The worst part of local SEO isn’t that it’s tough or time-consuming. The worst part is it’s daunting.
It’s easy to get paralyzed and procrastinate – or not progress at all. That’s partly because you have to search hither and yon just to figure out what to put on your to-do list.
Maybe all you need is a to-do list that’s broken down into baby steps. That’s why I’ve put together that list today.
Each step (below) should take 5 minutes. And yes, unlike Andrew, I actually mean 5 minutes 🙂
Do one of these baby steps every single day. You’ll make a nauseating amount of progress – and probably in less time than you think.
No need to start at the top of the list. Just pick one of these baby steps for today, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…
Think of one page you’d like to add to your site. (See this.)
Sift through the Google Places Category Tool and Moz Local’s Category Research area to see if there are any more categories you can specify for your business on any of your listings.
Ask one customer for a review.
Reply to one review.
Build a citation.
Fix or remove an incorrect citation.
Rewrite the title tag of one page that ranks in the gutter.
See if you can think of a Google Places descriptor that makes sense in your situation.
Do a Moz Local scan.
Do a Local Citation Finder scan.
Scan for and fix broken links on your site.
Write down one question that customers ask you all the time. (There’s any number of things you can do with it. For starters, just throw it in a document of questions to add to the FAQ page of your site.)
Write down one idea for a blog post. (Try this list of 100 ideas, or this second list of 100.)
Log into Google Plus, go to the “Local” tab, and type in variations of your business name, and note down any duplicate listing(s) you find.
Ask Google to remove a duplicate listing, if you’ve got any.
Do whatever it takes to get a nice cover photo for your Google+ Local page. (You don’t want people hitting the “back” button.)
Flip through the pages of your site and add links to relevant other pages (on your site or on others’).
Type your business name into Google and take note of anything you see that you don’t like.
Check on one of your business listings (citations) and add more info to it.
Flip through a competitor’s site. What’s the smartest thing he/she is doing?
Google the name of your top competitors. What are they doing that you can do better?
Type this into Google: “site:yourwebsitename.com”. Take note of any title tags or description tags you don’t like, and change them (not necessarily today).
Find a local charity you can help out. Email them and ask how you can pitch in. (It’s good karma. And if you get a link out of it, great.)
Spend 5 minutes writing a piece of one of the pages or posts you thought of, or writing stuff to add to your landing page. Stop after 5 minutes, even if you’ve been staring at a blank screen.
Add some Schema markup to your landing page.
Read one post by Mike Blumenthal that you haven’t read already.
Write down a specific question (and the person you plan to ask).
Buy some time with a person you think can answer your questions. (By the way, if you ever book a Mastermind session with me, let me know if your questions are from your daily “baby steps.” I’ve got a bonus for hardcore readers 🙂 )
Ask a quick question at Linda Buquet’s forum or at the Local Search Google+ community.
Write a to-do list for your local SEO efforts.
Do any one of the items you’ve put on your to-do list. Cross that sucker off.
By the way, I’d like this to be an evergreen post, so please let me know if you think of any 5-minute baby steps I should add. (Hat tip to Darren for suggesting a few steps.)
What’s the first 5-minute step you’ll do? How ‘bout the last one you did? Any questions? Leave a comment!
Timothy Geiger says
This really helps keep the basics upfront with simple tasks that will have good results.
Sean Giorgianni says
Here’s something you might consider: add one third-party listing. Another might be to check YouTube for your keywords.
P.S. Why doesn’t Google allow you to reply to a review?
See the baby step for “Build a citation” 🙂
Harley Brown says
You did it again Phil. This time you basically took any excuses out of the equation. Anyone can devote 5 minutes to one of these tasks each and every day. Before they know it, they’ll be looking for more things to do. Maybe you should add, “Wake up 5 minutes earlier every day”. 🙂
Thanks for the informative post!
Thanks, Harley. My post from last week was all about the “excuses”!
Jeffrey Enabe says
I like this concept. This will be something I will try to use to move along websites that I control that aren’t paying (my own sites, friend sites) that end up on the back burner because most of the day is already committed to paying clients.
Good strategy, Jeffrey.
Matt Ramos says
Fantastic list. This would make a great ebook/downloadable guide or resource that can be easily printed.
Thanks, Matt. I’d been considering making this into a quick PDF checklist. I might still do it; you’ve given me a nudge.
Hayden Williams says
How come you have such perfect insight and your timing is impeccable. I am just starting work on a local project and wondering what I could do (after the basics) that earns the bread, has the effect and doesn’t take all day to do.
I wish! But thanks, Hayden.
Darren Shaw says
Fantastic list Phil. So much low hanging fruit to be had.
I just tried this one for Whitespark “Type your business name into Google and take note of anything you see that you don’t like.” and I noticed that I needed to update our Facebook description. So, thank you!
Gene Maryushenko says
Going to print this out and stick it in above my monitor. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about tweaking something only to forget about it as I get lost in other work. Thanks Phil!
Good plan, Gene!
Jackson Lo says
This is the great list to say “get your butt off the couch!” Awesome work Phil!!
Thanks a lot, Jackson!
Jim Froling says
Great on SO many levels. I have been blessed in my corporate life to be exposed to many management theories. The common denominator is breaking down seemingly huge tasks into bite-sized pieces, even if it just five minutes a day. In practice, easier said than done 🙁
Still, a great piece.
Thanks, Jim. Even with 5-minute tasks, I suppose it’s still just so easy to say, “Some other day.”
Jim Froling says
Amen, brother Phil.
Bill Bean says
I do like the way you blog, Mr. Rozek. This list is appropriate for people in our profession let alone a SMB owner with a million other things on her list.
Two things to add:
1) Reality check. In my experience, nothing ever takes 5 minutes. For more on the concept of a sequential vortex, check out chapter 1 of The Night The Bear At Goombaw by Patrick McManus.
2) Create or update your spreadsheet with all your citations and account credentials. I like using a Google Doc for this. Disclaimer: this might take more than 5 mins.
Thanks, Bill. But these tasks do take 5 minutes – if one doesn’t get carried away.
This is gold, Phil! I do some of these in the course of a busy day when I get a minute at my desk (check on competitors, add photos to a listing) and now I have a “check list” of sorts to keep it going.
Sometimes, I just go to my website, read/look, take in my material, and ask myself “is there anything I can add/change/tweak/improve?”. Every once in a while, I actually spark a new idea.
Thanks, this is great.
Thanks, Brian. I know you’ve been running the DIY marathon – and successfully, it sounds like.
I would add these two:
1) Check the alerts email. Set Google Alerts first for a competetitor name: “Example” -site:example.com and their phone number “111-555-1123” -site:example – you’ll get their citation ideas.
2) Google your competition in other cities – they might have good ideas too!
It’s already a good list but it’s going to be even better. Great job Phil!
Good ideas, Jack!
Andrea Ferrero says
Thank-you Phil for the really interesting post
With the recent move to GMB, it is no longer possible to “Run a “&tbm=plcs” search to see if you might have a Google Places penalty.” Do you also confirm that? If so then this should be removed from the list
Also I would add to the list : doing a map listing audit by typing variations of business name, and typing telephone number. It will give a different view than Google Plus Local where one will see unverified listings whereas in maps google shows what it thinks are real locations.
Finally I would also add doing a map audit working with the other three world map providers (besides google maps) :
(check this video with Mike B. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Un9AHKHLAY#t=362)
Good points, Andrea. Thanks.