Most Common Local SEO Mistakes

Searching MISTAKE on Internet

Sinoun Chea

Whether it is a location based business (people come to you to purchase goods or services) or a service area business (you deliver goods and services to customers) that you have, it is important to apply local SEO techniques to your business website. Targeting your local market is perhaps the fastest way to gain profit and using local SEO techniques might do just that.

However, local SEO can be quite confusing and there are SEO practices that are just plain wrong. In this post, I will provide you the most common SEO mistakes that are usually made by website owners.

Mistake: NAP Has To Be Perfect All the Time

Somebody might have told you that using “St.” in one citation and “Street” in another can cause a negative effect. That somebody is wrong.

It is already given that having the same NAP (name, address, phone number) is very important for local SEO. If it’s not consistent, then it may cause your website to not rank as high as it should be. But it doesn’t mean you have to copy your address letter for letter or word for word. If you cite 729 Walker Street in one part and use 729 St. in another, then that’s fine. Just don’t use 729 Walker Street in one and 729 Runner Street in another.

Review rating bubble speeches on mobile phoneMistake: Reviews Don’t Matter at All

You might have read site reviews from time to time and, sadly, some businesses don’t care about what people wrote about their services online. But it is about time that everyone should care as reviews matter to customers. According to a recent study by Bright Local, 87% of consumers won’t patronize business with low ratings.

Mistake: Ranking In Maps Is The Only Thing That Matters

If you think that ranking in maps is the only thing that will take you to the top of the search results page, think again. Organic listings, according to studies, are accounted for the majority of clicks. So if you’re not on the top 3 in the maps ranking, it’s okay; you can still win with organic results.

Mistake: Stuffing Keywords In The Footer With Cities or Zip Codes Is Ideal

Back in the day, people thought that stuffing cities or zip code keywords in the footer help in making their sites rank higher – this actually worked somehow. But since Google found out about this, they created algorithm updates which will penalize sites that practice this kind of method. Needless to say, jamming the footer with cities or zip codes is a complete no-no nowadays.

Don’t believe me? Google said it themselves. Check out their Quality Guidelines regarding keyword stuffing.

Mistake: You Should Only Try To Rank In Your City

This one common local SEO mistake should be avoided especially if you live in a very huge city. There is a good chance that people also search by neighborhood as well. For example, if you have a Harry Potter store in the Upper East Side, chances are the “Potterheads” will just pass by your store; that is because your store won’t be included in the neighborhood searches if you only have “New York” in your geo-tag. So keep in mind to include your neighborhood for your keywords.

Mistake: Steer Clear From Ranking On Directories

Man touching icon directory document exclamation triangleSo you think that you can achieve success without the help of top ranking directories? Truth of the matter is you could, but having presence in directories like Yelp will give you advantages. For one, industry directories tend to rank higher in Google search results. And two, directories can give you online presence even if you don’t have an actual website.

When you consider listing your business in one, make sure to look for top directories that are ranking page one for your keywords and terms and make a thorough research on what the ranking factors are in their platforms.

Mistake: Unless You Have An Address, There’s No Way You Can Rank In Local Searches

Many think that in order for you to rank high in local searches, you need to have a physical business address; this is just plain wrong. There are successful businesses out there that don’t even have a store or shop where people can go.

No business address? No problem! Just go ahead and make that awesome landing pages for your site – you still can get results organically!

Mistake: Use “Money Keywords” Anchor Text Like There’s No Tomorrow

Using descriptive anchor text is helpful but optimizing your anchor text with money keywords may bring negative effect to your site’s rankings.

Websites should be created with the users and prospective clients in mind, and not merely for the search engines. To create this thinking as a challenge, Google has come up with algorithm updates that allow them to recognize user-friendly sites and penalize those who appear to manipulate rankings.

So the next time you will use money keywords unsparingly, take caution that Google will penalize your site once they find out.

Mistake: Mobile-Friendly Designs Are Not Necessary

Responsive web design on mobile devices phone, laptop and tablet pcAccording to a study, more than 90% smartphone users use their mobiles to look for info and nearly 85% take actions. With these statistics, you really have to make your website mobile-friendly and wonderfully designed, otherwise users will be turned off with how your site looks when they use their phones. In addition, you have to optimize your mobile site locally since the recent mobile updates by Google has been implemented.

Mistake: You Can Rank Just One Website

Let’s put an end to this common local SEO mistake here. If you have more than one website, it’s okay; even if you have Google My Business page, Youtube videos, Facebook pages, WordPress blogs, and even your Twitter accounts – you can still rank them using your keywords. In fact, these can be easier to rank than your actual website because they already have online authority.

Mistake: You Can Duplicate Content On Every Location Page

Forgive me for being blunt but no, it is not a good idea to duplicate content on every location page in full verbatim. You may say, “But it’s the same business, just different location!” Even so, it is not advisable. Here are a couple of reasons:

  • It creates internal competition for search terms and will affect your overall rankings
  • This causes for the search engines to select what they think the best version of that page is – and it’s not going to be good
  • The site may be eventually removed from Google’s index manually.

To avoid this, you need to create unique content for every location page. It’s fun and effective to let the users think that you put extra effort in making your business look well put off in your websites.

Thank you for reading! If you need help in doing local SEO for your business, click here!


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Sinoun Chea

I help small businesses Do Better Online™. When businesses thrive, people also thrive. #morethanjustbusiness

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