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How to Understand Your Local Search Audit Report

Helen Barnes -

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In this overview, we explain how to understand the results of your completed Local Search Audit report.

Contents

1) Summary section

2) Links & Website Authority section

3) Search Rankings section

4) Local Business Listings section

5) Reviews & Ratings section

6) Google My Business section

7) On-Site SEO section

        a) Technical results

        b) SEO results

        c) Mobile results

        d) Content results 

        e) Analytics results

 8) Social Channels section

9) Appendix section

Once complete, a  Local Search Audit report will look like this:

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Here we explain what each section shows and how to understand the report data:

1) Summary section

When you first open the Local Search Audit report, you are met with the ‘Summary’ section. This section summarises the results and shows the score of each of the other sections. We use a unique set of formulas to calculate a score for each section and convert this into an easy-to-read score of 'Good', 'OK' and 'Poor'.

You can click each jump downlink to see the section rather than scrolling.

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2) Links & Website Authority section

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The first section is the ‘Links & Website Authority’ section.

This section reports on some key SEO indicators that play a big part in how high your business ranks in search engine results. We generate some of this data through our proprietary systems; other data we pull in from trusted partners who are experts in their fields.

Here are the results are broken down:

Google Index Count: Google Index Count shows you the number of pages that Google has indexed on your site. It's important that Google can index your site so it can 'read' your content to understand what you do/offer and return your business for relevant searches. You need to ensure that Google (and other search engines) can read all the pages that you want them to.

Link Count: Link Count is the number of links that lead from other websites through to yours. Links are very important in SEO - as a general rule, the more inbound links (aka backlinks) your site has, the more Authority it has and the higher it should rank. Links are an important factor in ranking in organic search results and local pack search results. It's important that you have more links than your competitors and that these links come from sites that Google trusts. Link count data is provided by moz.com.

Linking Domains: Linking Domains is the number of websites that link to your website. It's important to get as many different trusted websites to link to you as possible, as Google views these as 'votes' for your site/business. It's more powerful to have 100 links from 100 sites than it is to have 100 links from one site. It's also important that these sites are relevant to your business or location and/or have high Domain Authority (Google trusts these sites more). You should also aim to have more sites linking to you than your competitors do, but ensure that they're sites that Google trusts and thinks are relevant to your business. Linking Domain data is provided by moz.com.

Majestic C-Flow: C-Flow is a link-related score. It's calculated based on the number of inbound links your site has. The higher the C-Flow the better. You should aim to have a higher C-Flow score than your competitors. C-Flow is provided by MajesticSEO.

Domain Authority: Domain Authority score is similar to 'Page Rank'. This score is a measure of the 'rankability' of your website and it considers over 150 different SEO signals. The higher your site's Domain Authority score, the higher it should rank. Having a higher score than your competitors is important. As you improve different areas of your SEO, your Domain Authority should increase as a direct result. Domain Authority is provided by moz.com.

Website Age: This is the date your website was registered. Search engines trust older websites more than new websites.

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Here you will see the section score Good', 'OK' and 'Poor’ depending on the results of the section. This will be shown at the top right-hand side of each section.

2) Search Rankings section

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This section reports the positions ('rankings') that your website or business appears in for your important keywords. We report on your rankings in the 3 largest search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) and within their local offerings (Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local).

Within the search results, we look for your website/business name and show you the position in which you appear. If we find more than 1 result for your website/business then we will report multiple results in the ranking results table. We look through the top 50 results and if you don't appear in the top 50 we return a result of >50.

You want to appear as high up the search rankings as possible so lower numbers are good. The aim should be for you to appear in positions 1, 2 & 3 as many times as possible. If you have lots of >50 results that means you have a lot of work to do, but everything to gain - the only way is up!

 3) Local Business Listings

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For local businesses, it's critical that their address and contact information is correct and consistent across the web. This provides reliable information to Google about your business and also ensures that your customers can find you or contact you.

This section audits the most powerful online directories and reports back on whether you do or don't have a listing there. If you do, we check if your information is complete and consistent, and highlight any errors so you know what needs fixing. These directories can be a direct source of new customers but they can also boost your local ranking within Google.

4) Reviews and Ratings

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In this section, we audit your reviews on the most important review sites. We report back on your total reviews, avg. rating and score on each site. We also display the most recent 10 reviews across all these sites.

Having positive reviews impacts your reputation and the better your reputation the more customers you will win online.

Positive reviews can make your business rank higher in search results, increase click-throughs from search and build consumer trust in your business. All these lead to more customers and revenue!

Review Count by Star Rating: This chart shows you how many 1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars, and 5 stars reviews you have across the top 5 sites.

Top Review Sites: This table shows you how many reviews you have on each site and what the star rating is for each site. 

5) Google My Business

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This section analyzes your Google My Business (GMB) optimization. It reports on a number of important criteria and benchmarks your website against the top 10 ranked businesses in your area.

GMB is Google's local listing and search product which contains listings of local businesses, and places. Listings from GMB appear in organic search results and Google maps results on both desktop and mobile devices. This is why GMB is a hugely powerful marketing opportunity for local businesses - getting your optimization correct here is critical to attracting new, local customers.

6) On-Site SEO Report

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This section analyzes the On-Site SEO factors that affect your ability to rank high in search engines.

On-Site SEO factors are elements of your website, either visible on the page or in the code of your website (which you can't see, but search engines can), which affect the site's search rankings. It's easier to improve SEO factors on your own site because you have control over it.

In this section, we summarise the findings from all the pages that we audit on your site (max 200 pages). You can view page-specific results in the Appendix at the end of the report.

We use a complex formula to calculate your overall score for this section. Please view our FAQs to understand how this score is calculated.

a) Technical results

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Page Load Speed: This is a measure of how quickly your landing page loads when viewed using a desktop device. We get this score from Google's PageSpeed Insights API, which checks to see if the page uses common performance best practices to load quickly. The faster a page loads the better the experience for your users. Scores range from 0 to 100 points.

Robots.txt: Robots.txt is a file that sits in your website code. It tells Google which pages on your site to look at and which to ignore. It's important to have a robots.txt file to help Google index all the pages you want it to.

XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap is like a 'Contents' page for your website. It helps Google to properly index your site, giving it the best possible chance of ranking for relevant searches.

Errors: Errors are pages (URLs) on your site that return an error because they don't exist anymore or they have a problem. It's important to resolve these errors so that customers don't go to these broken/missing pages. Google can reduce the authority of your site if your error count is high.
Internal Links: Internal links connect pages on your site to each other. You can use links to tell Google lots about the content of your site.

Canonical URLs/Dynamic URLs: We check your landing page for issues with URL canonicalization. Canonicalization is used to avoid duplication issues when a website has more than one different URL for the same page (e.g. if http://www.example.com and http://example.com display the same page but search engines see two different URLs). If this happens, search engines may be unsure about which URL is the correct one to index. Canonicalization tells search engines which page to list in SERPs.

SSL: SSL is a common way to make websites more secure. Adding an SSL certificate to your site makes it safer for users to input data or download data because the transfer of that data is encrypted and harder to intercept. Google has said that they will give priority in the ranking to sites that use SSL over sites that do not.

b) SEO

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Page Title: Each page on your site has a title which appears in the code of the page and tells Google what each page is about. It's a visible tag that appears in the search results and on browser tabs, and it's a very important factor in SEO. Page Titles should be unique to each page and contain your most important keywords

Page Descriptions: Each page has a description that appears within the code of the page, and is visible in search results. Although Google doesn't see these descriptions as ranking factors, search terms appear in bold when they're displayed in search results, which attract the eye of searchers. Due to this, Page Descriptions should be unique to each page and contain your most important keywords.
Open Graph Tags: Open Graph protocol was developed by Facebook to give website owners an easy way to describe the content of a page so that Facebook can correctly read and reference it. Using Open Graph tags allows you to control what content is shown when a page is shared on Facebook.

Twitter Card Tags: Messages on Twitter are currently limited to 280 characters, which isn't much space to communicate your message. To help websites communicate more, Twitter developed Twitter Cards, which are based on tags that sit in the code of a web page. These enable website owners to provide a lot more information and include images, video and download links that appear inside Twitter. This allows your website's content to stand out much more in tweets that include it.

Image Alt Tags: Alt Text is a method for adding a text description to an image. Search engines can't currently read images to determine their content reliably, so adding 'Alternative Text' lets you tell Google what the image is about. This is a useful way of reinforcing what a web page is about and giving Google more relevant signals that have a positive impact on your SEO.

H Tags: H tags (or 'header' tags) sit in the code of your site and help to structure your page content in a way that highlights to Google the top-line keywords and topics the page covers. H1 tags (of which there should be only one per page) have a higher SEO value then H2 tags, H2 tags have a higher SEO value than H3 tags, and so on.

Wordcount: We analyze all the pages on your site (max 200) and calculate the average number of visible words per page. We also track the pages that have less than 500 visible words per page.

Flash: Flash is a multimedia platform that some websites still use, but that is soon to be deprecated by Adobe. We check your landing page to see if it uses Flash or not. Google can't easily read Flash and it can block Google from indexing your site. The current website best practice is to avoid using Flash and use HTML5 instead to achieve the same results. You'll also want to avoid the use of Flash because it doesn't work well (or at all) on mobile web browsers.

c) Mobile

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Responsive Design: Having a 'responsive' website means the page width and content of each page auto-adjusts depending on the screen size of the device being used to view it. This gives the best possible experience to users who view your site on mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. This is better for your users and will encourage them to stay on your site and visit more pages. Google looks favorably on sites that give users the best possible experience so this can have an impact on your search ranking..

Mobile Friendly: With the majority of web browsing now happening on mobile devices it's important that your website works well for mobile users. Adjusting the content layout is one way to make your site more usable. Other considerations are text size (bigger is better on mobile) and how easy it is for mobile users to click on buttons and links. We obtain this data from Google's PageSpeed Insights API.

Mobile Page Load Speed: This scores how quickly your landing page loads on a mobile device.
We obtain this data from Google's PageSpeed Insights API, which checks to see if a page has applied common performance best practices, and then reports back with a score of 0-100 points.

Mobile Rendering: These screenshots show how your landing page appears on mobile (left) and tablet (right) devices.

d) Content

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Physical Address: Having your physical address on your website is important for Google Local rankings. Google looks for an address on your site to confirm the address it has on record for you. Google looks for a local phone number to confirm where your business is located and to make sure it's consistent across all other listings you might have.

Phone Number: Having your Phone Number on your website is important for Google Local rankings. Google looks for a local phone number to confirm where your business is located and to make sure it's consistent across all other listings you might have.

Schema.org Markup: Schema.org provides a set of common 'tags' that can be applied to common items on a website to make it clear to search engines what that content is. It's important to make your content easy to understand and using schema helps with this. We specifically look to see if your business name, street address and phone number are 'marked up' with the correct Schema.org tags.

Top Keywords: We analyze all the pages on your site (max 200) and filter the visible content to determine the most common keywords used. This is useful for ensuring that your site is truly focused on the right keywords so it's clear to Google what you offer and where you're located.

e) Analytics

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Analytics Tags: We check your site to see which website analytics solution you use (e.g. Google Analytics). We report on those that we find and if you're also making use of Google Tag Manager (GTM), which is a simple way of adding analytics tags to your code.

7) Social Channels 

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This section examines your use of and popularity across social media. It's important to 'socialize' your business so that your customers can share their experiences with their friends and turn them into new customers. It's also useful to use social media channels like Facebook to accrue reviews of your local business.

Facebook: Having a profile on Facebook is a way to showcase your business to customers and stay in regular contact with them. It is an effective channel to update customers about changes to your business and build a deeper relationship with them. Customers can leave reviews for you which will attract new customers to your business.

Twitter: Having an active profile on Twitter is a good way to build a following among customers, partners, suppliers, and connections. You can use Twitter to engage in conversations with customers, streamline customer support, and also communicate important updates about your business and what's going on in your area or industry.

8) Appendix  

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The Appendix is a brief overview of key information for pages of your site. Currently, we only provide appendix information for up to 200 pages of your site.

The appendix records the following:

Page title
Meta description
Meta keywords
Internal links
Headline tags
Outbound links (no follow)
Response code
Load time
Number of redirects
Primary keyword visible

 

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