Search Searching Online Network Website Concept

Avoid Local SEO Mistakes

As you start the new year for your business or non-profit organization, one very important thing you need to address is your local SEO. Here are a few key local SEO facts you should know:

  • The Google 2-pack (which is Google’s organic listing of two local businesses) appears at the top of 93 percent of all searches with local intent.
  • 60 percent of American adults search for local product and service information.
  • 50 percent of people who conduct a local search on their Smartphone, and 34 percent of people who conduct a search on their computer/tablet, will visit a store within a day.
  • A whopping 46 percent of all searches on Google are local.

Local SEO is so significant that almost half of all Google searches are local, and this will become even more significant in 2017. The following local SEO mistakes will completely jeopardize your local SEO efforts. Make sure to fix these immediately if you find that you or your organization has made any of these mistakes:

  • Unavailable, inconsistent, or inaccurate Name Address Phone Number information
  • Claim your Google My Business page
  • Get local reviews
  • Don’t ignore normal SEO ranking factors
  • Don’t ignore negative local SEO ranking factors

Unavailable, Inconsistent, or Inaccurate NAP information

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. NAP information is one of the core metrics Google uses to rank local businesses in its search results. Not only is it important to have your NAP information publicly and prominently displayed on your website, but it is also important that this information is consistent. Several sources agree that Google and other search engines cross check your NAP information with several other sites — this includes on your Google My Business page, Yelp, Internet Yellow Pages, and local directories. This tool from Moz can help analyze your website to see if you will have any issues.

Claim Your Google My Business Page

One of the most important things you can do when trying to rank well in local SEO, specifically with the Google search engine, is to claim your Google My Business page.

When it comes to local SEO, the information Google uses to rank your website — and that  it displays to people in local results — mainly comes from your My Business page, not from your website. You can set up your My Business page directly with Google, but it is important to verify your listing so that nobody else is able to edit your page in the future.

Once you set up your My Business page, it is important to ensure it includes a proper and unique description of your business, that your business is properly categorized, that there are a local phone number and address accompanying your listing and that is consistent elsewhere online, and that you upload as many relevant photos for your business.

Get Local Reviews

The more high quality, high quantity and high diversity reviews you get, the better for your local SEO.

For a start, once your My Business page has been created, reach out to existing customers and friends, reach out to people on your email list, reach out to people through your blog, who have experience with your business and ask them to leave a genuine review — you could even give them the incentive to leave a review.

Don’t Ignore Normal SEO Ranking Factors

A lot of factors that influence Normal SEO influence Local SEO. Don’t forget about the following:

  • Domain authority
  • Backlinks
  • Search Results in CTR

Don’t Ignore Negative Local SEO Ranking Factors

You don’t want to ignore these factors, too:

  • Having your business listed in an incorrect category in your My Business page can have a negative impact on your local SEO.
  • Having a false business address, incorrect phone number or an address and phone number inconsistent with that found elsewhere online can seriously, negatively affect your rankings.
  • Having malware on your site can damage your local SEO.
  • It is also important to avoid using PO Boxes, UPS Mail Store addresses, and other similar addresses. Google and other search engines will only recognize real addresses.