Interested in enhancing local SEO efforts? If you are serious about making your website a hub for local consumer inquiries and the business you run is restricted to a specific geographic area, then it is crucial to lay emphasis on local SEO. This will prove to be one of the most effective website marketing techniques. It helps you to gain higher ranks on the Google especially when local people search for products / services you cater.
However, before you integrate some of the known or lesser known strategies, here are some do's and dont's of local SEO that you must follow for the year 2016:
Dont’s For Local SEO
1. Inappropriate Business Category
Once you create your Google My Business listing, it is time to benefit from choice among Google’s category base categories. When you pick wrong categories, there are chances you get invisible in the local pack results.
2. False Business Address
Do not believe anyone who suggests you to falsify your business location to Google. Google is smart and reads street level signage. It clearly understands the difference between a virtual office and legitimate address. It will instantly catch a fake address. So make sure a business location you list with Google is 100% genuine. Give real-world location of your business, regardless of how you operate.
3. Mis-match NAP
None of the search engines including Google will assume you’ve entered right info for name, address and phone number (NAP). In fact, they investigate online and gather several mentions of business data pieces related to your organization. Once most of the sources match, Google will be 'ok' with relying on you and also reward you with firmer rankings. In case, there are variants in your name, address or phone number, or mismatching call tracking numbers, the trust of Google will shatter and affect all of your ranking efforts.
Hence, it is crucial to take at least a minute to do a quick yet thorough check of your local business listing via using some of free listing tools available. Once you locate mismatching NAP, start weighing paid as well as manual solution options for cleaning up traditional listings and varied references to business on news sites, blogs, social media, etc.
4. Malware on the Website
Any malware presence on website will show up as a serious warning by Google - 'This Site May Harm Your Computer'! This is one thing that drives customers away from site. So make sure the infected or hacked website is fixed as soon as possible.
5. Violations Reports
These days, a lot of people believe in lending a helping hand in the battle against spam by making reports to Google directly about violations of the guidelines. These people may be your competitors, marketing experts or customers.
Do’s For Local SEO
1. Physical Address for Search City
If you are not physically located in a specific city, you may not be included in local pack results of Google associated with a city other than your present address. Some of the exceptions here may include having a unique business model. Another example is that of a business located in rural areas. It is not wise to pin hopes for ranking locally for a city you actually do not occupy physically. Instead, it is crucial to go for organic rankings with content you develop for location-less cities. Paid advertising may also work.
2. Structured Citations
‘Structured’ citations are assigned as those existing on conventional search engines as well as core local business directories. Here, you may think of options such as Facebook Places, Google My Business, Bing Places, Superpages, YellowPages, Yelp, and Citysearch. According to experts, consistent name, address, phone number (NAP) on these all of these sources matters a lot. However, it is also important to focus on unstructured citations. These may include regular mentions on various small local directories, online news, social media, and blogs etc.
3. Google My Business Category
Strictly avoid picking incorrect Google My Business categories. In case, you have gone for the wrong categories, take ample time to research better alternatives. Thereafter, you must edit your listing. Google would like you to select the fewest yet more specific categories for your business.
4. Address Proximity
The factor is usually ignored. However, this should be considered seriously as it makes for a powerful and positive factors you don’t have direct control over but can indirectly make an impact. Search engines such as Google is fully aware of where a user searches precisely from and strive to show him the results very near to his physical location. This is also known as observable on various desktop devices as well as mobile devices. It isn't possible to control where your customers search from. However, it is possible to ensure that the content on the website makes maximum effort to prove ‘local-ness’ to each searcher. Remember that local landing pages are an effective approach for ensuring locations for business and represented by very unique, high quality, accessible page for any website.
5. Quality/Authority for Citations
Citations or local business listings on search engines such as Yelp, Google, Facebook, YP and various other major players should a dynamic and positive impact as compared to those you receive from weaker, lesser / unknown sources. Integrating listing in small, hyperlocal directories may work as genuine advantage for local businesses. Do not waste efforts on getting listed in low-quality general directories. This will not get you any significant ROI.