Unarguably, local search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial if your business aims to entertain customers in the areas its products or services are based in. After all, who makes ice cream in Paris and sells it in New York. Unless, of course, the ice cream parlor has grown significantly and opened a branch in the US as well.
Besides, 46% of all the searches conducted on Google seek local information. Hence, it makes complete sense that you take care of your local SEO so that your business pops up in front of your target audience when they search for related services or products.
However, there are some common local SEO mistakes that business owners usually make when attempting to take the nuts and bolts of local browser optimization into their hands. That does not mean that you cannot correct them though.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the common local SEO mistakes and how you can avoid them:
1. No Google+ Local Listing
When you search for a service, for instance, ‘best plumber near me’ you will notice that the right side of the search engine will display a map, which will give the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of the service that you are searching.
Such google map surfaces with every local search made. It does not come up due to the SEO efforts made on the business’s website. Instead, Google displays the map due to the business’s Google+ Local listing page.
How to avoid making such a mistake?
Alongside focusing on SEO best practices for your business website, set up a Google+ Local Listing page for your business as well. Ensure that you verify your business’s listing as it confirms your ownership of the business page. Consequently, no one can make any edits in the local list on your behalf except yourself.
2. Using the wrong keywords
Keywords are the bridging phrases that connect your potential clients with your business. You cannot tamper with them, and you need to use the correct ones only. This is because keywords are words or phrases that people type into their search bar, so you can’t decide them.
In this context, a common mistake is to use the wrong or falsely assumed keywords. However, this will get your business nowhere because it won’t be able to show up in your target audience’s search feed if you aren’t targeting the keywords being used by your perspective.
How to avoid using the wrong keywords?
Local SEO service providers can help you search the right keywords that will have you ranking in the browser. Besides, you need to focus on the intent, traffic, and the level of competition of a keyword while selecting the keywords to use.
3. Not Using local keywords
Another common related business mistake is not using local keywords. While you may be using the right keywords and attracting a substantial audience, note that you won’t be able to draw a ‘targeted’ audience without local keywords.
Picking on the example given in the opening, if your ice cream parlor is based in Dallas, Texas, you don’t want to be attracting ice cream lovers from Paris or the rest of the world. So, you need to be specific while choosing keywords.
How to use local keywords
One way to use these keywords is to select ‘keyword’ + ‘location’ and use this throughout your location-based business website. For instance, instead of using ‘best ice cream parlor,’ use ‘best ice cream parlor in Dallas.’
4. Use Your Business Name with Keywords
It may seem that using keywords in your business name is a surefire way of ranking on the search engine giant. However, this only worked in the past. In the initial stages of Google Places introduction, businesses thought that adding keywords to their business’s name and description will help them rank high.
The action did reap fruits albeit bitter ones. This is because Google does not have a liking for keyword stuffing, which is why Google’s terms of service are also against it. Once the browser figures out that the business name is stuffed with keywords, you are likely to lose your ranking fast.
How to refrain from making such a local SEO mistake?
The best approach is to aim to improve your search engine ranking as well as plan to maintain the position. Therefore, avoid keyword stuffing to get to the top. It will hurt your business if your ranking falls.
Besides, if you’ve followed the keyword overuse approach in fulling other online citations, then you will be left to deal with extensive editing work. Hence, set your Google My Business profile with your genuine business name minus any additional keywords.
5. Posting Low-Quality Content
Two chief factors that send signals of authenticity to Google are links and the content on your site. Quality content works to attract, engage, and retain your client by providing them with valuable information that solves their problem.
Besides, content also gives you ample opportunity to sew keywords into your work, therefore, upping your Google ranking. However, poor quality content works in exactly the opposite fashion.
Search Engine Journal explains, “At their best, they (content and SEO) form a bond that can catapult any website to the top of search engine rankings. But that’s only when they’re at their best. Because, when they’re at their worst, they can cause Google penalties that are near impossible to recover from.”
How to keep this local SEO issue at bay?
Strive to develop superb quality content for your website. Think about what information will be valuable to your audience and produce content accordingly. You can also hire professional writers to handle the content for your business if you think that writing content adds too much to your plate.
6. Having Duplicate Listings
It is possible that you thought that having duplicate business listings will get you more traffic. Or, it is possible that you accidentally created two listings for your business. The problem is that you can’t let such a mistake slip by because it can negatively affect your ranking.
On top of that, duplicate business listings leave your audience confused as well. They end up figuring out which listing belongs to the “real” business.
What do to about this mistake?
Make sure that you don’t have any duplicate business listings for your work. At the same time, ensure that the name, address, and phone number details that you use are the same across every business listing.
7. Lack of Proper Contact Information
Vendasta indicates that 65% of the site visitors are interested in reading contact information. This is, particularly, true in the case of local businesses because multiple daily searches are made to learn about a business’s address and contact.
This probably explains why 72% of consumers searching for local businesses visit the store within five miles of their radius. In addition to this, Google also takes into account your contact information for setting your positioning.
What to do to correct this issue?
Add proper contact information on your website. Also, ensure that the contact details that you add on your business listings are the same as the ones on your website. Google tends to investigate your authenticity by comparing the contact info that you add at various places. Therefore, this information snippet needs to be accurate and consistent across all online pages.
8. Not Having a Mobile Responsive Website
Statista reports that about 62.9% of the global population owned a mobile phone in 2016. The number of people who use a smartphone is anticipated to cross the five billion milestones in the present year.
This sets the need for a mobile-friendly website so that users are not repelled from your business page if it does not open properly in their portable devices. With a mobile-friendly site though, an increased number of users will visit and, most importantly, stay on your page.
Undeniably, a responsive site makes it easy for the visitor to read and navigate through your site. Resultantly, user time on your site increases, which improves your SEO ranking. What’s more, Google prioritized mobile-first indexing in 2018. This means it pays a lot of attention to content from mobile website pages.
What to do to correct this issue?
Develop a mobile-friendly website to please both your visitors and the search engines. Be careful to not make two sites for your company, one for desktop users and others for mobile users. This can lower your ranking as it shows duplicate content.
9. Having Poor Google Reviews
Reviews can either make or break your business progress. And, a typical SEO mistake that local businesses make is paying little to no attention to google reviews. In reality, these reviews are “the backlinks of local SEO” as the Founder and CEO of Monarch Wave Marketing, Alexander D. Riddle, puts it.
Reviews signal trust and authority on your part to the browser. This helps improve your ranking. Yotpo, a review management platform studied the effect of adding customer reviews to a sample business website. Over the 9 months, the page’s organic views on Google ballooned from 5.5k to 8k a month.
Not to forget, the first thing that potential customers do first is looking up reviews of your work. About 91% of the people read online reviews, and 84% trust them as recommendations. This means that positive reviews can help speed your business growth significantly.
How to improve your Google reviews?
Do your best to provide value to your customers and ask them for leaving reviews. Numerous customers love your company but don’t leave reviews. So asking them can help. While you are at it, don’t neglect to manage your online reputation.
10. Ignoring Social Media
Social networks give you a chance to build your audience that, in turn, grows your business as well as search engine ranking. Google agrees that it uses the business links that are shared on Facebook and Twitter to up your positioning in the browser.
Furthermore, when you share your business page in your social media profile, it sends signals of credibility and trustworthiness on Google. This translates into an improved ranking.
How to improve your social media presence?
Choose one social network at a time and build an engaging audience over there. Sharing poor-quality content that is boring is not going to grow your audience magically. However, sharing high-quality content that is personalized to align with your audience’s trust can help you grow.
11. Ignoring SEO Ranking Factors
Businesses often forget to take into account multiple other factors that can help improve their ranking. Local SEO isn’t entirely different than normal SEO, which is why factors such as internal linking, backlinks, and domain authority play a detrimental role in ranking.
To begin with, domain authority (DA) showcases your business page’s authority. Hence, pages with a high DA rank higher than sites with a low DA. External and internal links on your site can help up your domain authority.
Similarly, links that you get from other sites are called backlinks. On the flip side, linking to your internal content gives you internal links. Therefore, you need a link building strategy in place to boost your local SEO ranking. One way to get backlinks is by guest posting to relevant sites in your field.
How can you improve these factors?
As mentioned, plan a link building strategy. Moreover, as you post quality content on your site, link the posts to each other for improved internal ranking.
12. Ignoring Website Load Speed
About 73% of mobile internet users have met a site that takes a lot of time to load. This shows how widely the page load is ignored by site owners. A business site that is slow to load sends visitors away. 40% of the people expect a website to load within 2 seconds.
Only a second’s delay here can reduce your conversions by 7%. When more and more people bounce back from your site due to a slow page load speed, Google sees it as a red flag. Consequently, your ranking can go down with the increased bounce rate and reduced dwell time.
How to prevent this problem?
Don’t clutter your web design to prevent lots of loading time. Moreover, optimizing the images on your site so that they don’t take long in opening up.
Briefly, local SEO is the magic measure that can drive in a targeted audience to your business and increase your sales. However, it should be done correctly to earn credibility in the eyes of the search engine giant and recognition among potential clients.
Therefore, be consistent with the details that you provide online, don’t forget to make your Google+ local listing page, share high-quality content on your website, and use the correct keywords among other things. It’s best to refrain from overusing keywords in your business name too.
Image Credit: https://medium.com/@13p5/how-to-begin-putting-seo-to-work-for-you-72c3a2756502
Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and Digital Marketing. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.