit for Local Business Owners

The most valuable resource for any business owner is time. There’s a ton of information out there that talks about how important it is to make sure your website can be seen on Google. The common issue I found with all those posts was that they were way too technical and complicated to execute.

So, I created this version specifically for business owners that serve the LOCAL market! This would be any business from dentists, chiropractors, doctors to auto repair shops, restaurants, etc. (generally brick and mortar stores).

The goal of this 3-step DIY SEO Audit is to check for any alarming issues that are keeping your website from being seen by anyone on Google.

The first step to solving any problems is identifying that there is a problem.

Step 1: The Penalty Check

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR:
1. Penalties that Google has placed on your website
2. Any suspicious activity on your website you may not be aware of

This is probably one of the most important elements to check for your website to be able to be seen by people using Google.

The penalty check refers to Google tagging your website for anything that they seems unnatural or suspicious.

Here are some reasons why this could have happened:
– your website was hacked and someone applied shady SEO tactics to remove your site from Google’s search engine
– someone may have applied not-so-good SEO tactics to the site in attempt to rank the site quickly

There’s a lot more reasons out there, but the focus here is to identify if there is any penalty against your website.

So, let’s get started.

ACTION: Go to google.com.

Type in site:yourdomain.com in the search bar.

So in my case, I would write site:ijmediaseo.com

This will only show your website and all the pages you had created for the website that Google is willing to show its users.

If you’re seeing an appropriate number of web pages in the results (10-100+), then you’re in good hands! You can skip to Step 2 of this audit.

But if you’re not seeing your website at all, don’t panic!

ACTION: Check to see if you typed in the correct domain name in the search bar.

If you’re not seeing anything still, we have to dig a bit deeper to see if Google took any manual action against your site.

At this point, the rest of the audit will not matter as much until we can get a hold of what happened to your website.

An example of a manual action (penalty) on a website.

ACTION: Check to see if Google took any action against your site via Google Search Console.

This part can get tricky, so if you have contact with anyone who has more knowledge of your domain registrar, I would contact them!

Penalties are a serious matter when it comes to your website.

To address this appropriately, you will need to consult with an SEO professional, but you can contact Google and ask them to review their action and go from there!

Step 2: The Website Check

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR:
1. Keywords in the Title of Home Page
2. Keyword in H1, H2, and H3 tags on your Home Page

This part is pretty simple and it should only take about a minute to do, and to make it efficient we will need to download the plugin SEO minion.

Once you’ve downloaded this plugin, head over to your website! Click on the plugin icon located at the top right corner of your browser.

Once that pops up, click on “Analyze On-Page SEO”. This will show us both Title and Headings of your home page! See the image below to see where those sections are located.

As you can see, we are looking at etsy.com.

Check to see if you have keywords related to your location (city) and industry (e.g. dentist) written in the title and headers on the home page. I’ll explain what I mean by that.

Title of Home Page

ACTION: If you’re not seeing either, add them! Steps on how to do this step vary depending on how your website was built, but generally, look for “title” within your website settings.

The Headers on The Home Page

ACTION: If you don’t see them, add them appropriately! Typically, I pair up the keywords (e.g. “Rockville SEO”).

DO NOT try to stuff your website with keywords. It will not help your site become more visible on Google at all. It’s best to make it seem as natural as possible!

The goal is to make your website descriptive to both your potential customers and Google!

Step 3: The Backlink Check

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR:
1. Existing backlinks (if any) and their relevance to your industry and location
2. Any unrelated or inappropriate backlinks that could potentially harm your visibility on Google

If you made it this far, you are pretty knowledgeable about the SEO practices that have the most impact!

This part gets a bit more technical, but hold on because this is probably one of the most important parts of successful SEO.

So, you might be wondering, “What the heck is a backlink?”

When I say “backlink”, I just mean other websites that have hyperlinked to yours! It’s like having references when someone applies for a new job. Google needs to know who’s supporting you.

If there are a lot of unrelated or inappropriate backlinks, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get visitors from Google for keywords related to your industry.

Time to check those backlinks. You need to create an account in Ahrefs. There is a free trial available that will do more than enough for this part!

After you’ve logged in, type in your url and press enter.

Your profile should pop up. This is what it would look like.

We’re only going to focus on one thing here, so don’t panic if you see a ton of numbers.

ACTION: On the left side, click “Backlinks” which is highlighted red above.

ahrefs backlink checker seo

A list should pop up like the image above.

On the left side, you’ll see a list of your backlinks linked to your website!

On the right side, you’ll see the text they used to hyperlink to your website. Typically, it’s your brand name or URL!

You can see that the two showing up for my website is either relevant to SEO or a business listing.

We’re checking to see if you see anything fishy here.

If you see nothing on this screen, don’t be alarmed! It just means you have built a relatively new website and/or no work has been done one it to make it more visible on Google. Apply the action steps describe in Step 2, and start creating your business profiles on popular business listing websites like Google My Business, Yelp, Yellowpages, etc.

See if there are any unrelated websites on the left side. It’s ok to have one or two, but having tons of them is a bad sign. An example would be a website about fixing cars when you have a dental practice. This doesn’t match and it can confuse Google. If you see repetitive instances of these unrelated links, it’s best to have someone take a look at it to see if it’s necessary to remove them.

See if there are any inappropriate websites. There are different types of inappropriate websites. Some will be very obvious and I won’t describe what they would look like. Look out for foreign links, links unrelated to your product or industry (e.g. Cheap Nike Flyrunner Shoes), or links that just seem unnatural. This is a major red flag and must be addressed.

CONGRATULATIONS!

You officially completed one of the most important segments of an SEO audit.

Now, you may be wondering, “what’s next?”

To be able to execute SEO properly, you will need to consult with an SEO professional who’s had experience handling SEO for local businesses to bring in more customers.

Ready to take the next step? Click here to get the Rank My Biz – Local service done for your website.

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