By Dino Gomez, Dynamik 365
Local SEO has become more challenging in the last six months. With Google changing from the historic 7 pack in local maps results, to the 3 pack a.k.a, Snack Pack, there is less room for mistakes if you want that first page real estate.
The thing is, you probably know local SEO like the back of your hand. You’re an expert but results aren’t there anymore. What are you really doing wrong?
The answer is actually quite simple. Let me introduce the most common local SEO mistakes in 2016.
1). Your Local Keyword Rankings and Client Reporting Is Wrong
Google has removed location search. You know this. You can’t change the city you are searching from to verify rankings anymore. Yes, most rank trackers are fairly accurate and can account for your target city but your rank tracker cannot account for proximity searches.
A proximity search is when somebody is searching for a local business or service and wants the closest nearby solutions.
Examples, Gym near me, coffee shop, 24 hour liquor store, or all nude strip club. (You catch my drift…)
Taking a look at these search examples (above) you’ll notice they don’t include a city but suggest to Google you’re conducting a proximity search and want something that is closest to your actual location.
Now because there are traditionally 50+ coffee shops or liquor stores in each city; when you conduct a proximity search Google is going to show you the closest options that have decent, not necessarily the best local SEO.
Naturally customers are going to request driving directions or place a phone call from their mobile phone to the closest coffee shop or hair salon and head there.
The thing is the closest coffee shop probably isn’t in the snack pack in Google search results for City + Keyword. So in fact you may be driving leads, traffic, phone calls, and new customers without realizing it. If you don’t realize it, then your client won’t and you’ll lose the account and easy money.
Moving forward local SEO reporting should include analytics directly from the Google My Business dashboard.
Your Google My Business dashboard records the following with regards to your local maps listing:
- Number of maps impressions in search results
- Number of clicks to your website
- Number of phone calls placed
- Number of driving directions requested
Check out these numbers from Google’s Insights dashboard above. In the last 30 days this client of mine has received 504 requests for driving directions and 403 phone calls placed that otherwise would not be accounted for using just rank tracking as a performance indicator.
Taking a look at these numbers you’ll get the most accurate picture on how your local SEO is stacking up.
Again often times because of the actual address of your local business (could be outer city limits) you’ll have a tougher time ranking in the snack pack for city + keyword?.
So use Google’s own free analytics to measure true results and make sure your clients understand how proximity search works.
You might be crushing local SEO and not even realize it.
2). You’re Not Geo Tagging Images & Syndicating
Geo tagging images you’ve heard of. But as local SEO experts get lazy they often times forget the power of geo tagging images prior to completing local business citations.
By having geo tagged images syndicated to the likes of the 100+ local directory listings you create; you are doing multiple things to increase your local SEO including:
1). Affirming to Google the correct address of your business via photo and the new directory listing (basically a double citation in one listing)
2). Ensuring that the photos associated with your local business in image search are going to be the ones you have selected.
Of course besides including geo tagged images within your local business directory listings you should also be using tagged images for social networking and social bookmarking sites.
3). You’re Not Updating Google Plus & Actively Managing Your Local Listing
Do I have your attention? Ok, listen up.
After conducting several individual tests myself, I have come to the conclusion that updating a local business Google Plus page with posts, similar to a Facebook page, can work to give you an extra ranking boost and will also drive new business.
Again something you’ve heard before but you were too busy watching the NBA Playoffs to remember.
Automate the syndication of status updates to hit your Google plus page. There are several online tools that will help you with this including Buffer.
The key is to include in your Google Plus posts:
- Geo Tagged Images
- Links to your target site
Again you’ll know if posting to Google Plus is effective because it is reported in your Google My Business Insights dashboard.
You’ll see number of posts live, views, and interaction similar to a Facebook business page.
But what you won’t see is Google taking notes of the fact that you are actively managing your business directly on their platform for which they of course prefer and will reward with small ranking increases over time.
Bonus Tip: Respond to local business reviews already you lazy SOB. The more content on your maps listing the better your rankings. Makes sense, right
About the Guest Author:
Dino Gomez is the host of the 6 Figure SEO Podcast on Itunes and runs an SEO video blog at Dynamik 365.
Check out his site for other killer SEO tips.