I am sure we can all agree that the small business market gets more competitive each and every day. It can be challenging at times to keep a business running when there are so many similar ones out there.
Fortunately for us, social media can many times help to increase awareness and sales of our businesses. But, what do you do when social media is not enough? You have consistently been trying to put your name out there, but don’t see results.
So, we ask ourselves, what do I do now? How can I keep up? That is where local SEO comes into play.
What is Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Local SEO is a process that optimizes your website to appear higher in the both the organic search results, but also in Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and Bing Maps, with a sole focus on the local geo-specific market you are located in combined with your relevant, business goal oriented keywords.
Why Invest in Local SEO?
When a potential customer searches for a company like yours, you will want to obtain a higher local search ranking in Google, Yahoo and Bing as these results tend to be closer to the top of the search result pages. Local SEO continues to become more popular every day as people are interested in knowing what is near them not hours away.
By implementing local SEO as part of your digital marketing plan you have the assurance that your website and your business will have a more profound and consistent presence online. Understanding what local SEO is and how it benefits your business goals, helps your brand’s authority and allows your current and potential customers to find you faster.
At this point you may be thinking, so what are the negative aspects of a Local SEO…it can’t be all rainbows and sunshine?
And yes, you are right. Unfortunately, it can’t be all perfect. There are many common local SEO mistakes that can harm your local ranking. Many of these mistakes are tiny details that were overlooked from the very beginning or just major errors in general. Either way, it MUST be fixed so it doesn’t harm your website.
So, What Are Some of These Local SEO Mistakes?
According to Search Engine Watch, these are some of the most common mistakes about local SEO that must be avoided:
- Ignoring the Data Aggregators – Many companies forget that Google not only looks at their website for the company’s information. They also go to other major data sources that allow Google to build their understanding of the local web. So, making sure that all your social profiles and data sources are up to date is imperative.
- Not having an Individual Page for Each Business Location – Matt Cutts stated, “If you want your store pages to be found, it’s best to have a unique, easily crawlable url for each store.” This is one of the most influential components in Google’s approach to ranking businesses locally.
- Dismiss the Opportunity of People Talking About Your Business – Customers will always talk about your business whether you like it or not. This usually happens through social media or a review. Businesses usually ignore these comments, but it shouldn’t be like that. This should be your chance to engage in a simple conversation with the client by just saying “thank you”, “please come again”, or “I’m sorry to hear that…” Just don’t ignore the customer.
- Not Using Localized Content – The use of relevant keywords is important to the local ranking of your website. Many businesses know this, but they don’t push themselves to think “outside the box” with the keywords they use. It is recommended to include zip codes, neighborhood names, and nearby places when selecting your keywords.
These are only four of the many common local SEO mistakes. Don’t let your website get lost in the middle of all these other websites that can gain rank above you because they may have avoided these mistakes.
Go back and re-evaluate your website and the way you are dealing with customer feedback, and see if you have fallen into any of these local SEO mistakes.
Having a local SEO strategy or implementing a campaign can make a remarkable difference in the success or failure of your website.
Make sure that if you are doing it yourself, you have the right resources and know exactly what you are doing. Do your homework on best practices and what to stay away from.
If you hire a company, like our Cary SEO firm, to do it for you, then make sure that they have experience and that their previous local SEO campaigns don’t just talk the talk, but really walk the walk, too.
Let us know what you think about the importance of local SEO for small businesses and how it can benefit your website in the comments below.