Every local business in your region and across the country is trying to build their influence in the local SEO sphere. Your ability to gain the attention and patronage of people who live or are travelling nearby is incredibly important in today’s digitally driven economy. Chances are that you’ve got at least a few local SEO tactics in action and most businesses do. Maybe you’re slowly building a blog of locally helpful and relevant content, perhaps you’ve got a social media account active for the business.
There are many ways to do local SEO right and build a strong network of content and connections to your community. However, there are also a few significant mistakes you can make with your local SEO that will not only hinder your efforts, but they might also cancel out other effective SEO measures you’ve taken.
The most common mistakes in local SEO happen because they are easy mistakes to make. Fortunately, you can learn from the well-recorded history and avoid mistakes that others have made before you.
For a local business, your contact information is the most important digital asset you have. First, you want your website to make it easy for people to call, email, or find you as customers. Second, your online contact information is where search engines get their information from. Though a small part of your total website design, accurate contact information is a key to successful local SEO.
Contact Information as an Image
One of the first mistakes you can make is designing your website a little too much. While it may seem practical to display your contact information as an image, this can hurt your page results. Search engine crawlers can only read text that is printed in your page programming language, which mainly includes printed content and tags for relevance. However, any content contained in an image cannot be read, and therefore your contact information will not be added to the search engine’s references.
This means that even if people outright search for your business, the search engine may have suspiciously little information available. In cases where your listed address contributes to localisation efforts, the image will also not contribute to your SEO.
The Solution: Always use text to display your contact information. You can still use an image as long as the same data is conveyed in the text on the page as well.
Typos or Outdated Information
Another common problem is contact info that is incorrect somehow. A company name, address, or phone number that is even one digit off will stop interested potential customers from reaching out to you. Search engine crawlers can find your printed contact info and share it, but every dial will miss you. People will punch the wrong address into their GPS’s. This can happen either due to a typo when building your website or a failure to update if your contact information changes.
The Solution: Double-check the contact information displayed on your website in the header/footer or in the body of your contact page. If any aspect of your contact information changes, be sure to update your website in every place this information is shared.
Your website design and content contribute to the vast majority of any successful local SEO. It contains your landing pages, product and service pages, help and customer pages, and of course, your content blog. The way all of these assets are built will determine how search engines respond to your company.
Thin Navigation Tree
First, make your navigation tree orderly, planned, and nested. You want it to be easy to get back to the main pages and simple to search for the subject that is desired. Navigation should have a certain amount of depth and contain content on every page. In other words, you want website crawlers to ‘see’ that you have a nicely built website for people to spend time on.
The Solution: Consider building with a little depth, making sure that you have clusters of pages behind category pages and so on. A dynamically layered website tells the crawlers that there is active development and content for searchers to find.
Low-Quality or Thin Content
Search engines do their best to provide websites with a depth of content for users and failing to provide this depth is a mistake many small businesses make. While you can get started digital marketing as soon as you have a website, a low concentration of content will cause your results to be passed over for bigger, more prominent websites at first.
The Solution: Quickly fill out the basic pages on your website with content, then begin building a collection of detail pages. Blog posts are a great way to fill out your website content, as are detailed service and category pages.
No Conversion Funnel
Is your website designed to channel visitors from landing pages to purchase? This journey is called the conversion funnel, and most competitive sites are built with the funnel in mind. Ideally, you want something about your website to guide customers from visitor curiosity to interest to decision-making and finally to purchase. Without the conversion funnel design, you could be losing hard-won visitors who casually take a look at your website and click away.
The Solution: Work with a professional marketer to build your business website into a conversion funnel. Most of the changes you’ll need at first will be relatively minor, subtly engaging customers and encouraging them to continue. From there, you can expand with new conversion paths from specific landing pages.
Building a successful local SEO campaign is bigger and more complex than it seems on the surface. Almost every new small business joining the game makes a few mistakes at the beginning. While the good news is that these mistakes can’t hurt you, only slow you down, your business can skip them entirely by learning from this article and those that came before. If you’d like more local SEO tips or figurative road flares marking what tactics and mistakes to avoid, contact us today!