For businesses looking to leverage the power of local SEO, it’s important to understand how to create a website that sticks in search results locally.
For instance, what do you see when you Google coffee shops in Dublin? If you’ve your own business, how can you rank to find your coffee shop in the list below?
It’s no secret that local SEO can help you rank higher on local search results. When you use the right approach, you can reduce the competition, narrowing down the other results from around the world into only your locality.
So, how can businesses improve their local SEO?
15 Most Common Local SEO problems
We’ve seen dozens of clients in Ireland unknowingly neglect local SEO – which leads to a drop in rankings. It’s not too difficult to find out if you’re doing something wrong.
Let’s look at which mistakes are more typical and why they’re so problematic.
1. Lack of Google My Business
Many entrepreneurs in Ireland fail to consider creating a profile on this platform. If you’re thinking about SEO, you need to think about Google.
Google My Business enables your business to show up on Google Maps with relevant information. Potential customers can check your location, contact information, and opening/closing times.
2. Google My Business duplicates
Other businesses create profile duplicates on the app. That’s a big issue since Google doesn’t like duplicated content in its results.
Doing so is against the platform’s ToS. Make sure your business only has one profile and location. Also, your contact details need to be up to date.
3. Missing categories
Some businesses take the necessary precautions, yet they fail to fill all the relevant categories on their profiles. You want to take your time when doing so.
Missing categories means you’re missing marketing space. You want to add all the relevant categories applicable to your business.
4. Missing contact details
If your business has a website, check your contact page thoroughly. You want to make sure that all the information there is on your Google My Business profile. This includes your store work hours, store contact information, and store options – like if you offer both dine out and take out options.
Google uses this information to verify that your business exists. They will actively avoid incorrect information.
5. Name-address-phone information (NAP) inconsistency
If your contact page online has different information than what users find elsewhere, it can harm your SEO ranking.
6. Lacking citations
Mention your NAP details on other relevant websites like Yelp. Use citations when possible as it adds authority.
7. Poor (or no) reviews from customers
Online reviews can be a challenge for local businesses. If you don’t have any reviews, reach out to your customers.
Email follow-ups are an excellent choice. Try not to feel frustrated if it’s a slow process; every review counts.
8. Poor web content
After Google My Business, focus on your website. Having too little content that’s also hard to read and not engaging isn’t going to help. Google checks your competitors, and if you have a coffee shop that just has a landing page – you may be losing out. Other coffee shops in Dublin, for instance, may list out menus, offer customer testimonials, and have a blog for coffee lovers in the city.
Having more relevant content means higher chances of better information and value – that matters to Google.
9. Low link quality
Link quality refers to the authority of other websites linking to your website. If no one is linking back to you, you’re missing out.
Good content makes it more likely for websites to use you as a reference.
10. Social media neglection
Local SEO is incomplete without social media marketing. Social media can attract your business, which results in reviews, specific searches, and more. Reach out to your local community in Ireland – or wherever you are.
11. Bad mobile optimization
There are more mobile users today than ever before. Search engines keep prioritizing mobile experience for all websites and mobile optimization can be as important as loading speeds.
Check how fast your website is loading up in Ireland if you’re looking to optimize your website for local SEO.
12. Not adapting to keyword changes
You don’t need to focus on every good keyword out there. Keywords are continually changing. Some strategies can be vital today but may not work tomorrow.
You want to stay on top of all these changes. When it comes to local SEO, you also need to look at the keywords you need to rank locally.
For instance, when it comes to coffee shops, you want to rank for keywords like “Coffee shops in Dublin,” even if these terms have a lower search volume. That’s because you’re targeting Dublin customers, and you wouldn’t benefit much from keywords like “best coffee shops in the world” when it comes to making your sales.
13. No internal linking
Internal links are important for backlinking. Learning how to add the correct links for your readers’ convenience is an art that not many understand. Link out to your main anchor pages from other blogs. This helps Google know what the most important pages on your website are.
14. Ignoring SEO fundamentals
Local SEO still follows many of the same rules as organic SEO. You’ve probably seen linking, content quality, and mobile optimization in organic SEO lists. Don’t fall for the idea that the two can’t complement each other.
15. Neglecting website responsiveness
Finally, website responsiveness is necessary for everyone. Today, users are unlikely to remain on a website that takes too many seconds to load.
Bounce rates are abysmal, and—despite SEO’s relative ambiguity in most subjects—virtually all marketers agree that loading times and responsiveness are vital.
Solving Local SEO Issues
Many factors come into play when determining what’s messing with your local SEO. If your business is not ranking in Google Local SEO even after following the tips above, look to find out the main issues to address them.
1. Spend enough time setting up Google My Business
Google My Business often makes up about half of all these problems. We’ve also seen our clients fail to leverage these profiles effectively.
To know what you’re doing wrong, you may want to search for other businesses in Ireland and look at their Google My Business profiles. Or hire an SEO expert like us to do it for you.
That’s important because Google will prioritize your business for certain users depending on how close they are to you. It’s also free, and letting users find routes, and reviewing your business also helps in SERP ranking.
2. Track external mentions of your business
Online mentions about your brand and customer reviews help in SEO. Search engines use them to assess your website’s authority—or how trustworthy and valuable your content is.
However, you don’t want them to become a disadvantage. Insufficient citations, like wrong phone numbers and addresses, can mess with your ranking. Check your business phone numbers are up-to-date and the store opening hours correctly listed.
3. Encourage customers to review your service
Reviews can do wonders for your local SEO. It lets you attract more customers and tell Google that your business is worth their time. You can make a few changes to remind customers to leave a review.
You can include a reminder in your menu, receipts, and more. Just remember not to be too pushy since that can be awkward for some. Having a few positive reviews is better than having twice as many mixed reviews.
4. Create compelling content for your local audience
The best way to earn customer loyalty and attract potential buyers is to show them you’re ready to offer value. Creating useful blogs and content is a great way to provide free value that convinces visitors that your business cares.
However, if you’re looking to rank for local SEO, target keywords that your local audience needs.
For instance, in the coffee shop example that we talked about, your website audience is those looking for a good coffee shop in Dublin – and probably are already in Dublin. So, look at what’s interesting for them. On the other hand, if you’ve a law firm, you need to target keywords relevant to the area you’re offering your services in.
Giving away tips or offering entertaining content on your social media relevant to your local audience also attracts more customers, thus increasing your reviews.
5. Boost your social media presence
Many people seem to think that social media is less important for local ventures. The opposite is true, as you can use it to give you a considerable edge over the reduced competition.
Your brand’s social media account is ideal for promoting special offers and news about your website. You can leverage extensive advertisement features on Facebook and Instagram, combined with Google Maps, to drive customers effectively toward your business.
6. Learn general SEO
Finally, local SEO isn’t too dissimilar to its organic counterpart. You’re just looking to reduce how many businesses compete against you for those top results. Things like backlinks, readability, website responsiveness, and loading speeds are still important.
Depending on your location, you’ll likely not be competing against large brands. So, learning the fundamentals and implementing them can provide a noticeable advantage.
By Soubhik Chakrabarti