Top 5 Local SEO Problems & How to Fix Them

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 03, 2015

Local SEO tactics can be extremely complex if you are not familiar with best practices and the problems that can affect how likely you are to be found. If you are not a webmaster or experienced with search engine optimization, you may have to learn from your own mistakes so that you can resolve the issues. For business owners who would prefer to learn from the mistakes that others make, it can be helpful to reference a list of common SEO problems complete with ways to fix these problems. Here are the most common local SEO issues that you can avoid or resolve:

Your Site Has Been Flagged for Duplicate Content

Duplicate content can really damage your local website. When it comes to the search engines, duplicate content is content that is found on your page that is identical or appreciably similar to the text that is found on another URL, even if you have multiple sites and the other site is owned by you. If Google crawlers, also called spiders, discover that you have content that has already been cataloged, it can affect your rankings and your indexing within the engine.

If you are looking for a remedy for duplicate content reported on your own pages, you can use a file called robots.txt. This file will help you communicate to the crawlers to help let them know which public pages should not be indexed. You can also use what is called a canonical tag, which tells Google which of your multiple URLs to point to.

Your Site is Not Mobile-ready

A large percentage of local traffic is directed to your website by people who are using a mobile device. If your website is not optimized for mobile search engines and displays, you could be missing out on a lot of visitors who would convert into sales. If your site does not have a mobile feature, it can affect your bounce rate because your visitors will leave. To fix this problem, you will need to invest in responsive website design. This will automatically convert the display of the page from desktop to mobile to prevent high drop rates and poor mobile experiences.

The Images on Your Page Are Not Factored into your Rankings

A website will need visual images if you want to look like a legitimate professional business. These images can impact your local rankings in a positive way if you catalog them and tag them properly. To resolve the problem and take advantage of the visual impact of images, you can use HTML and Web fonts to create live text that will be seen as textual elements of your page.

You Are Not Using Local Search Features

When you have a location-specific website, you need to be sure that there is a separate page for each location that you are promoting. This will help you take advantage of the Structured Data Markup and local search features. By doing this, your site will be found on all of the local search sites like Foursquare, Yelp, Yellow Pages and Bing. This will help with the clickthrough rates when someone is searching for a local business in your industry.

Improper Practices For Link Building

Link building is one of the best ways to improve rankings and drive traffic to your local site. This improves your local SEO when it is done properly. By putting links to your site embedded in relevant content, you can watch your traffic grow overnight. While link building is important, doing it the wrong way can damage your site. You need to link out to authority sites that are diverse and varied. Cross-linking between your own pages will also help Google better rank your local results with the appropriate keywords.

Common issues can be your worst enemy when you are trying to use digital tactics to speak to a local audience. Be sure to avoid these problems and fix them if you are already making mistakes. Implement digital efforts without overlooking the need for physical marketing and you will see a dramatic improvement in your results.