Not claiming a Google Business Profile.
A Google business profile is a must. Suppose you want people who live in your area to find your business either on google maps or google search with a Google Business Profile. In that case, you can showcase your business to potential customers and entice them to either call you or visit your website. If you have one, your business profile will show up for searches in Google that aren’t relevant to the services or products you provide.
If you search for your business name on Google, you may find that Google has already created a profile for your business based on information on the web. If this is the case, claim it and add as much information to it as you can. If you can’t find a business profile, just go to google.com business and create one from scratch. It’s completely free.
Not having a website.
Nowadays, many small business owners feel it is unnecessary to have a website and rely on a Facebook, business page, or other social media platforms to attract new customers. Instead, this is a huge oversight.
Having a website is an absolute must, as it gives you the chance to create compelling content pages that can rank in Google for keywords you want your business to be found.
Also, there is a strong correlation between your website and your Google business profile. Having one without the other will diminish your chances of being found on Google. If money is an issue, you can use the free website option provided by Google once you’ve claimed a listing.
Set and forget
This is one of the biggest issues I have come across. Many business owners think that once they’ve claimed the google business profile and created a website, their job is done, and clients will be rolling in.
You can’t just set and forget you need to nurture your website and your business profile, create new content, add fresh information, images, etc.
You also need to give it some time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Some of your competitors have probably been at it for years, so you can’t expect to rank at the top of Google overnight.
You’ll need to work hard and be patient.
Inconsistent name, address and phone number (NAP)
Your NAP, also known as a name, address and phone number, is the location and contact details for your business that can be found on your website, your social media pages, popular directories and other websites.
Google cross-references. This information verifies the legitimacy of a business.
That’s why the consistency of your business information is key. Any discrepancy between naps may result in lower rankings in search results to check that your name, address and phone numbers are consistent across the web.
Use a citation tracker such as Brightlocal, which will flag any inconsistency it comes across, so you can easily fix them.
Not building backlinks to your website.
This common mistake comes up repeatedly when I audit my client’s websites, and whenever I flag it to them, more often than not, they look at me blankly.
This is when I realise they have no idea what I’m talking about. For those of you reading this article who share the same feeling, here is a simple definition of backlinks.
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, incoming links or one-way links, are links from one website to a page on another website.
Google and other major search engines consider backlinks votes for a specific page. Pages with many backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings.
When it comes to small businesses, the backlinks that matter the most come from other local websites, such as your local chamber of commerce, a local blogger, your local newspapers website, other local businesses, websites, etc.
If you want your business to be found on Google, I suggest you roll up your sleeves and start working on building links with other local websites. You won’t regret it.
Not creating enough content on your website.
The content on your website is what is going to help your business be found on Google.
If you are not creating enough of it, you are really limiting your chances of being discovered by Google and obviously by new customers.
More and more small business owners choose a minimalist approach and focus on design and simplicity. It’s very common nowadays to see one-page websites or for businesses to bundle all their services on the same page. Unfortunately, bundling content onto one page or choosing a sleek looking website doesn’t equal rankings.
You need to produce detailed information about your business and what you offer. So you can optimise multiple pages for different keywords.
Ignoring Google reviews.
Google reviews play a big part in the overall visibility of your business on Google, local search results and Google Maps, but they also help convert visitors into customers.
Reviews will undeniably help your Google Business Profile climb the ranking ladder. Ignore them at your peril! I’ve seen so many business owners neglect reviews. It’S almost unbelievable. This is once again the set and forget syndrome.
Once they’ve created a Google business profile, they simply don’t revisit it anymore. If you fall into this category, I suggest you focus some of your attention on reviews, get into the habit of asking your customers for a google review via email or text, and make sure you follow up with a response.
By the way, whether the review is good or bad is not that important. Occasional bad reviews won’t really hurt your rankings on Google.
This shouldn’t be a one-off effort but a routine task, just like brushing your teeth.
Picking the wrong business category for your Google Profile when creating a Google Business Profile.
Google asks you to pick a primary business category that matches your main activity. While this is fairly straightforward for certain businesses like plumbers or electricians, if you are a dentist or a lawyer, the choice may not be as clear-cut since several options may be available.
Because the category you choose will directly impact where you rank on Google Maps, you’d better choose carefully.
The easiest way to figure out is to spy on your competitor’s business listings and determine what category they have chosen for themselves.
You can easily do this with a free Google Chrome extension like GMB Everywhere.
Once installed, go to Google Maps, search for a keyword you are trying to rank for, and check the results. The primary category for each listing will be displayed in an orange box along with a star.
The other categories listed are secondary categories.
These also play a part in where you rank on Google Maps. So, if you feel they apply to your business, add them to your profile.
Missing location keywords in the content.
If you want people who search for businesses like yours locally to find you on Google Maps, you must add location-specific keywords to your content.
Let’s say: you’re a plumber based in Dublin, Ireland. Adding the keyword Dublin strategically within your content will help your site rank for that exact location and drive more customers to call you. Omitting to add these location-specific keywords to your content may result in lower rankings on Google, and you might miss out on precious customers.
You don’t want to go overboard with this.
Mentioning “plumber in Dublin” 29 times on just one page will probably hurt your rankings.
Google is likely to see this as spam, and visitors will likely be confused since the page won’t simply read well.
Poor website technical health
Your website needs to be technically sound.
Technical errors often prevent search engines from crawling websites correctly. This can lead to some of your pages not appearing in search results or, worse for your website, not showing at all.
If you’ve been running your website for a while and are updating it regularly, but it is not showing up on search engines like Google, it is likely due to some technical issues.
Throughout all the audits I have conducted, I have yet to come across a website that was a hundred per cent issue free.
To avoid this, I recommend running a technical audit on your site regularly. The good news is these issues are generally easy to fix as long as you know what you are doing.
If you don’t, I suggest reaching out to a professional for help.
The speed at which a user can access your web pages is directly correlated with your website rankings on Google.
In its quest to improve customer experience, Google has been rewarding faster web pages with higher rankings.
That’s why it’s important you seriously consider improving your website speed.
Besides ranking higher, your visitors will also appreciate fast-loading pages.
Most people searching for a local business will do so via their mobile phones. Since their attention span will be really limited, a faster website will keep them engaged and help convert them into customers.
To check the speed of your web pages, use Google’s Page Speed and insight tool, in which you’ll be able to see how well your site is performing both on mobile and desktop.