Despite the substantial growth of local search in the last year or so, there are so many complexities that a wide variety of myths have sprung up within the local SEO community. Before you can gain the kind of local traffic that you want, it’s important to make sure that you aren’t operating under any of the following misconceptions.
Myth 1: A Verified Listing = A Claimed Google+ Page
Local SEOs all know that verifying your listing and claiming your Google+ page for your business is a crucial step in gaining exposure in local search. However, Google will only display information that it sees as authoritative, so you may not have as much control as you think over what information is conveyed through your Google+ page. Make sure to avoid problems with information not being perceived as authoritative by keeping your NAP consistent and gaining connections with respected figures in your industry.
Myth 2: Your Website Doesn’t Matter
In a non-competitive market, this myth might be true, but if you’re expecting to get a high ranking with your niche market or location, it’s still super important to optimize your website!
Myth 3: Social Isn’t Necessary
Hopefully, there are very few SEOs out there who actually believe this myth. Social is absolutely necessary for every business that wants to attract traffic online. All of your customers (and competitors) are on social media, so social is your golden opportunity to connect with them.
Myth 4: Google Reviews Are Better
Google reviews are not necessarily better than third party reviews. Having 5 stars coming up from a good handful of reviews looks good on your Google+ page, but the most important thing is to get a diverse profile of reviews from respected sites that relate to your industry.
Myth 5: NAP Inconsistencies
Yes, one of the key aspects of great local SEO is maintaining a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) throughout all of your online presence. However, worrying about consistencies like “Suite” versus “Ste.” isn’t worth your time – Google has become quite smart about normalizing these types of “inconsistencies.” It’s way more important to focus on higher-level consistency problems, like making sure your phone number is correct.
Myth 6: Google Offers Poor Support for Local
Although Google’s support system for local search has been weak in the past, they are now quite helpful. In fact, Google maintains a forum for local search and responds quickly to phone calls and emails.
What other myths have you discovered within the local search community?