We are now seeing dozens of businesses sign up on Bizyhood each day to "claim" their business listing on our site. We are thrilled to see that number growing, but this has also alerted us to many local SEO mistakes that people make. These misconceptions make efforts to improve Local SEO more difficult! We'll clear a few up for you:
- Putting Name/Address/Phone/Business Hours in the business description - many business owners know that your NAP (Name/Address/Phone) should be consistent across all citation sites, which is why many businesses sign up on different directory sites. But we also see some businesses taking it too far and trying to add their NAP info anyplace they can, thinking that the more places they show their NAP, the better off they are. Ironically, it's just the opposite. You should only have your NAP displayed once per citation site, and you should make sure (if possible) that the directory site is using schema.org markup to clearly identify your information properly. Schema markup tells the search engines specific information about your listing so it's clear what is an address, a phone number, and so on. So you don't have to mention them multiple times.
- Using the same terms many times - We're all told to focus on our keywords and to make sure they are used liberally on all your web sites. But that doesn't mean to use the keyword everywhere. Your content should be natural, something that won't sound ridiculous when said out loud. If it sounds forced, then it's not going to result in good online SEO either. Google and Microsoft (Bing) urge people to write in a conversational tone and keep it simple and consistent. Good local SEO comes in moderation, not by trying to "win" all at once.
- Ignoring their own website for Local SEO purposes - we see many businesses signing up on Bizyhood that (a) don't have their own address on their own website, (b) have very little personal information about the company or the owners on their site (TIP: About Us means the people behind the company. Not some generic text that could have been pulled from any website).
- Not verifying their business - we find many people come to our site and register, but then never follow the instructions to verify ownership, which we require, and we make clear on the website as well as in an email to the business owner. Ironically, the sites that make it "easy" to signup without verification are the least valuable in terms of Local SEO. Authority is key with local citations, and if anybody can come in and claim your business, it's hard to be authoritative. We understand that verification is an extra step, but it's well worth it. Business owners should want to know they are the only ones who can claim their business.
- Allowing their citations to become a ghost town - most citations pages are empty, save from their NAP and whatever information the business owner provides when they sign up. This will provide Local SEO benefits to the business for a very short time. Once Google and Bing realize that the page is not changing at all, they will significantly decrease the SEO value since they will deem it an unpopular page. You need to create a presence and then have people be a part of that presence!
Fortunately, most of the "fixes" for these items are simple and straightforward. Small businesses are busy enough that they shouldn't spend time on Local SEO activities that won't generate the benefits they want. This is also a place where conventional wisdom may be best to ignore. It won't take long for you to stand out if you can clean up these five areas!
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