local seo on screen
20 February 2017 | Jonathan Lyon

Local SEO A-Z #6: What not to do

Google is paying more and more attention to local SEO, adapting to searchers’ desires to find businesses nearby to them. This makes local SEO a critical tool for businesses that want to attract nearby customers.

In our last blog we looked at some key metrics that matter to local SEO. Now that we have discussed what local SEO is and how to improve your local SEO, it is time to look at some of the pitfalls and how you can avoid them.

google local card

Don’t just claim your location

It is easy to just claim your business through Google My Business (GMB). Simply input your businesses details and your office will appear in maps with your business name tagged to it. However, Google My Business offers some sophisticated tools that you should be taking advantage of.

Google My Business is essentially a profile for your business. Keeping this up to date by adding new images for example, can help your business remain relevant and rank higher. Google’s local pack will also allow you to include deals and promotions below your core listing.

GMB offers local insight about your website that can help you understand how people are finding your business and how they interact with your content, allowing you to continually improve your content.

google my business insight

Don’t forget contact detail consistency

As discussed previously, building local citations, by registering your business with high-authority sites, will help improve your site’s local online presence. In this process, it is vital to ensure the consistency of your contact details on every directory they appear.

Your contact detail footprint is how Google verifies that you are who you say you are. If the information Google finds on your website doesn’t match the data that it finds in other locations (i.e. Google My Business, Yelp.com) then that will have an effect Google’s confidence in your page, ultimately resulting in lower rankings.

Don’t forget reputation management

The reputation of your business matters. Reviews are crucial in generating business from local search and they play a part in your website’s ranking. This makes managing your reviews vital.

Luckily there are a couple of simple things that you can do to manage your business’s reviews. First of all it is important to make sure that you have rating facilities available, whether on your own website or on social media business pages. With this function in place, make sure to prompt customers to rate your products or services. A higher number of reviews carry more weight in terms of influencing potential customers and Google’s ranking.google local review example

It is also important that you don’t ignore bad reviews. At the very least, replying to bad reviews shows people that your business cares about its customers and is willing to resolve any issues. Another benefit of encouraging customers to review your business is that good reviews will quickly push bad reviews off of the search results.

It is useful to note that reviews from third party websites such as Trip Advisor or YP.com may also appear under your business search results. So it will be beneficial to have customers review your business on these third party sites, particularly if your rating is not satisfactory.

Don’t try to cheat Google

It goes without saying that attempting to cheat Google will only ever work short term if at all. Google has laid out rather strict guidelines for how to represent a business on Google. It is recommended to follow these guidelines. Trying to game the system by keyword stuffing footers, setting up locations where you don’t have a physical presence, or placing your business under the wrong categories will all hurt your ranking and could result in a penalty.

If you are looking to adapt and progress with these changes by Google and win the local SEO race, then feel free to talk to one of our local SEO experts here at Tamar. If you’re a business with a focus on local enquiries, then we can make sure that you are making most of the features available in the Google local pack.

Jonathan Lyon