Rise to the top of local search
We’ve entered an era where online presence can make or break a business. That’s why search engine optimization has become key to unlocking untapped potential years ago. Yet, surprisingly many businesses are missing the mark when it comes to optimizing their listings—and especially local listings are not given sufficient attention.
Our benchmark report (2022) reveals that almost every third company does not present their locations on either online listings (29%) or their website (32%).
But consider this: 46% of all Google searches have a local intent. That means nearly half of the people turning to the world's largest search engine are looking for products, services, or information within their immediate vicinity.
Now imagine that your business doesn’t appear prominently—and promptly—in the search results. The impact of a weak online presence is not just theoretical; it's tangible because potential customers will pass you by, and with them revenue and growth. Your competitors, on the other hand, will thrive and overtake your position.
In this guide, we unravel the intricacies of local SEO, and explain how companies can immediately correct the course. How? By shedding light onto the 10most common local SEO mistakes and how to avoid them—including best practices from our clients. And we can tell you this: it’s less about what businesses do, and more about what they don’t. Just read on!
Mistake #1: Not Using Keywords
Keywords determine where—and whether—your content appears in search engine results. They are the cornerstone of search engine optimization, and indispensable for your local digital marketing efforts.
Without keyword optimization, your website and online listings may not rank well in local search results, leading to missed traffic. Consequently, failing to incorporate relevant keywords into your business listings will hinder your search visibility and, more importantly, conversions.
- Research and select relevant keywords that your target audience uses when searching for products and services like yours.
- Incorporate keywords naturally into your website content, including meta tags, and business listings—but adhere to platform guidelines.
- Ulla Popken added keywords such as "plus-size" to their business listings and improved, among other KPIs, search views and clicks.
Mistake #2: Not Following A Reviews Strategy
It’s a well-known fact that reviews are critical for building trust and credibility with potential customers. But what you might not know is that search engines care for your customer feedback, too.
Ignoring reviews can lead to a negative online reputation and deter potential customers and search engines alike. Not receiving any reviews, on the other hand, makes them believe that you are not attractive—and they’ll look for a reason respectively for other companies to buy from.
- Respond to all reviews—positive, negative, and neutral ones—across all relevant platforms in a timely manner, and an always polite way.
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and utilize these for referral marketing and electronic word of mouth (eWOM).
Jonak responds to reviews within 24 hours, which strengthens the bond with customers and has a positive impact on SEO.
Mistake #3: Not Choosing Categories & Attributes
Like you, Google wants to provide the best user experience possible. That’s why the search engine will only suggest results it deems relevant.
Accurate category selection and attributes help search engines understand your business and match it with relevant queries. Choosing incorrect categories and attributes, on the other hand, can lead to poor search rankings and misalignments with user intent—or worse, penalties, if the search engine feels that you tried to trick it.
Choose the most appropriate categories and attributes that accurately represent your business.
Keep an eye out for new attributes that Google regularly launches to improve your business profile.
Ulla Popken uses Google attributes such as 'women-led' and 'LGBTQ+ friendly’ both of which are part of its secret sauce for better positioning.
"You need to make it easy for customers to find you when they need you, and you can accomplish this by having a strategy to keep your listings up-to-date and optimized. But you also need to listen to customer feedback and use it to influence searches as well as future customers—by asking for and responding to customer reviews on critical sites such as Google. You can activate messaging as well on channels like Instagram and WhatsApp."
Mistake #4: Not Applying Photos and Videos
Visual content enhances the user experience and leads to better engagement while providing information about your business. And we all know that a picture (or video) is worth a thousand words.
Consequently, a lack of visual content makes your business listings less informative, and less appealing. Competitors with visuals will attract customers’ attention first, and it’ll be hard—if not impossible—to win them over.
- Upload high-quality photos and videos showcasing your products, services and premises.
- Leverage user-generated content to build connections with (potential) customers and increase authenticity.
Okaïdi uses Uberall CoreX to update, among other data, photos and services, which led to a noticeable increase in clicks on their Google Business Profile.
Mistake #5: Not Leveraging Google Posts
Google Posts allow you to share updates, offers, and events directly on Google Search and Maps to increase visibility. And the big benefit compared to social networks: they are directly linked to the most important search engine.
If you’re not posting on Google, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to engage with potential customers. Moreover, competitors that do post will outrank you in online search and convert customers before you even get a chance.
- Regularly post updates relevant to your target audience to keep your Google listing fresh and engaging.
- Highlight special promotions and use clear call-to-actions like “Book now” to encourage user interaction.
- Explore the secret recipe for eye-catching Google posts in our blog article; and try it immediately.
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Mistake #6: Not Prioritizing Services & Menus
Detailed service information and menus help customers and search engines understand what you offer at your locations. Whether customers buy, and whether search engines recommend you, is directly impacted by this user experience.
Incomplete or inaccurate service information, on the contrary, can lead to missed ranking opportunities and frustrated customers. Moreover, search engines will look for information elsewhere, copying data that might be outdated or flat out wrong.
- Provide comprehensive details about your services and menus, including prices and descriptions.
Add photos to your offers to grab both search engines’ and customers’ attention, and show what they can expect.
BP ensures that each petrol station’s functions (fuel, café, groceries) are visible in online search and map services to exploit the full potential.
Mistake #7: Not Building GBP Integrations
Google and other search engines offer multiple integrations with your website and other tools to improve online visibility and a seamless customer journey. That means, customers can directly convert in the online search.
The lack of integrations, on the other hand, hinders conversions because customers might have to visit multiple sites to reach their goal. Moreover, you risk information inconsistencies that confuse customers and search engines alike.
- Integrate your GBP with your website, social media, and other tools like booking systems for seamless customer journeys.
- Use call-to-actions like “Call” or “Book now” to motivate your potential customers to take action.
Sephora revamped their online presence, leading to a 33% increase in driving directions and a 137% increase in search views.
"You can ensure that customer have access to all the services and products you provide as well as having an easy way to connect with you by building out local pages that are, like the rest of your online presence, optimized."
Mistake #8: Not Implementing Locator & Local Pages
Locators and local pages are essential for businesses with multiple locations. They make it easy for ready-to-buy customers to find you—opposed to not being able to locate your stores, which makes them decide to buy elsewhere.
- Create a user-friendly locator and ensure accurate location information.
- Create dedicated local landing pages with appealing content about your stores.
Ulla Popken manages 230 local landing pages with Uberall CoreX, sending strong signals to search engines and customers alike.
Mistake #9: Not Creating GBP FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) address common queries to improve the customer experience while—that’s the cherry on top–reducing customer support demands. Search engines learn about your business, too, which makes you rise to the top of search.
- Create a list of relevant questions that your customers ask most often, and update them regularly.
Add keywords to appear in relevant customer queries and improve your search ranking.
Organize your questions by categories to help customers and search engines screen the content.
Mistake #10: Not Acknowledging Service Area Pages
Opposed to local landing pages, service area pages showcase specific geographic regions that your company serves. Thus, it will help you reach local customers while introducing them to search engines, helping to improve the display of search results.
Without service area pages, your business may not rank well in local searches for specific regions. Rather, your competitors surpass you on the search engine results page.
- Give accurate information and include customer testimonials to increase credibility.
- Customize the content on each page by mentioning local landmarks and any unique aspects of the area.
Use schema markup to provide search engines with structured data about your business.
Whether you're a brick-and-mortar store, a service provider, or an online business with a physical presence, local SEO can be your secret weapon to stand out in your local market.
Do you want to get started? Ask for a demo today!
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