One of the most common problems faced by small businesses is that they aren’t getting enough traffic to their website. One of the biggest causes of this problem is a lack of investment in local search engine optimisation (SEO). Local SEO encompasses a lot of different tasks, often ignored by business owners because they are too busy or simply aren’t aware of what needs to be done. They may not even realise there’s a problem!
If your website has suffered a recent drop in rankings or you just can’t seem to encourage enough people to visit your website, here are five major reasons why it might be happening.
1. You aren’t using the right keywords for local SEO
Local businesses need to use keywords that apply to their geographic location for two very good reasons. First, you can’t compete with the big multinationals for high volume keywords, such as ‘divorce lawyer’, but you can compete for ‘Brisbane divorce law specialist’.
This is where you can make a significant difference to your traffic, simply by using the keywords that searchers in your area automatically use in the search engines, and looking for longer or more specific search terms. Local SEO is where you need to focus your efforts.
2. You have broken links or the wrong links
To rank well with search engines, you need authoritative websites in your locality and within your industry to link to your website. Each link pointing to your website is known as a “backlink”, and receiving backlinks from local businesses and directories ensures search engines that you are a viable local business.
If these links don’t exist or become broken over time, you can quickly lose rankings with the search engines, resulting in a loss of visibility and few if any visitors to your website. Creating and maintaining these links is another local SEO tactic that works extremely well, though it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to achieve high quality backlinks.
3. You’ve received a Google penalty
Easy to get and difficult to remove, a Google penalty can be a literal death knell for a website. There are many reasons why a website may receive this type of penalty, but it’s generally because someone (employee, manager or even the owner) has done something to the website and it’s created a problem with Google.
If you violate their guidelines, Google isn’t slow to apply a penalty that can drastically reduce your website rankings, or at worst, see your website disappear from search results entirely. Look in your Google Search Console for notifications, because they will tell you what has gone wrong. It’s up to you to fix the problem though.
4. You are being beaten by your competitors
It’s highly likely that your competitors are doing their own local SEO as well, and they may simply be doing it far better than you are. They may be pushing their social media interactions, blog posting and link building, investing a higher marketing budget, and are simply attracting more traffic and customers. Software does exist that can show you any changes that your competition has made, but if you hand over your local SEO to an expert, companies like ours we can do all that for you.
5. You’ve ignored on-page SEO
Local SEO is one thing, but on-page SEO is quite another matter. If you haven’t optimised your website for search engines, you will be practically invisible to searchers, traffic will be poor and sales quite possibly non-existent.
On-page SEO includes writing high quality, interesting and relevant content for your audience, adding suitable images, graphics, webinars, how-to guides and videos, all meant to engage and inform your visitors. It also includes making sure that you don’t have duplicate content, that your title tags, H1 headings, alt images and meta descriptions use your keywords, and that these keywords are used appropriately throughout your website. So there’s a lot of work involved in both content and technical areas to get your website working for you, instead of against you.
If you haven’t given much thought to local SEO, it might just be time to give us a call on (07) 3333 2932 so we can talk you through the options available as well as provide a free SEO audit.