Most consumers now search with local SEO thanks to an increase of users opting for searches via mobile device. Every month, those in the United States produce about 7 billion local searches, so Google has made efforts to improve local results in keyword results pages without local information included.
Because of this, businesses of all size should take some time to devote to a local SEO campaign. Because Google frequently changes its own rules on website optimization, it might seem like a difficult task to achieve a successful campaign. Regardless of the campaign, there are a few common mistakes that can be avoided.
1. No Google+ Local listing
Thinking of SEO probably makes you think of a website appearing on a search results page. With local SEO, however, there’s more to consider. Searching for a “local barber” can produce a map with a number of nearby barbers, their information, reviews and much more. This information doesn’t come from the website–it comes from their Google+ Local page. If you don’t already have one of your own, you can set one up for 100 percent no cost.
2. Pick the wrong keywords
Local and non-local campaigns alike, keywords are important. These are the terms your audience use to search for their desired information or services, which hopefully leads them to your website. It’s important to find a good balance of intent, traffic and competition for your keywords.
3. Slow-loading, unoptimized pages
Nobody likes a slow Internet. If your page takes too long to load, a good chunk of your audience is leaving. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can provide detailed information about where your website is choking, giving you the chance to optimize your site for mobile and desktop users alike.
4. Duplicate landing page content
There are a few reasons you don’t want to duplicate content:
- Search engines will “choose” the “best” version of the page
- You’re competing with yourself for the same keyword
- Google may remove the site from the index if it thinks you’re manipulating results
Ranking well requires location-specific pages with similar content but with substantial changes to address the specific city or state in question.
5. Lack of customer reviews
Some customers don’t want to spend the time posting a review online, but you can ask them in person or via email. Emailing a customer to ask them to leave a review makes it more likely they’ll actually do it, which improves your local SEO.
6. Contact information isn’t up-to-date
The contact page of your site should include the name, address and phone number of your business in plain text. This lets Google identify the information and compare it to your Google+ Local page. The two should include identical information to improve results.
7. No relevant links
Having lots of links doesn’t mean much if they’re irrelevant to customer interests or link to suspicious websites. Add great content, and other websites will be thrilled to link to your site. Start by linking to theirs in a high-quality piece that solve a problem or answers a question for the industry.
8. No presence on social media
In all cases, Google relies on social media activity to help rank businesses. By promoting a website or a blog through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms for social media, you’ll gain access to a great way to share your content and reach millions of users, generating buzz and better exposure.
Fresh into 2016, it’s critical to have a website for your company. Not only that, but that website needs to maintain good local SEO practices. Avoid these eight common mistakes, and you’ll be ahead of much of the competition.