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The Importance of Local Search Marketing (And 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid)

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

The acronym SEO is thrown around constantly in conversations about building a successful online presence for your business.

While most of us understand that search engine optimization, or SEO, is essential to the health of your digital business, it can take time to nail down exactly why it's necessary, especially on a local level.

Is your business website optimized for local search? If not, you're missing out on a highly relevant—and local—audience. These local audiences often play a significant role in conversion because their search queries have high intent, meaning they're ready to buy, sign up, or schedule an appointment.

Before you dive in on improving local SEO, you must understand your target consumer's wants and needs and Google's ever-changing algorithm.

Ready to improve your local search visibility in today’s competitive digital market? Let’s go.

In today’s blog post, we share:

  • What local search marketing is,
  • What it takes to rank for local SEO
  • And 10 local SEO mistakes.

Understanding Local SEO

Local search marketing, or local SEO, is a specific digital process to optimize your website and social media pages to generate more local traffic.

Unlike organic SEO practices, local SEO is location specific.

The most common words in a local search often include "near me" or "in my area." Other close contenders include the specific town, city, or state. These small but essential pieces take your SEO practices to a more intimate, local level.

In fact, location-based searches, including the phrase "near me now," have grown 150%+ over the last two years. It is important to note that even without the words "near me" or "near me now" input into the search bar, local businesses that match the search query are automatically provided by search engines in most instances.

Local and organic SEO are similar and intertwined but require different strategies and optimization plans.

Pro tip: Use a marketing team specializing in your specific area and industry. Their inherent understanding of your local target audience boosts brand awareness leading to an extended brand footprint.

The better the local SEO, the higher your business and website will rank in Google's Local Pack—the gold standard of search engines.

What’s the Purpose of Local SEO?

Local SEO is equally, if not more important, than organic SEO.

When your website and content are optimized with local SEO, your customers’ online experience becomes seamless from start to finish.

Key Local SEO-Based Ranking Factors

Did you know that the Local Pack ranks in the number one position in 93% of Google searches?

This means that the Local Pack influences search engine results the most.

When someone searches for local businesses, like hair salons, beauty shops, toy stores, and grocery locations, Google returns a conveniently pinned map with the top three local listings.

Here’s how the top three are chosen based on Google’s algorithm:

  1. Proximity
  2. Prominence
  3. Relevance

Ideally, the Google Local Pack is where you want your business to appear every time someone in your targeted local area searches for the products, goods, and services you provide.

Let’s dive deeper into how to rank in the Local Pack.

What Factors Influence My Local Pack Ranking?

Four main factors influence local SEO. To stay competitive in your local market, you must ensure that you always use and keep these four areas complete and up to date:

1.    Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile (GBP) is a free service offered by Google. It allows nearby current and potential customers to search for a specific type of business based on their needs. Products, services, and 1-tap contact information are available within the search results listing.

2.    Customer Reviews

Reviews are non-negotiable to every business's online presence. Google's algorithm highly values reviews and can influence whether a potential customer clicks through your information and onto your website. A solid list of positive online reviews, with company responses, boosts your GBP and local rank.

In short, reviews can make or break your conversion rates.

3.    On-Page SEO

On-page SEO supports website visibility on the search engine results page (SERP). When mapping out your website, include relevant keywords, phrases, and contact information to rank high on the SERP and increase website traffic.

4.    Backlinks

Backlinking is a valuable piece to boost organic and local SEO. Including links to relevant information from highly authoritative sites tells search engines that other high-quality resources find your content essential and valuable to your target consumer base.

Now that we’ve discussed local SEO and the work involved in rising to the top of the SERP, it’s essential to look at some of the top mistakes.

When optimizing your local SEO, avoid these ten common mistakes.

10 Local Search Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

      1. Generalized Keywords
        When it comes to keywords, specifics matter.

        Instead of using simple phrases like “best restaurant” or “local salon,” try using more specific keywords like "Italian restaurant in downtown Calabasas" or "hair salon near me."

        Remember that when using “near me" searches, Google uses the searcher's present location to deliver accurate location-specific results.

      2. Inconsistent NAPW data
        Have you ever stumbled across a website with missing contact information? If so, you moved on and kept searching, right?

        Accurate and complete contact information is essential to a customer’s interaction with you, especially if they have high conversion intent.

        Businesses with complete and accurate contact information are also one of the easiest ways to match on SERP when conducting local searches.

        Review your contact information regularly everywhere your business appears online and ensure your name, address, phone number, and website (NAPW) are always accurate.

      3. No Mobile Website Features
        In 2019, 56 percent of U.S. online consumers searched for local businesses using a mobile browser, while 41 percent used a mobile app.

        This means most searches are done via a mobile device, so you must optimize your website for mobile use or risk losing potential customers.

        First, you must understand which devices your visitors use regularly and optimize for those formats.

        Remember that important factors in mobile optimization to keep in mind include the avoidance of slow page load times and poor site performance. These can hinder a user’s ability to navigate your site easily.

      4. Subpar Content
        Quality content is vital for all businesses, no matter your niche.
        Accurate, timely, relevant content attracts and retains new and prospective customers.

        Quality content is often your first direct communication with your consumer, so your message should educate and persuade them to purchase your products and services over your competition.

        Content includes:

        1. Social media posts
        2. Landing and website pages
        3. Blog posts
        4. Press releases
        5. Product and service descriptions
      5. Duplicate listings
        Did you know that duplicate listing can negatively impact your original business listing?

        A duplicate listing harms your credibility and communication, often leading to consumer confusion and frustration. In turn, these negatively impact your business by affecting website traffic, conversion rates, and overall bottom lines.

      6. Poor image optimization
        Images are just as important as content.

        When it comes to image selection, quality, size, and load speed matter.

        In fact, image optimization means finding the perfect balance of the smallest file size and acceptable image quality for both website and mobile versions.

        When adding images, consider file names, title tags, ALT tags, and captions as part of the image vetting and addition process.

      7. Keyword stuffing
        Keyword stuffing is just as it sounds: filling your page, blog, or other content with excessive keywords.

        Although keywords are essential to a high SEO ranking, keyword stuffing will do more harm than good.

        Keyword density (e.g., the total number of words in your content versus the number of times each keyword appears) is essential to the perfect balance of keywords in the content. Aim for a 2% goal.

      8. Unoptimized Blogs
        Firstly, it’s important to note that blog posts are an essential part of any content strategy.

        Every blog you write should be relevant to your target audience and utilize optimized keywords, including primary and secondary options.

        Keywords should be incorporated into the blog's title, meta description, H1 tags, and body copy.

      9. Poor Technical SEO
        Technical SEO is equally as important as organic and local SEO.

        Less glamorous, technical SEO is used to optimize the infrastructure of your website so search engines can easily access, crawl, interpret, and index your site.

        If your technical SEO is subpar, your business will always struggle to find its place amongst the Google ranks, even if your organic and local SEO are strong.

        Poor technical SEO leads to less site traffic and lower conversion.

      10. Skipping Analytic Reviews
        Tracking your analytics is essential to understand your wins and opportunities regarding SEO, especially with Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

        At a local level, analytics review is crucial in ensuring your online content meets your target audience's and your local SEO strategy matches their search intent for your specific region. If it does, great. If not, work with an SEO specialist to help with alignment.

Are you a new or established business wanting to extend its online presence?

Get there without unrelenting hours spent learning SEO tactics, and partner with a team of SEO marketing experts who can help you understand your goals and hit SEO goals.

Schedule a discovery call with our talented and experienced team today.

Ready to explore a partnership?

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