SEO is pretty darn important in order for businesses to establish an online presence, generate leads and convert those leads into sales. Local SEO is even more of an important factor for brick and mortar businesses. Here’s why: when people go out of town, they generally search google for places to eat, places to stay, things to do, places of interest and so forth. They look at the pictures of those places and check customer reviews to get an idea of how their experience could be. If you’re marketing plan does not include local SEO, then you are truly hurting your business.
Many small businesses who rely on in-house SEO management can find local SEO a bit intimidating because of a lot of false information out there, especially when it comes to citation building. Yup, there are a lot of myths about local SEO practices. We’re going to clear up some myths about local SEO and citation building so that you can market your business successfully.
Myth #1: You don’t need to use Google My Business.
Wrong! Google My Business is one of, if not, the most important aspect of local SEO marketing. While optimizing your business’s website with keywords to compete in local search results is helpful, you need to have a verified Google My Business profile. Your Google My Business is an important piece of the citation-building puzzle. If you want a higher local SEO listing for your business, then you want to make sure your business name, address, phone number, URL, and operating hours are correct on your Google My Business profile.
Myth #2: You don’t need citations for your business to be visible online.
Absolutely untrue! If you didn’t already know, The Yellow Pages and The White Pages are online, along with many other directories that are more widely used than The Yellow Pages and The White Pages. These online directories, including Google My Business, are a huge factor for generating visibility for your business’s website. For this reason, your citations for local SEO (NAP) need to be uniformly accurate—the same on each directory.
Myth #3: Not including your suite number in your citation is a huge no-no.
This seems to cause unnecessary panic. The fact is, Google doesn’t even factor in suite numbers. Google is more focused on your physical location—the location pin on the map—than they are about a suite number. Your street address is what’s valuable to SERP. However, if you want customers to visit the right office, it’s best to make sure your NAP matches up across all directories.
Myth #4: If you have citations then you don’t need backlinks.
Local SEO Guide conducted a study that found businesses who only use citations as their strategy for backlinking ranked low on Search Engine Results Pages or they didn’t show up at all. If you’re in a competitive market, part of your SEO marketing strategy needs to include securing links from websites with high Domain Authority. The best way to get industries to link back to your website is to reach out to authority websites and ask if you can contribute an article.
Myth #5: People don’t really pay attention to reviews.
A Bright Local consumer survey revealed that “86% of consumers will read reviews for local businesses” before visiting. And “57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars.” This means that consumers really do pay attention to reviews. Another factor to debunk this myth is Google factors in reviews for SERP. Getting reviews is absolutely necessary to your business’s local SEO strategy. Encourage your customers to leave your business review a online. Provide clear instructions on how consumers can review your business. Adding visuals is a nice touch, too.
Myth #6: Consumers aren’t really concerned about user experience.
This myth right here is a doozy of a myth. We live in an age where consumers can access almost anything quickly and easily. If your website is loads too slow or worse, isn’t mobile-friendly, then you are sabotaging your own business. If a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, it’s too slow and consumers will move on to the next website. Also, Google factors in user experience when ranking websites in SERP.
Myth #7: Your website doesn’t need to be mobile-friendly.
If this were 1999, your website wouldn’t need to be mobile friendly for obvious reasons. But it’s 2019, and the majority of web searches are conducted on mobile devices. Google ranks mobile-friendly websites higher than those websites that are not responsive to mobile devices.
Myth #8: Social media isn’t all that important to local SEO.
A lot of local businesses will start a social media profile and then do absolutely nothing with it, thinking that its existence is all that’s necessary, but not really a big deal. This is absolutely untrue. Local SEO agencies know that having a social media platform is about more than getting Follows and Likes. Having a social media profile for your business is a way to connect with and interact with your customers. Not to mention, social media profiles are considered backlinks by Google when used properly. Make sure you add your website to your social media account.
Don’t let local SEO intimidate you into not using its benefits to grow your business and online presence. Just keep these resolutions to popular myths in mind. Just to recap, here are a few tips for local SEO:
Make sure your local SEO citations are the same across all platforms, directories, every page of your website, and social media.
If you don’t already have a Google My Business profile for your business, make one asap.
Encourage your visitors to your website and your business to leave you a review. And don’t be afraid of negative reviews. Use it as a reminder to improve.
Make sure your website is optimized for a pleasant user experience.
Make sure your website is responsive to mobile devices.
Make sure your business has a social media presence and that your website and NAP are up to date.