7 Mistakes That Are Killing Your Local SEO Ranking
If you want customers in your city or neighborhood to find your small business, you need to fix these common SEO problems ASAP.If you’re a small business serving your local community, you don’t need to fret too much about showing up in regular search results. You should focus, instead, on local search. After all, you don’t need just anyone to see your website—you want customers near you to see your website and make a purchase!
There’s lots you can do to optimize your online presence for local search. But what if you’re killing your chance of showing up in those local search results without even knowing it? Here are seven local SEO mistakes to avoid or fix ASAP.
1. Inconsistent Business ListingsWhen Google crawls the web to determine search results, it looks at all the instances where your company’s name, address and phone number appear. If all these citations don’t match exactly, Google sees your business as less relevant and trustworthy, which pushes you down the list of results. Getting your Google My Business listing in order will do wonders for your company’s local search ranking. You can see how your business listing appears everywhere on the internet with a free Local Search Report from Manta.
2. Keyword StuffingSome companies attempt to “stuff” as many keywords into their websites as possible without caring about the readability or usefulness of the content. This is a tactic that Google penalizes. Avoid it! Focus instead on using keywords to enhance the user experience and content that your customers will find useful.
3. Using the Wrong KeywordsKeywords are key to your local search ranking. First, you have to think about the terms your customers use to look for a business like yours. (Online tools like Google Trends can help with this.) Second, if you’re struggling to compete with other companies to rank for general terms like “plumber,” try targeting a niche market with long-tail keywords like “emergency 24-hour plumber.”
4. Link BombingBeware of using link networks, private blog networks and link automation, and don’t trust SEO agencies that offer to build hundreds of links for a cheap price. Building backlinks organically through genuine coverage of your business is a good way to boost your local SEO, but Google imposes harsh penalties on those who try to trick the system by paying for links.
5. Lack of ContentIf there’s no content on your website, like a business description, FAQ page and a blog, then there’s not much for visitors to interact with. On the other hand, helpful content encourages engagement, shares and traffic, all of which help improve your local search ranking. This is especially true if you tie your content to local events and news.
6. Lack of ReviewsOnline reviews send important signals to search engines. Lots of reviews from customers (and responses from you, the business owner) show that you’re engaged with customers. This activity makes it easier for other people to find your business when they perform a local search. If you don’t have any reviews, start asking your happy customers to go online and leave you one.
7. A Website That Isn’t Mobile-FriendlyGoogle also ranks your page based on the bounce rate, i.e. how many people leave your site immediately after clicking on it. With the massive increase in mobile searches, it’s vital that your website is easy to navigate on a smartphone. That way, mobile searchers will stick around instead of leaving because of bad navigation. Learn more about building a mobile-friendly website.
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