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Improving your SEO will improve your overall ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). But, if you’re a business that focuses on targeting your local audience, you have to utilize more focused SEO practices to grow your business properly. Hopefully, your business already uses effective local SEO techniques that help your brand thrive. However, SEO is never a one-and-done thing, and the same rule applies to local SEO as well.
Keep in mind that 50 percent of people who search for local businesses usually end up visiting or reaching out to them the same day. This is why it’s so important to have a thought-out local SEO strategy in place. And to make sure that all your SEO efforts are working in your favor performing local SEO audits regularly is a must.
There are plenty of SEO metrics to track, but the following are essential for an efficient local SEO audit and further local business growth.
The growth of your organic search traffic
Without a consistent flow of new and qualified users visiting your website, you won’t be able to grow your business continuously. This is a crucial aspect for every brand, even if you’ve been in the market for a while and have an established base of loyal clients. After all, no traffic means no conversions. Therefore, one of the most important metrics to check when running a local SEO audit is the growth in organic search traffic.
Tracking the organic traffic results will provide you with a clear insight into whether or not your efforts to improve your visibility in the SERPs are working. Fortunately, it’s very easy to track and check this metric. The data you need is in Google Analytics and you can access it in the Acquisition tab under Organic Search. Keep in mind that this metric that tracks the growth of the organic search traffic, while very useful, doesn’t show the actual quality of the said traffic.
The efficiency of your organic rankings
Keyword rankings are indeed considered one of the most important SEO metrics. It’s also true that Google incorporates plenty of factors to deliver the best search results, which makes tracking a brand’s organic ranking rather challenging.
To make your local SEO audit more effective and helpful, it would be best to focus your attention on keywords that show a higher search volume. It’s this information that can then allow you to coin and push keywords that have a better chance to increase search volume as well.
The ranking metric is also a great way to spot potential issues with other aspects of your SEO strategy. For instance, if you notice a significant drop in organic rankings, chances are there’s an issue with the technical SEO of your business website. If you notice that certain website pages rank well but receive only a few clicks, this may indicate that there’s a targeting issue. It’s best to use specific software for tracking the organic rankings that also allows you to segment your keywords by location.
Related: The Secret to Keyword Research for Local Businesses
Comparison of organic and other traffic
While this may not be the most important metric for your local SEO audit, it’s extremely useful if you’re looking to boost your reach through SEO more than by using paid ads. Again, it’s easy to compare how you obtain traffic to your website in Google Analytics, where you can clearly see the breakdown of organic traffic, referrals, social and so on for your main traffic channel.
The conversions for organic traffic
The growth in organic search traffic doesn’t focus on the quality of the traffic per se. But checking the organic conversions metric from the traffic does. Make sure to include this metric in your local SEO audit to confirm whether your efforts are effective in attracting a qualified target audience.
Organic conversions will clearly show whether the people you’re attracting to your business website will eventually become customers or if you’re attracting irrelevant leads. It will show whether you have set the right keywords and content. To track organic conversions, you need to have a relevant goal set up in your Google Analytics that you can then monitor from the organic traffic.
Related: This Is How You Build an Effective Conversion Rate Optimization Strategy
Visibility of your listing
To run a successful local SEO audit, you must learn how easy it is for your local prospects to find you online. In this case, make sure to check two different metrics, namely local Google Map Rankings and Google My Business Insights.
Local Google Map Rankings show the Google Maps result of your listing while Google My Business insights provide the number of people who saw and engaged with your listing, as well as the frequency of your listings’ appearances in the SERPs.
User engagement on your site
User experience (UX) will affect your SEO as much as the quality of your pages and links. If you notice that the bounce rate on your pages is increasing, the chances are that the content you provide is not useful, meaningful or informative enough for your target audience.
Google evaluates the engagement metrics of your website to rank you adequately, so you should check these as well when running a local SEO audit. Focus on metrics such as bounce rate, which shows just how many people leave your page immediately after landing on it, the time your visitors tend to spend on a specific page, the number of pages your visitors view during their session, and how far down the page your visitors tend to scroll.
Related: Why User Experience Is Vital for Quality SEO
Potential crawl and technical SEO errors
The primary SEO focus should be the content you put out. That said, you must target the right keywords, optimize your pages for those keywords, post valuable and unique content that uses relevant anchors and interlink the content naturally and logically. However, if you have any crawl errors lurking in the shadows, Google won’t be able to understand, access and properly index your content. Similarly, a technical SEO issue such as slow page loading will also affect your SEO ranking.
Even though it may not seem important at first, checking the crawl patterns is a metric that could help you pinpoint potential errors and give you a better understanding of how the search engine crawls your website. With that information, you can predict the indexing time after publication and improve your strategy overall. You’ll also learn whether any technical SEO issues need to be fixed ASAP.
It’s simple enough to check for crawl errors in the Google Search Console and its Coverage report.
SEO is never done
SEO is a never-ending process that may take time to yield results but will prove worth the effort in the long run. When you have all your SEO practices in place, it might seem that your work is done and all you have to do is check one or two metrics every once in a while for good measure. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if things worked like that?
One single metric will indeed show you the traffic growth and sales volume, but this is not enough for establishing the overall success and efficiency of your entire SEO strategy. After all, SEO involves many different factors. While traffic and rankings will reveal just how well your overall SEO strategy is performing, other metrics such as conversions will show whether you’re attracting the right clientele. Engagement metrics will help you understand whether you’re meeting user expectations.
SEO itself is becoming more complex, which is precisely why you need to check different metrics to obtain the right kind of data to help you improve your efforts and establish yourself as a local authority within your respective niche.