Building a Custom Local SEO Performance Evaluation
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin
The local search landscape is constantly evolving with the release of new features and changes in consumer behavior. Even Google regularly changes their search algorithm based on new ranking factors over time. In order to survive, businesses need to adapt to these changes and continue to provide accurate and relevant benchmarking in order to evaluate their Local SEO success.
Creating a dynamic and customizable solution for evaluating local SEO performance is necessary for businesses looking to understand the health of their business, compare their success against local competitors, and dominate the marketplace.
How does a business evaluate their Local SEO success?
There is no one factor that can be used to identify the success of a business’ local SEO success. Reviews, social posts, listings, rankings, and search traffic analytics all need to be broken down into their core components in order to accurately assess their relative impacts on a business’ online standing.
Only by breaking down each of these factors, weighing them by importance and calculating them into a standardized score will businesses truly be able to evaluate their overall success and performance in the local search results.
Setting Baselines and Benchmarks
In order to perform an accurate evaluation, businesses need to first establish a baseline for their current level of success. If you already have a local SEO strategy in place, then setting a baseline can be used as a reality check to see how well your current strategy is working. If you have yet to employ a local SEO strategy, then you can get a clear picture of where your business stands and your potential for growth once you take on a local SEO strategy of your own.
Once you’ve established a baseline, it’s time to benchmark your score against the top competitors in your market and industry standards. This will help businesses to determine which areas of their current local search strategy need to be improved and which areas you’re excelling in. By defining these baselines, your business will now have a clear plan for local SEO growth.
Businesses need to know how well their individual locations are performing in many different aspects of their online reputation. The best way to determine this is with a scoring system that will accurately explain how each location, region, and business as a whole is performing and provide steps on what to do in order to improve your score.
What Makes Up a Score?
Scoring your business allows you to identify which areas of your local SEO plan are performing well and which areas need improvement. An efficient scoring system will allow you to identify success all the way down to a specific location.
Your score needs to break down into five key areas:
1. Reviews – See an individual locations reviews or evaluate the overall review health for a brand – how responsive are you? What’s your rating? Are you getting better over time?
The overall health of your review score should be a historical review of four important factors; review ratings, response and growth rates, and sentiment. Analyze the rate, quality, frequency, and sentiment of your reviews in order to identify trends over time. Then analyze how well you’re responding to those reviews. All of these factors have a major impact on your brand’s overall score.
2. Social – What’s your social story? Are you popular? Not Popular? Active on social media?
When it comes to measuring your social score, take into consideration three key factors; the number of posts, number of fans, and tags. Analyze the past history of your social engagement to create benchmarks for post frequency, fan growth and tags on each location page.
3. Listings – How accurate is your data on important sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, Apple Maps, Bing and other sites?
Check for discrepancies in your listings. Simple errors like listing the wrong phone number, or misspelling your website will not only confuse your customers but Google as well. By keeping your listing data up-to-date and removing any duplicates, you’ll find more success with local SEO.
4. Search – How are you ranking on the internet locally?
Search ranking scores are a combination of ranking positions and a variety of analytics in both web and local search queries.
5. Competitors – How do you compare against your top competitors?
How are you scoring compared to your competitors? Key factors such as review ratings, review responding and social fans are all areas that make up your competitors score.
How to Use and Evaluate Your Score:
Evaluations only become valuable if you actively use them to influence change and drive improvements. A good evaluation will help you define the specific areas in your local SEO strategy that need improvement.
Top 5 ways to use your score:
At a Glance
How healthy is your brand as a whole? Before you dive into which locations are doing things right and which are bringing your reputation down, you need to understand how your brand is doing as a whole.
Trend over time
We’re all striving to improve. Take a look at how your score has improved over time. Look for important details such as rating scores and repeat sentiment to identify the trends.
Winners and losers
Here’s where we get real. Take a look at which locations are bringing your scores up and which are dragging you down. Identify the locations affecting your score most and how they’re doing it. Take that data and learn from it. What are your locations doing right to bring up your score and how can you apply those techniques to the locations that are struggling.
Analyze your brand’s health by region. If you’re a national brand, regional scoring is essential. These location-based comparisons can help you recognize good behavior.
Compare against competitors
You may have a great score but if who cares if your competitors are outscoring you. Find out how you compare to “the other guy”.
For example, if a business evaluates their local SEO performance and finds that they are scoring a 76/100, they can then drill down into that score where they would find issues for reviews, listings and social fronts. They would see that reviews have been suboptimal due to a decrease in the number of reviews responded to, a handful of their listings have duplicates which need to be merged in order to improve their listings score, and social engagement can be improved by increasing their posting frequency.
The Chatmeter LBV (Local Brand Visibility) Score
Chatmeter has just released its LBV Score, our location-based performance scoring system. This extremely intuitive scoring system will measure you and your local competitors in several critical areas that affect your digital identity. Establishing a baseline takes time and requires in-depth knowledge of industry-based averages. Chatmeter’s LBV scoring system has built-in industry-based success benchmarks derived from years of research. If you are having trouble establishing a score or system to track your success consider using Chatmeter.
Customers love the flexibility of the LBV score customization, which allows you the ability to prioritize what matters in your business:
“[The LBV score] gives us the ability to isolate which metrics should be used to score a restaurant location and compare locations to each other. We shouldn’t be holding a location accountable for their listing management accuracy or how high they rank… But they should absolutely be held accountable for other aspects including number of reviews and sentiment.”
– Dylan S., Digital Marketing Manager, Duffy’s
Your local SEO score is essential to determining the health of your brand. With our recent launch of the Local Brand Visibility (LBV) score, we take the guesswork out of determining your local SEO score. You can now get an in-depth look at your brand’s score in the Chatmeter dashboard. Want to give it a try? Sign up for a free demo and find out just how easy it can be to take control of your local SEO.