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At its core, SEO is a multi-faceted keyword, content, and competitive analysis exercise.

Local SEO, by extension, includes several specific tasks geared to establishing the relevance and authority of a business within a targeted geographic area.

Even before you can convince a local consumer your search result is the best answer, you must it prove to the search engines and earn a high enough ranking to get in the running.

Search engines like Google reference many different data points to determine who gets top billing in organic search engine results, featured snippets, maps, local packs, image, video, or other SERP features.

How can you identify and prioritize optimizations with the greatest potential to deliver converting traffic to your website and your door?

In this column, we’ll walk through an evaluation of each key facet of your local search presence and uncover your best opportunities to improve search rankings.

What does a comprehensive local SEO audit checklist entail?



Google Business Profile.

Review management.

Local business listings and citations.

Local content.

Google Search Console.



Competitor analysis.

These tasks are listed in typical order of completion during a full audit, but some can be accomplished concurrently.

1. Keyword/SERP Audit

The natural place to start a local SEO audit is in SERPs for the keywords and phrases you are hoping your business will be found for, in order to identify where you stand relative to your competitors and other websites/content.

This research can help you quickly identify where you have established some level of authority/momentum to build on, as well as keywords upon which you should not waste your time and effort.

SEO is a long-term strategy so no keyword should be summarily dismissed. Even so, it’s generally best to focus on those keywords you realistically have a chance to rank and drive traffic for.

You may determine some keywords are better pursued in the short term via a paid Google Ads strategy until you are able to build up your local organic authority.

There are several excellent SEO and keyword research tools available to automate the process of gathering search results for specific or topical groups of keywords and assigning value to keywords based on metrics such as search volume or keyword difficulty.

Ideally, you’ll choose a tool that will break down the different types of search features, so you can understand whether you or a competitor has secured any of this search real estate and then devise strategies or tactics to proceed accordingly.

Alternatively, you can conduct your own searches manually. In that case, do so in an Incognito Window in Google Chrome or Private Window in Safari to remove potential bias/personalization tied to your Google login, location, or personal search history.

Most automation tools have processes in place to do the same.

For those businesses also running PPC campaigns, close attention should be paid to the keywords and search terms working there.

It’s likely that top-performing PPC keywords will also be top performers from an SEO perspective.

SEO and PPC should complement each other for optimal results.

Different people search in different ways and it’s important to not limit your research to single keywords, but rather account for the various ways and phrases your audience may use to try to find you or your offerings.

Your keyword analysis and the resulting content you create should address the intent of searchers, which will vary depending on where they are in the buying cycle.

Some are just beginning their search for a product or service and are simply looking for information e.g. “Where can I find x?”, while others are ready to buy now e.g. “Order x near me.”

A broader keyword view will provide a better picture of the overall strength of your presence and where to best focus your attention.

2. Website Audit

With your focused keyword data in hand, you can now conduct a full keyword and technical website audit to ensure your site is optimized for maximum crawlability, indexability, and visibility.

A typical audit is designed to analyze the underlying structure, content, and overall site experience.

Here again, there are many site auditing tools that will crawl a  website and then identify issues and prioritize actions to be taken based on SEO best practices.

A website audit and optimization can be broken down into several buckets.

Page Optimization

Web page optimization is all about ensuring pages are well structured, focused around topical keywords and provide a positive user experience.

As a search engine crawls a web page it looks for signals to determine what the page is about and what questions it can answer.

These crawlers analyze the entire page to determine its focus but specifically focus on Page Titles and Headings as primary descriptors.

Ideally, pages are keyword-focused and unique.

As such, keyword variations should be used consistently in Titles, URLs, Headings, and meta descriptions.

Google, and the other search engines, appreciate well-structured pages and will grab or create the components they need to construct a search engine result similar to the one below for “breakfast in Barrie.”

Note how the keyword “breakfast” is highlighted in the meta description.

Missing Title tags, or those that are too long (60 characters max) or duplicated.

Headings (particularly H1s) that are missing or duplicated.

Meta descriptions that are missing, too long (160 characters max), or duplicated.

Specifically, an audit will highlight issues related to:

Another important potential tag issue raised in an audit, depending on the nature of your local business, is image alt text.

As a best practice, all images should include relevant descriptive filenames and alt text, which may include pertinent keywords.

This becomes particularly important when images (e.g. product or service photos) are central to your business, as image carousels can and will show up in Web search results.

In every case, attention should be paid to the images appearing on your primary ranking pages.

Internal Link Audit

Over time, the various links within a website can become stale or outdated as content is moved or deleted.

A link audit will help you quickly identify any potential misdirected or broken links, which can create a less than optimal experience for your site visitors.

Links are likewise signals the search engines use to determine the flow of a website and its ability to direct searchers to appropriate, authoritative answers to their questions.

Part of this audit should include the identification of opportunities to crosslink prominent pages.

For example, if a page within your site has keywords that reference content on another page a link may be created.

This can have the effect of boosting both pages, provided the link logically guides users to more relevant content or an appropriate conversion point.

External links should also be considered, especially when there is an opportunity to link to an authoritative source of information.

From a local business perspective, this may include linking to relevant local organizations or events.

Pro tip: These links should ideally be opened in new browser windows, so your site visitors are able to continue on your site after they have explored any external links.

Schema Review

Featured snippets are increasingly superseding traditional organic search results in Google, as the search engine aims to provide the answers to questions directly within its SERPs.

Local businesses have an opportunity to have their content highlighted as featured snippets if they:

Publish highly authoritative and relevant content.

Use structured schema markup to tag content such as their local business details, products, events, FAQs.

An effective local SEO audit should include the identification of content within a website to which schema can be applied.

Mobile Audit

As more consumers begin searching via their mobile devices – especially for local services – it naturally becomes important for local businesses to provide a positive mobile web experience.

It will, in turn, affect how they are viewed and ranked by the search engines.

In short, websites need to load quickly, be easily navigated, and enable seamless user interaction.

Google offers a range of free mobile testing and three mobile-specific monitoring tools (Page Experience, Core Web Vitals, Mobile Usability) in Google Search Console.

More on this toolset below.

More in-depth user experience and SEO analysis can be done via Google Lighthouse, though a local business owner will likely want to enlist the help of a web developer to action any of the recommendations this tool provides.

Duplicate Content

High-quality, authoritative content is, by definition, original content.

As such, it’s important to let Google know if your website contains any content/pages which you did not create, by adding a canonical tag to the HTML header of the page.

Not doing so can have a detrimental effect on your authority and, by extension, your ability to rank.

Most site auditing tools will flag content that requires or has malformed canonical tags.

3. Google Business Profile Audit

A Google Business Profile (GBP) effectively represents a secondary website and highly visible point of presence for most local businesses.

An accurate, comprehensive GBP is critical to establishing visibility in Google Maps and organic search results.

A Google Business Profile audit should focus on the accuracy and completeness of the various components within the profile including:

Business information and location details.

Correct primary business category.

Hours of operation.

Correct pin location in Google Maps.

Proper categorization as a physical location or service area business.







Appointment link(s).

Informational content.

The more complete the profile is, the more likely it will be viewed as a reliable local resource and be given appropriate billing in the search results.

Assuming you have claimed and are authorized to manage your GBP, you can access and edit your info directly within the search results.

4. Review Management

Another very important aspect of a GBP is reviews.

Local business customers have an opportunity and are increasingly willing to write reviews, which appear on the GBP for other customers to view and play a significant role in determining visibility in the local map pack.

Google will notify business owners as soon as reviews are submitted and they should be responded to ASAP. This goes for negative reviews just as much as positive ones.

However, we all get busy and so a complete audit should include an analysis of your reviews to ensure none have fallen through the cracks. This will also help determine whether there are recurring customer service and satisfaction issues or themes that need to be addressed.

Of course, there are also several other places for consumers to submit reviews including Facebook, local review sites like Yelp, and industry-specific sites such as TripAdvisor and Houzz.

A full audit should take inventory of reviews left on any of these services as they can show up in search results.

The search engines and savvy modern consumers will most certainly find them.

A quick way to discover what reviews you may have on lesser-known properties is to simply search “‘your business name’ reviews.”

Alternatively, here too there are several good software platforms designed to help business owners ask for and manage their reviews on GBP and other review sites.

Pro tip: Request positive reviews from all customers and politely suggest they reference the product or service they are reviewing, as this can have a positive effect from a keyword ranking perspective.

5. Local Business Listing/Citation Audit

Local business listings and citations provide search engines with a way of confirming a business are both local and reputable within a specific geographic region.

It is important to have a presence in reputable local directories, review sites, business directories (e.g. Chamber of Commerce), or local partner sites.

Depending on the size and scope of your local business an audit of your listings and citations can be done in an automated or manual fashion.

Business listings and citation management tools can be used to find, monitor and update all primary citations with your proper Name, Address, Phone Number (aka NAP), and other pertinent business details found in broader listings (e.g. website address, business description.)

If you manage a limited number of locations and have the time, one quick method of identifying where your current listings can be found is to simply conduct a search on your business name.

The first 3-4 pages of search results should reveal the same.

If the goal is to understand where you are missing listing and citation opportunities, you can conduct a search on the list of keywords you have researched and want to be found for.

The most valuable directories and listing sites will be those which appear in the search results for these keywords.

It’s also important that you find and resolve any duplicate listings to prevent confusing customers and search engines alike with outdated, inaccurate information.

6. Local Content Audit

As noted, people search differently and require different types of information depending on where they are in their buying journey.

A well-structured local web presence will include content tailored and distributed for consumption during each stage of this journey, to bolster visibility and awareness.

You want to be found throughout your customer’s search experience.

A content audit can be used to make sure you have content for each of the journey buckets your audience members may find themselves in.

Informational content may be distributed via social or other external channels or published on your website to help educate your consumers on the products, services, and differentiators you offer at the beginning of their path to purchase.

This content ideally answers your prospects’ why, how, and what type questions.

Transactional content is designed to address those consumers who already know what they want, but are in the process of deciding where or who to purchase from.

This type of content may include reviews, testimonials, or competitive comparisons.

This page should also include a clear call to action with the assumption they have arrived with a specific goal in mind.

Commercial content addresses those consumers who have signaled a strong intent to buy.

Effective local business sites and social pages must include offers, coupons, discounts, and clear paths to purchase.

Quality content is content your audience wants to consume, like, and share. In 2023, for many businesses, this means considering and experimenting with content beyond text and images.

Video content shared via platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and others is easier to consume and generally more engaging.

YouTube videos, in particular, can be optimized and do appear within organic search results.

Keep in mind, each social network includes a search function and any content distributed here should incorporate targeted keywords and hashtags to enhance visibility.

Pro tip: Make it easy for your readers to like and share your content by including visible share buttons; a simple best practice missed by far too many website owners.

While social signals are not a search ranking factor, shared content has a higher chance of being linked to, which in turn can positively affect authority and organic visibility.

7. Google Search Console Review

Google Search Console is an invaluable free resource for data related to keyword and content performance, indexing, schema/rich results validation, mobile/desktop experience monitoring, and security/manual actions.

A complete local SEO audit must include a review and analysis of this data to identify and react to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats outlined in each section.

Website owners and managers will want to pay particular attention to any issues related to pages not being crawled/indexed or manual actions having been taken based on questionable practices, as both can have a detrimental effect on search engine visibility.

Google Search Console does send notifications for these types of issues as well as regular performance updates, but an audit will ensure nothing has been overlooked.

8. Analytics Review

Whether you are using Google Analytics or another site/visitor tracking solution, the data available here is useful during an audit to validate top and lesser-performing content, traffic sources, audience profiles, and paths to purchase.

Findings in analytics will be key to your content audit.

As you review your site analytics you may ask the following questions:

Are my top-visited pages also my top ranking pages in search engines?

Which pages/content are not receiving the level of traffic or engagement desired?

What is the typical path to purchase on my site and can it be condensed or otherwise optimized?

Which domains are my top referrers and are there opportunities to further leverage these sites for backlinks? (see Backlink Audit below).

Use Google Analytics (or another tool of your choice) to find the answers to these questions so you can focus and prioritize your content and keyword optimization efforts.

9. Backlink Audit

Backlinks or inbound links are similar to citations but are effectively any links to your website pages from other third-party websites.

Links remain an important factor in determining the authority of a website as they lend validity if they come from relevant, reputable sources.

However, links from non-relevant or non-reputable sites can do more harm than good from an SEO perspective, and sometimes these links can be created without your knowledge.

It is therefore wise to conduct a backlink audit every six to twelve months depending on the size and scope of your website.

As with other components of an audit, there are several good free and paid backlink tools available, including a link monitoring service in Google Search Console, which is a great place to start.

In terms of auditing linking domains, you should quickly determine if there are any you don’t recognize or those which appear non-reputable or irrelevant to your local business.

Depending on the source, nature of the link, and the content it links to, it may be necessary to inquire about having the link removed.

An effective backlink audit has the dual purpose of identifying and building links via potentially valuable backlink sources, which can positively affect your ranking and visibility.

For local businesses, reputable local sources of links are naturally beneficial in validating location.

Potential backlink sources can be researched in a variety of locations:

Free and paid backlink research tools such as Ahrefs, Semrush, or Majestic. Identify any domains where your primary competition has acquired backlinks, but you have not.

Referral sources in Google Analytics may reveal domains where you already have links and may be able to acquire more.

10. Competitor Analysis

A comprehensive local SEO audit would not be complete without identifying and reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.

You may already have a good sense of who your competition is, but to begin it’s always a good idea to confirm who specifically shows up in the search results when you enter your target keywords.

These businesses/domains are your true competitors and the sites you can learn the most from.

A recent Google algorithm update appears to signal more emphasis is being placed on results tied to the immediate proximity of a business, which means the most attention should be paid to your closest high-ranking competitors.

You can follow the same checklist of steps you would conduct for your own audit to identify how they may be optimizing their keywords, content, Google Business Profile, reviews, local business listings, or backlinks.

In general, the best way to outperform your competition is to provide a better overall experience online and off, which includes generating more relevant, high-quality content to address the questions your mutual customers have.

Prioritizing Your Action Items

A complete local SEO audit is going to produce a fairly significant list of action items.

Many of the aforementioned keyword, site, content, and backlink auditing tools do a good job of prioritizing tasks; however, the list can still be daunting.

One of the best places to start with an audit action plan is around the keywords and content you have already established some but not enough authority for.

These are your keywords, webpages, and content assets sitting on the cusp of prominence in the local organic search results and Map Packs.

Determine how to best address deficiencies or opportunities to optimize this content first before moving onto more competitive keywords or those you have less or no visibility for, as we all know, SEO is a long-term game.

These audit items should be reviewed every 6-12 months, depending on the size and scale of your web presence, for the best chance at being found by your local target audience.

More resources:

Featured Image: Ribkhan/Shutterstock

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How To Build Authority In Local Seo

Each year that goes by in the SEO community, discussions of the authority behind a site become increasingly prevalent.

This has been especially true over the last year, as Google has made more updates to the core algorithm, which seems to indicate an increased focus on authority and relevance.

While authority is definitely earning greater consideration in the broader conversation of SEO, it’s been a particularly critical factor to local SEO for years.

Stepping back to look at the broader local SEO picture, it just makes sense that authority would be a major factor.

A user looking for a local service is most likely going to choose an authoritative brand that has a solid reputation.

Trust is essential for any business to lead customers further down the buyer’s journey.

So, how does a local business build authority in their community and within their niche?

1. Create Genuinely Helpful Content

One of the most common things heard in the SEO community for years has been the phrase, “content is king/queen.”

Every time anyone would say this, it was a pretty safe bet that you would hear someone respond with “I post X blog posts a week, but it’s not helping my rankings.”

The reason for this is simple. Quality trumps quantity every time.

Content only hits the “king/queen” status when it actually delivers value.

And Google certainly isn’t going to rank a site just because it contains a lot of fluff.

Creating content for the sake of creating content doesn’t help anyone.

Relevance Is Key

When creating content for a local business, one of the best approaches is to determine what’s unique about your site’s vertical in your area.

If you can identify those sorts of opportunities, you’ll be able to provide content on your site that will be useful to your target demographic, which can lead to more qualified potential buyers reading your content.

For example, if you’re writing content for a foundation repair company in central Texas, writing about how to properly waterproof a basement to avoid foundation damage wouldn’t make sense.

Why? Because homes in Texas almost never have a basement.

Instead, looking for opportunities to write about ways homeowners can protect their foundations from needing repair due to common soil types would be more productive.

This type of content will help customers solve a major (and highly relevant) problem while creating awareness to your brand, should they ever need repairs down the road.

The key is to be relevant and genuinely helpful.

If Possible, Become a Community Resource

For some local businesses, like real estate agencies, creating content that helps speak to the area they are serving is a great way to help build authority for the business’ website.

When people visit these types of sites, it can be incredibly helpful to have more location-specific information.

That’s not a strategy that all local businesses should try to implement on their site, though.

I know I’m not really looking on my local plumber’s website for dog-friendly restaurant ideas when I’m planning my weekend.

When creating local resource content, it is important to keep intent and relevance in mind, so the content doesn’t become just pointless filler on your site.

2. Think Differently About Local Links

Links for local sites work a bit differently than with a site that would be considered “enterprise.”

There is a lot more to links than just “domain authority.” When I say that, I don’t mean that people should stop looking at domain authority. I’m simply reiterating that it’s not the only metric of quality for links. That’s especially true regarding links for a local site.

Over the years, I’ve had many conversations with Greg Gifford regarding how we both approach local links, but I think he said it best during his presentation at Pubcon Florida 2023.

In his presentation, Gifford made a point to say that when prospecting links for a local site you almost have to take a guerrilla marketing approach.

As that’s been a part of my approach for several years, it really resonated with me.

I’ve always been a believer in looking at the relevance of a site and the value it is going to have for a customer when looking for links for my local SEO clients.

For example, while getting a link from a high DA site, think of the power getting something from a local association or sponsorship opportunity would have for the site you’re working with.

Let’s say you were able to get a link for your orthodontic practice by sponsoring a local little league team.

Not only would that link carry local relevance power back to your site but you also get the benefit of putting your business in front of more qualified customers. This is because a lot of sponsorships like this also have inclusion in additional marketing materials as a perk of the sponsorship.

In my experience in the local SEO field over the last five years, these types of links move the needle far more for local businesses, especially when paired with citation building.

It’s like getting the best of both marketing worlds through your link building efforts.

So spread your traditional marketing wings and get as much impact from your efforts as possible.

3. Put an Emphasis on Quality Reviews

Over the last few years, quality customer reviews have become more important to the success of a local business in search results.

When a customer leaves a public-facing review of a business, Google can get a better understanding of what customers think of your products or services.

This helps your brand build more authority, which can lead to better performance in the SERPs.

And never underestimate the value such reviews offer to prospective customers.

Now, please note my use of the word “quality.”

If you began reading this section and immediately started trying to figure out the best way to game the system by getting fake reviews, you’re going down the wrong path.

Fake reviews are a great way to get your Google My Business listing flagged, which is a real pain to recover from.

Quality is key here.

Google wants to see a wide range of reviews for a business and the only way to do this is by gaining real reviews from real customers.

Plus, this will give you several opportunities to build authority in front of potential future customers.

While we’d all love to have five-star reviews of our businesses, it’s just not going to work that way most of the time.

Customers are going to get upset at some point and leave a negative review. It’s what you do with this review that’s key.

Take the time to respond to the customer and try to make their experience better.

This response can also show future customers that you care about improving your business and might even help positively influence their purchase decision for your business.

Also, make sure you’re following the guidelines for the sites you are trying to focus on.

If you’re going to put in the effort to drive more reviews to your business make sure that these reviews are going to last and not be flagged for breaking guidelines.

Be the Droid Your Customers Are Looking For

Authority is key when it comes to local SEO and can really help a business perform well in search results.

By investing in building a local site’s authority, you’re creating a positive ripple effect that can have a huge impact on the overall campaign.

Keep authority foremost in your mind with all your on-page and off-page efforts and I’m confident you’ll see positive results.

It may take some time, but it will mean lasting results, which is what you want, in the long run.

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How To Perform The Ultimate Seo Content Audit For Your Blog

It seems that the more posts you make to your blog, the more traffic you will receive. The more content you provide to your blog, the more likely readers will discover it through various channels like search engines, social media, and word-of-mouth.

Not every time, though.

It’s easy for your finest articles to get stale as you crank out new content. There’s always the chance that some articles will just “get buried.” When there are hundreds of updates to browse, even the greatest and most interesting ones may get lost in the shuffle.

An SEO content audit is designed to help you straighten things out and keep your blog and its content in tip-top form.

While “SEO content audit” may sound ominous, there’s nothing to worry about. The procedure entails performing a comprehensive blog audit, during which you will inventory your blog’s material, conduct optimization work, and, if necessary, repurpose that content.

Don’t worry if that’s too cryptic for you. As a result, we’re going to dissect the entire procedure. Your education toward (blog) auditing certification will be complete by the time you finish reading this article.

A Content Audit: What Is It?

A content audit thoroughly examines all of your site’s written materials. The goal is to improve your content plan by adjusting your content strategy and content generation workflow to meet your current marketing objectives. Companies of all sizes, from startups to multinationals, can benefit.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you the five most important ways to examine your material for errors −

To begin, you must establish what success looks like.

Second, you’ll need to conduct a content audit.

Third, you’ll need to gather and analyze data.

Fourth, you’ll need to create a strategy for moving forward.

Lastly, Modify Your Content Promotion Approach

Step 1: Establish Your Objectives

Given the effort required for a content audit, it’s crucial first to establish what it is you hope to achieve.

You need to choose one overarching objective to serve as the audit’s linchpin before settling on the metrics by which its success will be judged. It’s possible that these things could include −

Boosting search engine optimization (SEO) for one page or site.

boosting activity and/or sales.

Getting rid of old or unnecessary material.

Raising the quality of previously published works.

Establishing a brand-new site hierarchy.

Step 2: Collect & Categorize

The next step is to list everything you plan on reviewing before you start compiling a list of URLs and metrics. Blog articles, news, educational materials, product descriptions, and landing pages are all examples of internal content that can be audited, as can external publications. Video, PDFs, and interactive content like quizzes, tests, and games can also be evaluated.

Here, we’ll look at how to audit your website’s written content.



Who created it? The Content Team, Social Media Team, Search Engine Optimization Group, etc.

How long did it take to create the full piece?



Is it an infographic, a case study, a blog piece, or something else entirely?

Why did you make this piece of content? Were you hoping to get more backlinks, visitors, customers, or anything else?

Consider the word count.


Provide a breakdown of the share count in social media platforms and overall terms.

Step 3: Analyze the Data from Your Blog

Perhaps you’re wondering, “What exactly are analytics?” Search engine optimization analytics software lets you monitor and analyze the number of visitors to your site. Many tools provide different levels of insight, so your chosen one should be based on your goals.

Now is the time to see what your analytics system tells you based on the data you’ve been collecting. The following are some of the things we’d like to double-check during an SEO content audit −

Has there been any unexpected movement in traffic during the past few weeks or months?

Ranking drops relative to the previous content audit

How have conversion rates changed over the previous few months?

Substantial shifts in user engagement metrics since the last content audit

An SEO content audit can help you compile all this data into a cohesive whole from which you may draw more precise conclusions. Articles that aren’t doing well, pages that require more SEO work, and more may all be easily identified.

Step 4: Draw An Action Plan

Now that you know what constitutes quality, you can stop taking a bird’s-eye view of your blog and start evaluating each post on its merits.

We’ll suggest each post using the information we’ve gathered and processed. It is also suggested that you provide a brief justification for each recommendation if you need a client’s or boss’s permission to implement the suggested alterations. In this step, you must decide which content to keep, update or delete.

Step 5: Tweak Your Content Promotion Techniques

Keep your website’s long-term marketing goals in mind when you conduct a content audit. If you keep tabs on what works and what doesn’t, you can alter your content strategy to reach your audience better, boost your organic traffic, and increase your conversion rates.

Learn from success and build upon it. Look at your least successful material, and evaluate your competitors’ equivalent successful content to discover where and how you could enhance yours.

At the very least, you should evaluate how well your content marketing approach achieves your stated objectives annually. It’s important to schedule regular reviews, such as once a month or every quarter, but more frequent intervals may be necessary if your industry is dynamic. You must adapt to these shifts and use creative approaches to maintain your audience’s attention and participation.

What works now may not work tomorrow, so it’s important to make adjustments regularly. At least twice a year, you should conduct a content audit to assess the efficacy of your changes and overall strategy.


Indeed, content audits are not the most exciting aspect of marketing, but they are crucial. Remember that even the most successful of your articles may become obsolete in a matter of days. Auditing Regularly is necessary to ensure your efforts pay off. It’s the most thorough method for monitoring your site’s performance. It will also help you recognize fresh chances and attain your goals.

How To Do Seo For Niche Markets

There is a product or service out there for everyone.

But, some can be so specific that their target market is an eighth of the size of a major consumer industry.

Because a niche market is so small, it can be nearly impossible to reach potential customers through traditional means.

However, the internet opens the door for even the most unique of businesses to become profitable if they market themselves correctly.

When developing your digital marketing campaign, SEO is essential.

Though it can take some time for SEO to produce results, optimizing properly can completely transform your business.

How Niche Markets Benefit From SEO

Just because you sell something incredibly unusual doesn’t mean you’re the only one in the world offering it.

Your competitors are online, and the only way to guarantee potential customers find you first is through a strong SEO campaign.

Your first goal in SEO should be to rank high in web searches.

Once you’ve jumped that hurdle, you have a much better chance of reaching new business goals, such as more conversions, more consumer engagement, and brand differentiation.

If you’re wondering what high-quality, effective SEO for your niche market entails, below are five steps you need to follow in your strategy.

1. Analyze Your Industry’s General Search Volume

One thing you should look at right away is the search volume on terms for your industry.

Are people genuinely searching for your product, or are there better, more specific phrases out there you should be targeting?

If you’re trying to rank for a keyword that has little-to-no search volume, you may struggle to bring in traffic once you’re in the top position.

There are a few ways you can check the search volume of your keywords.

Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool to research search metrics and historical data on your terms.

You can also use the Keyword Planner to generate ideas based on another keyword or a landing page.

This will help you get an idea of what users are actually searching for when it comes to your products or services.

You can also use a Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere, which displays search volume, related keywords, and other data directly in your search query.

Another great option is SEMrush’s Keyword Overview tool. This allows you to plug in your website or landing page and see what terms you’re ranking for.

This can be incredibly useful to see how your site is currently performing.

Be sure to look through the list to ensure you’re ranking for relevant phrases, and to make a note of any terms you think should be higher in rank.

Analyze Your Competition

Though niche businesses generally have less competition than major markets, you still want to analyze what your competitors are doing.

Understanding what strategy they’re using, and how well it’s working, is essential to crafting your own.

This doesn’t mean to copy your competitors. Instead, take what they are doing, and do it ten times better.

Find out how well your competitors are performing and surpass them through quality content and SEO optimization.

SEMrush’s Keyword Gap tool is a great way to see what terms you and your competitors have in common.

It also allows you to see what they’re ranking for that you’re not.

This is a great way to help determine the primary keywords you should be targeting in your content to beat them in search results.

Mine the SERPs

Another way to analyze your niche industry is through mining the SERPs.

This is one analysis you’ll need to conduct on your own, as there is no tool out there that can outperform your own brain.

The best way to conduct a SERP analysis is to type in your keyword and analyze the results that appear on page one. You want to look at the following:

SERP features.

Searcher intent.

Content type.

SERP features consist of anything on a search results page that is not one of the ten organic links. Some of the most common SERP features are:

Places: A map displaying a three-pack of locations.

Knowledge Graph: Information on your search queries, such as nutritional information or movie times.

Answers: Informational snippets that answer your query in paragraph, list, or table form.

People Also Ask: Similar questions to your original query.

News: Relevant articles from known news sources.

Images: A row, block, or carousel of images related to your search.

SERP features are not only beneficial to the user; they also help in determining searcher intent.

By looking at what features Google shows, you can guess whether the content is navigational, informational, or transactional.

Understanding searcher intent, and which typically shows up for your terms, is essential in determining what type of content would perform best for that query.

Navigational: A searcher knows what they want, but need help getting there, such as a branded search.

Informational: Someone is trying to find an answer or information about a topic, often using specific long-term keywords or voice-searches.

Transactional: Searches for a product name or type with intent to purchase it.

The last step to analyzing SERP results is digging into the content itself.

How is the content formatted?

Is it a 101 guide or glossary definition?

What about a video or a how-to page?

Take notes and include this same type of material when you develop your own.

You also want to check if the content follows Google’s E-A-T guidelines.

Though E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) is not an actual ranking factor, Google heavily relies on these guidelines to ensure their results are filled with quality content.

2. Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most critical steps for niche SEO.

It allows you to understand how people describe and search for your products, so you can optimize your site to accommodate their needs.

It also ensures your business ranks higher in search results, making it easier for potential customers to find you.

Though you may have some specialized terminology for your niche market, it may not be what customers are using to search for what you offer.

Let’s say you do maintenance on antique sailboats. Ranking for the term “antique sailboat repair” will be easy, despite its lack of search volume.

However, keyword research may show that the term “sailboat restoration” is more prevalent among users.

As mentioned in Section 1, you want to focus heavily on the intent of your terms. If you want people to buy your product or service, you want to ensure your keywords have transactional intent.

Include terms that contain “for sale,” “buy,” or “deals,” depending on your industry, and assign them to the appropriate product and service pages on your site.

The right keywords can successfully target those most likely to be looking for you.

Though you want to focus on transactional intent, you should not ignore the low-volume, long-tail keywords associated with your business.

They can be included in blogs or additional resources to help draw in users and spread the word about your brand.

3. Incorporate Keywords on Your Website

Once your keyword list is defined, you want to begin incorporating them on your website.

Section 2 briefly mentioned utilizing your long-tail keywords for blogs and resources, but that alone won’t help your niche business rank on Google.

You want to optimize your entire website with keywords, and there are numerous places that can be done.

To increase your chances of ranking, you want to place your keyword phrases in the following spots on your website.

Page Title

One of the most important places to have your keyword phrase is the page title. It’s one of the first things that Google looks at, and that users see in search results.

Google only displays about 65 characters in this spot, so you want to ensure you craft it effectively.

Meta Description

This text is displayed in search results under the page title and is often your first and last chance to market to customers.

You also only have about 165 characters to work with, so you want to ensure your message, and keyword phrase, is clear and engaging.

Body Content

The body content of a page is incredibly essential for a variety of SEO aspects.

In the case of keywords, Google is continually looking at the text to determine what a page is about.

Google is smart enough to detect this spammy tactic, and it will negatively impact your SEO.

Header Tags

Though keywords in your body content are important, the most essential spot to place a keyword is the H1 tag.

There should only be one H1 per page, and since it’s directly at the top, including your primary keyword is a must.

You can also add keywords in the subheading tags, such as the H2, H3, H4, and so on.


Adding your primary keyword into the URL of that page is an effective SEO tactic that many businesses overlook.

Not only does it help keep your site structured effectively, but it’s one more spot to tell Google what your page is about.


The graphics of your website are another great spot to include keywords, when applicable.

The image alt text, which is primarily meant for visually impaired users, is also scanned by Google to help understand what a page is about.

If you can incorporate a keyword into this space, it’s one more opportunity to prove your authoritativeness to Google.

4. Create Great Content

No matter how niche or mainstream your market is, great content remains a significant focus for SEO.

Quality content is the driving force for high rankings, and you want to ensure your website is full of it.

From the informative content on your primary pages to an on-site blog or how-to guide, content helps engage your readers and get your brand out there.

When creating your content, you want to ensure it accommodates your target audience.

When you write to the right people, in the right way, your rankings will skyrocket.

The research you conducted from Section 1 should help you determine what content potential consumers are looking for.

You want to put a strong focus on readability, which is where all of your keyword-focused header tags can come into play.

The goal is to get people to stay on your page and read what’s on it.

This signals to Google that it’s relevant to the search query it was found on, and it will continue providing your page to searchers in the future.

When writing about the topics your niche market is looking for, go as deep as you can in the subject.

Conduct extensive research, explore different angles of a topic, and write ultimate guides.

This will prove to Google (and readers) that you are an authoritative source within your industry. Be sure to include plenty of facts and cite resources where necessary.

Even with proper header formatting, your long-form content shouldn’t just be a wall of text. Incorporate visual elements into your content, such as relevant images and videos, to make it more engaging.

If you’re writing a how-to-guide, supplement it with an instructional video. Doing so will further prove to search engines and users that you’re a source to be trusted.

Finally, apply everything you’ve learned so far in Sections 1-3 to ensure your content is correctly optimized for search.

You want Google to be able to find all of the elements you’ve worked so hard to create. It can make all the difference between your niche market getting lost in results, and being in the top 10.

5. Perform Technical SEO

Technical SEO involves the functionality and usability of your website and is essential for any niche business to focus on.

As your website draws in more traffic from your optimized content, you need to ensure it is manageable for consumers.

This includes a variety of elements, such as your page speed, mobile-friendliness, XML sitemap, and more.

You also want to ensure you set up tracking for your website to measure your progress adequately.

Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console are a must to ensure your website is performing well.

If you’re not sure where to start with your technical SEO, here are the four primary areas you should focus on first.

Site Audit

When doing technical SEO, your first step should be conducting an audit on your site.

Screaming Frog is an excellent tool for this, as it will give you data on everything from broken pages and mixed protocols to meta data issues.

SEMrush also offers a site audit tool, which provides similar data to the Screaming Frog report, but in a more digestible way.

Take note of what needs to be addressed, and start cleaning up your website.


Mobile traffic has officially dominated search engines, meaning most people are making searches from their smartphone or tablet instead of a desktop computer.

This means your website must be optimized for these devices to succeed. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ensure your site utilizes responsive design.

A responsive website will automatically change to accommodate different screen sizes.

Not only does Google love responsive websites overall, but it ensures your page is as user-friendly as possible.

Website Security

One major ranking factor recently imposed by Google is website security.

The search engine takes this very seriously, and if you do not have an SSL certificate installed, your rankings will suffer.

SSL certificates are data files that activate a padlock, allowing a secure connection from the web server to your browser.

By default, sites that are SSL secure receive an SEO boost from Google, as the search engine will display secure sites over non-secure ones first.

This security measure protects sensitive customer information from hackers and the like, so if your website does not have SSL, install a certificate immediately.

6. Build Your Link Profile

Links are the backbone of any strong SEO campaign.

As one of the most significant indicators of your SEO health, you want to ensure your link profile does not contain any spammy links.

Use a tool such (e.g., Ahrefs) to analyze your link profile and determine the type of links currently leading your website.

Are they authoritative, high-quality sites for your industry, or are the links full of sketchy URLs and irrelevant information?

Disavow any undesirable links through Google Search Console to ensure your link profile is squeaky clean before building new, quality links back to your site.


A website can be seen anywhere in the world, which is great for a niche business with a small customer base.

However, that also means it takes much more effort to market effectively.

With a lot of hard work, dedication, and the right strategy, your business can easily find its place at the top of search engine results.

More Resources:

New #Marketingnerds Podcast: How To Succeed In Local Seo For Multiple Locations

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In this week’s episode of Marketing Nerds, ymarketing’s SEO Analyst, Brian Harnish, joins SEJ Executive Editor Kelsey Jones to talk about how to best optimize local SEO strategies for businesses that have multiple locations. Prior to this, Brian wrote a post about local SEO for multiple locations, which did amazingly well here on SEJ.

In this episode, Brian and Kelsey talked about the importance of good content on multi-location local SEO, what could go wrong if it’s not done right, and the benefits of good local SEO strategy.

Here are a few of transcribed excerpts from their discussion, but make sure to listen to the Podcast to hear everything:

Why Good Content on Local SEO for Multiple Locations is Popular

Its the direct result of influence of mobile in our lives. People are doing a lot more searches from mobile devices because they are in the car. Maybe they’ll speak to their hands free device saying that, “Where’s the newest best restaurant?”, “Where’s the newest, best attorney?”, or whatever.

Fifty one percent of smart phone users look for local information while on the go. This is a major part of why people are shifting towards the local SEO end of the spectrum.

Level of Variation into Setting up Local SEO Listings

This kind of strategy does kind of differ just a little bit depending on what your trying to do. Are you talking about variation in terms of name, address, phone number? Or variation in terms of how the campaign is executed?

There’s a two prong approach to take when looking at this. First of all, with the NAP, or name, address, phone number information that goes into creating these local listings. There shouldn’t be any variation because what happens is that you introduce noisier signals into how that is being read by Google. So these nosier signals basically decrease local search performance as a result.

The second part is in the foot print that is being represented to Google. So if you have twenty five websites that you’re working on for local, for example, but you do the exact same thing in your campaign for each of them. Google is probably going to look at that a little suspiciously and think, “hmm, maybe this is a spammer.”

Local SEO linking does work the same way. If you have the same pattern to everything with no variation whatsoever, then you risk running into a penalty or other worse situation as a result.

Link Earning at Local Level for Each Location

With local links, there are factors to consider depending on the differing aspects of the industry.

For basic, you can go into the local directory or something. It could be local newspaper sites, local chamber of commerce sites. That kind of thing add a little bit of variation and not show that you’re exclusively going after one type of site for every single campaign that you actually run.

If you’re a sole practitioner, as a doctor or a lawyer, there are Google local guidelines that expressly forbid something like a virtual office scenario where you might not have a physical person at that location. You specifically have to be at that location as a sole practitioner in order to be within Google’s guidelines for Google Local.

Local SEO for Different Business Locations: What Could Go Wrong?

There are three major issues that can occur as a result of doing local SEO incorrectly. They come from penalty, ranking, and conversion.

If you create too much similar local content on your website as a result, you actually risk being filtered out of search results. In the majority of situations this is the case because of the fact that Google wants to return the most unique, valuable content for their sites visitors. They don’t want to just return any old search results. So they’ll filter out the results that are not what they are looking for.

If you have a situation where on your website you have ninety five percent of similar content on every local page, and you have a paragraph that is just changed per page, then that can likely be filtered out. It wouldn’t necessarily be a penalty unless it’s actually created in such a way that is so bad, in such a scale that Google will penalize a site.

The accuracy of NAP information is so important for conversions.

If your website has the wrong name and phone number, any conversion that you would have obtained had actually been for naught because all calls were going to a wrong number that was not being redirected properly. It’s because of these downfalls that it’s essential to make sure that any local SEO campaign has all of the correct information implemented as its backbone right down to that single digit in the phone number.

Benefits of Good Local SEO Strategy

One amazing major benefit is you get more of a local brand presence, and you also get more local traffic. Which technically has a higher conversion rate because you have people that are more willing to show up at your location. You can make the pitch to them in person, and you can build that important relationship with them.

As a result of that, with individual practitioners, like attorney, doctor, whatever, this tends to create referrals directly from that initial relationship, assuming that everything goes well. You can kind of set the feeds for future business as a result.

To listen to this Marketing Nerds podcast with Brian Harnish and Kelsey Jones:

Download and listen to the full episode at the top of this post

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Difference Between Financial Audit And Management Audit

Running a business is a challenging endeavor. Audits are often understood to be examinations of a company’s records, procedures, and software to ensure their accuracy, authenticity, and completeness. We still have the most pressing issue here. Some people hear “audit” and immediately think of a financial audit. However, there are several audit types, each of which serves a specific purpose.

Management audits, cost audits, internal audits, and efficiency audits are all instances of this type of audit. The processes by which they are carried out, and the results that are expected from them are different for each of these.

What is Financial Audit?

This type of audit is defined by an emphasis on inquiry and confirmation of the organization’s financial activities, and it is performed by examining the financial records of the organization over a certain time period. Financial audits provide useful information for several parties, including shareholders, employees, investors, and the government (for tax purposes in particular).

A financial audit not only reveals the truth about the organization’s financial performance but also helps uncover fraud and other errors in the accounting records. Furthermore, it guarantees that a company’s accounting practices are in line with industry norms. Financial audits ensure that shareholders and investors make prudent choices that are good for the economy as a whole. Financial audits must also be conducted by a CPA, as this is mandated by law. It is important to note that limited businesses are mandated by law to conduct annual financial audits.

What is Management Audit?

Management audits cover a wide range of checks, including checks on procedures, employees, marketing, performance, systems, and audit deals. Audits in the areas of marketing and audit are two more types of audits. Management inside the company is responsible for carrying it through. Even though it is crucial for any business, a management audit is not required by law.

Differences − Financial Audit and Management Audit

Both focus on dissecting the workings of a company to find the weak spots and address them. The following table highlights how a Financial Audit is different from a Management Audit −

Characteristics Financial Audit Management Audit


The purpose of a financial audit is to examine and verify a company’s financial affairs by reviewing its financial records over a certain time period. A financial audit is a name given to this specific type of audit.

The purpose of a management audit is to determine whether or not a company’s or other organization’s day-to-day operations are efficient and ethical.

Statutory/non statutory

An audit of financial records is required by law.

Management audits are not mandated by law.


In order to ensure that an organization’s accounting principles are consistent with the established standards, to report the actual performance with regard to financial performance, and to provide an accurate picture of the organization’s current economic position, a financial audit must be conducted.

A management audit is an assessment of the processes, procedures, and policies of an organization with the goals of finding areas for improvement, providing recommendations for moving forward, and gaining insight into the current state of affairs.

Party conducting the audit

To conduct an audit, businesses often hire independent chartered accountants to go through their books.

Every business has its own management team, and that team is generally responsible for conducting management audits.


An audit of the business’s financial records is performed after the end of each fiscal year.

The business maintains a schedule for conducting management audits, and those audits are completed on time.


Management audits and finance audits serve separate but interdependent purposes for each business. Comparatively, financial audits focus on the investigation and confirmation of an organization’s financial affairs through the analysis of financial records accumulated over a set time period, whereas management audits look at the efficiency and appropriateness of an organization’s activities.

These audits are essential for a company to do in order to avoid any unethical actions or operations and to lessen the possibility of the organization making unethical business decisions.

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