As a local business, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things that you can do to maximize your exposure in search engines. Many local businesses fall victim to fly-by-night SEO companies that use impractical methods to achieve short-term results in search engines. These unfortunate tactics often result in long-term devastation. SEO can be very fragile by nature. Once rankings are damaged, it can be quite difficult to reverse. Therefore, it’s important to local SEO to avoid the most common mistakes. By playing by the rules and avoiding mistakes, you can achieve gradual progress and eventually, outrank your competitors.
The most common local SEO mistakes to avoid:
Avoid name, address, and phone number inconsistencies
Google uses something called NAP verification. What this does, is it ensures the name, address, and phone number listed on your website is accurate. To do this, they must crawl, index, and verify the name, address, and phone number, that is listed on local citations for your business. A local citation is often called a local business listing and these are your listings on Yelp, Google Places, and other common listing websites. By avoiding inconsistencies in these key details about your business, Google has confidence that these details are accurate and they will place trust in your listing.
Duplicate business listings and citations
A duplicate business listing can hurt your rankings just as much as inconsistencies with your NAP details. It’s important to never submit to the same business listing website twice. Google and other search engines do not value duplicate content and they see it as a hindrance to their search engine listings. It’s bad for users if the same information is listed twice. For this reason, duplicate business listings are heavily discouraged and considered bad practice.
A small number of business listings
Don’t let duplicate business listings scare you away, this does not mean that you should submit only to a small number of websites. By building more business listings on credible websites, you can effectively build backlinks and increase your search engine rankings. This does not mean that quantity trumps quality. If the business listing website is not reputable, it should be skipped.
A missing Google+ local listing
Your listing with Google should be your number one priority. Not only can this increase your websites rankings for local search engine results, but it can help you appear in the local three pack. The local three pack are Google+ listings that Google displays for local searches. If you do not have one already, make sure you create a Google+ business listing and verify. This is important, as verification shows Google that your business has a physical presence at your listed address.
Not optimizing the key pages of your website
Keyword optimization is what SEO revolves around. Search engines have no way to understand what your website is about and what keywords it should be displayed for if you are not optimizing the key pages of your website. Use this free keyword research guide to find ideal keyword phrases with high search volume and low competition and optimize your website’s pages. This includes your homepage, your services pages, product pages, or any other relevant pages on your site. This can even include your blog posts if you are actively blogging, which you should be. Driving traffic from search engines organically is by leveraging your content assets and optimizing them for better results.
Not using your blog to drive relevant traffic
As a local business, there’s a tendency to avoid blogging since you are only interested in geo-targeted traffic. The problem is, you are missing out on all of the traffic opportunities that surround locally targeted content. Just because you are a local business doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to create content focused on your targeted audience.
Local SEO mistakes can severely jeopardize your search engine rankings and stop your website from appearing altogether. On top of following the suggested practices above, make sure you have plenty of reviews from your customers. Customer testimonials can be one of the most positive brand assets.