Search Engine Optimization for local businesses is incredibly important in the modern age. As more and more of the market turns into millennials and Gen Z-ers, more and more customers are using the internet to search for the businesses they require, as opposed to relying on more old-school methods such as word of mouth or traditional advertising. With all the businesses which are trying to get ahead in Google, it’s natural to want to stand out by climbing the ranks with SEO techniques. However, make sure that you aren’t doing any of these crucial SEO mistakes, as you could be doing your business more harm than good!
Although the secrets of Google’s magical SEO algorithms remain a mystery (and change all the time) one thing is for sure – keyword stuffing will get you nowhere. At the dawn of SEO, tech-savvy companies used to stuff their keywords all over their page, forcing them unnaturally into their website’s footer or other areas. Some developers would even change the color of their text to match their site’s background, “hiding” keywords in the background of the site. Google has quickly cottoned on to keyword stuffing and punishes you for it, so don’t even bother!
Using keywords unnaturally
If you’re going to use certain keywords in your copy, you need to ensure that you use them as naturally as possible, without their use seeming too forced. Google is constantly updating its algorithms to detect content which seems to be focused on pushing keywords rather than providing the reader with value. If in doubt, hire an experienced copywriter who knows how to write SEO content. Search engine optimization for local businesses is not easy, but it can be achieved with the right tactics and team.
Using incorrect categories for your Google My Business page
Whatever category you first choose to categorize your business with, this is the category which Google considers the “primary category” of your business. As a result, you need to make sure that this primary category is incredibly specific to your business’s niche. Don’t lump yourself in with a generic industry – be specific.
Using too much SEO anchor text
Businesses commonly try to reinforce their keywords in their anchor text, as they think that Google will “let it slide”. This is another thing that Google has clicked on to, however, and repetitive anchor text will immediately be flagged up as suspicious by its algorithms. This may initially seem like brilliant search engine optimization for local businesses, but nothing could be further from reality.
An inconsistent NAP footprint
Your NAP footprint (name, address, phone number) should be kept consistent throughout your entire internet presence. For example, if your business is listed on local directories, ensure that its NAP footprint is exactly the same and does not change compared to your Google My Business listing. A NAP footprint which varies will be seen as suspicious by Google, who will reward you with lower rankings.
Copying location page text
If you’re going to have a variety of location pages for SEO reasons, ensure that their content is unique from page to page. Duplicating location pages (with the location keywords swapped out) is not going to fool Google, who will instantly penalize you for trying to cheat the system.
We hope these tips have helped you with your search engine optimization for local businesses!