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10 Common Local SEO Mistakes

Are you hurting your Google rankings?

Most businesses are creating self-inflicted damage to their local Google rankings. We often audit business websites and find the same mistakes being made. Sometimes the businesses don’t even realize they are making a mistake. In this post, we’ll discuss the 10 Common Local SEO Mistakes that we encounter.

 

common local seo mistakes

 

1. No “Google My Business” profile

When you start to think about SEO, you begin to consider your website’s ranking in Google. But with local search engine optimization, things can be a little different.

When you search for “dentists near me”, you will see a Google map in the results with Dentists that are around you. You will also see local dental offices displayed under the map, as shown in the image below.

 

Dental office SERP Clarkston

 

That information is actually being pulled from their Google My Business listing.

If your business does not utilize Google My Business, you’re missing out local visibility. Google My Business profiles are free to set up, and can be a great tool in allowing your target audience to find you. Also be sure to verify your business listing which will prevent anyone from being able to claim your listing online in the future.

2. Duplicate Listings

On this list of common local SEO mistakes, is duplicate business listings. Especially with Google My Business.

Not only could it have a negative affect on your rankings, but it also creates confusion and bad user experience for people that are looking for the service or product that you offer.

Make sure that you have a single, consistent, verified, and completed Google My Business listing.

3. Missing Contact Information

More often than not, businesses lack sufficient contact information on their websites. It’s important to ensure all of your contact information is listed, as well as consistent.

Ensure that your business name, address, and phone number is in an easy to find location. It’s also important to make sure that this information is in text, not an image. Google can not interpret images the way it can text. Having your contact information in images is probably damaging your local visibility.

Google takes a lot of things into consideration to ensure that its delivering accurate information to its users. They do this by comparing the information on your website to your Google My Business profile. They also cite other areas of the net where you may be listed, including social media, and local business directories.

Which is a great segway into mistake #4…

4. Inconsistent NAPW

NAPW (or sometimes just referred to as NAP) stands for Name, Address, Phone Number, and Website.

inconsistent nap

As stated above, it’s very important to have consistent information on your website, as well as your Google My Business profile. In addition to this, Google looks at different directories all over the internet to make sure that your NAP is the same across all of these places. This can be a huge pain in the butt considering how many citations there can be for your business all over the internet.

Make sure you have consistent NAP on every directory possible. Even the slightest inconsistency can cause confusion to Google and other search engines.

5. Lacking Citations

Another common local SEO mistake is lacking relevent citations. A citation is basically a mention of your NAP (see above) on the internet.

Citations can have a very high impact on local rankings. The more relevant the citation to your area or industry, the better it becomes. Every industry can have different citation sources, and different citations also carry different weight with different industries.

Sounds confusing?

Well, it is and it isn’t. Citations are a lot of work, and it’s extremely important to have them from a local SEO perspective. Track down these citations, or have a professional do it for you. Figure out a way to get listed or mentioned, and you will see the positive effects over time.

6. Poor Customer Reviews

Most businesses don’t even consider customer reviews. Well, you better start.

Thinking about your business from a customer’s point of view can be difficult, but it’s something you need to understand if you want to grow your business. When a potential customer is searching for your service or product, they probably don’t know you or your business. What they do know is what other people are saying about you.

How do they know that?

Online reviews. There are many different places where your business can be reviewed. Identifying the big ones and staying on top of them can make a big difference. Over 88% of people trust online reviews.

 

clarkston attorney seo

Who ya gonna call? (Hint: Not Ghostbusters)

Online reputation management can be done in different ways. Usually, the best way is to just ask them in person. Next time they are at your place of business, simply let them know that a quick review would mean a lot to you. If done over time, you can create a lot of great reviews which will build trust in your brand.

7. Low Quality or Thin Content

Your website is the foundation of your online presence. If your business website is crammed full of pages with low-quality information or thin content then it is going to be hard to garner quality rankings in Google.

Thin content refers to pages that don’t have much information on them. Generally, this is pages with under 400 words.

Google’s job when you think about it, is to provide its users with the most relevant content to their search query. If your website is not informative, or just doesn’t have much on it, Google is going to assume that you aren’t as relevant to users as other websites may be.

If you have pages on your website that have low quality or thin content, then there are a couple solutions.

If you don’t feel there is anything that can be added to the page, you can “no index” that page so that Google doesn’t penalize you for thin content. You can also consider merging pages with relevant thin content to create a larger, more informative page. (Don’t forget to 301 redirect the old URL to the new page). And probably the best method, write more content. Google loves words. Especially when those words provide value to people reading it. Consider re-writing or touching up your pages to create a better user experience.

8. No Relevant Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the biggest factors Google considers when ranking websites. A backlink is another website linking back to your website in one way or another. Google figures if people are talking about you and linking to you, then you must be doing something right.

However, today we’re seeing Google become more picky about the links that are pointing to your website. And rightfully so. You cannot expect Google to count just any website to link to you. If that were the case, we’d go make 100 new websites right now and then let the ranking domination begin!

Not so fast. The backlinks you get need to be from quality relevant websites. Meaning, if I’m a Therapist in Lake Orion, it’s not going to help me to get a link from a Plumber in Florida.

So how do you get these quality relevant websites to link to you?

Well, creating something of value is really the key. There are a lot of different tactics to get ethical quality links. Consider contacting a professional SEO company to discuss these strategies.

9. Not using Social Media

Believe it or not, social media activity is indeed one of many ways Google can determine your website rankings for your business.

Social media is important not only from a ranking perspective but from a user engagement one as well. It’s one of the best ways to effectively communicate with your audience. That can be through basic occasional posting or creating targeted strategized ad campaigns for your product or service.

The greatest part about it is, wait for it… it’s free! Well, not the ad campaigns. But having a Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc for your business is totally free. Start building your following on these outlets today. Yesterday. Last week. It is a tool all businesses need to utilize.

10. No Mobile-Friendly Website

The last of our common local SEO mistakes. Would you believe me if I told you that more people are accessing the web from a mobile device as opposed to a desktop computer (or laptop)?

mobile friendly website design

 

Well, it’s true. Mobile usage has taken over, and it’s growing by the day. This is so important, that you are actually penalized by Google for not having a website that adapts to mobile devices.

This goes back to understanding your audience. How many times have you looked for a local service by pulling out your phone and typing it in? Well if you’re at least a somewhat normal person probably a lot.

If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, it’s time to get one. It’s been time.

Are you guilty of these common local SEO mistakes?

Keep calm, and don’t freak out. Most of these common local SEO mistakes are easily fixed with a little bit of work. But before your attempt to implement fixes to some of these issues, make sure you have a good understanding of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re going to do it.

Even professional SEO’s can’t generate results overnight. SEO is an ongoing process and can take a lot of work. If you’re serious about ranking or just want to clean up some of the problems you’re having with your website, then contact a local SEO professional. Get your website professionally audited, with a roadmap of what, why, and how to make changes to improve your local SEO.

Quick SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Quick SEO Tips

A lot of businesses aren’t even aware of what SEO is, or what it can do for them. In today’s technology-driven world, it’s easier than ever to get on the marketing stage. The problem is that anyone can do it, which can drown out the message you’re trying to get to potential customers or clients. Not only do you need to be on the stage, but you also need to be in the spotlight. Without SEO, you’re always going to be playing catch up with your competition. Let’s go over some quick SEO tips for beginners that can help skyrocket your search engine rankings.

But first…

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

SEO is a marketing practice used to achieve higher organic (non-paid) search engine rankings. Many different tactics and strategies go into an SEO campaign, including Keyword research and implementation, title and content optimization, getting quality websites to link back to you, and much much more.

We could write and endless article going over the complex nature of Search Engine Optimization. But in this article, let’s break down some quick SEO tips and tricks for small businesses.

Keywords

Coming first in our list of quick SEO tips is Keywords. Keywords help search engines identify what your website and content are about. Google’s job is to provide the most relevant content to the people that are searching for it. So for example, if I type in “Chiropractor in Clarkston MI“, we’re going to see something that looks like this:

chiropractor clarkston mi

As you can see, these websites have the keywords I searched for in their titles, meta descriptions, and in some cases even their URL. Understanding how people are searching for a service or product is extremely important.

Understanding how your audience is finding you on Google is important. Use a tool like Google Search Console for some SEO keyword tips to get a better idea of how and where you’re showing up.

Make sure you’re using Long-tail keywords specific to your business. Long-tail keywords are more lengthy, specific keywords that don’t have a lot of competition. An example of that would be using a keyword like “Cosmetic Dentist in Clarkston” as opposed to a board keyword like “Dentist“.

Be cautious not to stuff keywords into your website. Above all, your content, titles, and descriptions should flow naturally, and engage the visitors of your website.

Write Unique Titles and Meta Descriptions

As mentioned above, using the right keywords in your titles and meta descriptions is a critical part of SEO. You also want to make sure that you do not have duplicate titles or descriptions on any of your pages. Each page on your website serves a unique purpose, and the title and description should reflect that.

You also have various header tags and image alt tags that can be on a page. Making sure your keywords are relevant, and reflect what message you’re trying to get across can make big difference.

Use Social Media

snapface instantchat

 

Social Media is a fantastic tool to use. From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Snapchat. Make sure that you have a presence on these outlets so that you are able to connect better with your target audience. But just creating an account is not enough. You need to interact and engage with your audience. You should post regularly, respond to questions and feedback.

There are even tools that allow you to automatically post content to your social media accounts after you create it on your website.

The most successful companies understand the importance of utilizing social media. There have actually been positions created in companies where all they do is interact with people on social media. Crazy right? Well, it works, and they know it.

Write Good Content Frequently

This one cannot be stressed enough. Writing great content, at least somewhat frequently, will do wonders for your search engine rankings. It will engage your readers by keeping them on your page longer, which is a ranking factor.

Writing good content will also naturally create long-tail keywords. Over time, your content will rank higher which will help the overall ranking of your website.

Make sure you’re utilizing a blog. This will allow you to write more content that is relevant to your business. Writing general content that has nothing to do with what you offer will not do you any good.

Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly

If your site isn’t easy to use on mobile, Google penalizes it by ranking it lower on its mobile search results pages. So what, right? Wrong. Mobile internet usage has overtaken desktop, and the gap is only getting bigger. Why? We’ll save that for another article. What’s important is making sure that you’re able to give users (and Google) a good mobile experience. If you have to use two fingers to zoom in on your website’s text or links, then you need to act fast.

The first thing most people do when looking for a product or service near them is pull out their smart phone and search for it. If you are not mobile friendly, chances are that you won’t be appearing in the search results that are displayed to them.

mobile friendly web quick seo tips

How do you become Mobile Friendly? This may not be something you can do on your own. It would be a good idea to speak with a professional website design company to assist you with getting your website up to date.

Use Google’s Free Tools

One of the most underrated and underused quick SEO tips is utilizing the many free tools that Google offers to help your website and rankings. Google provides an array of really awesome and useful tools for SEO. Right off the bat, you should claim your business listing on Google My Business. Doing this will allow you to specify important information about your business for your visitors to find. Your location, hours, price ranges, photos, and more. You can also manage your Google reviews, which we touch on next.

Google Analytics will allow you to track and monitor your website’s traffic. It breaks down your visitor count, your most popular pages, how long visitors are on your website, or how quickly they are leaving. Google Analytics can be a little overwhelming but is a fantastic tool for better understanding user behavior on your website. You will be provided with a tracking code that you can place on your website. If you’re using WordPress then there are plugins that can do this for you. If you’re uncomfortable placing this code on your website, contact a professional website design company to assist you.

google analytics quick seo tips

 

Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) will provide you with a lot of very useful information. You will need to verify your website, a couple simple options are available. With Google Search Console, you can see your Google Ranking for certain keywords, how many impressions you’re getting, and how many clicks for those Keywords. You can also submit your website’s sitemap, allowing Google to crawl and index your site. You can see if you have any HTML errors, crawl errors, structured data, etc. We are in Google Search Console every day because of how much it can tell you about the health of your website. This is a must have for any business website.

Get Ratings and Reviews

88% of website visitors trust online reviews. Think about it. They don’t know you, or if what you have to offer is going to be any good. What better way to show them than by getting your clients to give you honest reviews. You can have Yelp reviews, Google reviews, Facebook page reviews. They are all important.

clarkston attorney seo

Who you gonna call? (hint: not ghostbusters)

The best way to get new reviews is to simply ask your customers or clients to leave one. We wouldn’t recommend you try and bribe them for reviews either. Creating some sort of promotion incentive for reviews doesn’t really provide you with any real feedback. You want to know that what you’re offering is of value. If it is, then you will get positive reviews.

Local Business Listings

As mentioned above, reviews can help people decide between you or a competitor. But in order to get these reviews on a wide range listings, you need to make sure you’re on them. Every directory you’re listed on gives you another chance to get found online.

There are quite a few. Be sure to make sure that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) is consistent across these directories.

Use WordPress

WordPress is a wonderful, free tool that is designed to make how you manage your website easier. A lot of what has been mentioned above can be done via a WordPress plugin. It’s powerful, flexible. secure, and search engine friendly. We recommend using WordPress over DIY website design services like Squarespace or Wix. There are also plugins like Yoast SEO that will break down the SEO health of your pages. You can manage your Titles, Meta Descriptions, URL’s, and more. You can specify the keyword you are trying to rank for and it will provide suggestions on where you should place it.

Make Videos

Closing our list of quick SEO tips is creating videos. Video content is on the rise, and businesses are already jumping all over it. Facebook says that by 2020, video will account for a majority of content. But why? Well simply put, videos keep people engaged. Videos can provide information that textual content just can’t deliver. You can show someone what you do, while simultaneously telling them. On average, a visitor will stay 2 minutes longer while they watch a video. As we said above, Google takes page visit duration into consideration as a ranking factor. It’s not a coincidence that 87% of online marketers use videos. It just works.

Making videos sounds intimidating, but it’s really not as complicated as it seems. There are services online like Fiverr, where you can have affordable, good looking business videos made. It also may not be a bad idea to get behind your webcam and do some explainer videos, or instructional videos. You can even go live on Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms, and interact with your visitors directly.

Conclusion

These are just a few of many SEO tactics that you’re able to put in place today. It’s worth noting that these alone will not guarantee the results that you’re looking for. In fact, nothing about SEO is guaranteed. Every business is different, even in the same industry. Every market is also different. Your ranking in search results is going to depend heavily on the competition in your space. The goal is to do something that sets you apart from the rest. If your competitors are reaping the rewards of SEO, it’s important that you create a strategy that does it better.

If you’re serious about creating organic results and sustained traffic to your website, you should reach out to a professional. A professional SEO company can provide you with a roadmap that will put you on the right path for future growth.


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