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Businesses know that their Google listing is key to local SEO. After all, Google has more than a 90% market share of searches done online. It makes sense that local businesses would want to do everything in their power to capture more Google traffic, but in their rush to optimize their Google profiles, some business owners can make key mistakes that can end up causing more harm than good.
It is common knowledge that there are many best practices for local search engine optimization, yet very little is understood about the risks involved in what is called “over optimization” or unnatural optimization. This happens when a business goes too far in making changes to their business profile.
The risks are clear. Google has clearly said that too many mistakes in your business listing will result in a listing being demoted in local results or removed from local results completely. In this post, we will outline the most common mistakes that businesses make on their Google My Business profile, and how to avoid them.
Here are 6 common mistakes to avoid with your Google Business Listing:
This sounds obvious, but many local businesses use an incorrect or invalid title for their business. For example, an attorney in NYC may call themselves “Best NYC Attorney” as their business name in an attempt to rank better for local searches, even though their official business name is “Big Apple Legal”. Spammy and fraudlent practices like this risk getting your listing removed from local results completely.
Everyone knows you need local reviews. The mistake is when business owners solicit paid reviews or try to manipulate local rankings. For example, even reviews site Glassdoor was criticized by the Wall Street Journal recently for having too many inflated company reviews. And studies have shown that customers trust a 4-star business more than they do one with a suspiciously perfect rating.
Businesses with high-quality listings and great photos are easy to trust. That is why it’s important to not only add as many photos as possible but also to ensure that the ones you do add are high-quality. Review your profile on a regular basis to ensure that customers have not added blurry or incorrect photos to your listing on accident.
A few years ago Google began incorporating social media signals into its rankings. So, make sure your social links like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are connected properly to your listing. This will allow local searchers to easily engage with your brand and research what other customers are saying about you before they make a decision.
Google allows you to include your website URL on your official profile. This is another simple optimization that businesses sometimes get wrong. Always connect the most recent website URL to your listing. And make sure it’s the one that corresponds to the right location. Even little changes like HTTPS or www vs. non www versions need to be corrected.
Keep updated on the latest features that Google Business roles out. Google is always providing local business owners with new services and descriptions. So stay up-to-date with their blogs and social media feeds for the latest.
Your Google Business Listing is a key part of your local marketing strategy. But in the excitement to optimize your profile, do not make the mistake of risking getting banned by Google or at minimum your rankings discounted. If you optimize your local listing properly, you will get more business in the long run.