How Do Local Businesses Do Local SEO?
Most companies know that ranking at the top of search engine results can drive business, but there are a lot of misconceptions about search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Where should local businesses be focusing their efforts? And what mistakes could you be making that are limiting the success of an otherwise solid marketing strategy?
In this post, we’ll take a look at the most common SEO myths, what the truth is, and how to fix your current digital marketing strategy to align with best practices and positively impact your local business.
Why is local SEO important?
Local SEO marketing strategies focus on optimizing a business’s online presence for better visibility in a local market. In short, Local SEO efforts make it possible for your business to show up in Google search results when potential customers search online for products and services in their local area. The process of optimizing for a specific geographic area helps drive interest in your business and services, even if the searcher doesn’t know your brand.
SEO is a complicated, multi-layered undertaking, which is why many companies find it cost-effective to outsource through a reputable partner that is a subject matter expert.
Ironically, the best SEO company for a local business isn’t necessarily in the same geographic area: it’s the one that can help your business focus on moving the needle, with a strong track record of executing local search strategies that drive leads and visibility. That partner may not be in your own backyard!
Debunking SEO myths
So, what are businesses getting wrong about implementing local SEO strategies?
Let’s discuss some of the top myths and more importantly, how you can avoid these pitfalls and adjust your strategy. We’ve got you covered. Let’s debunk some myths…
Myth: Duplicating content boosts SEO ranking.
Truth: Search engines are looking for unique, relevant content on websites that make your business look like the authority on the subject.
Lots of companies think that SEO is all about the amount of content that you have – and that is definitely the meat of a strong SEO strategy, but duplicate content can be a double-edged sword. As a result of this assumption, businesses may make the mistake of trying to duplicate their content in the hopes that it will trick the algorithm into awarding more traffic.
Not only does this deliver a poor user experience, but search engines may flag websites attempting to manipulate their algorithms with duplicate content.
How to fix it.
If you have multiple pages on your website that are similar, there are a few ways to go about rectifying the situation. Each website is different, but one approach might be to consolidate the duplicate content on each page into one concise, hub page that serves as a central source of truth for your customers. It will be important to set up redirects if this is the approach you take. Another option, may be to write fresh content for the existing pages and find ways to expand the content to fit a wider range of keywords and searchers’ intents.
Myth: Reviews don’t matter that much for SEO
Truth: Positive reviews generate conversions.
Customer reviews are an integral part of any local SEO strategy. Especially with local services, customers are greatly influenced by the experience of other community members. Around 94% of consumers say they have avoided a business because of a negative online review.
In short, online reviews are the lifeblood of exposure. Your competitor’s 4.8 rating vs your 4.6 means they’ll will get top mindshare and pull in the best opportunities.
How to fix it.
Develop a program that encourages customers to leave reviews. One strategy is to outsource your review management and generation process. You can take control of your company’s online reputation by utilizing Socius Marketing’s customized, innovative Review Canvassing and Local Listing Management System, which allows you to regulate the conversation while generating positive reviews that reflect the high levels of customer service you provide.
Myth: You can get by with inconsistent contact information.
Truth: Accuracy is critical for a seamless customer experience and lead generation.
Search engines use advanced algorithms to determine whether your content is useful. That includes updated name, address, and phone number (NAP) contact information. Complete and accurate NAP citations keep your content relevant—a key tactic for gaining visibility in local search results.
How to fix it.
Make sure you use uniform NAP citations across all directories and update them on a regular basis. Working with a partner to manage all local listings in one place can ensure consistency and capture/scrub any duplicate or spam listings that may crop up.
Myth: SEO is a numbers game best played by keyword stuffing
Truth: Keyword stuffing causes search engines to flag content as spam.
Keyword stuffing is the practice of forcing keywords into the content of your site. This results in unnatural content that often creates a negative user experience. The old saying that SEO content writing is really just writing for bots is simply not the case anymore. Search engines flag this kind of content because it looks like spam and is usually unhelpful to the reader.
How to fix it
First, when optimizing content for your website, focus on a small set of priority, relevant keywords and think about the intent behind the searcher. Make sure you’re answering the questions they likely have, and you’ll naturally utilize relevant keywords without overdoing it.
How do you identify the right keywords to use? Modern keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush can help you pick the best keywords. However, experience is the best tool of them all. That’s why we employ a large team of experienced, professional writers and content strategists with deep expertise in home improvement to build our keyword strategies based off of research data and past performance. Ready to see how you stack up? Why not get a content audit and see where you stand?
Myth: Social media is for personal use and is overrated for business.
Truth: There is a high likelihood that your audience can be reached on social media and your business profiles are a small, but mighty piece of the SEO pie.
When it comes to SEO, there is a major misconception that social media doesn’t directly help your rankings. However, ensuring that you have a strong and accurate social presence offers you another avenue for driving traffic to your website while increasing backlinks, and ultimately lending to our goal of building out accurate and up-to-date offsite citations.
Keep in mind: When it comes to social media, no matter the platform, businesses will have to pay to play if they want to get in front of a wider audience of users. So, separate from your organic/SEO efforts, you’ll need to allocate a portion of your total budget towards a paid social ad budget. Don’t forget this piece!
How to fix it
Repurposing website content for different mediums can be a powerful way of developing a stronger online presence while keeping your profiles active and accurate.
At Socius Marketing, we offer the full gamut of social media services, including organic social media content production, social media advertising, and brand management. Contact us for a social media evaluation for your business.
Myth: On-page content doesn’t need backlinks.
Truth: Quality backlinks build page authority and can have a positive impact on SEO.
If you’re unfamiliar with backlinks, they’re simply links that direct people to your website content from other websites or directory listings.
Local link building is an SEO opportunity that businesses tend to overlook. Why do people overlook this? Well, it’s because it’s a very time-consuming, manual process that often yields minimal success. Establishing backlinks through partnerships with other local businesses can however help to leverage domain authority and drive website traffic.
How to fix it
Guest posting, creating locally specific content for your website, and getting listed on directory/aggregator websites can all be very useful ways of generating backlinks and greater local traffic.
Myth: Optimizing for mobile is a waste of time.
Truth: Websites are more likely to be viewed on smartphones than on computers.
This was true in 2010, and it’s even more true in 2022. Your website isn’t truly complete until it has been optimized for mobile browsing and utilization. With most searches being done via mobile devices today, failing to optimize for mobile could drive away users who will exit your site without giving you another chance. Need more proof? 80% of local mobile phone searches convert.
How to fix it
Mobile-first indexing ensures that your website is properly configured for mobile. Google’s PageSpeed Insights can help you determine if your website loads quickly across all devices. These two factors impact your site’s overall performance, which is why this ultimately impacts your overall SEO performance.
Give your marketing strategy a boost with a strategic SEO plan
While local marketing hurdles and challenges are numerous, the opportunities for local SEO growth are endless. However, learning all the ins and outs of SEO best practices to drive traffic to your website requires time and expertise outside of the scope of most local businesses.
Socius can help.
Schedule a consultation to start generating more local traffic and leads today.