Local search marketing is remarkably complicated with what often feels like endless tactics to employ in order to improve the visibility of your business online. While business owners employ many of these tactics well, a few of them perplex even the savviest business owners or get completely overlooked.
In honor of Devil’s Night, Halloween, and Day of the Dead, let’s examine four of the most terrifying local search mistakes that might be scaring away local traffic and customers.
1. Ignoring the Data Aggregators
It isn’t uncommon to see businesses optimize their Google+ listing correctly or even their Google+, Yelp, and two-to-three other high profile local directories like TripAdvisor or Citysearch. Unfortunately, too many stop there and forget that Google crawls thousands of sites that contain citations every day.
In order to optimize the sites most visible to customers, it’s imperative that businesses focus on data sources that Google uses to build its understanding of the local web. The most comprehensive way to do that is to submit business data to the primary data aggregators:
Organic Counterpart: Deciding to focus on only one factor in Google’s algorithm like title tags. Businesses should adopt a more comprehensive local SEO approach to cater to Google and really move the needle with SEO.
2. Not Having an Individual Page for Each Business Location
More than three years ago, Matt Cutts stated, “If you want your store pages to be found, it’s best to have a unique, easily crawlable url for each store.” Since then, organic ranking factors have continued to become more influential components in Google’s approach to ranking businesses in local results.
Even without the increased weight in the local ranking algorithm, businesses should maintain optimized location pages for each location for usability reasons.
Many regional and national businesses only return their business location data through results pages for a business locator, leaving no existing pages to be crawled. These businesses often compound the problem by using locators not optimized for mobile devices.
Organic Counterpart: Trying to optimize a product site without product pages. Businesses need to look past the operational conveniences of dynamically generated content and remember that content needs to perpetually exist on a page in order to be indexed by and visible through search engines.
3. Dismiss the Opportunity of People Talking About Your Business
Customers and potential customers talk about businesses whether those businesses like it or want to admit it. It is also more common than ever for that conversation to occur online in the form of a review or social media interaction.
All too often, businesses ignore this opportunity to engage with clients and customers. A simple, “Thanks for the positive remarks!” for any positive review or a “I’m sorry to hear that! Here’s how we are addressing your feedback so it doesn’t happen again…” for any negative comments or reviews can go a long way in turning people discussing your company into people evangelizing for your company.
Organic Counterpart: Ignore ground-level link building tactics like looking for sites that mention your website but don’t link to you.
4. Not Using Localized Content
Most businesses know they need to use relevant keywords in their content so their website ranks on the search engines. Unfortunately, many business owners stop at the types of services or products they offer.
Local keywords, such as neighborhoods, ZIP codes, and nearby attractions can be important keywords that customers use in their searches to find businesses relevant in both their offerings and proximity. Taking the time to include these can drive incremental traffic for location-based queries in which businesses weren’t previously appearing.
Organic Counterpart: Not taking the time to go in and re-optimize your top performing product pages in order to drive traffic for additional, related keywords. The same powerful local keywords that can boost the performance of primary site pages can often do wonders for the SEO visibility of these more granular pages dedicated to specific products and services.