How To Comprehensively Optimize a Local Business Website.

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The aim of this exercise is to rebuild an existing local business website, transforming it to a Mobile First Design. Additionally, the re-design will be carried out in such a way that the updated website will be highly optimized for the search engines, provide the best user experience and conversion to sales. The new site will either be WordPress or Mobifirst based.

During the rebuild process full consideration will be given to the business’s Google My Business listing and any other online entities promoting the business i.e. Facebook, directories etc.

At all times we keep in mind the fact that we are working on our client’s site. We are aware that every action taken can affect our client’s business. Every change will have either a positive or negative effect on the site’s authority and ranking.

First Things First

The Existing Site.

The following are some checks carried out before accessing the site’s back-end.

  • Check the general layout of the site. Header, sidebars, footers, content, images, videos, pop-ups, contact forms etc.
  • List all the pages on the site and their purpose, including legal pages , disclaimers etc. List their URL/URIs? If this is a Service Area Business list location pages.
  • Check for missing pages, i.e. Contact Page, About Us page etc.
  • Check for pages with duplicate or thin content.
  • Check each pages’ source code and title/description metatags. Look for duplicate page titles, descriptions and content. Are titles and descriptions optimized. Is their any evidence of on page seo?
  • Check that the business address (NAP) is displayed and where. Is it correctly displayed on the homepage?
  • Is there a Google location map on the contact or about us page?
  • Check if the site is HTML, WordPress or other CMS.
  • Perform a Google search {}. Check for www and non www pages, the number of pages indexed and how the page titles and descriptions appear.
  • Carry out a Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix website performance tests.
  • Check website hosting using hosting checker.
  • Check if SSL is properly installed, using SSL Checker.
  • Check if the site is using schema using Schema Checker.
  • Are there testimonials/reviews on the site?
  • Carry out a quick backlink analysis using Moz Link Explorer, and Majestic Site Explorer. Are backlinks local and/or relevant e.g. business directories, press release. Are there bad backlinks i.e. low quality. Do they go to www.domain or non www.domain.
  • Carry out a brand search, eg. Ajax Carpet Service, on Google, i.e. perform a Google search for business name, both with and without location. Is there a Knowledge Graph and a Google My Business listing, is the GMB owned? Are there any testimonials/reviews, if so list them for later use on the site? At what position is the brand listing appearing, is it below directory sites? List local directory and citation sites
  • Search for variations of the brand name i.e. with an s and typically what other people might search when looking for the brand.
  • Test if the website is mobile friendly using Google Mobile Friendly Test.
  • Check using a tool such as Website Auditor. At this point we are using Website Auditor to pick up publically available information as we have no back-end access. Check for www pages and non www pages, Orphan Pages, Robots and XML Sitemaps, mobile friendly, Do Follow External links, Alt text on images, page titles and descriptions and if URIs are optimized.
  • From the information gained make up a preliminary list of generic keywords applicable to the business.
  • Make first draft plan of the updated site’s structure and URIs based on the existing site. Existing URIs may not be search engine optimized or maybe over optimized. The new URIs are very important for the site’s future SEO. Ensure there is no keyword stuffing.
  • Copy written content from the original site ensuring all formatting and surplus code is removed and save for use on the new site.
  • Download images from the original site and check for quality and size. Optimize using GTMetrix and store for future use. Download and store possibly useful images from GMB and social sites.
  • Discuss and agree with business owner outline frameworks (wireframes) for all pages.

Check The Business’s Google My Business Listing And Social Sites

Often a business may have quite highly developed Facebook page or Google My Business Listing with a host of useful images, content and testimonials. These are checked out and the useful assets listed.

Check Local and Niche Directories and Citation Sites

As with the business’s Facebook page and GMB the business may be listed on various directories and citation sites. Again you can list useful assets.

Also check to see if the business’s address and telephone number is consistent across the listed directories etc.

How Can The Business Owner Help

To properly plan the site upgrade we need some to know what the business owner wants and some further facts about the site.

  • How does the business owner visualize the development of his busing in the coming months and years.

  • Where is the site hosted. Hosting is critical to how quickly a web page loads, which in turn affect visitor experience and Google ranking.

  • Is there Google Analytics for the site?

Setting Up a Duplicate Site To Work On.

It is strongly advised that a duplicate site is created. Designing and testing templates and pages will cause some disruption. Also, to be safe, search engines should be discouraged from crawling the test site. The copy site can be located in a sub-directory or on another domain.

Transferring The Content And Databases To The New Site.

In this example we assume the original site was WordPress. Duplicating the original site can be accomplished by using the All-in-One WP Migration plugin and following the clear instructions in this video.



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