Many businesses hurt their Local SEO with mistakes that they are unaware of. We see these mistakes all too often when meeting with businesses. Fortunately, these are errors that a relatively easy to fix. So, don’t get discouraged if you do find a few mistakes. The good news is it’s fairly easy to fix all of these.
1. No Google My Business Profile
When you think of search engine optimization (SEO), then you immediately think of your website ranking in Google’s results. However, with local SEO, there’s a bit of a twist.
Search for “pizza near me” and you’ll see a map appear. Then, you’ll see information for 3 pizzarias listed in the main results (i.e. name, address, phone number, reviews, etc.). what is often called the “3-Pack”. That information is from each business’s Google My Business profile page, not their website.
If you do not have a Google My Business(GMB) profile page, get one now! It’s free and shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to set up.
When you are done setting it up, verify your business listing. That’s an important step to ensure you’re the owner of your page so you can make future edits.
2. Duplicate Listings
The next common mistake is having duplicate GMB profile pages. Google hates duplicate content in their search results. It’s a bad experience for their users to see the same information twice in their results, and it’s a waste of Google’s resources to analyze and store duplicate information.
Creating duplicate listings is against Google’s terms of service. Each business location should only have one Google My Business profile page. To see if you have more than one page, use the Moz Local tool. This great free tool will tell you if there are duplicate listings for you online. If you find any, contact Google to get them removed quickly.
3. Missing Relevant Categories
Another critical mistake is made on the actual GMB profile page. This involves missing relevant categories. Think this through when setting up your page.
Think of categories like sections of the Yellow Pages. The more sections you advertise in, the more likely your prospects are to find you.
So the more relevant categories, the better. Note that it’s against Google’s terms to include irrelevant categories so be careful when you select your categories.
Google doesn’t make this super easy so I recommend you take a look at this big list to find all the relevant categories for your business. Another tip is to review the categories top-ranking local businesses have selected in their profiles.
4. Missing Contact Information On Your Website
This one may seem obvious but it happens enough to warrant mention. Go to your website’s contact page and confirm all of your contact information is listed on the page. Make sure that your business Name, Address, and Phone number are listed as text (not an image). This ensures that Google can easily read your contact information and verify its accuracy.
One of the measures Google takes to ensure accuracy is to compare the information listed on your website versus the information listed on your GMB profile page. If your website and profile aren’t displaying the same exact contact information, you’ll want to edit your website and/or your Google My Business profile to make them consistent.
5. Inconsistent NAP Information Online
Mistake #5 is inconsistent NAP, which is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone number. As mentioned above, it’s important to have the same contact information listed on both your website and your Google My Business page. But it does not end there. Google then compares the contact information listed on your website to the listings on websites across the internet. What most people would consider minutia ( North Main St. v Main St. N) Google sees as a major inconsistency. Businesses must have consistent NAP on every single webpage that lists their contact information. Mainly we’re talking about business directories since those are the types of websites most likely to display your contact information publicly online.
To check for inconsistent NAP, again go use the Moz Local search tool.
6. Missing Citations
A citation is simply a mention of your NAP on another website/directory. It’s possible you’re missing some important citations that are hurting your chances of ranking high in Google. This is another place to use the Moz Local tool. When you find directories that don’t list your business, add them.
7. No Customer Reviews
Many businesses struggle to get customer reviews online. If you’re a little shy on reviews for your GMB profile, then don’t beat yourself up because you’re not alone. It takes effort by your customers to add a review. There is no simple answer to this problem. All you can do is ask and make it as easy as possible for every customer to leave a review. Ask them in person, via email and over the phone. Usually the most effective is email because if you include a link and instructions your customer doesn’t have to find your profile. Growing positive reviews takes time but it adds up.
These 7 common Local SEO mistakes are made by businesses big and small. Often, they are just an oversight. In all likelihood, making one of these mistakes will not put you out of business. But as many have learned, little things add up. Taking 15-20 minutes a week to review your local SEO for mistakes can make a big difference over time. Review your local SEO to see if you and your team have everything at peak performance.