How to Avoid the Most Common Local SEO Mistakes

June 16, 2020 How to Avoid the Most Common Local SEO Mistakes By Gaurav Madan

Local businesses face stiff competition in their markets. Business owners need to think of ways to make their business stand out from the crowd. They must come up with a plan to help their target audience find them easily and swiftly.

Work with your local SEO agency Los Angeles to optimize your website for local SEO. Your local SEO specialist will help you figure out ways to market your local business online and promote your products and services to your target audience when they are looking for them.

Why is Local SEO Important for Local Businesses?

More Online Visibility

Whether you are an SEO pundit or a beginner, we are sure you must have heard the term online business citations. Put simply, an online business citation is any online mention of the business’s name, physical address, and phone number. This set of data is known as the business’s NAP (name, address, and phone number).

You can build citations on Google, Facebook, and within online directories such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. Citations give your business more online visibility and help people interested in your products/services find you at the right time (when they are actively searching for a product/service).

Citations are an integral part of any local SEO company Phoenix campaign. According to Moz, online citations are the fourth most important local ranking factor.

Local SEO Can Boost Online Reputation of Businesses

A good online reputation is critical to business success. To build a positive reputation, you need to get positive reviews for your business. Online reviews help build trust and impact buying decisions.

The number of customers who reference online reviews is rising steadily. Local businesses must come up with strategies to encourage customers to provide reviews. You can use positive reviews and rankings to showcase your brand’s commitment to quality and customer service. Positive reviews also send signs to Google that your site is trustworthy and used by local consumers.

Almost everything that you do to optimize your business website for local search will boost your reputation. Citation building, for instance, will help avoid disconnect. Similarly, obtaining quality backlinks (an integral part of local SEO) is one of the most effective ways to cement your reputation as a trusted player in your industry.

More Website Traffic

Local SEO drives more traffic to your website. It helps your business stand out in local searches and drives more website traffic through leads. Local SEO increases traffic for organic search terms.

An effective local SEO strategy focuses on ensuring your business is visible on popular navigation apps such as Google Maps and Apple Maps. Here are some local SEO strategies and tactics to increase website traffic:

  • Create Local Content: Create impactful content that addresses customer pain points. Give your local audience useful resources and information. Cover local events and news.
  • Encourage Your Customers to Provide Reviews: Offer customers incentives to write reviews. Move swiftly to resolve complaints, answer queries, and respond to negative feedback.
  • Ensure NAP Consistency: Make sure your company’s name, address, and contact details are listed the same way throughout the web. Business listings with varying and conflicting details can confuse both search engines and your target audience.
  • Come Up with Local Link Building Ideas: Local link building involves getting links from your local businesses. Leverage business associations and relationships to get more local links. Add your business info to local directories.
  • Choose the Right Keywords: Choose keywords with high transactional intent as they have a very high conversion rate.

Google My Business Signals is one of the Most Important Ranking Factors for the Local Pack

How close your address is to the search user has a major impact on local pack rankings. This is something you cannot control, as you cannot change your location relevant to the searcher; however, there are other factors you can influence.

One of the most important ranking factors in local SEO is your Google My Business profile. Google My Business is a free tool designed to help businesses improve their online presence across Google.

So why is Google My Business important for your business? Companies with verified Google My Business profiles are twice as likely to be considered reputable and trustworthy by consumers. While Google keeps its list of ranking factors a secret, the search engine giant has admitted that using Google My Business improves local search ranking.

When creating your Google My Business profile, provide accurate and up-to-date information, including the name of your business, address, contact details, and opening hours. Add images and work with a local SEO specialist in houston to create a plan to get reviews.

Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common local SEO mistakes businesses make, and how to avoid them:

Not Using Google My Business

Though Google My Business is a free tool, many business owners do not use it as they wrongly believe that Google will automatically pull important information from their websites.

You must avoid this pitfall at all costs. If you do not have a Google My Business profile, your business won’t appear in local search results such as Google Maps searches and 3-Pack.

Setting up a verified and optimized Google My Business profile is easy. After inputting your business information, if you get the message that a listing already exists, claim it and verify your ownership. If you fail to do this, someone else may claim the listing or suggest updates to it.

Inconsistent NAP Information

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Search engines may be unable to distinguish between inaccurate and accurate information if you do not have the same information listed on your website and throughout the web.

Google compares the information listed on your website with the information listed on other websites throughout the Internet. If it finds deviations and cannot trust the information on your website, it won’t show your business in search results.

Make sure the information listed on every webpage matches the information listed on your website. Whenever your contact details or opening hours or office location change, remember to update your business information across the web.

Before building local citations, use a local search tool to check for NAP inconsistencies. Maintaining NAP consistency is essential to assure Google that your business is legitimate. NAP consistency will improve your local SEO, improving your chances of ranking high for local searches.

Posting Low-Quality, Thin Content

Content quality is one of the most important ranking factors. Thin websites (typically less than 500 words per page) with the low-quality content struggle to rank. Low-quality content makes it difficult for your website to rank, and can also negatively impact your reputation.

To get Google to trust your website, create impactful content that addresses common issues faced by your target audience. Incorporate relevant and local keywords. To gain more attention for your business, cover relevant topics such as local events or news.

Google loves high-quality content. Use content to create brand authority. Impactful content that answers your target audience’s questions will attract and retain traffic to your website.

Failing to Remove Duplicate Listings

Duplicate listings create unnecessary confusion, which is why you must get rid of them on time. Google hates duplicate listings as analyzing and storing them is a waste of time and resources. Duplicate listings can be used to spam results.

Creating duplicate listings is against Google’s terms of services. Google allows businesses to have only one Google My Business profile page for every business location.

If you have multiple listings for a location, Google may penalize you. To prevent this from happening, look for and have duplicate listings removed. You can use a local SEO tool to check whether you have more than one page. Simply input your business name and address, and the tool will let you know whether you have duplicate listings.

No or Poor Customer Reviews

Customer reviews help build trust. If you are unable to get reviews from your customers, do not feel disappointed as you are not alone. Writing reviews requires effort on the customers’ end, which is why many businesses are unable to persuade their customers to leave reviews on their Google My Business profiles.

Many businesses are too afraid to ask for reviews as they are worried that people may leave negative reviews. Not having positive customer reviews on your profile is a costly local SEO mistake you do not want to commit.

Studies show that consumers are more likely to trust a business with online reviews. Here are some strategies to get positive customer reviews:

Provide Incentives

Your customers’ time is valuable. To encourage them to leave reviews, provide incentives such as gift cards and discount codes.

Ask at the Right Moments

If you ask customers to provide reviews at the wrong moments, they may leave negative comments. Ask for reviews after positive moments such as:

      • After a customer tags your business or product on social media
      • After they demonstrate or experience success with a particular product or service
      • If they refer a friend or family member (a potential customer) to you
      • If they are spending time on your website browsing your product or service catalog
      • After they repurchase or reorder

Start by Asking Open-ended Questions

Instead of directly asking a customer for a review, ask them an open-ended question first; such as did you like the last product you purchased? Or how would you rate your last interaction with customer support? This way you can collect helpful feedback and avoid the mistake of asking a customer for a review before learning they had a bad experience.

Respond to Reviews

To show your customers you care, respond to reviews, even the negative ones. Be courteous when responding to negative feedback. Customers are more likely to trust a business that looks for solutions rather than playing the blame game.

Share Positive Customer Reviews

Every positive review is an achievement. Wear positive reviews like a badge of honor. Share them on your business’s social media accounts. Format positive reviews as Instagram quotes or reshare them in FB posts. When customers see other people like them sharing positive reviews for your local business, they are likely to follow suit.

Failing to Choose Relevant Business Categories

This is one of the most common mistakes businesses make when setting up their Google My Business profile pages. Choose relevant categories when describing your business. Add as many relevant categories as possible.

If, for instance, you own a used car dealership that sells used cars of a particular brand and has a service and parts department, look up the category to find specific categories. You do not want to miss any relevant categories, as this will reduce your chances of appearing in local searches.

Do not include irrelevant categories, as it is against Google’s terms of service. If you are unable to decide which categories are relevant for your business, check the categories top-ranking local businesses have selected in their profiles.

Inaccurate or Un-optimized Contact Information on Website

A study found that around 65 percent of website visitors are interested in finding out the contact information of businesses. Inaccurate contact info on your website hurts your brand’s reputation, and it can also mean missed business opportunities.

Your business name, address, and phone number should be listed as text. This will make it easier for Google to read and verify your information. Remember, if your website and Google My Business page are displaying different contact details, Google may not show your business in local search results.

Edit, if required, to ensure your Google My Business page and the website displays the same contact info.

Failing to Optimize Website for Mobile

Mobile internet use is increasing with every passing year. Many search engines including Google rate mobile-friendliness as a major ranking factor. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you run the risk of losing your customers to your competitors.

Here are some tips to optimize your website for mobile search:

  • Use a responsive theme
  • Enable Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMPs
  • Compress images
  • Get rid of Flash

Your search for top-notch local SEO services ends at Autus Digital. We are a leading local SEO agency in dallas. Our expertise in creating customized local SEO strategies for our clients gives us a competitive edge.


Gaurav Madan

About Author

Gaurav is working on various verticals like IT & Software Solutions | Digital Marketing | E-Commerce | BPO | Outsourcing | Offshoring | Global Deliveries | Exports | Education. Gaurav believes in CHANGE, which is constant throughout the LIFE so be with the CHANGE Gaurav is having, In-depth experience in IT Solutions, Offshoring, Internet Branding, Sales & Marketing, Managing New Projects & Processes, Solution Designing and Transitioning of New International and Domestic business engagements. Proficient at managing & leading teams to run successful operations & experienced in developing procedures, service standards, client satisfaction using standard frameworks for business excellence.

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