To run a successful local business, you need to be versatile and know your market. However, how do you ensure your target market knows you exist? How will people who need your services find you?

Have you made it easy enough for potential customers to find your business online?

A key area that you should focus on as a local business is local SEO. Statistics show that 75% of all location based mobile searches end up as offline purchases. With that number in mind, it is imperative that you take time to get your local SEO in order. If you have a physical location, you will want to work on ranking on Google’s snack pack.

In this post, we look at simple mistakes you should avoid if you want to rank better locally.

SEO Mistake #1 – Inconsistent NAP information

Some businesses will have different Name, Address, or Phone number across all their online profiles. On the contrary, if you want to rank higher in Google, you should be consistent with this information.

As an example, the two NAP profiles below rank as two different entities on Google. If you take a closer look, you realize that ‘Avenue’ and ‘#’ from the first profile are changed to ‘Ave’ and ‘Lot’ in the second.

Kieran’s Roofing Contractor’s
45 Beechwood Avenue #4411
Brantford, Ontario 5555
222-222-2222

And…

Kieran’s Roofing Contractor’s
45 Beechwood Ave
Lot 4411
Brantford, Ontario 5555
222-222-2222

The slight changes above affect the way Google views the two profiles. For Google, these two are different. For you, that translates to a split in link juice as Google tries to rank both rather than concentrating on one.

If your NAP profiles are consistent, Google gives your business priority over those whose profiles differ.

SEO Mistake #2 – Your websites mobile responsiveness

As a business owner, you want to have a website where online searchers can learn more about your business. A website also gives you a platform to persuade customers that you are the best fit and to nudge them towards visiting your business.

But, did you know that 52% of all internet searches across the globe are mobile-based? What does that tell you? It is simple – your website needs to be optimized for mobile. Because of these numbers, even Google tweaked their algorithm to include mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor.

In short, the more mobile-optimized your website is, the more Google will reward you by sending relevant searchers to your business. If your website is not mobile optimized, Google leads that 52% of traffic elsewhere.

Having said that, you do not want to set up two separate websites and over-optimize one for desktop and the other for mobile. That will be pouring money down the drain. Instead, have your website guy build you a site that is responsive across multiple devices.

SEO Mistake #3 – You are not using local keywords

Where is your business located? If customers in your area of operation were searching online for businesses such as yours, what would they search for? How will they structure their search query and which words would be common across the board?

These are the questions you should be asking and answering when researching local keywords. If you offer services in Brantford, build your long tail around Brantford, not Edmonton or Winnipeg.

If you operate in a certain location, mention that in strategic places across your website and online profiles. Write a blog about it and have it prominently displayed on your website and social media.

If there are common industry keywords, pair them with your location and write a social media post or blog about what you do in the area.

SEO Mistake #4 – Non-existent Google reviews

Online reviews tell Google that your business is active. Good Google reviews tell the search engine giant that your business is relevant and helpful. And Goggle rewards you by sending you even more traffic. If you do not have any reviews, you can always ask your clients to review you on Google after you have held up your end of the bargain and done your job.

To rank your business, Google looks at how many views you have. But it doesn’t stop there – of all your reviews, how many are favorable? If there are more negative than positive reviews, you get less rank juice and vice versa.

Last, are your reviews stale or do you consistently get new ones? The frequency at which you get reviews also helps you rank higher. The more frequent and the better they are, the higher you rank.

And behold, above are the factors to consider when working on your local SEO. While your users can still review you on platforms like Facebook or Yelp, research shows that a direct Google review has better ranking juice. Still, if you follow the steps above, you should see significant change in due course.