Local SEO: Key Challenges & Tips

Written by: Jason Bayless | November 12, 2016
Local SEO can help businesses connect with buyers in their area, even at the point of sale with mobile devices. However, it’s not as easy as just putting a few local keywords in your online copy to nail down more local exposure. There will be far more challenges and new ways of doing things as more and more companies compete with local SEO. Here are a few challenges that you might consider if you want to stay ahead of the crowd.

Challenge 1: Poor-Performing Websites

By now, every business should know that without a responsive web design, they won’t get ranked highly by Google, even if they have an expert set of keyword terms and SEO strategy. A well-designed website that loads quickly and is responsive is important to your overall local SEO plans.

Tip: Design your website for smartphones and mobile devices with local SEO terms and a primary landing page for each and every branch location.

Challenge 2: You can claim your business on a Google My Business listing, but there are so many others spamming this site that it can be hard to gain visibility.

Tip: Even though there are few repercussions for spamming the Google My Business site right now, don’t be surprised if Google unveils some that penalize spammers overnight. Continue to use the site in the appropriate manner, including niche keywords, in specific profiles, without the need for spamming.

Challenge 3: Inconsistent or Poor Citations

You NAP should include Name, Address, and Phone Number in all of your citations across the web. Unfortunately, if you’ve changed locations or have multiple phone numbers, you can have inconsistent citations. There is presently no way to automatically review what can amount to as 1000s of citations on the web to check for consistency, but doing so can improve your local SEO results.

Tip: Prioritize locations and branches and do manual reviews of citations to get them fixed.

Challenge 4: City-Based Limits

According to E2M Solutions, if you are not quite within the city limits on a map, you may not be allowed to claim local search terms for that city – even if your address is based in that city. This can put some businesses in a tough spot.

Tip: Beacons, devices that use Blue Tooth technology to push notifications to users who have opted in to an app, are the next wave of direct marketing in local areas. These can bypass the city-based limits.

Challenge 5: Getting Good Reviews Locally

People do check out online reviews either on Yelp! Or Amazon.com before they consider purchasing a product or service. This is even more true if you are a local business attracting foot traffic to your door. If you have no reviews or bad reviews, you’ll end up scaring away customers, rather than attracting them. The trick is to get people to post good reviews, so that others will see a positive rating from prior customers.

Tip: Providing the best service possible goes a long way to getting those positive reviews. Address bad reviews in ways that turn it into a positive experience for the consumer, don’t leave them unanswered. Try to remember that even after providing value, you still need to ask for a review. Just remember not to violate any policies for review sites. For instance, on Amazon, you can request a person review your product or service, but it must not be a paid request or a request for only positive reviews.

Mobile Technology Increases the Need for Local SEO

Advances in mobile technology only point towards the need to adopt more local SEO strategies as the years roll on. This also points to more challenges. However, each and every challenge can be viewed as an opportunity to put better business practices in place and zoom past the competition who also may be struggling, leaving those stragglers behind.