Michelle Anne Leah Custodio
Local SEO has become the way most consumers search, with a growing number of local searches being done on mobile devices. Approximately 7 billion unique local searches are performed each month in the United States alone, and Google has been showing local results for many non-localized keywords in the past few years.
This is why it makes perfect sense for businesses, big or small, to invest time and effort in developing solid, efficient local SEO campaigns. However, with Google constantly changing the rules of website optimization, many businesses struggle with getting their websites ranked in the search engine results.
Here is a list of 10 most common local SEO mistakes and how you can properly set up your website and local business listings so your products or services reach your target market online – brought to you by the ClickMinded SEO Training Course.
1) Absence of Google+ Local Listing
When people search for “nearby products or services”, the result will include a big map at the top right corner of page 1, and the main section will also show the NAP (name, address, phone) of the products/services being searched. These businesses are included in this section not based on their website’s SEO, but based on their Google+ Local Listing page. If your business does not have a Google+ Local page yet, make sure you create one. Make sure to verify your business listing, as this important step will confirm your ownership of the page so no one else can make edits to it.
2) Choosing the Wrong Keywords
Keywords are extremely essential in local SEO campaigns. They are the terms commonly used by your target audience when they search for what they need, leading them to your website. When selecting specific keywords for your business, it is imperative that you find the perfect balance of traffic, intent, and level of competition.
3) Lack of Competitive Analysis
When looking for keywords, and as your site continues to improve its ranking, you should always incorporate competitor analysis. By studying what the top 5 to 10 competitors in your niche are doing, you will learn what actually works, the common keywords being targeted, and what types of backlinks are necessary to rank for each term.
4) Incomplete or Inaccurate Contact Information on Your Website
Your website’s contact page should contain your business’ name, address, and phone number listed as text and not as an image. This will allow Google to easily read your contact information and verify its accuracy. Google compares the information listed on your website against the information listed on your Google+ Local page, so make sure that these two are displaying exactly the same contact information.
5) No Customer Reviews
It is not easy to get your customers to post online reviews, as this requires time and effort on their end. What you can do is ask them in person, via email, or on the phone, and make this process as easy as possible for them. Of these three, sending your customers an email is deemed to be the most effective way to get them to actually leave a review online. Make sure that your email contains a link to your Google+ Local profile so your customer does not have to look for it. Getting positive reviews may take time, but it will eventually add up and will give your business a competitive advantage.
6) No Location Data in Images
Images add significant relevancy to your webpages. Make sure that your website’s pages have at least one image and that each image has a relevant file name and ALT text tag that contain the target keyword and target location.
7) Page Title Tags Do Not Have Your Business Name and City
While most local market webmasters are still utilizing ineffective title tags like “services” or “home”, these do not adequately inform what your site is all about. Your page titles should include a descriptive keyword phase, your business name, and the city where you operate.
8) Thin Website Content with Low Quality
Your website influences how well your Google+ Local page will rank in search results. If you have a thin website (less than 500 words per page) with low quality content, then you will find it difficult to rank in Google. It is important that you review all your key webpages and make sure that they have at least 500 words of relevant content.
9) No High Quality, Relevant Links
Having high quality inbound links to your webpages is one of the best ways to convince Google that your website is relevant and deserving of being included in local search results. Get other websites to link to your website by publishing and promoting great content. A good starting point for your link building efforts is to include authority sources, such as local news and other media outlets, as well as your local Chamber of Commerce, niche-related local trade, and professional associations.
10) Lack of Social Media Presence
Social media activity is one of the many signals that Google uses to rank businesses. Promoting your blogs or webpages through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms is a great opportunity to create more exposure and buzz about your business.
Local SEO involves making small yet significant changes to various areas of your website. These efforts, when combined with other key optimizations, will have a strong impact on your target audience as well as your general performance in the organic search results.