Local search engine optimization (LSO) has become a hot topic among small business owners in recent years. This cornerstone strategy involves optimizing a business to achieve higher rankings and visibility for relevant searches performed with local intent. While LSO is undoubtedly helpful in attracting customers and driving sales to a brick-and-mortar business, the following mistakes can hinder a business’s ability to succeed in the search results.
#1) Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly
If you’re business’s website isn’t mobile friendly, you’ll have a hard time achieving a top ranking for local searches. According to Search Engine Land, more than half of all searches performed on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have mobile intent. To take advantage of this traffic, your website needs a mobile-friendly design, such as a responsive design.
#2) Inconsistent NAP
When creating online citations for your local business, use a consistent name, address and phone number (NAP). While using variations of your business’s NAP may seem harmless — especially if the information is still technically accurate — it confuses search engines as they try to pinpoint your geographical location. Use a single NAP format when creating online citations for your business to prevent this from happening.
#3) Overuse of Keywords
There’s nothing wrong with including the local keywords for which you want to rank on your website, social media profiles, directory listings, etc. However, you should avoid overdoing them. If your website’s homepage consists of nothing more than mentions of your business’s NAP and other local information, search engines may view your website as being spam, in which case it probably won’t rank high or at all in the search results for local keywords.
#4) Overlooking GMB
One of the most valuable tools for LSO is Google My Business (GMB). Formerly known as Google Places, this is Google’s online directory of local businesses and organizations. Here, you can create more than just a local citation for your business. It’s a complete directory where you can add relevant information and even upload photos about your local business.
#5) Not Tracking Results
Finally, you need to track the results of your LSO strategy. This means keeping track of the keywords and regions for which your business ranks in the search results. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult to track local search rankings than it is to track standard search rankings. There are several tools that can help, however, including those offered by Moz. Using the right tool, you can automate your LSO analytics, thereby providing you with deeper insight into what works and what doesn’t