Local searches have always been a part of search engine optimization strategies for small businesses. The pandemic enhanced its value when sellers struggled to compete with online giants like Amazon. According to statistics, almost half of Google’s annual search volume is attributed to searches with local intent. Pandemic or no pandemic, you cannot afford to miss out on local SEO.
Buyers at any location rely on Google Business Profile listings to check contact information, learn about service offerings, and read online reviews of a local business. Considering these factors, local SEO ensures visibility, outreach, and trust. While creating a business profile and optimizing it sounds simple, you may make some blunders with it.
Most business owners go wrong because of some common misconceptions associated with local SEO. Here are the ones you should steer clear of
Misconception #1: NAP Is the Most Crucial Part of Google Business Profile
NAP (name, address, and phone number) refers to the contact information of a business. These are the elements that decide how searchers can locate your business online or offline. Consistent and accurate NAP information is a key aspect of a company’s Google Business Profile listing.
But it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attracting local customers and beating out the competition. SEO Inc recommends adding descriptions and images to add credibility to your profile. Consider adding deals to attract users to your websites. Recently, Google has even started allowing businesses to add social media links to their profiles.
Misconception #2: Breaking a Google Guideline Will Surely Cause a Ranking Drop
Breaking Google’s guidelines can land you in a problem, but it is not the end of the road. You may get a soft suspension for not adhering to the rules. In this case, you cannot manage your Google Business Profile, use Google posts, or respond to online reviews. However, soft suspension does not affect the ranking of your listing.
Alternatively, a hard suspension has more severe consequences, such as Google removing your local business listing. Without the contact details, maps, reviews, and other information, you have a slim chance of getting local buyers to your location.
Either way, recovery from such penalties can be an extended process, taking anywhere between three hours and three months. Seeking local SEO services from a reputable agency is your best bet to avoid these penalties. Of course, experts can also help you ditch the myth of a penalty being a killer.
Misconception #3: Content Is Not a Local SEO Factor
Since local SEO is mainly about business listings, it is easy to think that content is not a critical ranking factor. However, content is as crucial for local search results as it is for organic rankings. Updating your content will keep the traffic churning for your landing pages. You should also provide quality content related to the description of your business, information about the location, and services, products, and deals.
Even if you don’t share content directly on your Google Business Profile, it still hooks the audience reaching your website through local search listings. You surely have better chances of making them stick around and convert if there are compelling posts, articles, and user-generated stories on your website.
Misconception #4: You Need Not Bother About Online Reviews
According to a recent survey, more than 99.9% of customers say they go through reviews when shopping online at least sometimes. Many of them check reviews of local businesses when searching for them online. Avoid the misconception that online reviews do not matter as a local SEO factor.
The truth is just the opposite because most customers move down the sales funnel after seeing positive reviews about your brand and products. While optimizing your Google Business Profile, pay close attention to reviews. Thank happy customers for positive words, and go the extra mile with your responses to negative ones. It shows that you care about your customers.
Misconception #5: Your Service Area Impacts Your Ranking
You are mistaken if you believe that your service area impacts your ranking because it hardly makes a difference. Google permits businesses to set the service area they cover through the Google Business Profile dashboard. Once you set the area, searchers can see how far you are ready to travel to service customers.
If you serve multiple cities and include all these locations in this section, your ranking in any of those cities will not be affected. The locations you rank in depend on the address in your NAP and the city the user is searching from.
Local SEO is not as simple as it sounds because some myths and misconceptions can cloud your judgment and affect the results. Stick with the basics, follow Google guidelines, and debunk these myths to implement a winning local SEO plan.
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