Local SEO is one of the least-understood aspects of the SEO industry. For local businesses, local SEO is also the most important aspect.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the unfortunate myths local business owners believe about local SEO:
5) Posting on Google+ Improves Rankings
When Google+ was first introduced as “the next social network”, Google was putting a lot of emphasis into using your Google+ pages for SEO. Individuals could post on Google+ to enjoy a boost in organic rankings, while businesses who frequently posted on Google+ were thought to be rewarded with better rankings for their keywords.
The truth is: posting on Google+ no longer seems to have any significant effect on local SEO rankings. It doesn’t hurt your rankings, either, but it’s still pretty much a waste of time.
The reason this doesn’t work is that Google appears to be slowly phasing out Google+. Today, it’s virtually impossible for someone to see your Google+ posts unless they search for your business by name. There isn’t even a link to your Plus page in your local business link. The content you post on there is most likely going to be swallowed up by the vast expanse of the internet.
4) I Need to Hire Someone Who Specializes in Google Maps SEO
When you open Google Maps and search for businesses – say, by typing in “restaurants” – you’ll see certain businesses pop up before others. Some businesses will blend in with other dots on the map, while others are featured prominently.
Local business owners might naturally think, “Hey, I need someone who specializes in Google Maps SEO to boost my rankings in Google Maps.”
The problem with this belief is that Google Maps SEO does not appear to be independent – in any way – to your Google Search rankings. The businesses that appear first on a Google Search for “restaurants” will also tend to appear first on a Google Maps search.
Yes, Google Maps SEO is undoubtedly important. But improving your Google Maps ranking requires the same processes you would use if you were increasing your overall search rankings.
3) Setting a Huge Service Area Helps You Rank in More Towns
Part of being a local business on Google involves setting your service area. Google wants you to use this feature to tell your customers how far you’d be willing to travel to each customer.
Local businesses are naturally inclined to set this radius to a larger-than-life area. After all, it wouldn’t hurt to attract customers from just outside your service area, would it?
The truth is, according to Moz, there’s no evidence that setting a larger surface area helps you rank in more towns. Instead, you’re still most likely only going to rank in the town where your business is actually located.
Now, you can certainly implement other local SEO techniques to help you rank in towns away from your local address – but setting a large Google Maps service area isn’t one of those things.
2) I Can Use the Same Content and Link Marketing Strategies I Use for Larger SEO Projects
When huge nationwide SEO firms tackle local SEO projects, they’re often tempted to use the same content and link marketing strategies that have worked on larger projects.
This approach certainly isn’t ineffective. But it can be very wasteful and unnecessary. In local niches, quality always matters over quantity – especially when it comes to links. Link spam is less likely to work in local niches – and it’s more likely to be punished.
High-quality links in targeted markets are particularly valuable for local SEO. They generate highly-targeted traffic that’s highly likely to convert.
1) Social Media Marketing is Useless for Local SEO
Social media marketing is rarely “useless” for any type of online marketing project. However, a surprising number of SEO experts will ignore social media marketing for local SEO projects.
The truth is: social media and local SEO get along extremely well. If you can stay active on social media and post high-quality, locally-relevant content to users, then they’ll start paying attention. This can work especially well in smaller towns, where your social media posts aren’t being drowned out by thousands of other spammy posts.
There’s One Aspect of Local SEO That Isn’t a Myth
There’s one thing about local SEO that isn’t a myth: paid search advertising can be extremely effective when used correctly.
That lesson has remained true since pretty much the beginning of pay per click ads. To learn more about how Renew Marketing can help your local business enhance its online presence, visit our paid ad management service page here.