5 Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid
There’s nothing more satisfying than reaching the top of the search rankings. It takes hard work to earn that #1 spot and hold it. That’s why it’s so important you’re doing everything you can to boost your local SEO rankings. Last week we wrote about how Local SEO and Organic SEO work together to improve your search rankings. This week, we’re going to take a look at some of the common mistakes businesses make that can hurt their local search rankings.
Each search engine and directory ranks businesses a little differently, but for the most part, they use similar factors to decide how to fairly rank a business. This includes things like; link signals, on-page signals, citation signals, reviews, behavioral signals, and more. Because of this, there are a few common mistakes businesses might unknowingly be making that can hurt their chances of ranking high.
The 2018 Google Local Search Ranking Factors
1. Not Claiming all your Listings
A few businesses have made the mistake of only claiming their Google My Business profile or their Yelp profile and forgetting about the 100s of other listings they could be claiming. When it comes to claiming local business listings, there are three tiers of directories and search engines to claim.
In the first tier, we have the most important search engines and directories every business should claim their listings on. This includes; Google, Facebook, Yelp, Apple, Bing, and Foursquare. In the second tier, we have smaller business directories like Yellow Pages, Hot Frog, and Merchant Circle. These directories are important to claim because they help to build up citations which allow you to rank higher across every search engine and directory. Lastly, you’ll want to claim the Tier three listings. These listings are niche business directories and instead of claiming each listing on these directories, it’s better to work with data aggregators to push out to all of these smaller listings. By claiming all your listings, it will not only help more people find your business, but it will help build trust with search engines and increase your rankings.
2. Inaccurate or Missing NAPWCHD Information
When claiming your listings you have to make sure you fill out all the necessary information on every business listing. We use the acronym NAPWCHD, which refers to all the information a business needs to include on its listing: business name, address, website, categories, business hours, and description. If you have inaccurate or missing NAPWCHD information, you could be hurting your rankings. Not to mention it could lead to mistrust from your customer base.
3. Not Responding to Reviews
Review signals account for 15% of how Google ranks local businesses. Responding to reviews has many benefits. First, it shows the customer that you care. Google and other search engines want to promote trustworthy businesses to consumers, responding to reviews shows Google you are a real business who cares about the customer experience. In addition to showing you care, responding to reviews can help a business earn more reviews. When customers see that their opinion is heard, they are more willing to leave a review.
Another great feature about responding to reviews is that it gives you a chance to add relevant keywords to your listing. Let’s say you own a pizza shop and want to rank for “garlic bread”. When people leave reviews you can ask them to come back and try your garlic bread. Google then sees this keyword and uses it to help rank you in relevant searches.
4. Using Tracking Phone Numbers or Links
We see this mistake all the time. We get it, businesses want to track where their customers are coming from, whether it be Google, Yelp, or somewhere else, but using different tracking links or phone numbers on each different listing can cause confusion among search engines and directories, which only hurts your rankings. In addition to confusion, using different links on your listings hurts your rankings by not having the corresponding link signals pointing back to your website. Link and citation signals attribute for a total of 27% of how Google ranks a business.
Often times if a business directory finds a different link on another directory, they will automatically update the link to match. This means all that work you went through setting up the link and matching it to each directory will be useless. Eventually, all the directories will catch up with each other and one link or number will take over for all the directories. You really don’t need to use tracking links and phone numbers because the insights for each directory will take care of all the tracking for you.
5. Setting It and Forgetting It
Unfortunately, local SEO isn’t something you can just set and forget. Reviews are constantly coming in, photos are being added daily, and even listings can change 5 – 6 times a week. If you’re not actively monitoring your local business listings you could be hurting your search rankings. Using software like Chatmeter can help you to take control of every aspect of your local SEO strategy. We monitor listings for inaccuracies, duplicates, or missing information, all of which are detrimental to your local search rankings.
Chatmeter also helps brands monitor and respond to reviews and social media mentions all from within our easy to use dashboard. By monitoring and updating your local business listings, reviews, and social media pages, you’ll have a much better understanding of where you rank and how you can improve.
Not sure where your local business stores rank? We work with multi-location brands and agencies who need help monitoring and managing their local SEO and online reputation. Request a free brand audit today, to see where you currently rank and how you can improve.