It’s not something we aggressively advertise, but we do a lot of consulting for agencies and marketing teams here at Local Viking. Most of those conversations include us taking existing listings through our audit process and/or helping people establish a framework for identifying and fixing GMB issues.
We have gotten dozens of compliments and people requesting the ability to purchase a license or gain access to our audit dashboard. Well, consider our chains jerked enough to where we decided we would allow you good folk to access this system.
Charging for the tool and training crossed our mind, but then we figured for this current version that mirrors our internal process, we will let LV users use it for free.
GMB Listing Audit
Let’s get right into how to do a Google My Business Listing. We’re going to be using Bob’s Law Firm as a made-up example. First, you must select a category. If there is one category instead of multiple listings, then you have a better chance of passing the audit. It’s best to keep everything simple. You want your content to support the category. Across every aspect, your business should reflect your category. Next, check off whether the business has one or multiple locations.
The radius problem detection, which is next, pertains to listings that serve more than one location. You can’t have two or more listings that serve more than one location. Always take note of your findings. You’ll want to type in the information that you know to be correct into the Google Search bar. This is to make absolutely sure that your information is referenced correctly in Google’s system. It’s consistent based on map results.
Next, make sure the business hours are complete and correct. Make a note then that your hours are accurate. Just because you can take voicemails during every hour, that doesn’t mean you can service every customer. Moving onto label check, make sure that the label check notes have no issues at this time. You’ll also want to be sure that you do use a local phone number. This will increase your map rankings. Then, you’ll move onto tracking numbers. They are ideal for tracking where your different traffic is coming from.
At this point, make sure that you are taking note of everything that comes up. Is there a location page photo used? Is there a Q&A section? All of these components make your business more accessible to those searching for your services.
GMB Name Audit
Using the Law Office of Refai Arefin LLC, we’re going to do a proper Name Audit with Google Maps Business. First, we run a brand dilution check by searching the name of the business on Google. The first page of results should point to the Law Office of Refai Arefin LLC in some way or another. Make sure that the top listings have your business’ name correct.
The goal of the brand dilution check is your online presence. A brand dilution test fails when you find another business of the same name but it does not direct to your specific brand. On the audit side of Google My Business, you can add, “There are no issues found at this time,” or even add a screenshot to display your hopefully good findings.
Whenever your name pops up on Google Search Results, the link should always direct to your entity. Google My Business is an ideal way to understand where your customers are coming from and how they are searching for your business. Conducting a simple Name Audit is the best method for ensuring that your business is the main result when typing in your name into Google. Your Google Map Listing should also be accurate upon finding the results.
GMB Address Audit
Using the Law Office of Refai Arefin LLC, we are going to conduct an Address Audit for their Google My Business listing. First, we have to do the Melissa Data Check. So we have to head to that website and complete the address verification form. It’s important to verify your business address because that is where you receive bills, make transactions, and meet customers. Once you conduct this verification, you should thoroughly check the errors that appear. Errors can occur if the premise is lacking certain information, i.e. apartment number. Take notes on everything you find.
We now check to see if there is a postal discrepancy between the postal city and the actual city. Once you verify with the Melissa Data Check what your postal code is, you must compare it to your Google Search results postal code. Sometimes zip codes are outside of their selective cities, but you really want to make sure the Google results are accurate. Next, we check for Multiple Addresses. Make sure that other locations on Google Search do not share your business address. Your location has to be yours only, otherwise, you will experience ranking issues. Resolving the issue of a shared address could mean creating a modified office number.
For the Saved Maps Location, you take your address and save it in your Google Map Search Results. That’ll give you a chance to clearly see what city your address actually belongs to. Making sure that you’re in the city listed on your address to maintain your ranking’s health.
GMB Phone Number
Let’s go over how to do a proper phone number audit for your Google My Business listing. This audit is to make sure that every phone number used in each location is unique in its own right. Also, to ensure that no other business is sharing that same phone number. Make sure that you’re under a VPN and in incognito mode when searching for phone numbers to blanket yourself from skewed search results.
First, we check the multiple businesses using the phone number. Enter your phone number in the Google Search bar and scroll through the listings. Be sure to search without any extensions. The goal is to ensure that the phone number always points back to the specific business location. One problem that can occur is that the phone number points to the business but not the corresponding location. If you have multiple locations, the phone number should be completely separate for each location.
In any industry where there are several numbers, like practitioner and office numbers, each of those numbers should be unique. Profiles for singular professionals should be separate from their office location numbers.
Once you’ve done this, you will have to check every variation of the phone numbers. There’s a program called ‘Yep’ that optimizes your phone number for Google Search. You’ll copy and paste that into the search bar and easily scan through the results to ensure that your phone number is unique.
Once you’ve done this, go ahead and type “We have old citations with our phone number.” It is common for businesses to move and still retain their old numbers. If you did not find any old citations, simply type, “We have no old citations with our phone number.” Feel free to add more notes to your audit. It needs improvement if there are too many discrepancies.
GMB Possum Audit
In this tutorial, we will be using the Law Office of Refai Arefin LLC. For a Possum audit, we simply take the address and plug it into Google Maps. Once we do that, we remove any modifiers like apartment numbers and check for duplicate listings. We only want to see one listing for our own location.
Next, for Close Competitors Category Check, we take the primary category. For this example, it is ‘law office.’ Now zoom over the location where the business is located and see if there are any other law offices within our business’ location. Go through the selections and determine how they differ. Furthermore, every other location could be a prominent local business. Also, it is important to check for duplicate listings based on your business’ name. Enter it into the Google Map search bar and scroll outward to make certain that there are no duplicate listings under your title.
Any listings in your building must be either declared closed, or you must begin to compete with them.
Again, we are going to use the Law Office of Refai Arefin LLC. To conduct a citation audit, we begin by using this tool called WhiteSpark.com. Their local citation finder is great for citation comparison. While it does cost a monthly fee, it is highly recommended by us. You can organize it by domain, opportunities, and comparisons. Comparisons are the best part. You can clearly see your listing in contrast with your competitors. You’re checking to see if you have major citation losses. Yelp and Youtube are extremely important.
Citations allow Google to look at you in a more dominant way. Your citations help your rankings. Having at least 30 solid citations is ideal. Of course, make sure they are strong. Always take note of your finding in the Google My Business Citation Audit section. Next, we have Duplicate Citations. This is more complex to check manually, but you can easily use YellowPages to determine duplicate citations. Make sure you always have a unique phone number. Many times this is an issue.
At the end of your citation, finalize your notes and determine what aspects need to be improved.
In this video, we’re going to be using the website audit section of the Google My Business auditing tool. Your business’ website is vital to your business’ success. It’s how clients reach you, how you announce your deals, how you list your services, and much more. The website audit section of GMB analyzes your website and its link to ensure that it is following the best Local Search Engine Optimization practices.
First, we will start with URL Cannibalization Notes. Every website page must be open so that you can clearly view the URLs. If you need a better view of a particularly long URL, copy and paste it into a document. An example of a URL would be two pages that read ‘wills-trusts-estate-planning’ and ‘trusts-estate-planning.’ These can cannibalize each other. Smaller sites rarely have URL cannibalization. When you’re done with that, make note if you found issues or not.
Second, we do Multi or Single Location Business. Take note if your business has more than one location. Then, mark if your URL structure optimal, or at least acceptable. URLs can always be improved for Google Search Results and user navigation.
Third, we have Service Page. Are all of the services listed under the menu healthy and correct? Check to see if links lead to incorrect pages or if the content is thin. Then, we have Meta Title Health. Under this section, you’re checking to see if the business’ meta title contains the correct keywords and length. Compare title tags of your competitors to see if they are too similar to yours.
H1s are extremely important for displaying your brand and location. Check to see if your competitors are properly utilizing their H1s as well. Use keywords in your H1 if you are not already. Next, we do a health check for H2s. Moving onto header structure, we see if the website is using a good structure or not. Your H1s, Meta Titles, and URLs are the most important for this audit. Always take notes for each category. Matching GMB Website Audit categories are ideal for your website’s health. Images should be optimized in terms of alternative titles and keywords. Bulleted services should be in H3 format and they should match the terms given by GMB. Sometimes H3s will not exist, but they should. In addition, we’ve got Local Content which consists of population and similar niche aspects. It may not exist yet.
At the end of your Website Audit, you must take note of what was passed and what needs to be improved.