Are you struggling with local SEO?
If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with your current local SEO strategy, this blog post should serve as a quick-fix checklist that would walk you through important stuff and help you fix it.
The mistakes that we have listed in this article are relatively easy to fix and can have a positive impact on your website and local listing.
1. Inaccurate or unavailable NAP information
NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone number, and it is an extremely important aspect of local SEO.
Having accurate and up-to-date NAP information is important because of two reasons:
- It improves SEO for local businesses.
- NAP also has a direct impact on sales and conversions.
It is estimated that 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps, and 76% percent of those local searches lead to a phone call that may convert into sales.
If your information is inaccurate or unavailable, you end up leaving a lot of money on the table.
In terms of SEO, NAP also plays a vital role. Local SEO experts believe that Google cross checks your NAP information with other websites. One aim of Google is to provide the best possible user experience. If your website has inaccurate on unavailable NAP information on the web, that’s a hindrance for Google users, which may eventually lead to poor search engine rankings.
2. No Google My Business
Claiming your Google My Business page is one of the most important things you can do to improve your local SEO. If you haven’t already claimed your Google My Business listing, you cannot realistically achieve the full potential of your business in local SERPs.
According to Moz, Google My Business accounts for 14.7% of local ranking signals. Moreover, whenever people search for local businesses in Google (which is, by far, the largest search engine in terms of market share), the information mostly comes from your Google My Business listing.
If you are interested in learning more about claiming your Google My Business listing, read our article: How to set up Google My Business.
3. Unverified Google My Business listing
Claiming the Google My Business listing isn’t the only thing you will need to do. You will also have to verify it.
Unfortunately, out of several local business owners who claim the Google My Business listing, many fail to verify it. Verification is important because it prevents other people to edit your page and allows you to have full control of the listing and the information you want to share with your potential and existing customers.
4. Ignoring on-page SEO signals
Local SEO is still very similar to traditional SEO in many aspects. It means that local SEO also includes on-page search engine optimization and off-page search engine optimization techniques.
In fact, according to Moz, on-page search engine optimization signals account for approximately 21% of the total local ranking signals.
The consistent presence of accurate NAP information (Name, Address, and Phone), use of title tags, relevant and important keywords, content structure, content quality, meta tags, meta descriptions, keyword inclusion in relevant tags, website loading speed, domain authority, internal links, etc. are all important on-page SEO factors that you need to take care of.
When local businessmen talk about local SEO, they often forget about these fundamental on-page SEO ranking factors — which may cost them in the long-term and prevent them from achieving high positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
5. No local reviews
Reviews are incredibly crucial for any business — especially for smaller local businesses that have a high level of competition and often less marketing budgets.
Reviews also account for approximately 13% of local ranking signals. However, you should remember that the quantity of reviews is not the only thing that matters.
You need to take into account review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc. Try to get as many reviews as you can from different sources and groups of people. The frequency of reviews also matters. Moreover, latest reviews will often be more important for your users — depending on the type of business you are in.
Ignoring reviews is a common mistake. You have to set aside time regularly to respond to reviews and attract new reviews. Reach out to people
6. Not paying attention to user engagement and behavior
User engagement is growing tremendously as a vital search engine ranking factor. However, many local SEO professionals ignore user engagement and behavior — which is a mistake you must avoid.
User engagement metrics tell search engines like Google how your website and its content resonate with the people that the search engine is sending your way. If the engagement is below expectations or below average, Google may decide to demote your website in local search engine results.
On the other hand, if the engagement rate is good and above average, Google would improve search engine rankings for your website so more and more people can visit your site and find content that most of them find engaging and relevant.
According to estimates, behavioral signals amount to approximately 10% of local ranking signals. These behavioral and user engagement signals include click-through rate to your website from search results pages, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.
7. Ignoring link signals
Backlinks are also essential for a website’s long-term sustainable success and higher search engine rankings. It does not matter if you have a blog or a local business website, backlinks are important.
One important point to remember is that the quality of backlinks is significantly more important than the quantity of backlinks your website has. Also, relevant backlinks are absolutely critical. Therefore, try to get as many high-quality backlinks as possible from relevant websites (websites within your industry or niche). Too many low-quality and irrelevant backlinks may lead to a search engine penalty.
Apart from the absolute value and quantity of backlinks, it is also a good idea to keep an eye on domain authority. All factors being equal, a website with a higher domain authority ranks better than a website with lower domain authority.
It takes some time to improve domain authority, but with a consistent focus on internal and external links, it is achievable. Unfortunately, not many local SEO professionals and local businessmen focus on it.
Lastly, don’t forget to fix any broken links that you may have. Not only broken links are bad for SEO, but they also lead to a poor user experience, which can have a negative snowball effect on the overall local SEO efforts.
Local SEO can seem overwhelming, but it isn’t. The focus should be on providing the best user experience and value to your users and be as transparent and accurate as possible.
If you wanted to a quick fix, nothing gets easier than avoiding these seven mistakes that we have highlighted.