As a local business owner, you likely know you should be focusing on local SEO to drive more foot traffic and sales. But it’s easy to make strategic mistakes that actually undermine your local search optimization efforts.
Small oversights can sabotage your progress in getting found locally online. Before you know it, you’ve wasted time and money on local SEO that’s not moving the needle.
In this article, I’ll cover 10 of the most common local search ranking mistakes businesses make and practical tips to avoid them. By understanding these local SEO pitfalls, you can steer clear and ensure you’re taking the right strategic approach.
Whether you’re handling local SEO in-house or working with a local SEO company, you’ll want to sidestep these issues to set your business up for local search success. Read on to learn what to watch out for and what tactical fixes to have on your radar!
Not Having a GMB Listing
A Google My Business (GMB) listing has become essential for local SEO. Google leverages these business profiles heavily in local pack search results. So not having one means you’re invisible for many local searches.
Be sure to properly claim or create a GMB account for each of your business locations. Flesh out key details like your address, phone, photos, descriptions, and amenities.
Optimize your GMB posts with location-based keywords too. And add attributes like services, specialties, and products offered to stand out. Taking the time to enhance your GMB presence pays off.
Don’t underestimate the power of customer reviews to provide local SEO signals. The more positive verified reviews you can accumulate on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp, the more you boost credibility.
Proactively seek out reviews through email requests, thank you pages, and follow-up calls with customers. Incentivize happy customers to take a minute and leave a review.
Respond professionally to any negative reviews to resolve issues. And monitor review velocity and sentiment over time as a useful local KPI. Investing in review generation and management pays big dividends.
Citations are listings of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across key online directories, review sites, and local data aggregators. Inconsistent or missing citations can negatively impact local SEO.
Be sure your NAP is completely consistent across top sites like Google My Business, Apple Maps, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Yahoo, and more. Correct any inaccuracies lowering your citation strength.
Build new citations on niche and up-and-coming directories related to your industry. The more complete and consistent your citations, the better for local authority.
Poor Mobile Optimization
With growing local searches happening on smartphones, having a mobile-friendly site is now a local SEO necessity. If your website isn’t responsive or difficult to use on mobile, it can turn off potential customers.
Optimizing for mobile needs to be a priority. Ensure your site is responsive with a mobile-friendly design. Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for Google. Optimize checkout and forms for mobile users.
Improving site speed and navigation for mobile provides a better user experience. And it ensures your brand puts its best foot forward for today’s on-the-go local searchers.
Having duplicate or inconsistent business listings across directories dilutes your local SEO authority. Don’t let inconsistencies undermine your optimization.
Be vigilant about consolidating any duplicate GMB listings into a single verified profile. Also, watch for variations of your NAP that create duplicate citations.
Use tools like Moz Local to monitor, merge, and correct any duplicate listings that may be diluting your local signals. Consistent NAP citations are SEO gold.
Insufficient Local Link Building
Don’t neglect local link-building as a means of gaining locally relevant credibility. Things like guest posts on city-specific sites, local sponsorship, and partnerships can provide SEO value.
Identify opportunities to get links from trusted directories and niche sites popular in your region and industry. Also, develop locally-optimized blogs and resources on your own site that others may link to.
Local link signals bolster your relevance and authority for ranking in geographic-specific searches. Make local link-building part of your ongoing efforts.
Ignoring Voice/Conversational Search
With the rise of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, voice search optimization has become crucial for local SEO. If your website isn’t optimized for conversational queries, you may be invisible.
Use natural language and conversational keywords on pages. Improve site speed for voice. Optimize for long-tail question-based queries. And take advantage of featured snippets opportunities.
Voice search is only growing, so take steps to boost your visibility and leverage this emerging local search opportunity.
Not Using Schema Markup
Implementing schema markup is valuable for improving local SEO through enhanced rich results, snippets, and clicks. Schema visually highlights your business info.
Use schemas like LocalBusiness, FAQPage, Events, and Reviews to make your listings stand out. This can improve CTRs and conversion rates.
Schema also reinforces your business’s legitimacy. Leverage microdata, JSON-LD, and other schemas to reinforce your credentials.
Failing to Monitor and Adjust
Don’t “set and forget” your local SEO efforts. You need to actively monitor rankings, reviews, citations, and other KPIs to spot issues and opportunities.
Set up tracking in tools like Google Analytics, Search Console, and Moz for key metrics. Review reports frequently and address underperforming areas.
Local SEO is an ongoing process. Continuously optimize pages, expand keywords, increase links/reviews, and keep evolving efforts over time.
In implementing an effective local SEO strategy, avoiding common mistakes is just as important as executing the fundamentals. Steer clear of pitfalls like poor mobile optimization, lack of voice search planning, and insufficient review generation to ensure success.
Consistently monitoring efforts and investing in essentials like optimized GMB listings, citation management, and local link building provides the winning formula over time. Work diligently to execute an optimized local SEO services plan and avoid miscues. This comprehensive approach sets your business up for local search visibility and customer growth.