The recent changes in Google’s search algorithms were aimed for local businesses to strive harder in getting visibility online. There is a shifting trend of consumer activity that prompted this change. More and more people are using mobile phones for searching information about local businesses online. The internet and their mobile phones are now a means of getting convenient information without physically engaging their prospective establishment.
Google’s changes encourage local businesses to step up their game in maintaining credible information about their business online. There is a focus on showing anything that talks about your local business online must show consistency, accuracy, and credibility.
Unfortunately, the recent changes do not necessarily translate to local businesses adapting quick to the changes, especially for small to mid-sized local establishments. For the most part, only dedicated local businesses are up to date with the information, able to adjust to the changes, and are getting the most visibility over competition.
But this does not need to be so for your local business. Your local business can actually compete for visibility with simple steps, get more public recognition, and rank better on organic searches.
To maximize the benefits of optimizing your local SEO, you need to avoid the following practices that can get your pages “invisible” in local searches:
Taking for Granted Your Local Listings
Google’s web crawlers puts emphasis on seeking accuracy and consistency when scanning through the information provided on your pages and local listings. Failing to keep your local business’ public information up to date can guarantee invisibility. Updating the local listings pertaining to your business sends a message to the web crawlers that it still exists and hence improve you brand image in the eyes of Google.
Business Information is not Verified on Online Listings
As much as possible, business owners need to take time and sift through all the information that is going to be presented to the public about the business. All information requested by online listings should be filled up whenever possible. Check your Google Maps and see if your business is already marked there. If not, submit an update to Google Mapmaker containing all pertinent and up to date info. Google Maps are not the only ones you need to check out.
Not Investing in Legit Online Business Directories
Online listings like Yelp, Yahoo! Business, Bing Places for Business and other websites that feature local citations should be considered as well. Google Maps are not the only reliable thing being considered by Google’s web crawlers when comparing information about your local business. Aim for established credible online business directories.
Not Bothering to be Consistent
Think about all local citations and other online business listings you got your business signed up for. If one of those listings presented a different data from the rest, then you got inconsistency right there. A small error but for a web crawler quantifying the reliability of the information, it can mean a lot.
A misplaced apostrophe or misspelled name and address can be damaging to your rankings if not corrected. Google’s search engines may not be forgiving for small typos as compared to humans.
Poor Emphasis on Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
These areas still matter as these provided snippets of information about your business page. However, their significance can drastically decrease when space available is not maximized. Focus on short, clear, and relevant information about your business when providing a Meta description.
Local businesses should follow a simple format called NAP. It stands for Name, Address of the business, and Phone number. These basic details are significant on their own. Naturally, local organic searches would have an easier time narrowing down your business just by providing the correct address.
Not Doing Evaluations on Your Business Site Frequently
You optimized your local SEO for now and that is good. Now keep it that way. Great SEO practices today may be poor practices by tomorrow. You should not be deterred of the costs and time it takes to have your page optimized. Take time to evaluate your website every now and then and stay up to date with the latest trends in SEO.
If you had your site outsourced, best to keep note of the changes of your pages to keep track on what else could be done. Business owners may take for granted their business site because of being engrossed with core operations. However, opportunity costs can actually happen from an overlooked misrepresentation of the business from its local page.
Keeping SEO False Expectations Short Term and Long Term Gains at Bay
Optimizing your local business site and expecting a surge of customer engagement may be enticing. However, it usually does not work that way, not immediately anyway. Optimizing your page 24/7 is a long term commitment because changes can happen with the search engine’s algorithm anytime. Furthermore, your local business may not be the only business optimizing their pages.
It can take months before you see changes in figures; faster if you keep a streak of positive reputation about your site. Optimizing your business page is a process and it should not be halted midway.
Poor Social Media Marketing Strategies
How your business is perceived in social media affects your rankings. It can be a bit tricky to pin point what actual events in social media can get your page ranked reliable. But the truth remains that social media does hold an influence over a search engine’s algorithm.
Businesses could actually get noticed even without a business site to work with. Using several social media platforms compatible to your local business, you can keep building a good reputation from there and eventually see visibility in search engines. Just make sure you fill out all the relevant information. Remember, accuracy and consistency matters even in social media.
While there is a limit to what you can do in social media as a business, there are areas in your marketing you can still have control. A simple act of active soliciting for customer reviews and ratings can help boost your presence online.
Avoiding the Basics of What Makes a Website
As a business owner, plenty of things may come into mind other than optimizing your page. However, your business site is also part of your business, and just like any other important aspect of a business, it demands notice.
You do not need to be tech savvy to learn the basics of coding. You just need to understand the simple components that can influence the ranking of your page. These include title tags, Meta description, headings, and keyword placements. Because these details are what web crawlers actually understand and care more about.
Search engine may not understand as well as humans do but they are getting smarter. In the meantime, we have to translate our language to the language these web crawlers are used to.
Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper is the tool you need to help highlight your business’ important details to web crawlers. These helps the search engines understand the contents of your website better and help it rank higher.
Emphasis More on Keywords than Quality Content
Proper use of keyword placement and density still matters. But effective SEO practices do change every now and then. Your content’s accuracy and consistency now matters more. Local businesses should shift focus on providing accuracy and consistency of their business details online.
Your local business’ unique products and services are also content which web crawlers consider. Whenever you are introducing your business online, answer the following questions first:
- What is your business?
- Where is your local business?
- How can people reach your business?
- When is your business available?
- What does your business has to offer?
Consider Bringing in the Professionals
Implementing a local seo plan requires a lot of effort in addition to knowing all of the latest rules. It can be a good idea to consult with professional web agency specializing in local SEO to make sure you get the most out of the time, money and effort you put into this business endeavor. With a little persistence and hard work you can start to rank higher on Google, so do what you need to do to get started.