Local SEO. The One Fix to Jump Start Your Rankings. (updated February, 2015)
A few months ago a new prospect who has been using several different SEO type companies asked me why their site still couldn’t be found online. This is a good question as they have spent thousands of dollars, in a slow and painful trickle, to SEO and Internet marketing people via a $350.00 monthly payment over several years. (That’s like 8K total)
So, I like any professional give the standard SEO guy answer, let me look at it. The first tactic I use to figure out what is going wrong in a Local Business ranking is to see where they are currently listing online and what those listings have in them. Specifically do the sites they are currently listed on have the correct information on the company’s name, address, phone number, and categories.
In this case the potential client had a real mess going on.
One of his “SEO” companies had built two different web sites with two different URLs, both with different phone numbers (for tracking I assume) and their correct company name and physical address. They had also listed these sites with the wrong information in many of the standard local directories everyone uses, including Google of course.
They also had a HomeAdvisor listing with a tracking number, and…. they even had several directories where someone years ago had listed their home phone number and address before they had a nice big office in a nice big office building.
All of this created a very confused Google.
Google loves consistent information about your company. They are robots… they have a mission, and the first mission is to collect information on your business name, address, phone and URL. If they see different versions, they completely lose their confidence, and push your website rankings way down, so they don’t have to deal with it. I am not joking. These robots are cowards.
The reality was they didn’t need SEO, they needed an Internet Janitor to clean up a horrible listings mess. And this is where so many SEO’s and businesses get it all wrong, from the very beginning. They start with checking back link reports. Backlink reports will not show you the inconsistent listing issue. You must search like a human (hey… that sounds like a song title… “Search like a human”), anyway. Go to Google and type in the Company name. Now go to every site that shows up for that company and see if it has the right Name, Phone, Address and URL.
I have seen rankings plummet when a business uses DEX advertising with a call tracking number. Dex will publish the company name, address and the tracking number, all over local directors to encourage salespeople to call the client, so DEX can make a dollar of two on the call.
It all comes down to this.
A confused search engine is a big problem. And when Google see’s different information for the same company, they don’t call you and ask, because they are robots, they just bury your rankings because robots have no feelings.
In many cases, the fastest way to get your sites rankings up is to fix any old, incorrect, or in any way inconsistent listings that exist online today. Most businesses can do this on their own by contacting each site that needs to be corrected. In some cases, it’s really hard, so if you can clean up most of them, you probably have done enough to fix the problem. Or, you can hire an Internet janitorial firm (like us) and we will do it for you. The main thing is Don’t continue to pay for SEO until this is completed. You may be surprised to see your site appearing on the first page for your important services after a good clean up.
Not sure if this is your issue on rankings? See that click to make an appointment link on the top of the page, it goes directly to my inbox. Feel free to use it, and I can tell you in 5 minutes if you have issues.
By Mike Bayesby