If you’re feeling the frustration of trying to improve your local SEO as a business owner, you probably saw lackluster results from local SEO solutions and are unsure if SEO can work for your business. You may have tried local SEO to help boost your business and expected to see exponential growth rather quickly.
It can be difficult for small business owners to see results through local SEO if there are problems standing in the way.
If you have found that your local SEO strategies aren’t doing what you want them to do, you’re probably suffering one of the common search engine optimization problems we’ve helped business owners like you solve. To help you better understand areas of improvement and why local SEO can probably still work for your small business, we wanted to share insights on common issues we’ve seen happen to business owners over the years.
Problem: My business doesn’t appear on Google or Maps, even when searched by name
One common SEO problem? You search for your business by name and there’s nothing there. You may find that when you Google your business, it’s impossible to find on Google Maps or it may not even be showing up when you search it by name.
If you’re running into this problem, your business may be suffering a penalty—or Google just doesn’t know your business exists.
Solution: Create a GMB listing & optimize it
Google looks at your Google My Business (GMB) profile to determine your place in their localized search rankings and Google Maps. Claiming your business on GMB can increase your chances of showing up on Google Maps, Local Pack, and other rankings to help you become more visible. Overall, GMB is the top ranking factor for local Map search results and influences regular website link search results too.
One quick way to get your small business to the top of search results is through GMB listing optimization. Optimizing your listing on Google can help you get more traffic to your website and generate more customers.
You can optimize your GMB listing in a few was such as:
- Adding correct information
- Choosing categories for your business
- Claiming a short name
- Adding a business description
- Adding photos
- Posting regularly
- Responding to reviews
- Sharing reviews
- Listing your products and services.
Many people may find that they haven’t taken the time to optimize their local listing and that is why it’s not showing up in search results. If you want to know more about how to fully optimize your online presence and GMB listing to reach potential customers, be sure to read our complete Google My Business optimization guide.
Another problem to check for is that you haven’t broken any local SEO best practices that Google’s set in place to prevent spammy businesses from showing up in search results. If you do have a GMB listing but you’re just not showing up when you search your business name, you likely have a penalty that is preventing your listing from showing. In this case, we advise giving our local SEO company a call to talk through the issue and figure out what’s wrong.
Problem: There’s incorrect information about my business
Another problem is that there may be incorrect information on your business citations. If you have updated your business information such as your contact information and haven’t updated your listing to meet the new information, this could be why you’re not showing up in search or it’s confusing customers.
Solution: Run an audit and check for incorrect information and update it as best you can
A simple process is to run an audit on your citations to check and see if there is incorrect or outdated information about your business. Google looks for consistency in contact information for local businesses as part of their ranking factors.
One way you can correct this issue is by running an audit to see where your business is missing information and where incorrect information is on the internet. From there you can correct these issues and start ranking higher in search results.
Problem: My website isn’t driving traffic to my business
Did you launch a new website and found that it’s not helping your business grow? Your website should help get new customers to your business, not just act as a passive marketing tool. You may find that you’re not properly using your website to match searchers’ intent so Google isn’t sending people to your site.
Solution: Localize your website with local SEO keywords, schema markup, and content marketing
Part of the problem may be that your local business website may not be using optimized keywords or content marketing to show up in search results. Google looks at your website and judges it based on how well it meets customers needs and answers their questions. Part of that is using the right keywords on your website to help Google better understand how you help customers and your business’ relevancy to search terms.
For example, if you are an accountant that specializes in tax preparation services in your area, searchers may be looking for “tax prep service.” In that case, you should include that keyword phrase on your site to help Google understand that’s what your business can help with. Conducting keyword research to find what your target audience is searching for can help you understand what keywords need to be included in your website.
Additionally, content such as blog posts and news updates are a great opportunity to include keywords that you can’t easily fit onto the main pages of the website. If you find that your website isn’t driving traffic, try including blog posts with long-tail keywords in it to help boost your rankings and drive more customers to contact your business.
The lack of schema markup may also be impacting your website traffic. Schema markup is code that you put on your website to help the search engines better understand your website and business. It tells search engines what your website content means, not just what it says. We recommend adding local business markup to your website to show Google and other search engines more information about your business in a format search engines understand.
Finally, you need to make sure your web design is mobile-friendly and loads quickly. A lot of your customers are more than likely using mobile searches from their phone to find your website. If your website is not properly coded to be mobile friendly or takes too long to load, you could be losing a large amount of traffic.
Problem: No one has heard of my business
Whether you’re just starting your business or have been in business for a long time, you need a certain amount of business awareness to get new clients. If people in your local community don’t even know your business exists, it’s basically impossible to be considered in their purchasing decisions. Word of mouth can help—but it’s not as successful as it was in the past for small businesses.
Solution: Get mentions in local press and use social media
A great way to get in front of more people and get notices is to market your business to local press to get news features about your business and how you help customers. The trick is to use PR techniques to cultivate relationships with local news sources and be a resource to help them fill their content needs for news. As well, links from local press can help you start ranking in Maps faster because Google views these types of links as high quality.
Social media also provides you with an opportunity to connect with your customers on a different level and allows you to communicate more directly with them. Social media’s sharing nature can help your business use word of mouth to quickly raise awareness about your business and get more people to notice you. You can try using social media organically and creating viral-style content or use social media ads to get in front of your ideal customers in your area. Don’t forget that social media does have a very small impact on local SEO too!
Problem: I don’t have enough reviews or my reviews aren’t good
We all know just how important reviews are to small businesses. Not only do they help build your reputation of what you do to help customers, they’re also a major deciding factor in most purchase decisions. But if you don’t have very many reviews or have a number of negative reviews, that’s a big problem you need to solve.
Solution: Audit your customer service process and start asking for reviews
If you don’t have enough reviews or have poor reviews, auditing your customer service process is a great place to start. Google Maps marketing isn’t just about optimizing your online presence. Customers tend to leave reviews for companies they hate far more than ones they love so if you have a lot of unhappy customers, that can really negatively impact your reviews. As well, your customer service process should ask for reviews from happy customers, especially since happy customers more rarely leave reviews than unhappy ones.
Don’t worry too much about having more reviews than your competitors as you’re working to build up your reviews—quality always trumps quantity when it comes to reviews.
Instead, focus on what you can control while you’re building up reviews, like using other tips to optimize your Google Maps listing. For example, you can use the Q&A feature to ask questions to your business and provide more insight into your services.
Need Solutions for Local SEO Issues?
If you’re struggling to find solutions for your local SEO issues, talking with an experienced SEO agency may help. We offer a range of local SEO services to help businesses solve common SEO issues that are preventing them from getting as much business as they should be.
We can help you run audits, check for incorrect or missing information, set up social media, and manage your reviews so you don’t have to worry about trying to solve these problems on your own. We’ve helped businesses like yours find local SEO solutions that worked for them to help them increase business and grow their revenues.
Struggling to find local SEO solutions that work for you? Call today to get a free initial consultation with one of our local SEO pros and learn what your small business needs to do to get the top of search and start growing.