Time for Us to Kiss and Tell
With all of the free site audits we've performed—and all the mistakes we've fixed—our team knows exactly what can kill the success of a local SEO campaign. The seven biggest local SEO mistakes that we find are:
- Inconsistent NAP information across local citations. NAP stands for Name Address and Phone number. When any one of these is listed incorrectly, on any site, Internet-wide, it can compromise your success. Even an "and" instead of an "&" in your firm's name or a 6 in your address instead of a 4 can cause serious local SEO problems. Tip: Use a free tool, such as the one on Yext, to scan the internet for mistakes in your listings, or schedule your free site analysis.
- Categorization problems. Don't forget to choose a category for your business listing—and choose wisely. If you fail to do so, you won't get the local traffic you desire. Tip: Be sure to pick a specific category for your business. You're not just a doctor; you're a podiatrist. You're not just an attorney; you're a divorce attorney.
- Using a toll-free phone number. Never use a toll-free number in your local listings. Ever! Tip: Only use your office's primary phone number, and triple check to make sure that it's the same Internet-wide.
- Sloppy profiles. Mistake-ridden, half-done, keyword-stuffed profiles are a local SEO power killer. If you don't include your business hours, leave parts of your profile blank, or cram your description with keywords or legalese, your ranking will suffer. Tip: Fill out all profile information with your ideal client or patient in mind. Make descriptions evocative, and make sure your office hours are precise.
- Skimping on images. Too many times, we find that people aren't using images in their local profiles or that they've included the wrong images. Tip: Use your logo for all business-related profiles, and include images of your team and your office elsewhere. All pictures should be high quality—no grainy cell phone pictures.
- Not checking your location marker. If your location marker, or pin, is in the wrong place on the map, you're in big trouble. When the pin is off, your clients or patients are going to be incredibly frustrated when they show up at the wrong place—not a good start to your working relationship. Tip: Search for your business' name and see where it is on the map. It may be in the wrong place, or there may be no location marker at all. Fix it!
- Listings for shared/virtual offices. Many professionals have satellite offices and/or phone numbers that are shared by other businesses—sometimes as many as 20! Google doesn't like multiple listings for the same phone number or address, and you will be punished for claiming these as an office location. Tip: The only location on your local listing should be your physical office, the one you work in most often.
There you have it—the best ways to ruin your chances at winning the heart of Google+ Local and all other local search engines.
For more best practice SEO tips, request our free book, The 5 Biggest Mistakes 99% of Lawyers Make. Reading it will show you not only how to get marketing wrong, but how to fix your mistakes and get it right.