It goes without saying that local SEO is an extremely important tool in the business tool box. Every month in the United States, an estimated 7 billion unique local searches are executed, many of which are done on mobile devices.
In recent years, Google has been providing local search results for many non-localized keywords. This makes having a strong local SEO campaign more important than ever. Businesses, both large and small, can benefit from investing the time and effort in to developing effective local SEO.
The rules for website optimization with Google are constantly evolving and changing. It can be hard to keep up, and getting your business website to rank in search engine results can be a constant struggle.
Unfortunately, there are common mistakes business often make that prevent them from getting the most from local SEO. Correcting them or avoiding them altogether will be big push for your business to reach your target audience.
No Google+ Local Listing
This should definitely be on the top of your local SEO checklist. If your business doesn’t already have a Google+ Local page yet, it’s time to create one.
Included in the search results for “nearby products or services” is a large map in the top right hand corner of the first page. The main body of the page will display the NAP (name, address, phone number) of the businesses offering the products or services searched.
The businesses listed on the first page are there based on their Google+ Local page, not on their website’s SEO.
Once your Local page is created and complete, be sure to verify your listing. This confirms your ownership of the page and will prevent anyone else from editing it.
Incomplete or Incorrect Contact Page Information
Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words but not when it comes to your website’s contact information. Your NAP should be listed as text, not as an image. This lets Google read your contact information easily while verifying its accuracy.
Google compares the information on your contact page to the information listed on your Google+ Local page. It is imperative that the information listed on both pages is exactly the same.
Keywords are the words or phrases typically used when searching for a product or service. These greatly impact local SEO.
The correct keywords will lead your target audience to your website. It is important to achieve a balance of traffic and intent as well as analyzing the competition.
Research your top competitors and see what is working for them. What keywords they are using to get results? What back links are needed to rank for each keyword? Utilizing this information could be the difference between ranking for highly competitive keywords and not ranking at all.
Lack of High Quality, Relevant Links
To improve your business’s ranking in local search results, Google needs to believe your website is relevant. Having high quality inbound links to your webpages is a great way to convince Google that your website deserves to be included in local search results.
A good way to start building links is to publish and promote interesting and meaningful content from sources of high authority. Providing content that is of value will encourage other websites to link to yours. Your local Chamber of Commerce, news outlets and related professional organizations are great sources.
Low Quality Website Content
Quantity and quality matter when it comes to your website’s content. Each of your key webpages should have at least 500 words of high quality content that is relevant to your business.
Your website’s content has a direct influence on the ranking of your Google+ Local page in search results. If your website is thin with content that is lacking value, it will be difficult to rank on Google.
Images without Location Data
Images significantly impact the relevancy of your webpages. Each of your website’s pages should have at least one image. Make sure each image has a relevant file name and ALT text tag. These should contain the target keyword and target location.
Ineffective Page Title Tags
Many business webpages have nondescript page title tags such as “Home” or “Services.” These types of title tags aren’t doing anything for you.
Use a keyword phrase, the name of your business and the city where your business operates. For example, instead of “Home”, how about “Joe’s Pizza in Jersey City”. You should aim to use your page title tags to promote your business.
Lack of Customer Reviews
Because it requires time and effort, getting online customer reviews in today’s fast paced environment can be difficult. You can ask for them in person, on the phone or via email. Asking in person is not always effective and phone calls soliciting reviews can sometimes feel intrusive and put customers off.
A simple email thanking them for their business and inviting them to leave a review on your Google+ Local page is usually the best approach. Include the link to your page to make it a simple as possible. It may take time to build up positive reviews but they will be invaluable to your business, giving it a competitive edge.
The Impact of Social Media on Local SEO
You’re not doing your local SEO any favors by having a weak or non-existent social media presence. Don’t under estimate its impact – social media is a great way to create more exposure and generate excitement about your business.
Social media activity is one of the many signals that Google uses to rank businesses. Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms is a perfect opportunity to promote your webpages and blogs.
Making small changes to various areas of your website that will provide a significant boost in your local SEO. Combining these changes with other key optimizations will strengthen the impact you have on your target audience and improve your performance in organic search results.
Don’t dismiss the importance of local SEO just because you’re overwhelmed. Creative Click Media can help. We offer Local SEO Services to help people find your business and rank in Google search results. Contact us today to see how we can help and take advantage of our free site audit.