With more than 2.6 billion local searches a month, Local SEO is the next big thing in SEO and I can already see it becoming a powerful pillar of this strong marketing house, in the years to come. Local SEO is ideal for businesses that have their audience limited to a small niche or location i.e. coffee shops and restaurants.
You must have read many posts that talk about how to go about with local SEO or how to promote your local restaurant business online. But in this post I will discuss, what important things that a local business should avoid when it comes to online marketing! The reason why I have chosen food as my target industry is because I am a foodie myself and I have previously expressed this on my blog.
1. Incomplete Local Listings
Having your business registered on Google Local is very important, but whats more significant is to complete that listing instead of adding just the name, address and URL only; Google Local is not like any other normal directory.
As discussed above, local searches are growing at an incredible speed and according to a theory; people who search for a business phone number usually make the call within the next 24 hours. So, if you have an incomplete listing you probably will miss the lead. There are many tools available in the market to find phone numbers.
When dealing with Google Local listings, make sure everything about your business is there i.e. Business name, address, phone number, images, videos, available timings and payment options. In short you have to give almost every reason to potential customer to dial or visit your location.
2. One Website for all theory
Mobile searches are increasing rapidly and within the next few years analysts believe that they will take over internet surfing. So, if the website is not responsive, you are probably giving a potential customer a reason to bounce off of your website and move towards your competitors. Surprisingly, in the local SEO world, around 90% of SMBs don’t have a mobile friendly website.
3. In-consistency of NAPs
When dealing with yellow pages and data aggregators, it is important for the business and the brand to use the same business information in all the places. This helps Google to figure out whether the business is legit or not and score it accordingly, which leads to better rankings in Google Locals.
Avoid using multiple addresses and different information on all yellow pages and data aggregators. The idea is to collect all the latest and correct information for the business and make it live on Google Locals, Yahoo Maps, yellow pages and all other data aggregators.
Make sure that all the information is filled, correct and consistent on all local citation websites as well.
4. Self-generated reviews
Reviews play is an important role in making or breaking the image of a local business. The more positive reviews you have on your local business listing, the more likely is your business to convert potential leads into customers.
From a ranking standpoint, reviews play a vital role in getting your business more visibility in Google Locals though targeted key phrases.
What you should avoid is the inclusion of fake or self-generated reviews using different accounts and IPs. Remember, if you are smart, Google is smarter; they run a check to determine the IP addresses of accounts that are used to post reviews. Focus on activities that encourage your customers to write about you and your business instead.
5. Forums and Communities
One of the easiest ways to promote your business in local areas is to become active on local forums and communities. Furthermore by building connections and helping people, you can organically help promote your own online.
This sounds ambiguous, but what happens on ground is that businesses get into forums and communities and start spamming in order to get a link that points back to the website which is annoying as hell.
When promoting your local business online here are two things that you should avoid with reference to communities and forums.
Low quality forums and communities
Google is tightening the space for a website that continuously creates low quality content on their websites. There are tons of forums and communities that come under this mark, the idea is to stay away from low quality website and limit your activities to highest quality websites within your niche only.
Spam on the forums
Another thing that you should avoid is spamming. Forums and communities can be a great way to promote your business by offering help to others in the community, but dropping worthless comments will hurt your brand in the long run and will open more doors for Google penguin to attack you.
So these were just five tips; got any more?