Unquestionably, Local SEO is essential if your business focuses on the customers in the regions its products or services are based in. After all, who makes hot chocolate pudding in London and sells it in Paris. Unless, of course, the chocolate shop has grown significantly and opened a new branch in France as well.
Besides, half of all Google searches seek local information. Therefore it’s necessary to take care of your local SEO so that your business pops up in front of your target audience when they search for products or services related to your business.
However, most of the business owners usually make the following 10 local SEO mistakes when they attempting to take the nuts and bolts of local SEO optimization into their hands, that will jeopardise your efforts and give your competitors the advantage.
Top 10 Local SEO Mistakes
So, without further ado, go through the following list like a checklist to determine you’re not doing these mistakes in your local SEO optimization.
Let’s get started with the most common local SEO mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Not Claiming Your Google My Business Profile
When you consider SEO, you immediately think of your business website ranking in SERP results. But, there is a twist with local SEO.
For example, search for “nearby restaurants”, you’ll see a big map in the upper right corner and with that, you’ll see information (name, address, phone number, reviews, etc.) for nearby restaurants listed in the main search results.
Here’s the interesting thing, this information is collected from each business’s Google My Business Profile, not from their business website. So, you need to create your business listing on Google My Business, if you haven’t done this already. Click here to create your Google My Business listing, it’s absolutely free to set up and shouldn’t take more than 15 to 20 minutes.
Once your GMB profile is set up, you need to verify your business profile so nobody else is able to edit your profile in the future. Also, ensure your business listing includes a proper and unique description of what your business does, categorized properly, your business contact information is correct and you upload relevant pictures of your business.
Having Duplicate Business Listings
Another common local SEO mistake I see businesses do is having duplicate Google My Business Profiles. We all know, Google really hates duplicate content in its search results. Because it gives bad experience to the users who searching to see the same information twice in their search results. Not only that, it’s a waste of Google’s resources to analyze all of those duplicate information and store them.
That’s why having duplicate listings is against Google’s terms of service. Every business should only have one Google My Business profile. You can use the Moz Local Search tool to find the duplicate listings by simply typing your business’s name and address. If you find any duplicate listings for your business, then contact Google to get them removed as soon as possible so they don’t impact your search rankings.
Not Filling Relevant Categories is a Big Local SEO Mistake
Usually, on Google My Business and other local citation sources, they often provide a list of relevant “categories” to describe your business. These categories are like sections of the Yellow Pages, the more categories you advertise in, the more likely your prospects are to find your business. So, you should always add as many categories as you can find that are relevant to your business.
Also, be careful when you choose your categories because it’s against Google’s terms to include irrelevant categories. You add up to 10 categories in your Google My Business profile, so, review the categories selected by the top-ranking local businesses and choose your categories accordingly.
Website Not Optimized for Mobile
Local SEO and mobile go hand in hand because nowadays more and more people are using smartphones to search for local businesses on the go. Personally, I do this often.
That’s why it’s really important to have a mobile-optimized website; otherwise, you will push your audience towards your competitors who have the mobile-optimized website.
Google has already moved to mobile-first indexing, which means that your mobile-optimized website will be the primary website Google analyzes for ranking purposes. And since July 1, 2019, Google has enabled mobile-first indexing by default for all new websites. So, if you haven’t optimized your website for mobile yet, you need to build a mobile-optimized website in order to compete in the local search results.
Missing Primary Contact Information On Website
Go to your website’s contact page and make sure all your contact information is correctly listed. Especially, ensure your business’s Name, Address, and Phone number are listed as text rather than the image so that Google can easily read your contact information and verify its accuracy.
Google doesn’t want to show inaccurate information in its search results. That would damage their credibility, and eventually, they would lose their loyal users. So, one of the key measures Google considers to verify your contact information is to compare the information listed on your business website versus the information listed on your Google My Business profile. If your website and profile aren’t containing the same exact contact information, you’ll need to edit your website or your Google My Business profile to make them well-matched.
Inaccurate NAP Information On Online
NAP is an abbreviation used for Name, Address, and Phone number. As I stated above, it’s crucial to have the same contact information listed on both your business website and your Google My Business profile. But, it’s not ending here; Google takes a huge step further and compares your contact information listed on your official website versus your contact information listed on other websites across the internet.
That means you should have the same NAP information on every single webpage that lists your contact information. Especially I’m talking about business directories since those are the websites most likely to display your contact information publicly online. Again you can use Moz Local search tool to find out whether your business has any inaccurate NAP information listed on the web.
Missing Important Citations
A citation is simply a mention of your business NAP information on another website. In the above point, I emphasized the importance of consistency of your NAP information across all your online citations. Well just because you have accurate NAP information doesn’t mean you’re doing it right.
There are possibilities for you to miss out the vital citations that are hurting your Google ranking. Here also you can use Moz Local search tool to check if you’re missing any important citations. If you find that you’re missing some citations, and then simply add all of those important citations of your business to the websites.
Okay, enough of Google My Business, NAP and citations. Let’s have a look into other Local SEO mistakes that are easy to fix.
Low Quality, Thin Content On Website
Your business website plays an important role in how high your business will rank in the search results. And when it comes to websites, search engines are starting to more heavily weigh the amount and quality of content on the websites. That means your business website should have high-quality content about your business, your products /services and other essential information.
For Local SEO, you should also ensure to add local keywords, phrases, and content as localized content helps you to send more signals to search engines about your geographic focus. High-quality content about your business, with local keywords, help your business to appear higher in local searches.
Google’s mission is to give searchers the most relevant results that are most likely to answer the queries. Generally, websites with more content offer more detailed information than websites with less content. That’s why it’s so important to go through all your key webpages and ensure they have a minimum of 500 words of relevant content.
Not Receiving Customer Reviews
Many businesses won’t make a rigorous effort to get their customers to give reviews about them online. They usually think asking for reviews will make them to receive negative reviews, or it’s not worth the effort when customers can do it themselves. But, there’s no silver bullet solution to make your customers give reviews. All you can do is ask your customers via email, over the call or in-person and make it easy for each customer to write a review.
In the above mentioned 3 approaches, I’ve found that asking via email along with a link and directions is the most effective approach because you’re leading your customers straight to it to leave their reviews. Getting positive reviews will be a slow process, but with time you will receive them and that’ll give you a real competitive advantage which is hard to replicate.
Not Active On Social Media is a terrible Local SEO Mistakes
Many local businesses do not use social media to its full potential. But, Social media activity is one of the many ranking signals Google uses to rank businesses. I know, there’s some debate about this, whether or not social media has a direct impact on rankings. However, you can’t deny that social media is a great way to get exposure and generate a buzz about your business.
Besides, if you’re already making good content, social media is the best way to promote your content to get it visible to your target audience. While social media isn’t a main factor of local SEO success, still it’s a mistake to totally avoid social media.
It’s an art and a science to getting your local SEO to work right. Luckily, avoiding these common local SEO mistakes can ensure your business will be publicized to your potential customers in your local region. It can also help you to convert them into real customers.
If you avoid making these Local SEO mistakes or if you fix them all, you will have a competitive advantage on your competitors, it will help you to get higher rankings than them, your business will appear in more searches than them, and you will convert more sales than them. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Do you want to attract new customers in your local region? Want help with Local SEO? Let me help you!