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Local Search - Topic 4: Negative Factors for Local Search

Local Search - Topic 4: Negative Factors for Local Search

Written by Margaret Shakibaie

Negative Factors for Local Search

Today I am going to talk about the things you don’t do. These are not just things that won’t help. These are things that will bring you down in local search. Search engines will actually penalise you for doing these things.

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1. Incorrect business category (GMB)

It is important that you choose the correct category for your business. Sometimes this is hard but it is worth taking the time to look through all the possibles and choose the most relevant to what your business does right now. You can choose more than one but don’t choose categories related to services you hope to include one day. The worst thing to do is choose irrelevant categories.  

2. Listing false Business name (GMB)

If you use a false business address and you get caught out, there will be serious repercussions.

3. Inconsistent NAP

Every time your business is listed it must have the exact same NAP (name, address and phone number). Every time your NAP is found by the search engines, a consistent NAP gives you higher authority. If it is inconsistent it waters down the benefit.  

Using tracking numbers – Do not do this. Some companies will ask you to use a tracking phone number so they can track where the lead was generated. It is the worst things you can do for local search.

Not only does it impact local search negatively, what happens when you stop using that company? People will still have that tracking number stored and, if they ring it, will believe you have gone out of business!

A better option is to use tracking on your phone number on the ‘click to call’ on your google analytics – you will be surprised what information you can get from setting Google Analytics Goals!

4. Malware of website

If your website is compromised and you have malware in it, this will have a huge negative effect on your local search rankings. You may not even be aware that you have malware in your website. Make sure that your CMS is regularly updated, that you have a decent firewall and that you are using quality hosting.

5. Reports of GMB Violations

Get a list of Google My Business rules / standards and make sure you conform to them. Although there are other search engines, Google and GMB in particular are the most important for small business.

6. Using same phone number on multiple GMB

If you have multiple GMB pages but you use the same phone number on them all, it has an extremely negative effect. If you have different locations, it is imperative to have a different phone number for each.

7. Inconsistent address between GMB and website

Do not have a different physical address on your website and on your GMB page. This is a sure way to lower your domain authority.

8. No crawable NAP on website

Search engine ‘crawl’ through websites seeking or gathering information upon which to make a decision about search rankings.   If the NAP information on your website is not ‘crawable’, that is, it cannot be found by the search engine, you will rank lower in the search results.  

9. Including a false address

Do not include a false address on your website. While you may get away with it for a while, it is highly likely that search engines will become aware that the address is false and penalise you. If you are wondering why, it is because Google’s goal is to help the person searching have the best experience. It is not in the best interest of Google’s customers (the searchers) to be misled.

Today I have gone through nine negative factors to avoid in local search. In the next video I will describe how you can be more competitive in local search…stay tuned!