Did you know that four out of five consumers use search engines to find local businesses? What this means is that if your business is not optimised for local search, you’re missing out on about 80% of prospects. Local SEO is not only powerful but critical for your business to remain relevant.

Get this, a huge percentage of small businesses don’t have a search engine optimization strategy. This means that if you invest in both national and local SEO, you’ll have an edge over your competitors when appearing on searches and acquiring more customers.

The thing is, about 76% of consumers that search for local products end up visiting the shops on the same day, and 28% of them end up making purchases.

If you want to rise in local searches in 2021, you first need to understand the dos and don’ts of local SEO.

What is local SEO and why should you care? In this post, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about local SEO and how it can boost your small business exponentially.

Do Register Your Business on Google My Business

If you’re just beginning with SEO, Google My Business or GMB is the creme de la creme of local SEO. The first step to implementing your local SEO strategy by registering your business.

In addition to optimising for mobile, it’s imperative that you optimise for voice as well. Mobile voice searches are 300% more likely to have local intent. It may seem a bit early to optimise for voice search, so a lot of businesses are yet to do it, which gives you a competitive edge if you do it now and get way ahead.

Do Manage Your Reviews

Managing your Google My Business reviews is a vital aspect of local SEO. Positive reviews are inherently good for business as well as brand reputation and will boost your authority on the search engines. On the other hand, bad reviews will have a negative impact on how Google ranks your listing.

The best way to mitigate bad reviews is by providing exceptional customer service. More than that, you need to manage them positively by resolving them and trying to retain those customers. This will, in turn, show that you listen to your customers and want to do the best possible to enhance their experience with your business.

Don’t Stuff the Footer With Zip Codes and Cities

Similar to keyword stuffing, adding zip and city code keywords into your footer is a bad idea. This is a tactic that has been used for a long time now, and at first, it worked very well. However, when Google realised it, it created algorithms that penalised websites that used this manipulative behaviour.

The search engine then came up with quality guidelines that stated loading irrelevant keywords in an attempt to manipulate website ranking resulted in a negative user experience. It may be tempting because you want to rank high for your keywords, but it will result in penalties from Google.

Don’t Set up GMB Locations Where You Don’t Have a Store

NAP (name, address, and phone number) are some of the most vital ranking factors, and they need to be consistent across all your online platforms. A lot of people have tried ranking for different cities where they don’t have active offices as long as they could receive the verification postcard by mail.

The problem is that there were too many empty business listings, and Google has been trying to clean them up ever since. At the moment, Google has new guidelines for representing business addresses and prohibits virtual offices and other remote locations, so don’t do it.

Don’t Duplicate Content On Different Location Pages

Duplicate content is highly discouraged for various reasons. For starters, search engines are forced to choose between the different versions, and their best version may not be what you consider the best. Even worse, there will be internal competition for your search terms, which will have a negative impact on your ranking.

The worst-case scenario is that if Google detects duplicate content and feels that you’re trying to manipulate the search engine, it’ll remove you from its index. A lot of businesses find themselves in this situation. They feel that they need different location-based queries and create landing pages specific to various locations.

The problem arises when they use the same content and only tweak location address or state name. This will automatically lead to a decline in ranking, which is bad for business. Pages solely meant for search engines and not users are known as doorway pages and are penalised by Google.

Don’t Set up the Wrong Categories

It may seem hard to understand how anyone can possibly use the wrong categories on the business listing, but it’s quite common and quite easy to get wrong. You see the first category you input in Google, it has to be relevant and specific to what you do. For instance, if you specialise in tuning guitars, you need to input guitar tuning services and not musical instrument repair services.

The former will be easier to rank for than the latter as it is more specific to your services. It’s also not advisable to stuff keywords into your categories by opting for many general categories but instead, stick to one or two.

The Best and Worst of Local SEO: Vital Tips To Consider

Local SEO doesn’t have to be complicated as long as you follow all the guidelines stipulated by Google. If you fill out all the relevant information on Google My Business and follow these tips, then you’ll be well on your way to beating your competition. 

Now, check out our website for more informative SEO posts. If this sounds too complicated, please get in touch with us, and we’ll be more than glad to do it for you.