5 Local SEO Blunders to Avoid
While local SEO is a great tool for small or locally-focused businesses to create a strong presence online and rise to the top of search results in their geographic location, it is not a magic wand that would work simply by you agreeing to invest in these efforts.
You have to do your bit, and do it rather consistently for best results. You also cannot afford to get complacent at any stage as the Internet is a fast-moving space that requires businesses to maintain a regular activity online to keep featuring higher up in search rankings.
Regardless of whether you have an in-house team looking after your local SEO strategy or if you have hired outside help for local search marketing, there are a few pitfalls you would do well to bear in mind. Some of the most common blunders that companies make with their local SEO efforts are:
Not updating business and contact information in local search listings
You may be listed on all the important local directories like Yelp and Google+ but if you do not bother to update your information this negligence will act against you.
All your web pages should contain up-to-date contact information of your business(es) without any discrepancies.
The consequences of not doing so may hit your credibility as a business and may lead to you dropping a few places in search engine results (the exact opposite of what you want with your local SEO efforts). Neglecting your website
This is a big no-no.
Your website is like your shop. In fact, it is your shop in the online medium. People stop by to have a look at what it contains. If something intrigues them they would like more information on it. Half-baked listings or websites are simply annoying. You have got a good thing going with your real-life business but you just can’t be bothered with updating it online. If you don’t care, why should anybody else?As bad as giving out inadequate information is giving out unreliable or outdated information. People make a decision whether to stop by your real-life business based on how your website hooks them and the promises it makes.
If they only find out on visiting you in person that you do not stock half the items listed on your website, they will be right to feel indignant. You wasted their time twice – first when they read inaccurate information on your website, and second when they visited your shop based on that wrong information.
You can hardly complain then if people leave bad reviews about your business on local search listings.
Being too keyword-centric
You need to devise good keywords but you should not go overboard with their usage or you start reeking of desperation. Ranking well online is increasingly about building credibility as search engines are getting more intelligent by the day. Their ability to rank content and/or provide pertinent results is only going to get better. Google’s publicly-stated aim has always been providing quality search results to its users so that is where your emphasis should be – quality.
Keyword stuffing is passé and immediately separates the men from the boys in the world of online marketing. If you want to rank high for all the right keywords the best way to accomplish that is by providing qualitative information via your web presence.
Unless your aim is to get your points docked for littering your web pages with keywords -- quantity over quality, an activity that immediately seems suspect to Google -- you would do well to be more subtle with them.
Not monitoring your online reviews
The reviews that your business garners online also impact your local search ranking, so you would want to monitor them to ensure there has been no funny business behind your back. By funny business we simply mean reviews posted by someone on the behalf of your rivals or competitors, aimed at harming your credibility.
Certainly there are those with genuine grievances but in most cases you should be able to tell them from the trolls.
It’s also an excellent idea to respond to the reviews and feedback your website or business receives. Acknowledge the positive comments, answer any questions left by the visitors soon as you can, and gracefully respond to the negative reviews.
Neglecting your social media presence
The social media is a great tool that is still not made use of much in local SEO efforts. Apparently, your social media presence also affects your search engine rankings now. If you are able to get your Facebook page going in a big way it will be a direct indicator of the rise in popularity of your business, which in turn will generate more traffic for your website and bring a corresponding rise in its search rankings.