Small Business SEO Checklist: Step by Step Instructions to Improve Online Rankings 

How would you evaluate your clients’ small business SEO performance, and what should you do next to enhance it? Small business SEO is much more complicated than it is for larger corporations since they’re unlikely to have a dedicated SEO staff or enough time to stay up with the latest search technologies. They’re competing against not only other small businesses, but publishers, major brands, and a slew of different search results sources. So, what’s a small business to do?

Here is a step-by-step SEO checklist with actionable items that can help strengthen your client’s small business presence online and help them outperform their competitors.

1. Optimize Google Business Profile

Your small business clients should have a GBP plan as a primary focus. Heck! Listings on Google and top online directories should be a primary focus, no matter the size of your client’s business! It’s free, simple to maintain, and dramatically impacts your client’s online presence. Google Business Profiles should contain all the information required to call, obtain driving directions, place an order online, or convert directly from the listing. The first step toward optimizing a client’s Google business listing is to claim and verify it. Be sure to fill out as many fields as possible and include photos and videos to enhance their listing.

In addition to Google Business Profile, you need to control the accuracy of their local business data. Data aggregators constantly update information about local businesses, including names, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP). Make sure their business’ NAP information is consistent and accurate.

To populate a more advanced Google Business Profile, take the time to create questions and answers. For clients with small or medium size businesses, staying on top of these questions is important. Creating your own questions and providing information that might help searchers can increase proactive conversions.

Pro Tip: Locl’s personalized Tasks List prioritizes the next steps you should take to make sure your client’s Google Business Profile information is accurate and compelling. Gain additional insights and see how much time you’re saving as you tackle to-dos!

2. Find out what competitors are doing (and do it better)

Your client’s online competitors might be different than the competitors within their local area. For SEO purposes, agencies are the most concerned with the websites in the top five to 10 positions of Google search results for their client’s targeted keywords. Those are the competitors to analyze. When doing a competitive analysis, use tools to compare website and content structure, keywords that competing sites are ranking for, page accessibility, etc.

Since page speed is a significant determining factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, another good rule of thumb would be to run competitors’ landing pages through page speed tools. Look for areas of weakness and optimize your client’s site accordingly to ensure they convert more quickly.

3. Focus on gaining and responding to reviews

The most effective way you can improve your conversions is by getting customer reviews and feedback. Encourage customers to add reviews to your Google Business Profile listing, but don’t force or reward reviews! Too many reviews at any single time can cause suspicion and can lead to account suspension. Make sure to respond to all reviews – positive or negative. All reviews are an opportunity to connect with the customer and show others you care. Marketing platforms like Locl are making it easy to organize, manage, and respond to your client’s reviews from a single dashboard.

Competing for online presence can be challenging for small businesses, especially when they’re up against prominent corporations. Following this SEO checklist can increase your client’s chances of reaching a broader audience and boost their ROI.


Locl equips 1000s of multi-location businesses in marketing agencies to win the trust of consumers with online location profiles that are accurate, consistent, and compelling. Talk to Sales!