Local SEO Challenges Before the advent of social media, search and email have been the top Internet activities people do online. Search engine optimization then ‘til now is still considered a primary marketing tool utilized by at least 80% of digital marketers. Aside from generating organic traffic, SEO builds brand awareness, improves online reputation, and generates conversion that will lead to sales.
While global SEO can be good for many businesses, small and medium businesses catering to a targeted local market can have even better results if they focus on local SEO. As much as 43% of search queries now make use of locally-focused keywords. 50% of search made by people using their smartphones or tablets are focused on finding a local store or business. The great thing here is that as much as 61% of these types of searches will eventually result in a sale!
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For the right business, local search engine optimization, or local SEO, can be the bread and butter of your lead generation plan. It places the focus on building visibility in your local community; giving businesses the opportunity to better serve those around them and build relationships that lead to repeat customers.
In as much as local SEO presents high potential, it can actually deliver great results as outlined above but not without presenting potential challenges that digital marketers may encounter. These problems are presented in the following which also highlights some tips and solutions as to how business owners can deal with such problems.
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Do not worry, we’re here to review the biggest local SEO challenges and the best tactics to work around them.
No Location-Specific Content
Oftentimes, brands budget for building a locator on their site but leave nothing for the content.
There’s nothing wrong with a basic location page that has the business name, address, phone number, product/service categories, etc. But a location page with unique, beefed-up content that is relevant to both the location and topics you are trying to rank for can definitely improve SEO performance.
The importance of high-quality content applies to global SEO and to local SEO as well – but with a local flavor. With changes to search algorithms that focus on good content, a small website can compete head-to-head with heavily-funded corporate websites if they have better location-specific content. This is where many local businesses fail with their SEO efforts, as they lack or have no location-specific content that can attract targeted customers.
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- You should focus on content marketing using location-centric keywords and other content specifically intended for a local audience. Content should be original and relevant to target audiences and should have no duplicate within your pages or anywhere else in the Internet.
- fm main contextual content, location-specific content should also be incorporated with the Alt tags of photos and images used in your pages.
No Location-Specific Pages
Aside from the lack of location-specific content, local business websites usually lack good local SEO mileage from search results, particularly from mobile searches, because there are no location-specific pages within their sites. This includes problems on how page titles and page URLs are constructed.
- Many websites have page titles that only indicate the name of the business which is not good for local SEO. Optimize your page title by including local elements together with your brand and the products/services you offer.
- Many websites focus only on generic page titles like “Home”, “About Us” and “Services” – which millions of other websites have. Optimize your page titles by adding specific local-centric elements, your brand and these generic page terms.
- Build an Optimized Local Landing Page
Optimized local landing pages need to be built with customer relevancy in mind. Your customer should walk away from the listing with the impression that your business is ingrained in the local community.
Your Google My Business (GMB) listing should automatically take users to a localized landing page focused specifically on that city, suburb, town, community, etc. That landing page should be optimized with the following:
Your local address
Your local phone number
Localized content that might be of interest to potential customers
Google my business listing for digital third coast.
These elements make the page more relevant to local searches within that area, while simultaneously boosting the ranking of your Google My Business listing (for that area).
It’s important to note that your website’s homepage will rank for a lot of things. However, your GMB listing needs all the local “juice” in its landing page to increase visibility.
The Business Has Multiple or Incorrect Listings on Google
Your Local SEO efforts will be affected considerably if there are multiple and even incorrect listings in the major business directories, particularly Google Places and Bing Business Portal. Search engines return and rank business listings results for a particular search query depending on how accurate and consistent listings are. Multiple and incorrect listings will not be included.
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- Claim your listings on all major business portals like Google Places.
- sure all the home page entries in all your listings point to only one URL.
- your business has multiple locations, create separate landing pages for each at Google Places and other directories.
Build Local Link & Citation
Another critical local SEO tactic includes link building. When we talk about local SEO and link building, there’s an added layer of citations that are critical to your local link building strategy’s success.
- Seek out citation opportunities on local websites that reference your business location, address, phone number, and local landing page.
- Think of a ‘citation’ as any instance where your business’s physical location and contact information are referenced on the internet (with a link). When Google sees this NAP (name, address, phone number) information in multiple, prominent directories online, they will consider this location in higher regard when making ranking decisions.
- Focus on making sure your business has local citations in relevant business directories. Claiming and managing all of these citations can be rough. The focus should always be on quality, rather than quantity, of local citations.
In regards to local link building, start with the relationships you already have. Are there businesses that you have partnered with or events you have sponsored? Can you ask those partners to put a link on your site? Also, are there any publications that have talked about your business but didn’t add a link?
Try searching for your brand name and see if any sites have mentioned you, reach out to them to add a backlink to your site. If not, can you reach out to a blog that covers your industry and offer to write content for them in exchange for a link? Try to provide something of value to enhance the guest post, such as data, insight, perhaps even a video.
Generate Google My Business Reviews
You know that you have loyal and happy customers, but maybe that’s not reflected in your GMB reviews. Most of the time we find that businesses are unsure of the best way to approach this or are confused on how to ask the customer to leave a review.
Trust from customers is important to attribute businesses need to have good local SEO. Reviews are important factors that can develop such levels of trust and more than 50% of consumers will trust a business if they have read positive reviews about it online. The greater the number of reviews (ideally a minimum of 6 to 10 reviews) the higher your chances of generating trust.
There are two primary ways to generate reviews for your Google My Business page: reminding customers in-store, and soliciting reviews via email.
Reminding customers “in-store” means making sure that you and your staff remind/ask customers to leave a review online. Some may go a step further and show them customers to do so with a handout or business card.
Ready to Overcome Local SEO Challenges?
Local businesses have their own set of hurdles to overcome to achieve their definition of success. All in all, local SEO just requires you to fix your focus on being location-specific and then, creating natural content and optimization strategies for it.
As a business owner, what do you think is your biggest SEO challenge?