Top 5 Local SEO Problems

Written by: Jason Bayless | February 25, 2016

Top 5 Local SEO Problems

When you’re trying to attract more local visitors to a site, and you want the search engines to deliver those locals on a silver platter, few methods are more effective than local SEO – the optimization of a site to attract web visitors from specific geographical regions. With that said, you’re bound to encounter some challenges in the field, so let’s jump right into 5 of the most common local SEO problems and what you can do to solve them:

1. Lack of Local Social Media Presence

Nowadays search engines like Google hold social signals with high priority when determining the usefulness and/or popularity of a site, and whether to display it to users searching within a specific region. If pages on your site are frequently shared or liked on social networks by people or groups who reside in your local community, then there’s a greater chance your site listings will be shown to locals searching for relevant terms. Thus, the first step in a well-rounded local SEO campaign should be establishing a diverse local presence and detailed profiles on the top social media sites for businesses like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

2. Multiple Listings or False Listings in Google Maps

When’s the last time you checked to see what pops up when you search for your products, services, or your company name within your region? Can you easily find your company’s contact information? Are there multiple listings or listings that show outdated or inaccurate information? If so, you could be losing a percentage of your leads and web traffic to a simple but costly oversight. Even worse, sometimes a third-party user will add false contact info or falsely pinpoint your place of business in Google Maps or other similar directories, so it pays to stay on top of this.

3. Inconsistent or Incorrect Name, Address, and Phone Details

Sometimes a business will forget to update or include its name, address and phone number (NAP) details in online business directories. The result is a discrepancy in contact information across multiple sites, which negatively affects local SEO in two ways:

A) A portion of your prospects will be calling the wrong number or visiting the wrong place of business, thus resulting in fewer new customers, which therefore equates to hindered local awareness, less local web traffic, and as a result, weaker local SEO authority.

B) People on social networks, forums, and blogs might list or share your outdated or inconsistent contact details, which then results in a loss of potential benefits that you could be gaining from accurate citations. When someone mentions your site name, business name, phone number, or other information related to your site/brand, it is considered a citation by Google, which lends credence to the site’s authority.

To fix the problem of inconsistent or incorrect info, run a thorough search for every mention of your company online, make sure all details are up-to-date and accurate, and use tools to continually monitor your online brand reputation.

4. Failing to Publish Location-Specific Content

How can you expect to attract local traffic if you don’t have many pages on your site that discuss your products, services, or company in a local context? A good local content strategy should include creating pages that specifically target topics you think locals will be searching for in your industry (i.e. – automotive mechanics in Miami). Think to yourself: “What topics and terms are local customers searching for when looking for a provider in my industry, and how can I supply that information on my site?”

5. Minimal or Nonexistent Brand Awareness on Local Sites

Finally, in addition to having a strong presence on social networks and regularly publishing locally oriented content on your own site, you should also be guest authoring and contributing to other blogs, forums, and directories that are popular in your local community. This can include local classified ad sites, news sites, charities, and the blogs of other local businesses and individuals.

Making the Web a Smaller Place

In conclusion, it is both a fortunate and unfortunate fact that the web is a massive place. On one hand, the traffic potential is tremendous for a business that operates internationally. On the other hand, piercing through the vastness of cyberspace to attract prospects for a small business that operates in one city or a small town can seem as challenging as finding a needle in a haystack, especially without the right guidance. Start by addressing the issues mentioned above and you’ll be off to a good start.