Five SEO Myths and the Right Ways to Optimize Your Local Website
Local search optimization has been on the rise since Google began to emphasize it only a couple years ago. Today, local businesses all around the world are polishing their websites in the hopes that Google will give them some local love. But it takes more than just a good-looking site to help you rise to the top of your local search engine listings—it takes a defined understanding of local search optimization.
Local search optimization is confusing for many people—especially those who may be business managers, but who aren’t Internet gurus. To that end, we’re laying out the top five SEO myths for local businesses and what you can do to put yourself on the right path to the top of the local food chain:
Myth #1: All you need to do is claim your Google Places Listing
This myth is more of a half-truth than a full myth, since claiming your Google Places Listing is a prime way to get started on your local SEO ranking. But, this is just the start—much more work needs to be put in in order for you to rise above local competitors! Claiming your Google Places Listing is a lot like paying for a movie ticket, but never actually going in to see the movie: you get the process started, but don’t really follow through enough to reap the benefits! Make sure that claiming your Google Places Listing is the start of many things to come—not a shot in the dark at SEO.
Myth #2: Citations are better than links
For years, the mantra for building a good site has always been to have quality links leading back to that site—after all, the Internet is a giant web and the more connections that it has, the stronger it’s going to be! But, in recent times, citations have been garnering a bit more attention from Google’s bots, because they represent the usage of information as a way to explain new ideas offered by that site. A citation shows the use of information, whereas a link just shows the recognition that information exists. The truth is that both are important, but both need to be used in moderation. Having a thousand citations isn’t going to boost your site any higher than having 20 links and 20 citations!
Myth #3: Social media is no good for SEO
This is perhaps the most glaring myth on the list and one that far too many website owners put stock in. Just because you’re not getting hundreds of thousands of Facebook followers or a few hundred re-tweets a day doesn’t mean that social media is useless to you! These prolific sites are spectacular for building links, participating in conversations and pushing out new information that’s easily shared among followers and non-followers alike. It may not seem like anyone is paying attention to your social media accounts, but the truth is that Google is certainly watching them.
Myth #4: Google+ is king of the social world
People think that because Google+ is a Google product, that this is the only platform that matters when it comes to building their reputation. Well, as of recently, this has been proven completely wrong, as Google is abandoning Google+ in the near future. Until it officially closes its doors or dissolves into something else, however, Google+ is best used if people have a genuine interest in interacting with you through the platform. Simply pushing out messages daily won’t do a whole lot—it’s being added to circles, followed and republished on Google+ that will bolster your SEO rankings.
Myth #5: SEO is too hard for just anyone
Maybe in the olden days SEO could have been considered a niche expertise—and even today at many levels it still is—but that doesn’t mean that it’s not able to be readily understood at a basic level by anyone. Basic SEO practices are easily put in place by anyone, so long as they avoid the myths and stick to the facts. It’s important to remember that there are limits to how much you can do without the right tools and expertise, but working up until that point means paving your own way in the world of local search optimization!