With local businesses competing with one another for a larger share of the pie, it is time to don your thinking hat and avoid three of the most important pitfalls in local SEO. This New Year, make sure you the following mistakes which can put paid to all your local SEO endeavors.
- Not Building Enough Directory Citations
Google states that about four out of five consumers make use of search engines to perform local searches. Hence, it is important that you claim local business listings in as many local directories as possible.
Just listing yourself in a few directories will not do the trick, as there will be others who may have unclaimed citations that have incorrect and inconsistent details of your business. Typically, local businesses focus solely on major online directories like Citysearch, Merchant Circle and Yelp, but forget about certain other directories, like the local Chamber of Commerce and local newspaper’s website. The more directories your business is listed on, the better it will be for your search engine rankings.
However, when you are claiming listings or creating new ones, make sure the NAP is consistent and accurate across all listings. NAP refers to business name, address and phone number. Look for discrepancies, abbreviations, incorrect phone number, misspellings and missing suite number. If your business NAP is not consistent across all citation sites and online directories, Google will either display the incorrect information or avoid showing your business in search engine results pages.
The good news is that you can use TribeLocal to create and track all online listings on citation sites and directories. You can ensure the incorrect and inconsistent listings can be tracked and altered within no time. Alternatively, you can use RankLocal to find a local SEO agency that is reliable and experienced to do the grunge work for you and ensure you get listed on maximum, if not all, online directories and citation sites.
- Not Giving Importance to Online Reviews
Surveys after surveys are revealing that prospective customers read online reviews to decide whether they should use the services of a business. So, if your business does not have adequate number of positive reviews, you are missing out on this vast section of prospective customers. Also, businesses that have large number of positive reviews are ranked higher on search engine results pages.
Remember, online reviews can be good and bad, and both have profound effect on your local search engine ranking. So, reviews are not just about ensuring that customers write good things about your business. You also need to focus on negative reviews by offering unhappy and dissatisfied customers something extra or special so that they can change or amend their negative review of your business.
There are several reputation tools and software, like Trust Pilot, Reputation Loop and Get Five Stars, that you can use to manage online reviews. Make sure you respond to both positive and negative reviews. Your responses are an indication that you care about what customers think about your business.
Also, don’t be embarrassed to ask customers to leave reviews on your official Facebook page or Google My Business page. In fact, most will willingly leave a positive review if you request them to.
- Not Claiming Your Google My Business Page
Perhaps the most important part of local SEO is claiming your Google My Business page. It is prudent to remember that Google uses your Google My Business (GMB) page listing to rank your business in local searches. Hence, if you are not claiming GMB page, your business may not feature in local SERPs.
Claiming GMB page allows you to verify your listing and business, and this, in turn, prevents others from altering the information listed on the page. Make sure that the details that you put on the listing are same as what is across the internet. There should be no discrepancies in the information. So, check and then double check the category, name, address, local phone number.
If you avoid these pitfalls related to local SEO, you can be certain that your business will have a profitable 2018.