How do you get the right people to notice your local business in the crowded field of Google Search? What are the top local SEO mistakes businesses make when they try to optimize their websites for local searches?
When consumers search for things locally, they expect to see nearby businesses listed at or near the top of search results. This is a comprehensive guide to identifying local SEO mistakes so you can easily avoid them.
Why Should You Bother with Local SEO?
When searching Google, people often type something into the search box, then scroll down the page until they the answer. Local SEO deals with relevant searches by ensuring your business appears when someone types a word into the search bar. It could be a city name or a street address.
However, if you’re doing it right, this means that potential customers who are physically near your store will also see an ad related to your business. If you have a physical store, this is one of the marketing strategies you can do online. In addition, business blogs improve your website’s brand awareness.
Here Are the Top Local SEO Mistakes You Should Know
If you are still relying on old methods to improve your local rankings, you may be missing out on more business opportunities. Here are the top local SEO mistakes you might have overlooked.
Google Doesn’t Know Your Physical Location
A common mistake you can make is not including your physical location on your GMB page. To help Google understand where your businesses are located and put you in the right local search results, you must have up-to-date contact details in all the correct places, as these can dramatically improve your online searches. So it’s vital to align your details across all the different platforms you run on. Search engines will verify and double-check your data to ensure that everything matches up.
You Don’t Have the Right Local SEO Structured Data
Many ranking factors influence the success of small business SEO, including name, address, phone number. So, of course, it would help if you made sure that these components match up correctly at all times. But there is one thing that is most important for your business: Your NAP which stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number.
The best way to present these details to search engine spiders is by using local business structure data added to your website. It’s important to use Schema markup details correctly. Add these in the correct formatting, using Schema.org details. If it seems too technical for you, use an easy-to-use local SEO plugin, which helps you set this up easily. It also helps to add your location and perhaps your state in the page titles for better recognition.
Set up your NAP, including your business name, physical address, email address, and phone number. Make sure to include them in HTML on your website. Search engines like Google and Bing will use these details when crawling your website, meaning that your NAP is important if you want your website to show up on mobile searches in your area.
Googlebot will ignore any page unless the NAP is included in the title tag. Only include the NAP in the title if you want Google to index your website. Some webmasters include the NAP in other parts of the website as well.
For example, a company might directly put the NAP in the HTML code before the closing body tag. This is called a NAP injection technique. It would help if you never did this because Google may detect this practice as deceptive. However, if you’re already using the NAP injection technique, you can add a sitemap to your site by creating XML files.
You Didn’t Setup Your Google My Business Account
Google My Business (GMB) is a free business profile that you set up to help promote businesses in the search results and Google Maps. This official Google tool helps you to rank in your local area. The tool also gives lots of options to manage and optimize your listings. You can add extra features such as photos and opening hours to make your business profile more complete.
You’ll set up a Google My Business profile and add structured data to your website. Always use the same name, address, and telephone number on your website and your Google My Business Listing. Be sure to include your relevant links in your GMB Listing too! This is the only way for Google to understand your relationship.
You Haven’t Optimized Your Google My Business Yet
Google My Business signals help businesses be found online by listing them in local searches. Google provides tools to make sure listings are accurate and up-to-date. They also provide ways for users to report errors or add pictures. This service is free for private companies and individuals.
Optimize your service or product for Google My Business by trying these tips:
- Use Google My Business Post on your Account
- Encourage customers to review your business
- Respond to the positive and negative review
People use Google to locate businesses online. Google rewards businesses that appear real with an ad for local search. Google wants people to trust the businesses listed. Verification helps ensure potential customers are satisfied. Local search is important because it enables users to find nearby establishments.
Don’t just do this for search engine optimization. Consumers want current information about businesses, so they’ll be visiting them! Having accurate information about your store helps you and your customers make them happy. Consumers shop online much more than they did before COVID-19.
You Haven’t Found Your Niche Yet
A niche is defined as a specific group of prospective customers who share common needs. Niche marketing helps establish a business’ identity and sets its target market. For example, if you are selling dog grooming services, you should focus on dog lovers in general. You may also want to concentrate on those who work long hours because they are less likely to be available during off-peak times.
Your niche is vital for local businesses. Know your niche, and you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from large national brand names. It would help if you competed locally with big brands despite their multi-million dollars in the advertising budget.
People use the same phrases to search for businesses like yours to turn those terms into long-tail keywords. Make sure the terms you choose are as specific as possible but still general enough to capture attention. Then review your site regularly to make sure these keywords stay relevant over time.
You Don’t Know Who You’re Targeting
Write for yourself as well as your audience. Research your audience’s demographics. Learn what you can about your reader, then write your book accordingly. Assume your audience doesn’t know what they want or need.
People are often very different from each other. Therefore, you must first understand the differences in your target group. Once you know the ideal customer is, then create your personas.
You Didn’t Optimize Citation Signals and Online Directories
Incorrect spelling and abbreviations may cause problems if you’re trying to optimize your citation signals and directories.
Google uses several methods to determine what information should appear in its search engine. The business owner needs to know how these methods work to make sure their business information is accurate.
You Haven’t Performed a Local SEO Audit
Local SEO includes checking how your local business appears in Google Search. Good local SEO must include having an accurate listing in the search engine. Connectively, avoid creating duplicate listings as these can affect your local SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a continuous and intuitive process. It is directly affecting your search engine rankings. Instead of stopping or just changing things around without knowing how each change affects your site, it helps to perform an extensive audit to see where your site stands and what needs to be done to get better rankings.
Such audit will include the following:
- Google My Business Audit
This audit answers the question “- How does Your Google My Business perform on the search engine results page?” In addition, this audit also measures how accurate your site is.
- Google Search Console Audit
This determines how crawlable your site is. This audit also determines whether your site has indexing errors or not.
- On-Page SEO Audit
This determines if your website has accomplished all the on-page SEO elements that encourage search ranking.
- Citation Sources Audit
This determines whether all your citation signals are correctly placed in the business directory.
- Competitor Analysis
This determines how competitive your site is as well as your social signals. It measures how your inbound links, awesome content, and design fare with your competitors.
- Website Audit
This audit determines how your website fares in general.
You Haven’t Added Location Pages
Add a map to each location page, including the current location’s address and business phone number. Also include the current location’s description, parking information, business hours, and other relevant details. Make sure you don’t repeat content across multiple location pages. This can confuse your customers.
You’re going to make a page for each brick-and-mortar location. Each location page will include our contact info, hours of operation, description, directions, parking info, transit info, and customer reviews.
It’s also important you avoid duplication of content across multiple business location pages (locally-descriptive About Us pages). For single-location businesses, you should create a local About Us page. Then, add a Google Map to your site on your respective location page.
You Haven’t Created Local SEO Content Yet
Google continues getting smarter because high-quality content is being demanded instead of searching for them. However, although people love reading articles about general topics, some content editors have found their niche and learned how to write for specific fields.
Research it before publishing a blog post when you write about a topic. Know what you’re talking about, and make sure you have the facts! Any organic search term related to your need can be added to the valuable content but make sure you’re not overstuffing your posts with keywords.
Top-of-the-funnel relevant content (which includes the homepage) should include detailed business information, as well as promotional offers for free trials, discounts, coupons, contests, giveaways, etc. Always include keywords in titles for your SEO.
Post topics about local businesses and events related to your field of expertise. Make sure there’s something educational that appeals to your target audience. Don’t forget to add keywords in titles in this part too.
There’s nothing quite like authoring content that speaks or relates directly to a local issue to grab your local customers’ attention.
Your SEO strategy could include:
- You can write about local events and news
- You can create videos for local charities
- Avoid content duplication.
- Your business title should include your main keyword.
You Don’t Have Inbound Links
Inbound links are superbly powerful opportunities to boost your local SEO — every inbound link tells Google you’re a legitimate company, and relevant links improve the domain authority.
Here are some ways to get inbound links:
- Guest Blog Posting
- Sponsorships or Partnerships
Personal networks are helpful because people who belong to them can make introductions for you. They help you get into new businesses and give you ideas about how people might use your services or products elsewhere. A good networking system can help you establish yourself as an expert in a particular area and also help you learn more about the industry you’ve chosen to work in.
There are many ways to promote your business online. But most businesses should focus on three main areas when using social media as an awesome content marketing tool:
- You need to create engaging content regularly.
- You must follow other people who are influential in your industry.
- You must interact with these followers by replying to business blogs and asking them questions.
Guest blogging is very useful for attracting relevant links and bringing attention to a website. It helps increase inbound links and is great for SEO. If you do business blogging, make sure you talk positively about yourself and others.
You Didn’t Ask for Online Reviews from Customers
Customers feel confident about leaving reviews when they know you’ll read them, whether those are bad reviews or positive ratings. You should ask for customer feedback in person, but only if you’ve verified that they’re happy with the service. After the transaction is complete, send a follow-up email asking for a review. Don’t bother asking for a positive review unless you’ve checked out the customer’s experience.
You Haven’t Integrated Your Social Media Yet
Social media, your social profiles, and search engines can work together to make web pages rank high for any keyword searches. Using social media as means of exposure for your business can also drive more traffic to your site, increasing the chances of gaining customers.
You should synchronize social media marketing with the location keywords your customers use. Your audience searches your company using