The Most Common Local SEO Problem for Businesses

February 18, 2015
by Kimberly Treacy

    SEO Common Challenges Frustrated ComputerThere are a variety of SEO challenges that local businesses in Omaha face. While we’re going to provide strategies for dealing with several of those challenges, we want to start by tackling the most common local SEO obstacle facing businesses.

    Name, Address and Place (NAP) Inconsistency

    To fully explain why NAP inconsistency is such a big problem across the local SEO landscape, it’s important to first cover how Google handles local search results. While Google’s main algorithm plays a role in local search ranking, there are additional elements that affect the results that people searching Google see on their phone, tablet or computer.

    In fact, Google made some core algorithmic changes over the last year that were specifically targeted at local search results. These changes, which are often referred to as the Pigeon Update, were designed to weed low-quality and fake sites out of local search engine results pages (SERPs). Since the total percentage of Google searches that local SERPs account for continues to increase, plenty of spammers have attempted to make a quick buck over the years by trying to rank their sites in these sets of results.

    At Big Red SEO, we only focus on white hat SEO for business strategies built around the goal of sustainable and long-term online success. While there will always be businesses that want to cheat the system in an effort to get fast results, we know that’s a recipe for disaster. The reason that shortcuts will simply never work is because Google’s goal has always been to provide their users with the best possible experience. So when various forms of spam became such a problem that the quality of local SERPs started to suffer, Google took action to remedy the problem.

    Why NAP Citations are Such An Important Factor for Local SEO

    When someone conducts a local search, their goal is to find a real business. Helping users find real businesses is why Google centered their local algorithm updates around giving more visibility to businesses that they can confirm exist and decreasing the visibility of sites related to something other than an actual business.

    Although there are many ways that anyone could go about verifying the validity of businesses, it’s important to remember that Google always focuses on making changes in a way that will scale. That explains why they opted to use existing data from large directories like the online Yellow Pages, CitySearch, Yelp and many others.

    While it’s fairly easy to understand why Google went in this direction, this approach created two notable problems for local businesses. The first local SEO challenges is simply obtaining these citations. If a business is new or hasn’t invested much in online marketing, they may have very little visibility in Google. The second problem presented by Google’s approach to ranking local results is the most common challenge that businesses face.

    This challenge is keeping NAP citations consistent. The reason that NAP inconsistency is a problem is because Google determines rankings algorithmically instead of manually. As a result, if a business has citations in different directories that don’t match perfectly in terms of name, address and phone number, they won’t get full credit for those listings. This can prevent a business from ranking as highly as they want in local SERPs.

    A big part of why this problem is the most prevalent among local businesses is because most have been around for at least a few years. During that amount of time, it’s likely that a business will have had at least one name, address or phone number change. Even if the change was minor, citations with the old information can present a problem.

    The other major reason so many businesses have this local SEO challenge is it’s not an easy one to remedy. Since an established local business may be listed in dozens of directories and other data sources, trying to get every citation on the same page can take a ton of research and work. The amount of effort involved in fixing citation issues is why many businesses decide that having this work handled by reliable Omaha SEO management professionals is the best way to go. If you feel the same way, Big Red SEO is ready to help you.

    3 Other Local SEO for Business Challenges

    In most cases, NAP inconsistency is the first issue that a local business should focus on resolving. However, it’s important to understand that there are several other SEO management issues that can negatively impact rankings as well.

    Duplicate Google Places listings are the first of the three challenges in this honorable mention section. The reason this is a problem is because it can reduce visibility in local SERPs or even trigger a penalty. Poor on-site SEO optimization is the second problem. From slow loading speeds to accessibility problems on mobile devices, there are many on-site optimization issues that can negatively impact a site’s performance.

    Having a low-quality backlink profile is the last notable issue that local businesses struggle with in regards to SEO. One possibility that falls within this category is when a business has virtually no incoming links. The other related is a business may have lots of incoming links, but they’re virtually all from spammy sources. This often occurs when businesses accidentally work with a disreputable SEO provider. Lots of low-quality incoming links can actually result in a site being penalized until the links are removed from the Internet.

    Get Professional Help with Your Local SEO Problems: (402) 522-6468

    If your Omaha business isn’t receiving as much traffic from Google as you’d like, nothing will change until you take action. But because taking the wrong action can make the situation even worse, you don’t want to settle for working with just any SEO management company. That’s why you need Big Red SEO. With a proven track record of helping local businesses grow by improving their online business, we provide real results for our clients. Call us today at (402) 522-6468 to discuss how we can help your business take care of its SEO problems, increase visibility and get on the right path to growth.

    Kimberly Treacy

    About

    Kimberly Treacy (Talbot) is an SEO Guru with a ‘no bullshit’ attitude. As the owner of Big Red SEO, she provides companies of all sizes what they need to know to get their business in front of those looking for their services and products. Big Red SEO is one of the few search engine optimization companies that offers ‘industry exclusivity’ meaning we only work with one company within an industry and their market at a time.