With around 5 billion searches per day, Google search is the place to get your business found by people searching for products or services like yours. Local SEO is the leading driver of organic traffic for local businesses. However, even the savviest of SEO experts make mistakes along the way while trying to turn their websites into local traffic-generating machines. So, if you are aware of the most common mistakes within local SEO, then you are more likely to avoid making them when optimizing your website.
1. Broad, Unspecific Keywords.
This is by far one of the most common mistakes within local SEO. Keywords need to be specific to your industry and locality in order to drive results. The best way to avoid this is to identify geo-specific and service-specific keywords that are likely to attract your target audience.
2. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is the practice of shoehorning your keywords into various areas of your website or listings meaning you end up “over-optimizing”. This will result in a poor experience for visitors and will appear “spammy” to search engines. You should instead aim to use target keywords as naturally as possible across your website.
3. Lack Of Positive Customer Reviews
Within local SEO, having an abundance of positive customer reviews can help your business rank better in local searches. So please make this a necessity rather than a “would be nice”. Not only do reviews help build trust with potential customers, but they indicate to Google that you run a reputable business, which in turn will help you rise to the top of Google Maps and the organic search results.
4. INconsistencies In Your Napw
NAPW stands for “Name, Address, Phone number, and Website,” and one of the most common local SEO mistakes is having inconsistencies in your NAPW across multiple listings. This could happen if you change your phone number, address or URL but really is something you need to keep up to date. It is worth doing a cross-check within your various listings such as website, social media pages etc, to be sure you are using the correct information on all.
5. Lack of Directory Profiles
Having your business listed in multiple directories can help drive even more traffic to your website, as you are giving users multiple opportunities to find your business in search. Submitting your business information to directories like Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, and Yellow Pages can help your business rank in local search.
6. No Google My Business Listing
Be sure to submit your information to Google My Business or “claim” an existing listing. You can then include your NAPW, business hours, categories, customer reviews, photos, and more. This is important because Google My Business is the primary place to be if you want your business to rank in Google Maps. Without this, you could really hinder your appearance in local search and make it harder for potential customers to find you.
7. Not Addressing Negative Reviews
You need to ensure you are not ignoring any negative reviews. They will happen at some point in any business, there is no point pretending otherwise! By responding, you can give context to the situation and help reduce some of the damage. It is also important to report any spam or inaccurate reviews so that you can reduce any potential unfair damage.
8. Lack of Backlinks
Building backlinks is an often overlooked practice for local businesses, however, it is really important. You need to ensure you have a solid link building strategy in order to improve the authority of your site. To do this you can publish guest posts on other local websites or try creating geo-specific content that naturally attracts backlinks.
9. Not Optimizing Website for Mobile
It is vital that you ensure your website is mobile-friendly. More users are searching for businesses via their mobile devices than ever before so neglecting to optimize for mobile search could significantly limit your traffic potential. Reach out to a professional to make sure this is not missed.
10. Website Content Being Poor
Your website needs to include valuable, accurate, relevant, and keyword-focused content in order to rank in search and generate more traffic. This includes the content on your main webpages and blog articles. Simply including your target keywords across your website just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
11. Duplicate Listings
Having duplicate listings can confuse Google – and users – about where your business is and which one is the correct listing. Therefore cleaning up is an important task in your local SEO strategy. You should aim to remove any duplicate listings, update your NAPW, and make sure you only have a single, accurate listing for your business on any given platform.
12. Poor Image Optimization
Poor image optimization will result in a poor user experience and cause you to miss out on more traffic from Image search and rich search results. The most common issues include missing alt text, large file size, or poor URL structure. It’s best to include relevant, descriptive alt text for all images and compress your images to increase website load speed.