Website in Review: What to optimize on a local website

By Bekka Palmer

We spend a lot of time doing local search, and have worked with countless web developers and varying types of websites. We find ourselves asking developers the same things over and over again. We recently came up with a Local Search Site Overview Checklist to pass on to clients and developer friends so they know all of the items we require before we start working with them. This saves both us and our clients a lot of headache when starting a local search campaign. If all of the following components are in place on day 1 of the campaign, we can spend less time emailing developers and more time executing the local search campaign.

Now, we are making the list public in hopes that all local businesses can use our experience to make perfectly optimized local search dominating websites.


Check Box Navigation is live text and fully crawlable (including drop-downs)
Check Box Comprehensive for all services or products available
Check Box Navigation contains decent keywords, i.e. client is not trying to be “cute” by using playful words in the navigation


Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

Check Box Title tags are present, between 80 and 100 characters (with spaces), and have general structure as follows:
[Business Name] Keyword & Keyword in [City], [State] | [Page – e.g., Home, About Us, etc.]
Check Box Title tags editable by Thunder (if not, email a list to developer)
Check Box Meta descriptions are present, approx. 160 characters (with spaces), and have general structure as follows:
[Business Name] Keyword & Keyword [Street Address], [City], [State] [Zip] | Call [Local Tracking #] for Information.
Check Box Meta descriptions editable by Thunder (if not, email a list to developer)



Check Box  Check URLs are ‘clean’ (e.g., should be string of words, not punctuation or numbers; no “?’s” or non-searchable characters )
Check Box  If URLs are clean, confirm they contain keywords that pertain to the page


Contact Us Page

Check Box Insert Google map embed (from business’ verified Google Place’s listing)
Check Box Google map linked to business’ Google Place’s listing, not just address
Check Box Add an h1 or h2 tag above the Map. “Where in [City], [State] are we located?” with a short paragraph describing local landmarks
Check Box Full address listed on the contact page
Check Box Local tracking phone number listed near address
Check Box Contact form is working and “thank you” page goes to a separate URL for conversion tracking
Check Box There are links to business’ listings on Yelp, Kudzu, Yahoo! and other primary directories; use a keyword for hyperlink text



Check Box  Site is not in frames
Check Box  Site is not entirely flash-based (some flash content is fine)
Check Box  Google Analytics is installed & confirm SEO contact or Business Owner is added as Admin
Check Box  Phone number is live text
Check Box Phone number is highly noticable at first glance
Check Box Images have alt tags
Check Box Flash content has alternative content (use an image so the website does not look broken on non-flash enabled devices)
Check Box Flash content that includes text, should include matching text as an alt attribute
Check Box Regular text is live text
Check Box Check robots.txt to make sure bots are allowed to crawl and index
Check Box Robots.txt is only required for CMS sites, if CMS, is there a robots.txt file?
Check Box Property name and address are in searchable text on every page (most times this is in the footer)
Check Box Add searchable links or icons to property’s Facebook and Twitter profiles



Check Box Blog is on sub-directory of property’s domain, such as “” or “” (NO SUBDOMAINS for blogs)
Check Box Tags or categories have keywords
Check Box Clean URLs (e.g., blog post URLs include blog title and there are no “?’s” or other non-searchable characters)
Check Box Thunder SEO has access to blog, and/or the business is blogging regularly


Example Contact Us Page

Example of a local search contact us page

It’s a little hard to see in the image, but go to our contact us page to see it live!
5 things to check for on the Contact Us page:

  1. Clean URL –
  2. Full address and local phone number
  3. h1 or h2 above the map that reads “Where in [City], [State] are we located?” Then a short paragraph describing the location including local landmarks or major freeways
  4. Google map is embedded and linking directly to the claimed and optimized Google Place Listing
  5. Links to the business’ reviews on Yelp, Yahoo!, Insider Pages, Google, or another appropriate review site.

Download the PDF version.

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