Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
Reaction score

Image credit: SEMrush

How do you do a QUICK, but thorough pre-consult audit before talking with a potential new client?

Are you sure you have all your bases covered?

Darren from Whitespark did an EXCELLENT post at SEMrush that should help!

Wanted to highlight 2 very important points Darren raised and also expand on one.

How to Do a Basic Local SEO Audit in 30 Minutes or Less
From the SEMrush Blog (Note: Below are just a couple snippets. Click through to read the rest!)

b. Is the description spammed with keywords? The description field isn’t considered in the ranking algorithm, but it is checked in Google’s spam filter. There’s no benefit to stuff it with keywords, but it could harm your ability to rank.

Yes, good to hear this talked about more, it's something I've always stressed in training as well as here. Especially if city is repeated multiple times, I've seen ranking penalties. Pigeon does not see to mind quite as much. BUT since Google has personally told us the description is not a ranking factor, why risk it???

d. Have they associated too many categories with their listing? We have found that when you remove some of the less important categories, rankings for the primary category improve. We call too many categories “category dilution” because your category strength is being split across multiple categories. Tighten the categories up to focus all your category strength on the single most important service. Note: this is just a theory based on a few observed cases. We don’t have substantial evidence to back up this theory at the moment. Your mileage may vary.

This is a really good point! I had not heard this before - BUT it aligns with the new guidelines.

HAS ANYONE TRIED REDUCING CATEGORIES? Did it help ranking for the main category???

Head over to read the rest: How to Do a Basic Local SEO Audit in 30 Minutes or Less

Wanted to mention one Darren barely mentioned that should be expanded on.

Search for duplicates. Dupes are one of the biggest reasons for ranking problems.

He does briefly mention there could be dupes. But I think there should be a section under #2 specifically for dupes.

You also need to understand the potential problems that different types of dupes create; practitioner listings, closed listings and traditional dupes - so you can alert the new client there is work to do on this front. Not that you are going to tell a new prospect how to fix them or anything, but need to know how to find them, so you can let the prospect know that problem exists. And also in case you need to build more into your proposal if its a complicated mess that will take additional time.

So following is a post that ties in, in case you missed it...

Pigeon now hides dupes. In new maps typically only one listing will show and Classic maps often hides dupes, old closed listings and practitioner listings too. So here's a detailed post about how to search for dupes now. (Which Darren did briefly touch on.)

<a href="">Advanced Tip for Google Local Duplicate Discovery & Troubleshooting</a>. That post also links to an important post about how old closed listings can suppress ranking for the main listing you want to rank.

Anyway, great stuff Darren and I totally subscribe to this strategy. Back when I still worked with Dentists, I would always do a pre-consult audit, so I could educate myself on their situation and the problems the Dentist had prior to the initial free consult I always did. I think this post provides a really nice road map for the things that need to be checked in advance.

What else do you cover in a quick audit???
<meta property="og:type" content="article"><meta property="og:title" content=""><meta property="og:description" content="How do you do a pre-consult audit before talking with a potential new client? Are you sure you have all your bases covered?">
<meta property="og:image" content="">


Eric Rohrback

Oct 3, 2012
Reaction score
I think he did a great job laying out the local audit. He covered all the basic stuff that everyone should be doing for a local client, so not sure I can add much more to what he listed. From a outside audit, this list is great. If you can get webmaster tools access I would check crawl errors and various other technical onsite points. Screaming Frog, Xenu, or even Moz can help you check 404 errors and other onsite issues that might be bottle-necking the campaign. Webmaster tools access would also let you do a quick check to see if there are duplicate title tags reported, then you can do a deeper dive into page content to see if all services/products are covered and if they have target keywords in the page. Darren covers that in Step 4-D, but thought the error check and the dupe title tag check would be useful to know.


LocalU Faculty
Aug 9, 2012
Reaction score
Hey Linda! Just noticed that you shared my post on the forum. Thank you for your kind words, and thanks for sharing. Glad you liked the post.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Dustybones Take 5 minutes each day to work on Local SEO Local Search 4
Matthew Summers If You Had 30 minutes to educate local contractors about GMB, what would you NOT say? Google My Business & Google Maps 3
CraigJMount 10-Minute Survey Request for People Who Have Hired SEO Agencies Local Search 1
Andy Google Shows How Many Minutes People Spend At Venues Google My Business & Google Maps 2
A Have you got 5 minutes to confirm something for me please? Help & Support for Google Local 4
HurricaneK8 "6 minutes slower" Google My Business & Google Maps 1
Dustybones 60 Minutes segment on Acxiom Break Room: Chat and Off Topic 5
Vijay Marathe Here one minute gone the next - the suite issue in addresses Local Search 2
Nicole Basham Cons of Removing Second FB Page Profile/"Extra" Twitter account for Local SAB? Mobile & Social 1
M Google Local Services Ads - Lack of Leads Paid Search and Local Service Ads 14
rustybrick Google Local ranking update? Google Algorithm Discussions 8
Matt Chauhan Serious Problem With A Dentist's Local Rankings. NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 1
S Local Services Ads - Fake Reviews Local Reviews 1
chrism Local Competitor Keyword Stuffing/Similar Words In GMB Spam on Google 2
buzzrank Home inspector business category not available in Canada, but local competitors have NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 3
djbaxter New Local SEO tool from BrightLocal: Local Search Grid Local SEO Tools & Software 7
Stef Kiley Temp closed business ranking higher in local pack Help & Support for Google Local 2
F Turkish post: Google My Business local seo Recycle Bin 0
accessted Local Falcon GMB Question Service Area Businesses 2
F Google My Business local seo Google Local 101 3
S What makes a great Home/Landing Page in Local? Local Search 6
E What is the Click Through Rate / Conversion Rate for GMB or Local 3 Pack listings? Google My Business & Google Maps 3
J New local pack display? Google Algorithm Discussions 2
N Dedicated local search Local Search 12
djbaxter Webinar The State of Local Search 2021 [Webinar + Q&A] Events 0
Imperialpest Page Speed and Local / Ranking Question Ask a LocalU Expert [PRIVATE] (LocalU) 5
djbaxter Online Conference Pubcon Local Services Marketing Conference, January 20-21, 2021 Events 3
L Local Service Ad for Attorney Paid Search and Local Service Ads 1
Professor M No Reviews on Local Packs for Car Wash Category in Different Countries Google My Business & Google Maps 1
SpectateSwamp How about discussing local search... Like the Spectate one; everything a 50+ years of programming Geezer wants Break Room: Chat and Off Topic 3
B Google Beacons helping Local visability? Local Search 1
JoyHawkins Are Local Services Ads Stealing Clicks from Google My Business? A Case Study of 110 Listings Paid Search and Local Service Ads 0
M Decreased traffic to Google maps due to local service ads Paid Search and Local Service Ads 1
Eoghan_MFeed Looking for a SaaS but more importantly Local Search experienced product managers 🔍 Local SEO Job Board 0
Professor M Google Maps and Google My Business Big Changes - Google Maps Local News Feed Google My Business & Google Maps 26
Shelly "On the menu: [item]" visual label in local pack Help & Support for Google Local 3
Brian Barwig Unconventional Approaches to Local Link Building Local Search 0
Marty Twelves Local links: are they really that much better? Local Search 1
Y Whenever I publish update for my local business, my local rankings drop for 3-4 days Local Search 1
H Recorded Sessions from Local U Local Search 1
jeff_taylor GMB Removes Reviews from Local Pack Local Search 0
Scott ClientClicks Call Tracking for Local Service Ads Paid Search and Local Service Ads 4
jpayne7 Google Favoring Rich Snippets for Job Postings over Local Business Listings? Google Local 101 4
NexstarNickR Google Local Service Ads: Price Increases due to Bidding Rollout Paid Search and Local Service Ads 3
K New local business using stock photos for portfolio Local Content 5
Kayla Adam Canadian Local SEO Agency Needed Local Search 3
shively Microsoft Clarity (Local SEO heatmap tool) Local Search 2
Brian Barwig How to Win at Local Search with Service Area Businesses Service Area Businesses 3
Charles Jenkins SCHEMA For local business with address hidden? Local Search 1
N Local services Ad Approach for Businesses with Multiple locations on one GMB Account Paid Search and Local Service Ads 4

Similar threads

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

Most UpVoted Answers

LocalU Podcasts

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Google Product Exert

Top Bottom