Making it to the top spot in search engine results is something that most companies strive for. What a lot of companies forget, however, is that the top spot is only worth something if it brings in business for you.
It’s great for someone selling information products that can easily be downloaded. For the local dentist, however, it is more important to rank highly in local SEO results. In this post, we will address 5 local SEO mistakes to avoid so that you get this crucial business aspect right.
Why is it So Important?
If you are a pool company such as willshapools.com , for example, you want to ensure that local customers know about you and can find you easily. This means going beyond listing at the top of the search results for “pool companies”
It means that you need to list at the top of the page for “pool companies in Dallas” and also for the exact area in Dallas that you are in. If your competitors get this right and you don’t, guess who will be getting the main lot of business.
Mistake 1: Paying No Head to General SEO
Local SEO requires a different approach to general SEO, but you cannot ignore one at the expense of the other. A lot of things that have an impact on general SEO will also impact local SEO.
Here are some of the things that both local and general SEO have in common:
- Your Click Through Rate: How many people actually click through to your site is extremely important when it comes to being ranked highly on a consistent basis. If no one is clicking through to your site from the search page, it will be marked down. This can be devastating to your business.
- Domain Authority: The idea behind search engines is to filter results and place the most relevant and useful results in front of searchers. One way that Google and the like determine where your site ranks is by considering the domain authority. This means looking at a range of factors like the age of the site, how many quality sites link through to it and how many quality outgoing links there are. Ignore this aspect, and your competitor can easily get the drop on you.
- Backlinks: At one stage, the goal was to have as many backlinks as you could have. It didn’t matter what sites they were from – the more sites that linked to you, the better you did overall. Backlinks are also important today, but it is more the quality of the links than how many there are. Say, for example, that a government-run health site links to yours. This is considered a high-quality link and will net more points than ten or twenty links from blogs and other non-authority sites.
Mistake 2: Getting Basic Details Wrong
Google’s search algorithm looks at the basic details on the site, like name, phone number, and address and cross-references these to those listed across various other sites. So you need to make sure that the same details appear everywhere that your business is listed.
This means on your site, your blog, social media sites, review sites, directory sites, etc.
It is important to get this right – people will often look for directions, etc. on sites like Google Maps. If the information is out of date, you risk people not being able to contact you at all.
Mistake 3: Not Getting Reviews from Locals
There are many different review sites out there. You can also ask clients to review your business on your My Business page. You want to aim for a consistent number of reviews here, spread out over the month.
Get into the habit of asking clients to give you a review when you see them. Frequent good reviews will do a lot for your local SEO rank.
There is one caveat here – aim for a few reviews over the course of the week, rather than having your site blasted with reviews all in one day.
Having too many reviews at one time looks a little suspicious to Google. Say, for example, you have no reviews on your page today and tomorrow suddenly fifty or sixty come in. It’s going to look fishy like it was done to improve your SEO.
And, while we know that this is the reason to do this, it’s something that could cost you points with Google itself.
Mistake 4: You Don’t Have a My Business Page with Google
Google is the largest of the search engines, and so you want to do everything possible to boost your credibility in Google’s eyes.
This means having a My Business page set up with Google and ensuring that the information on it is complete.
There is another reason to do this, though, aside from for SEO purposes. If you don’t claim the page yourself, someone else with malicious intent might.
Get in there, make sure that you complete all the fields, load quality photos and make sure that you have an excellent description of what your company does.
Take some time to make sure all the categories and tags are correctly filled in, and you are way ahead of most other business owners on the net.
Mistake 5: Ignoring Potential Negatives
It is important to keep up to date on the best way to optimize your page. You also need to make sure that you know what might mark you down so that you don’t make these mistakes. Here are some common problems that could cause issues with ranking:
- Using the wrong category: Your My Business page must be carefully completed. If you don’t complete the correct category, your business will not be shown to potential clients. Worse still, it could come up in searches that have nothing to do with your day to day business. Now, while that doesn’t seem like a big deal, it can mean having fewer people clicking through to your site, or people that click away fast. This can destroy your ranking.
- Providing the wrong details: Let’s say that you have listed your address as 51 Smith Street on one directory site and as 15 Smith Street on another. It’s not a difficult mistake to make, but when the search engines compare the data, it looks as though you have provided a false address. All your business information must match.
- Malware present: If there is any hint of malware on your site, the search engines will label it as unsafe, and it won’t feature in search results.
- No physical address: This is extremely important. If the site has no physical address, it automatically appears less credible. Why wouldn’t a legitimate business list their address?
- Having tons of negative reviews: Okay, you are going to get one or two negative reviews. It’s the cost of doing business. It becomes a problem, however, when you have too many negative reviews and few positive ones. That’s where it pays to ask clients for reviews. People may need a little nudging to leave a positive review, but they’ll be pretty quick to jump in with a negative one.
Local SEO is more about applying good common sense than anything else. You need to prove to search engines that your site is credible and worth recommending. Once you get this aspect right, your business is going to take off.