Local SEO or local search engine optimization is the shining star of SEO. Local searches almost always occur at the last stage in the sales funnel, so dominating these searches offers businesses a very high conversion rate compared to general SEO. Local SEO is easier to dominate than standard internet search queries and it puts you prominently in front of your most likely customers. Here are five local SEO mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
Not Being on the Map
You will fail in local SEO if you don’t put yourself on the map, literally. Start with a Google My Business profile for your business after you put your business’ name, address, and phone number on your homepage and “about us” page. Google Maps tend to give results based on your Google My Business profile, not your site’s location information per the phone book or home page information so you want to make sure this is accurate. Many people use Google Maps to find out which businesses are located close to them, so you definitely want to show up in this search feature.
Focus So Broad It Is Lost
Local SEO rewards companies that focus their local references like a laser beam. While Google doesn’t yet care about specific coordinates for the sake of local SEO the way Bing does, if your business’ location information is too vague or confused, you’ll lose out on local searches. For example, stating “we serve cities A, B, C, and D” will cause you to rank lower than a business that promotes itself as serving downtown city A. The search engine isn’t sure what service area you serve, so you rank below businesses that clearly serve the immediate area where the searcher is located.
Your business’ local SEO can also be messed up by inconsistent information across business directories. While humans can recognize “123 Main 2nd floor” and “123 Main Second Floor” and “123 Main Street Sec Floor” as the same business, search engines think this refers to three separate locations. Your local search results will fall below businesses that use the exact same format for the name, address, and phone number both in business directories and their home page.
When your business has no reviews, customers tend to choose another business in your area that has at least a mediocre review. You should ask your customers to give you positive reviews to lure in the ninety percent of users who check reviews before using a business or service. However, do make sure that you aren’t paying for reviews. Believe it or not, it is quite easy for the search engines (and readers) to tell whether your review profile is fake. If Google picks up on fake reviews, you can lose your search engine listing, so do make sure you only ask – not bribe.
In the case of a business directory, your first step is to claim the entry before verifying or correcting the name, address, and phone number. Then add your business’ website, post your logo, and give extra information on how to reach your business or the best place to park. Your home page suffers in search engine results page rankings when the content is thin. Consult digital marketing company Single Grain to improve the quality of content on your homepage and business directories to increase your local SEO rankings.
First and foremost, your business needs to be on Google Maps. Choose the right business category. Your business’ name, address, phone number, and website need to be posted with the right format to be read by search engines and human users; they must also be consistent and correct. Create local content that is focused on your immediate area. Seek positive reviews to improve your local search results and create a good first impression with potential customers.