Local search rankings: what should your business not be doing?

Thinking ‘local’ is vital for any business wanting to improve its online presence, and by ‘local’ we mean the local market. Why is it so vital? Well, simply because it’s becoming an increasingly important ranking factor for businesses. According to research by HubSpot nearly half of all Google searches are local ones: what’s more, over half of the local searches conducted via a smartphone result in a purchase? Other research has found that 4 out of the 10 customers your business is trying to reach carry out at least 1 local search each day, and that 70 per cent of the customers you’re trying to reach will use a local search to find offline businesses.

If you’re a business looking to improve online visibility, there are numerous channels you can turn to for help and inspiration. Some will give you valuable tips on improving your business’ local SEO: some will even offer specific advice on what might work best for your business. Few, however, will ever tell you what mistakes you need to avoid. Well, we hope to put that record straight. Here are 5 factors that might just be undermining your local SEO efforts.

Failing to give full, accurate and consistent details about your business location

When any potential customer searches for local goods and services, they naturally expect to find the name, address and contact number (NAP) details of any local company who wants their business. It’s all well and good offering great value for money on goods and services, but if your customers don’t know where to find you you’ll lose sales. Yet in many instances this information is not always available or provided by companies. It’s also worth remembering that this NAP information is not only important to customers; it’s also important to Google as it uses the information to rank businesses in its local search results.

Consistency is every bit as important as accuracy for local SEP purposes. Google and other search engines cross-check NAP information across the web, particularly in relation to online Yellow Page results and directory listings. If the information provided by businesses is inconsistent across the spectrum, then local search engine rankings will be affected.

Failing to claim a Google My Business Page

This is a subject we’ve dealt with before, but it’s worth mentioning again. If your business wants to rank well in local SEO, then it will need a Google My Business Page. Why is it so important? Well, studies by Moz have shown that the My Business signal is one of the most important local ranking factors, coming in at 14.7 per cent. Only 3 other local ranking factors hold more sway – On-page signals (21%), Link signals (18.3%) and External location signals (15.5%).

If you’ve not yet set up a My Business Page, then our advice is to do it forthwith. For help on how to set up your business page see (https://www.searchandmore.co.uk/news/google/setting-google-business-page-5-simple-steps/)

Failing to get reviews

As a business your biggest advocates are your satisfied customers. If they’re happy with the service you’ve provided and the products you’ve supplied, then let them tell others about. Share their opinions and reviews and let them tell other potential customers how good you are and how you can be trusted to deliver.

Reviews according to Moz account for roughly 9.8 per cent of local ranking factors, so by not seeking or asking for reviews your business is seriously undermining its impact in the local search results. So ask your customers for good reviews, even offer incentives if people are not immediately forthcoming. Do whatever it takes to get great reviews as these can have a serious impact on local search rankings.

Ignoring common and shared SEO signals

Although it is fair to say that local SEO and normal SEO are different beasts; it’s also fair to say that they do have certain things in common. Local SEO, like regular SEO, is influenced and affected by domain authority, backlinks and search results in click-through-rates, amongst others.

Ignoring negative local ranking factors

Your local search ranking can suffer or be jeopardised by a number of negative local ranking factors, so it is important to ensure these problems are addressed. What negative factors are we talking about specifically? Well, listing your business in an incorrect My Business category, having an incorrect address or phone number, or an inconsistent display across the web of contact information, having a PO box rather than a physical address, negative My Business reviews and not dealing with and removing any malware issues on your website. All of these factors can have a detrimental effect on local search rankings, so these issues should never be ignored.

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