Search engine Optimization (SEO) is a growing industry and a common practice amongst most businesses these days. While larger companies implement large-scale national SEO campaigns, small local businesses can also employ local SEO strategies of their own. If you are trying to execute a local SEO campaign for your small business, here is a list of five of the most common mistakes people make when trying to improve their local SEO that you will want to avoid.
Inconsistent Use of NAP
One of the first things to keep in mind when performing local SEO strategies is to remain consistent with your NAP listings. The term NAP stands for name, address, and phone number and this is the information about your business you want to share around the web.
It is important to stay consistent with how you list this information, as search engines like Google cross-reference this information across the various places it appears on the Internet and any inconsistencies can decrease SEO value.
Targeting the Wrong Keywords
Another common mistake companies make when doing local SEO is targeting the wrong keywords. The main issue here is targeting keywords and terms that are too broad or general.
As a small business, is it very difficult for you to rank well for a term like “used cars”. However, by targeting a geo-specific term like “New Orleans used cars”, it is possible to rank effectively. Not only is it more plausible to rank for these geo-specific keywords, but it is also more useful, as the traffic you will receive from ranking for these terms will be more targeted.
Keyword-Rich Link Building Campaigns
Another mistake people make with keywords in regards to local SEO is that they employ keyword-rich link building campaigns. While geo-specific keywords from the example above are useful, it is important to not abuse these terms when choosing anchor text for your links.
These are the terms you want to rank for, but using too many exact match anchor texts of these terms can actually result in penalties from Google as they view this as a “link scheme”. You may include a small number of these exact match anchors, but it is wise to vary your anchor text such as by including branded anchors as well as some partial match anchor text.
Producing Poor Content
One of the most common mistakes that companies make when trying to implement local SEO strategies is that they produce shoddy content and expect to acquire links with it.
If you are going to attempt to acquire links (through either guest posting or content marketing techniques), then you must realize that the only reason someone would want to link to your content is if it provides some sort of value. In terms of content marketing, this means something that is high quality and valuable enough that a person would want to share it with their friends, and for guest posting purposes, it means an article that provides value to the website’s audience.
Neglecting Social Media
Finally, a common pitfall of local SEO that you want to avoid is neglecting social media. Many small businesses will build a company Facebook or Google+ page and then think they are done. Simply creating a page is not enough; you must maintain it and use it to engage with existing and potential customers.
Social media can be used as a powerful tool for local SEO purposes and must not be neglected. Social media provides the opportunity to connect with customers on a personal level and it can increase the efficacy of your other local SEO efforts as it encourages social sharing. It can also be an inexpensive yet powerful means to increase brand awareness and attract new customers.
These are five of the most common mistakes that small businesses make when attempting to employ local SEO campaigns. Local SEO practices are similar to national SEO techniques, but they are not the same and local SEO presents its own unique challenges and pitfalls. By avoiding the mistakes listed here, you can ensure that your local SEO efforts will be more effective and beneficial for your company.
Paul Richardson is an inbound marketing specialist with a focus on small business marketing and local SEO. Although he enjoys writing about local SEO for LocalVox, Paul likes to spend his free time on the tennis court.
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