Businesses trying to attract a local audience know the importance of local SEO, the type of SEO that focuses specifically on clients in your geographic area. However, in your business’s efforts to raise your SEO rankings overall, it’s easy to overlook a few simple steps that could attract a local customer base. It’s true that SEO as a whole and local SEO are intertwined. However, making mistakes in your local SEO strategy could prevent nearby customers from finding you and affect your business more severely.
What Not to Do in Local SEO
Local SEO strategies typically don’t take a lot of additional effort or time. Consequently, these mistakes are easily corrected. But don’t put them off! The longer you wait to correct your mistakes, the longer you go without the extra business they’ll bring in for you. Are you making these mistakes in your local SEO strategy?
- No Google My Business page
- Ignoring reviews
- Missing or outdated contact info
- Low-quality content or links
- No mobile-friendly website
1) No Google My Business Page
If you haven’t taken advantage of Google My Business, you’re missing out on a fantastic chance for online visibility! This free-to-use feature allows you to register your business with Google to help direct potential customers to the right place. Once you’ve claimed your GMB listing, you can add your own photos, reply to reviews, post news updates, and more. It’s like an additional social media platform for your business!
Google tends to automatically generate GMB listings for local businesses, but automatically generated listings tend to lack important information (such as updated hours). And of course, since an automatically generated profile doesn’t belong to you, you can’t post anything to it and use it as a promotional platform. Take the time to see if GMB has already listed you automatically, and if they have, don’t create a new profile–this just leads to duplicate GMB listings and confusion for your customers. Claim the automatic listing and begin using it for yourself.
2) Ignoring Reviews
According to Inc., dissatisfied customers are very likely to leave negative reviews, while only about 10% of happy customers leave positive reviews. And as anyone who has read a page of reviews knows, even a single negative review can cast doubt on the dozens of other positive reviews. After all, what if that single negative review is more indicative of reality?
One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is ignoring reviews, good or bad. You don’t have to reply to every single one, but make a point to at least make an effort to acknowledge them. Post a quick thank you in response to especially good reviews. For bad ones, apologize for the customers’ bad experience and offer to make it right (or ask for clarification if their story seems confusing). This shows that you care about your customers’ experiences and want to make sure they come back.
Pro Tip: Your customers are most likely to leave reviews of your business on Facebook, Google, or Yelp. Keep an eye on your listings on all three sites to respond to reviews promptly.
3) Missing or Outdated Contact Info
Did your business phone number change? Did your office have to pack up and move across town? More importantly, are either of these changes reflected on your website’s contact page or your GMB listing? If not, you’re making it difficult for customers to find you. Make sure all your contact information is present, updated, and prominently displayed.
4) Low-Quality Content or Links
Google strives to give customers the best, most thorough information on a variety of topics and services. Does your website measure up? If your posts tend to be short (less than approximately 500 words) and not exactly full of good information, Google won’t consider you an authority and will pass you by.
Additionally, how many other websites link to you? Are they trustworthy sites? A doctor’s office will gain much more credibility from a link on the American Red Cross’s website than they would from a link in a private Facebook group, for instance. Make sure to publish excellent content for other websites to link back to, and promote yourself to websites that can help your visibility.
5) No Mobile-Friendly Website
Rather than turn on a computer, more and more consumers are searching for businesses on their mobile devices. This is where technical SEO may begin to affect your rankings. If your website doesn’t scale properly to a consumer’s phone or tablet screen, they won’t be able to navigate your site easily and probably won’t stay too long. Google has recognized this as well and now includes your website’s mobile-friendliness (or lack thereof) in their examination of your business. Consequently, this can affect your ranking pretty significantly. If you don’t already have a mobile-friendly website, design one as soon as possible to retain more customer interest!
Attract Nearby Clients Through Local SEO
As simple and unimportant as these potential problems may seem, the longer you allow them to go untreated, the more time you waste promoting to a limited audience. Don’t let your marketing efforts go to waste! If any of these mistakes sound a little too familiar, get your strategy back on track and start promoting yourself to local customers again.
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