SEO has changed dramatically since the industry first started. A relatively straightforward process is now a highly technical and complex endeavor. But despite this, some of the most important aspects of SEO remain unchanged: local businesses still need to rank well to attract customers, and they still need to stand out from their competitors.
But we’ve noticed that many business owners still need help finding success with local SEO. This is partly because the landscape is constantly changing but also because of some common challenges that every local business owner faces.
This post will dive into the five most common enterprise local SEO challenges and how to solve them.
What is Local SEO?
Let’s start with an important question: what exactly is local SEO? For many business owners, this concept takes work to wrap their heads around. Local SEO means ranking well in Google for local search queries—that means searches like “SEO company near me” or “SEO agency near me.”
To rank well for these queries, you must understand the factors influencing search engine rankings and optimize your site accordingly.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
Like all SEO, local SEO is a game of ranking factors. There are several things that Google considers when determining which websites to show in its search results. They include:
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free directory that allows you to claim your business profile and manage it from one location. To rank well in local search results, you must have an active Google My Business listing with complete information. If your business has been around for a while, chances are good that it already has a GMB listing—but if not, create one today.
The most essential on-page signals are the ones that you can control: having a complete and accurate website, including your NAP (name, address, phone) as well as your business hours and contact information. You should also include relevant content—such as a blog or other pages where you publish helpful articles about your industry.
Online reviews are one of the most critical factors in local SEO. The more positive reviews you have and the more comprehensive your profile is, the better your chances of showing up in search results. Reviews also help reassure customers that they’re making an excellent decision by choosing your business over others in the area.
Backlinks are a vital part of local SEO. They help you show up in search results and can improve your rankings. One of the most important things to consider when building backlinks is relevancy. For example, if you run an auto repair shop, it might be helpful to get links from sites related to cars or car repairs—but not other businesses in your area that provide different services.
Citations are local directories that list your business and its contact information, such as phone number, address, hours of operation, and more. Citations aren’t necessarily built into Google’s search algorithm like citations for directories like Yelp or Angie’s List are. However, they help your company appear on the first page of local search results.
Top Enterprise Local SEO Challenges
We’ll now explore the top enterprise local SEO challenges and what you can do to address them.
Neglecting Location in SEO
One of the most common enterprise local SEO challenges is neglecting location in SEO. This can happen for several reasons.
Perhaps you’re not sure what’s expected from an SEO perspective and don’t want to spend money on something that won’t significantly impact your business. Or perhaps you’re trying to appeal to customers outside your immediate area, so it makes little sense to focus on local search rankings.
However, this approach can hurt you more than it helps you. Local SEO is a great way to build awareness of your brand, increase website traffic and conversions, and drive sales. When you pay attention to your location in SEO, you avoid missing out on all the benefits of prioritizing local search rankings.
Local Listing Management
Local listing management is one of the most critical aspects of local SEO. Without strong listings, your website won’t appear in search results for relevant keywords, and you’ll miss out on valuable traffic and conversions.
Local businesses must ensure that their Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, and other local listings are consistent across all platforms. If they aren’t, it’s hard to rank well in search results as Google will see multiple listings with different information indicating something wrong or duplicated.
To manage your local listings, create a local SEO strategy. This will help you stay on top of the latest changes in Google’s algorithm and ensure that your business remains visible in search results. The first step is to link all your profiles together to be consistent across platforms. Then, make sure that your information is up-to-date and accurate by editing each listing individually.
Your website is the hub of your online presence. It’s where customers will come to find out more about you and your products, so it needs to be designed to make this process as easy as possible.
This includes having a straightforward navigation structure, ensuring that all pages are mobile-responsive, and ensuring that there’s no duplicate content on your site. A well-structured website can also help Google better understand the information on the page, making it easier for them to determine what content is relevant and what isn’t.
And if you have an eCommerce site, it’s crucial to have a well-optimized shopping cart. This means having a clear and easy-to-navigate checkout process and ensuring that your site is mobile-friendly and responsive.
Google My Business Optimization
With Google being the king of local search, optimizing your Google My Business account is essential. This can help you rank higher in local searches and get more exposure in Google Maps.
You can add a description of your business, upload high-quality photos of your storefront or interior space, set up an accurate contact number and address for customers to reach out to, and add relevant social media profiles for people to follow.
And since about 56% of businesses don’t claim their Google My Business listing, you will automatically outcompete many of your competitors by doing so. You can also take advantage of Google’s local SEO tools, which will help you better understand how to optimize your business listing on Google Maps.
Local Pack Visibility
Google’s Local Packs is a ranking factor that Google uses to show local businesses in the top three organic search results on mobile devices. This is a great way to drive more traffic to your website and get your business seen by people searching for local services or products.
You can take advantage of this by ensuring that your information is consistent across Google My Business and Maps and that you have appropriate reviews and ratings on both platforms.
The above enterprise local SEO challenges can be a lot to take in. However, with proper planning, you can ensure that your website is optimized correctly to achieve the best possible results. If you’re looking for a company to help you with your local SEO efforts, you can search for “local SEO agencies near me.”