8 Local SEO Mistakes that Cost You Money

local SEO mistakes

Oh admit it….

There are days when you type keywords your customers would use in Google and scan local results searching for your site.

Only to want to drive your fist through the screen.


You’ve been trying so hard, followed every SEO advice you could find but your site still doesn’t show.


Then perhaps it’s time you ditch working on the site and look at what you’ve done so far. Chances are that mistakes you made along the way cause your site’s poor performance.

Here are some of them.

Mistake #1: Having Thin or Insufficient Content

It’s simple, if your content isn’t relevant to local users, Google will be unlikely to consider your site worthy of ranking in local search results.

Your content should engage local visitors and answer their most common questions. What’s important, it should do so while focusing on local issues.

Marcus Sheridan recommends focusing on 4 local content strategies for your site:

Focusing on local laws, ordinances or regulations.

This might not be useful to all business, true. But if there are any regulations that affect how you do business in your region, include them in your copy.

Answer “Who’s the best for X in [Location]”

Many customers will simply search for the best company that does what they’re looking for. Be it a lawyer or hotel, it’s likely that’ the keyphrase they’re going to use.

Create a content that answers this question. Simply.

List and review your local competitors

As Sheridan points:

“[…] your potential clients are vetting you and your competitors all the time. They are going to Google and typing in phrases like “Reviews of [your competitor]” and 99.9% of the time, some awful 3rd party review site is the one controlling this conversation.”

Take over the reins by creating a resource where customers could compare you to your competition.

Post about related industries to yours

Are there any other companies your customers might inquire about while hiring you? Other professions they might need to complete the project?

For me, a copywriter the list would include web design firms, marketing agencies but also, publications and local bloggers.

Write a series of posts answering those questions, i.e.:

  • What are the top marketing agencies in Ireland?
  • Where to go for your web project in Ireland?
  • X top Irish marketing blogs.

And so on.

Mistake #2: Optimising for Wrong Keywords or Keyword Stuffing

Your audience uses specific words and phrases to look for your products and services.

But they’re often not the same phrases you’d use to find your company. And thus, you might be positioning your local listings for the wrong keywords.

FIX: Use Google Keyword Planner to find phrases your audience use to find your products or services online.

Similarly, stuffing your keywords everywhere you can – into subheadings, URL and throughout content only to increase their density will hurt your rankings in the long run.

FIX: Create useful content. It will outweigh keyword density by a mile.

Mistake #3: Poor On-page Optimisation

The way your pages are optimised affects their chances to appear in search results.

I bet you know this already.

But do you know that you also need to optimise them specifically for local results?

Here’s how:

Include your city or zip code along with a keyword in a title tag, headline and content.

Set up your NAP. Both users and search engines must be able to find and quickly determine if your site is relevant to them. To increase local relevancy, include your NAP (name, address, phone number) in a crawlable part of HTML code.

Note: Inconsistent NAP data is another serious mistake that could hinder your local SEO efforts. Make sure that your NAP information is consistent across your site, local profiles and citations.

Publish location relevant content. We’ll talk about a bit later into the post.

Mistake #4: Not Actively Seeking Reviews

According to Moz’s 2014 Local Ranking Factors Report, reviews (both quantity and quality) are one of the key local ranking factors.

Without reviews your local listings stand little chance to show up.

Therefore, actively encourage reviews. Offer a discount in return for an honest review. Put a call for reviews on your invoice and other materials you might be handing out to customers.

Or use a review handout generator to give your customers instructions on how to leave a review.

Resource: Check out our list of 4 offline strategies to gain more online reviews.

Mistake #5: Not Including Location Specific Terms In Content

We’ve already talked about the dangers of keyword stuffing.

But the opposite – not having location specific keywords in the copy at all – can have equally negative effect on your rankings.

FIX: Include your location in meta-tags and page copy. But make sure that they sound naturally and a keyword still makes the copy readable.

Mistake #6: Not Optimising For Mobile

It’s official – we now spend more time on mobile devices than we do watching TV (source).

During Black Friday last year mobile traffic drove 52% of US Internet traffic (source).

Not to mention how important serving mobile traffic has become for Google.

Today, if your website is not optimised for mobile, it’s very unlikely to rank, especially for local searches.

If that’s the case for you, update it to responsive theme as quickly as possible.

Mistake #7: Listing Cities Instead Of Building Location Pages

Another common mistake – listing your various business locations on one page.

Each of the locations however should have its dedicated page. It should also contain quality content answering local customers’ questions about it.

Mistake #8: Having Duplicate Content on Location Pages

That’s a mistake related to the previous one we discussed.

If your business operates from a number of locations providing the same services in each, you may think that similar content for each location will suffice.

Unfortunately Google is strict about duplicate content, penalising websites with identical copy across pages.

FIX: Rewrite copy on each landing page to provide relevant information for local customers.


Map background: Creative commons image by Samuel Rönnqvist / Flickr

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