In this day and age, you simply can’t afford to not have a solid local SEO strategy in place if you want to succeed. Google has made it clear that it’s making a shift towards more local search visibility and recent trends are also putting more emphasis on the importance of local search results as well.
Mobile and voice searches are in large part local in nature, and if you don’t have a local presence on search engines, your business will become invisible to a large portion of your potential audience. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons why so many businesses end up failing with their local SEO.
Inconsistent or Inaccurate Contact Information
Did you know that something as simple as not having consistent contact information across the board could severely hurt your local search results? Google uses what is called your NAP, which is short for your name, address, and phone number, in order to rank businesses in its search index. So not only is it essential that your NAP is clearly displayed on your website and anywhere it might be published, but you also have to make sure that it is consistent. This means making sure that your address is correctly displayed on your website, your Google business profile, social media, and any directory where your business might be displayed.
They Either Don’t Use Local Directories or Don’t Know how to Use Them
Directories are sort of a double-edged sword when it comes to SEO. Sign up with the wrong ones, and you could see your site getting penalized. But if you go with highly targeted, locally based, and reputable directories, it will have a positive effect on your rankings. The goal here is knowing how to separate the good directories from the rest.
First, you have to make sure that you pick a directory that is closely related to your niche. Second, you should take a look at their admission requirements. Reputable directories will have a tendency to be much more selective with who they let in and might also charge a fee for a listing. Other directories might accept pretty much anybody with a pulse and a website, so be aware of that. These sites are usually frowned upon by Google and are likely to get you penalized. Thirdly, try to prioritize directories in your area; these are the ones who will give you more visibility on a local level.
They Don’t Have a Google My Business Profile
This is one of the worst things you can do as a business if you’re trying to get attention locally. As a matter of fact, My Business signals are ranked fourth in order of importance when it comes to local organic ranking signals, right after on-page signals, link signals, and external local signals, according to MOZ.
When it comes to populating listings, Google will pool information from your My Business page to choose what is displayed to visitors when they perform a search. So, it is essential that you make sure that you claim your page now if you haven’t done so already and make sure that all the information is accurate. Make sure that it has a unique and proper business description, that your business is in the right category, and that your NAP remains consistent with other online sources.
They Don’t have Enough Reviews
Businesses with the best and most reviews will usually be the ones who get the most visibility in local search results. This means that you should do everything in your power to get more reviews if you don’t have enough and make sure that you adjust your business practices and/or product if your reviews are less than stellar.
There are many ways that you can generate more reviews for your business. The first thing you should do is get in touch with your current customer base and encourage them to leave a review. You can do so by reaching people on your mailing list, through your blog, or through your social media. You could also add a simple signature link to your emails that will encourage your subscribers to review your services.
If you already have bad reviews, the most important thing you can do is reach out to those who left bad reviews and make sure that you let them know that you are doing everything in your power to rectify the situation. And make sure that you follow through as well before you start soliciting new clients for reviews. When contacting clients, make sure that you fully accept your part of the blame and do not use canned messages, as they might come across as disingenuous.
Overlooking Traditional SEO Signals
Unfortunately, all of these efforts will be in vain if you are not applying sound fundamental SEO principles in the first place. If the content on your page isn’t generating organic links, is full of errors, or is purposely stuffed with keywords you want to rank for, irrespective of context, then you need to correct this immediately.
You should also make sure that you have a diverse link profile as well. And don’t simply stick with active links – focus on brand mentions as well. Make sure that you revise your link profile and see if there are some low-quality links in there. You can then move to disavow these links through Google’s disavow link tool to clean up your profile. Things like domain authority will also have a direct effect on your rankings, so make sure that you work on building domain authority by concentrating on high-quality external and internal links.
So, if you think you might be committing one or all of these mistakes, it’s time that you start revising your tactics and make some vital corrections. Also, make sure that you work with a team with significant experience with local SEO to help you establish a winning strategy for your business.