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  • Mistakes that Can Harm Local SEO

    9 Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

    As with any Local SEO campaign, one mistake isn’t going to kill you.

    For instance, posting a piece of poor-quality website content can’t completely ruin your chances at ranking as long as the rest of your content strategy is in proper order.

    But there are some mistakes in local SEO that can seriously compromise your results.

    These local SEO mistakes are all too common because they aren’t always apparent or easy to spot.

    Many entrepreneurs make them without even realizing it and end up with falling ranks, so don’t let yourself become one of them.

    Here are a few SEO mistakes to avoid at all costs.

    Discrepancies in Your NAP

    As you might imagine, one of the most important parts of a local SEO campaign is making sure Google understands where your business is located.

    The search algorithm scans multiple sources for information that includes your name, address, and phone number, then forms a conclusion based on that information.

    If it finds a piece of information that conflicts with the others, it is unable to form that conclusion, and as a result, you’ll end up with less authority.

    If the discrepancies are severe, you may not even end up ranking in the right city.

    Google Maps, in particular, is serious about NAP information—even small discrepancies can be problematic.

    For example, writing out “street” on your website while abbreviating it to “st” on your local profile could result in a major problem for your ultimate ranks.

    The details matter more than you think, so take the extra time to verify that your local Google Business Profile listing is correct on every publicly available location.

    Fortunately, there are a host of automated or service-based options available to you to make quick work of this task.

    As an on-page signal, your NAP (Name, Address & Phone) are critical for local listing success.

    Incomplete Local Profiles

    Modern search engine optimization is about far more than just what’s on your website.

    There are hundreds of external sources, such as local directories and review sites, that all contain pertinent information about local businesses.

    Google relies on these profiles to form conclusions about a company’s direction, status, and quality, so leaving them empty is a bad idea.

    local business profile
    More is more. The more information you have on your local business profile, the greater opportunity you have to rank on Google for local SEO.

    Most local directories give you several options to fill out, including details like how many years you’ve been in business and what your mission statement is, along with sections for uploading pictures.

    If you aren’t filling out all of these forms, and filling them out accurately, you’ll be missing out on some serious web visibility, and that could hurt your ranking.

    To take things a step further, remember that many individual users consult these local directories when making a purchasing decision.

    If all they see from your business is a bunch of empty spaces, they’re highly likely to move on without a second thought. Instead, take the opportunity to sell yourself.

    Inaccurate Categorization

    Categorization, like your NAP information, is a bigger deal than it seems to be.

    If you choose an inappropriate category, or if you select conflicting categories on different local directories, you could lose out on authority and rankings as a result.

    When you first start a campaign, think carefully about the type of category you want to be known for, and once you choose it, be consistent with it on every platform.

    It also pays to be as specific as possible.

    For example, listing yourself as a “criminal defense attorney” is much better than just an “attorney” (we get this specific when we provide local SEO for lawyers).

    This distinction will help you rank in more specific local searches and will help Google understand your business better.

    Also consider your business category carefully when choosing the type of local directories you seek in your campaign. For example, UrbanSpoon caters specifically to restaurants—you wouldn’t want to list yourself there if you run an auto body repair shop.

    No Local Content

    Some marketers make the most common local SEO mistakes, including not drawing a line between traditional/national SEO and local search strategies. They take care of all their local business listings, but then focus on the remainder of their SEO campaign like they would a national SEO program. As a result, their content isn’t specifically targeted to local SEO, and they end up losing out on a ton of local authority.

    Make sure you write at least one or two local-specific articles every week on your site, being aware that you may be flagged for duplicate listings.

    Find ways to make your content specific to your city or region, and take every opportunity you can to get involved in the community and write about it in local directories and other local websites.

    Ignoring Local Connections

    Finally, don’t lose out on the opportunity to cement yourself further in the community by forging local connections and using them to your advantage.

    Work with your local newspapers to get some additional press. Mention nearby or similar local business on social media, and share their material—they’ll likely share yours in kind.

    Donate to local schools and universities in exchange for getting mentioned on their valuable .edu real estate.

    Enhance your business information in local directory listings, complete with links and references to your local company.

    The key to enhance your local SEO efforts is to embed yourself into the local community however you can, and use those connections to build your authority.

    Not Optimizing for Mobile

    With the majority of searches now coming from mobile devices, local SEO involves optimizing for local search with a mobile-friendly website.

    That not only means the site should look good on mobile, but it means the site speed should be wicked-fast.

    Here are some additional ways to optimize for mobile when poor technical SEO may be dragging you down:

    Use a responsive design

    A responsive design ensures that your website content and layout adjust automatically to fit the size of the screen it’s being viewed on. This makes your website more user-friendly and easy to navigate on any device.

    Optimize page speed

    Mobile users are typically on-the-go and have limited patience for slow-loading websites.

    Optimizing your website’s page speed can improve user experience and reduce bounce rates.

    Simplify navigation

    Simplify your website’s navigation by using fewer menus and links.

    This can make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for and improve the overall user experience.

    Use larger font sizes

    Mobile screens are smaller than desktop screens, so it’s important to use larger font sizes to make your content easy to read on a mobile device.

    Use mobile-friendly forms

    If your website includes forms, make sure they’re optimized for mobile.

    This means using larger fields, minimizing the number of required fields, and using mobile-friendly input methods.

    Ignoring Local Link Building Opportunities

    Building local links from reputable websites can help improve your local search rankings.

    Look for opportunities to earn local backlinks from local businesses, organizations, and influencers in your community.

    One of the biggest local SEO mistakes you can make is not doing link building.

    Worse still is doing local link building poorly.

    Luckily, that’s where our link building services come in!

    Ignoring Reviews

    Reviews play a crucial role in local SEO rankings.

    Encouraging and responding to customer reviews can help improve your online reputation and increase your visibility in local search results.

    do not ignore google reviews
    Ignore reviews in search engines at your own peril!

    Positive reviews on your Google My Business listing are critically important for several reasons:

    Reviews influence on consumer behavior

    Many consumers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision.

    Positive reviews can help build trust with potential local customers, while negative reviews can deter them from doing business with you.

    Regardless of the nature of your target audience, reviews are critical in influencing their decision to buy.

    Reviews have an impact on search rankings

    Reviews are a key factor in Google’s local search algorithm.

    A business with a higher number of positive reviews is more likely to rank higher in local search results than a business with no reviews or negative reviews.

    Reviews are critical for customer feedback

    Reviews provide valuable feedback for businesses.

    They can help identify areas where the business is doing well or crushing it and areas that need improvement.

    Ignoring reviews can have a negative impact on all of these factors.

    If a business doesn’t respond to reviews, it can come across as unresponsive and uncaring to potential customers.

    This can lead to a loss of business and a damaged reputation.

    It’s important for businesses to actively monitor and respond to reviews, both positive and negative.

    Responding to positive reviews can help reinforce positive customer experiences and encourage more reviews.

    Responding to negative reviews can show that the business takes customer feedback seriously and is committed to improving the customer experience.

    Inappropriately Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) & GPT

    Yes, ChatGPT and other large language models have taken the world by storm.

    Yes, your local business can greatly benefit by using AI and GPT technologies.

    But that doesn’t mean that the untrained use of AI in SEO will work in every scenario.

    Care must be exercised when using AI, especially if using it at scale is part of your local SEO strategy.

    Avoid Local SEO Mistakes, Hire Experts

    As a business owner, optimizing for local search engine results pages for local keywords is an absolute must for enterprises hoping to enhance their digital footprint and allure a greater volume of patrons from their immediate vicinity.

    Nevertheless, there are a multitude of commonly committed blunders that organizations tend to make with respect to local search engine optimization.

    Such blunders have the capacity to adversely impact a company’s search rankings and digital reputation, which could culminate in a loss of business.

    By evading these missteps and adhering to industry standards for local SEO, enterprises can boost their online visibility, draw in more clients, and expand their commercial enterprise.

    However, it is important to bear in mind that local SEO demands consistent exertion and vigilance, albeit the payoffs can be substantial for organizations that invest in it.

    By emphasizing the creation of high-caliber content, veracious information, and engaging with patrons through online channels, enterprises can construct a robust online presence that yields tangible, real-world outcomes.

    Chief Revenue Officer at SEO Company
    Industry veteran Timothy Carter is SEO.co’s Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams for SEO (search engine optimization) services - including sales, marketing & customer success. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing, assisting in everything from SEO for lawyers to complex technical SEO for Fortune 500 clients like Wiley, Box.com, Qualtrics and HP.

    Tim holds expertise in building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams.

    When he's not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach...preferably in Hawaii.

    Over the years he's written for publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, ReadWrite and other highly respected online publications. Connect with Tim on Linkedin & Twitter.
    Timothy Carter