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.
|Navigation is live text and fully crawlable (including drop-downs)|
|Comprehensive for all services or products available|
|Navigation contains decent keywords, i.e. client is not trying to be “cute” by using playful words in the navigation|
Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
|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.]
|Title tags editable by Thunder (if not, email a list to developer)|
|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.
|Meta descriptions editable by Thunder (if not, email a list to developer)|
|Check URLs are ‘clean’ (e.g., should be string of words, not punctuation or numbers; no “?’s” or non-searchable characters )|
|If URLs are clean, confirm they contain keywords that pertain to the page|
Contact Us Page
|Insert Google map embed (from business’ verified Google Place’s listing)|
|Google map linked to business’ Google Place’s listing, not just address|
|Add an h1 or h2 tag above the Map. “Where in [City], [State] are we located?” with a short paragraph describing local landmarks|
|Full address listed on the contact page|
|Local tracking phone number listed near address|
|Contact form is working and “thank you” page goes to a separate URL for conversion tracking|
|There are links to business’ listings on Yelp, Kudzu, Yahoo! and other primary directories; use a keyword for hyperlink text|
|Site is not in frames|
|Site is not entirely flash-based (some flash content is fine)|
|Google Analytics is installed & confirm SEO contact or Business Owner is added as Admin|
|Phone number is live text|
|Phone number is highly noticable at first glance|
|Images have alt tags|
|Flash content has alternative content (use an image so the website does not look broken on non-flash enabled devices)|
|Flash content that includes text, should include matching text as an alt attribute|
|Regular text is live text|
|Check robots.txt to make sure bots are allowed to crawl and index|
|Robots.txt is only required for CMS sites, if CMS, is there a robots.txt file?|
|Property name and address are in searchable text on every page (most times this is in the footer)|
|Add searchable links or icons to property’s Facebook and Twitter profiles|
|Blog is on sub-directory of property’s domain, such as “business.com/blogs” or “business.com/news” (NO SUBDOMAINS for blogs)|
|Tags or categories have keywords|
|Clean URLs (e.g., blog post URLs include blog title and there are no “?’s” or other non-searchable characters)|
|Thunder SEO has access to blog, and/or the business is blogging regularly|
Example 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:
- Clean URL – example.com/contact-us
- Full address and local phone number
- 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
- Google map is embedded and linking directly to the claimed and optimized Google Place Listing
- Links to the business’ reviews on Yelp, Yahoo!, Insider Pages, Google, or another appropriate review site.
Download the PDF version.