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3 Common Mistakes Made With Local SEO and How to Avoid Them

Local SEO

Local search engine optimization is an exciting new subcategory of website development and marketing.  All of the major search engines, Google included, now place a lot of emphasis on local content, so you can draw more visitors by creating landing pages targeting specific cities and neighborhoods.

However, if you’re thinking about a local keyword campaign, you need to take a logical approach to avoid pouring money into a massive base of useless content.  Some of the most common mistakes that website owners and SEO managers make when organizing local SEO campaigns include:

1. Over thinking Keyword Concentrations.

To attract the attention of the big search engines, you’re probably setting up landing pages that focus on local keywords.  For example, if you sell tires near St. Louis, you might combine some product-specific keywords with different neighborhoods and towns around the city.  Your local SEO keyphrases might include “Goodyear Tires Maplewood” or “Firestone tires Fairview Heights.”  You get the idea.

Ideally, your content will have a 1-3 percent keyword density for each of these terms.  However, you shouldn’t be counting keyword repetitions.  Doing so may cause your page to read like obvious SEO content, which will scare away customers and prevent Google and other search engines from assigning your landing pages a high ranking.

Instead, start with a few keywords in mind and write naturally.  You’ll get much more reliable results, especially in the long-term–remember, Google algorithms will change.  If you’ve got great content, algorithm updates are a good thing, but if you’re targeting a certain keyword concentration, you’ll inevitably see your ranking drop over time.

2. Putting Local-Specific Terms Where They Don’t Belong.

Speaking of algorithm updates, we know that Google’s Venice and Panda updates emphasize quality locale-specific information.  The search engine can now tell the difference between well-written content designed specifically for a certain city and purposeful SEO content with local information jammed into place unnaturally.

Your landing pages should include some information about local areas.  They shouldn’t have paragraphs that resemble Wikipedia entries for your target town.

In our previous example, a sentence that reads, “Our tires will keep you safe while you roll across the Poplar Street Bridge” might connect with the target readers and get them to take action.  You won’t get the same effect from an obvious SEO sentence that reads something like, “St. Louis has a metropolitan population of over 1.3 million.  Buy our tires.”

If you’re putting local-specific phrases into your content, make sure that they make sense.

3. Not Monitoring Statistics.

Never assume that web users always use the same keyphrases when trying to find a specific product or service.  You might need to target different keywords for St. Louis than you’d need to target for Atlanta, so watch your statistics and make sure that you’re developing appropriate campaigns for each city on your list.

Remember to look at clickthroughs for your PPC ads and check your website statistics to see how long your users are spending on each landing page.  Relevancy is important, and well-designed local SEO campaigns require constant quality checks.  Watch statistics, choose your keywords logically and create high-quality content for the best results.

About the Author

Written by George Thompson – an online marketer who recommends Interactive Limited for SEO needs.

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