Search engines place increasing importance on delivering accurate local results. That means that local SEO, or ranking for the locations you serve, is just as important as ranking for keywords. But that isn’t always easy, and we’ve seen some common mistakes that business fall into. Here are four local SEO pitfalls you need to avoid, and what to do instead.
#1: Don’t Just List Cities
One of the most common mistakes we see with local SEO is the “city list.” This is when a homepage simply lists out all the towns or areas you serve. Unfortunately this does not contribute much if anything to your local SEO. What Google is looking for are entire pages of content that relate to each location you serve—that’s the only way they believe that your website truly is relevant to searches from that area.
#2: Never Duplicate Content
The easy solution to creating location-specific content is to make one landing page for each location you serve. This is a valid tactic, but one that can easily go wrong if you duplicate content. Obviously, the service you offer in one town are probably the same as those you offer everywhere else, but you can’t use the same copy for each page, even with a few minor changes. Google hates duplicate content with a passion.
Instead, take the time to write fresh copy for each location page (it really will pay off). It’s fine to talk about the same points in each page, but don’t repeat the same language over and over. Consider writing the pages several days apart to come at them with fresh ideas. (Alternately, EverSpark can create content for you that will be 100 percent original no matter how many pages you have.)
#3: Is Your Address Right?
Here’s a pitfall that’s easily avoided. How many pages on your website mention your address or phone number? Chances are it’s a lot, and if that information has changed over the years some of those pages may not have gotten updated. Do a “sweep” for bad contact info:
- First check all the obvious places on your own site (such as the contact page)
- Then run a search on your site for your old address or former phone number
- Then check that the info is right on Yelp, Google Maps and Apple Maps
- Finally, make sure your location appears in the right spot on these maps as well
If you have multiple stores or offices the chances of an outdated address are high, and it’s worth the extra time to check.
#4: Don’t Aim at the Wrong Level
We have many clients in the Atlanta metro area, which means that all of them need to optimize for “Atlanta.” But most also need to optimize on a much finer grain level: suburb by suburb or even neighborhood by neighborhood. Many businesses focus on the city level only, which means that they may not appear in local searches by users just 10 or 15 minutes away.
When in doubt, ask yourself how your customer would answer if asked, “Where is your house?” Whatever town or suburb name they would answer with should be on your local SEO priority list.
There’s a lot more to local SEO, of course, but avoiding these four mistakes will put you ahead of a lot of your competitors. If you need help with your local SEO, contact EverSpark for a free consultation today.
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