If your business works within a specific geographic region, you want to build a corresponding local presence through SEO. Google's recent focus on building localized components into its algorithm — and the location-aware personal technology that now permeates society — makes this possible on a range of fronts. You can now expand your brand's local presence quickly by using digital solutions to advance your local SEO strategy.
This assumes, of course, that you avoid making certain mistakes. With SEO a constantly moving target and consumer behaviors adapting to new technology innovations, you're probably aware that the local SEO playbook keeps changing. It's important to make sure you're following best practices if you want to guarantee local SEO success, but it's easy to forget about some of them.
Here are three common mistakes that local brands make when developing an SEO strategy:
1. Ignoring Facebook Place Tips
Place tips are a new feature on Facebook, but they're already important to any local SEO strategy. Right now, place tips are an optional feature that users must opt in to access, and availability is limited. However, the content offered through the tips — which are provided to users based on their friends' activity — can drive engagement with the local brand featured. Place tips are ultimately a vehicle for driving traffic to an establishment using location-based services, triangulation and Wi-Fi availability.
Marketing Land predicts that the earlier brands activate and start taking advantage of place tips, the quicker they'll start generating returns at the local level. Any physical location is sure to benefit in the long run, but a failure to seize this opportunity will give your competitors the upper hand.
2. Failing to Use Local Linking and Partnerships
Local search is very important to driving business within a geographic area, and links build toward increased search prominence. But local links also take traffic within your region and refer it to your website. As Search Engine Land suggests, links made through local business directories are a good option, as are links through local blogs and other sources that establish a connection with your business.
Local partnerships and sponsorships are a different type of link — ones that increase your exposure to the nondigital local audience. But these partnerships can translate to digital through social cross-promotion, content swaps and other mutually beneficial relationships.
Your local SEO strategy should consider both the technical merits of building links between local Web presences and how cross-promotional opportunities can expand your presence.
3. Not Googling Your Brand Regularly
SEO is constantly in flux. If you're a brand with a presence on Facebook, Yelp or other properties fueled by user contributions, you already know how quickly a local reputation can be influenced. Because of this, brands must stay aware of their online reputation by tracking new content and their results on Google and other search engines. Pay attention to new reviews and other content that poses a risk to your local reputation, and adapt accordingly.
Local SEO can be a tedious process and require a lot of digital elbow grease, but it can also have a great payoff for your brand.