The Tragic Local SEO Mistakes That are Hurting Your Local Rankings
Common Local SEO Mistakes…
Local SEO is a tough nut to crack, with little room for mistakes. Depending on your industry and location, the competition for a top position in the local snack pack and localised organic rankings can be fierce. But despite the difficulties and challenges, it can ultimately be hugely rewarding for a business.
When properly executed, a local SEO plan can deliver a ton of lucrative leads on a continuous basis to a business. So it’s little wonder in a recent BrightLocal study, local search was voted by local businesses as the top digital marketing channel for producing the highest quality leads.
As a part of our free local web audit service, we take a thorough look at the local seo efforts of the businesses we audit to pinpoint why they’re losing local visibility, traffic, and revenue.
Here are a few of the most common local seo mistakes we come across every day. If your business is making any of them, it’s time to make changes.
No Google My Business profile
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool that can help give a business great visibility in the search results. And best of all, you don’t even need to have a website to use it.
For location-relevant businesses setting it up is a must if you want to do well in the local snack pack. It’s also a contributing ranking factor in the localised organic listings (the ones that appear directly below the localised organic listings in the search results).
When optimised correctly, your Google My Business profile can account for up to 15% of total local seo ranking factors. Despite this, there are a huge number of local businesses out there (42% according to BrightLocal in late 2015) that have yet to verify their Google My Business profile. Depending on how competitive your industry is, setting yours up correctly could be all it takes to get an edge on your local competition (for very little effort).
Ignoring localised organic listings
Some local businesses focus their efforts entirely on getting a place in the local snack pack. In doing so, they are ignoring the massive opportunities that also come from taking a prime spot in the localised organic rankings. This is a major local SEO mistake.
The localised organic results appear directly below the local snack pack in the search results. Although the two types of listings share a number of the same contributory ranking factors (such as quality of citations and correct categorisation of Google My Business profile), they both run on different algorithms. And their shared contributory factors are weighted differently in each algorithm.
While there’s no denying having a top position in the local snack pack can do wonders for a local business, numerous click studies have shown that it’s actually the localised organic listings that outshine the local snack pack in terms of getting more clicks. That’s despite appearing right underneath the snack pack in the search results!
On top of that, getting a spot in the local snack pack has become increasingly competitive, particularly since Google’s Local Snack Pack shake up in August 2015, which saw the original 7-pack listing killed off in favour of a 3-pack listing. If you’re not in the top three, you’re not visible.
Ignoring the localised organic listings (or not giving it the love and attention it truly deserves because you believe the local snack pack is where it’s all at), means you’re most certainly losing out on revenue.
Another common local SEO mistake we see is citation inconsistency (mentions of your business details across the web). In fact, citation inconsistency is the number one issue affecting the ranking of local businesses .
If your name, address, and phone number are uniform across the digital ecosystem (e.g in local directories, niche directories, review sites, local blogs, and social media) Google has more trust in your business. It knows there’s far less chance of it being some fly-by-night business that won’t be seen for dust in six months time. The more trust, the higher the rankings.
Inaccurate citations across the web on the other hand, mean Google’s confidence in the business drops. And so too will your rankings. Not only that, but accurate business information matters to the searcher, too. Over 70% of searchers lose trust in a business that they come across with incorrect info.
Given its obvious importance, it might come as a surprise to learn 65% of small businesses out there have incorrect citations on the web. So correcting yours and building up a stock of quality ones, could give you the upper hand on a decent-sized chunk of your competition.
Ignoring potential of local links
Local links matter. The fact they account for up to 20% of the contributing local ranking factors mean it’s foolish to ignore them. But many local business owners do. Because local link building is about as enjoyable as eating mashed potato without salt and butter, if we’re honest. (That’s not to say building citations is a barrel of lols either.)
Still, like citations, local link building is essential if you want to boost your website’s authority and climb or maintain your position in the rankings. Plus, it doesn’t just offer SEO benefits. Local links can also help increase your visibility and provide your business with direct referral traffic from the linking local websites you’ve partnered with.
If local link building isn’t a part of your local online marketing strategy, you’re committing a major local SEO mistake. Here are ten great tips to kickstart local link building for your business today.
No localised content
It’s a hackneyed and well-worn cliché at this stage. In fact, it’s even becoming a cliché to say it’s a cliché lately. But quite frankly, there’s no getting away from it, content is and will continue to be king in the web marketing arena.
Creating localised blog content can greatly facilitate your local seo efforts. Here’s why: Over 60% of searches have local intent. Plus, 70% of customers prefer to get information about businesses through content like blogs than they do through advertising. And just in case you still need further convincing: Businesses that prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy a positive ROI.
By creating localised blog content you are giving local searchers (and visiting searchers i.e. tourists) more opportunities to find and interact with you. And because you’re giving it to them in the form they like: informative and helpful content rather than pushy and self-serving ads, they respond better to it.
Content marketing has become increasingly competitive in recent years. But in the local web market there is still plenty of space. With the majority of local business owners yet to realise the enormous potential it offers, it’s the perfect time for you to get a major head start.
Bundling your various service offerings into a single page
If you’re a service business, such as a plumber, an electrician, a hairdresser, or a dentist for instance, this final local SEO mistake is especially for you.
We’ve lost count of the amount of small local service websites we’ve come across where they’ve got the website ticked off the list, but instead of having each of the services they offer on their own individual pages, they lump them all together into a single service page. That’s a bit like six or seven people talking to you at the same time and you can’t figure out what each person is saying because of the myriad of voices competing to be heard. Google has similar difficulties figuring it all out. Hence individual services perform best on individual pages. It makes things clearer for Google. And the searcher.
So when Google lands on each service web page to read the content of the page, it knows exactly what the page is about. And as a result you rank higher for that individual service. That way when people search for the individual services they need (e.g. “boiler repair”) as opposed to the type of business that provides the service (eg “plumber”), chances are you’ll end up ranking higher than your competition who’s still firing all his services onto a single page.
If you’re bundling all your various service offerings into a single service page make the change. Start writing your unique seo-d service pages straight away. You’ll eventually see new leads coming at you from all angles thanks to your newly discovered untapped sources.
And that brings us to a close on the most common local seo mistakes local businesses are making today. Bear in mind, these are just a few of the most common ones that we come across everyday in our work. But trust us there are many more. We’ll cover the topic again in greater detail in a later post.
In the meantime, if you’d like a thorough local web audit to find out where you’re leaking leads, get in touch right here. Right now, we’re offering our in-depth local web audits for free to local businesses that want to grow with the power of local online marketing so get in touch today and you won’t have to pay a red cent.