Local SEO can be very competitive, so avoiding these common SEO mistakes can help improve your visibility. There are hundreds and hundreds of factors that Google takes into consideration in their ranking algorithms. Good news is there are also many ways to improve your current search engine visibility. Below you will find 11 common SEO mistakes that we often see made by pet sitters and dog walkers. Increase your chances of being listed organically for your keywords, being included in Google’s Local Pack and help your customers find you!
Not Optimizing Google My Business
Google my Business (GMB) is a free tool for local businesses to help manage online presence across Google’s search engine. GMB is a tool designed by Google, which should convince you enough to focus some time on it. Optimizing your GMB listing is one of the most effective ways to begin improving your local SEO. You must choose the correct categories and services, add photos, collect positive reviews, respond to all reviews, and use exact legal business name and information in the listing. But don’t forget about Bing, it is also essential to register for Bing Places for Business account if you have not yet!
Not Getting or Managing Reviews
You may be shy or feel awkward asking a client for a review, but it is time to step outside of your comfort zone. Most of your satisfied clients will gladly write a review as they understand the importance it has for small local business. According to Google, high-quality positive reviews from your customer will improve your business’ visibility. Make it easy for your client to write you a review by creating a link they can click to write. Once you receive reviews, you must take the time to respond. Whether good or bad. Responding shows your customer that you value them and their feedback and can also contribute to local SEO.
Negative reviews without responses can negatively affect your SEO. Friendly-Reminder: Do not ever pay for a review or ask anyone to review your business that has not used your services. Do not break Google’s review policies. If you have fake positive reviews, we suggest asking your friend to remove it.
Did you know? – Language in the review matters? If your client writes a review using keywords & location that signals to Google that you are a trust local business for that servicde type.
Not Creating Location Pages
Location pages help Google understand where you provide a service. Clear listing of your service area is crucial for dog walkers and pet sitters who mainly offer mobile services with no office location. Not only for your potential customers but also for Google. Having a service area page for each location can help you rank organically for places where you don’t have a physical office. While it is a good idea to add location pages to your website, you can only have ONE Google My Business listing for your business. Also, each location page must contain over 600 words of high-quality content for each region for the page to be useful to Google.
Service area pages should include individualized descriptions, testimonials from clients within that area, particular areas you walk dogs in that town, and a Google Map, to name a few. If you cannot generate high-quality content for each region, instead focus on optimizing one main location page to showcase your entire service area.
Trying to Rank for the Wrong Keywords
Not using the correct keywords is another of the more common SEO mistakes we see. One of the biggest mistakes we see is clients optimizing for too generic keywords or keywords that their clients are not using in their searches. Both are a waste of time and resources. Do your keyword research to discover specific keywords with decent search volume and low competition. Don’t try and compete with the national companies that have huge budgets. The more specific and longer the keywords are, the higher the chances of ranking higher. The more specific, the lower the search volume, so be sure to do your research to find opportunities. Avoid optimizing for a keyword that nobody uses, you may be ranked #1, but that is no good if nobody searches for that query!
Check out our Free Training: How To Rank For The Right Search Terms On Your Pet Business Website
Not Inviting People to Your Website
Optimizing your metadata is a significant way to entice people to click on your listing in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Metadata isn’t a ranking factor; however, it is crucial for Click-Through Rate (CTR), which is a ranking factor. The metadata of each page should be unique and clearly state what the page is about. The goal is to convince them that you have the answer to their query. Your page title must be less than 60 characters and your meta description less than 160 characters, so they don’t get cut off in the SERPs.
Invite people to visit your website using social media channels, email marketing, etc…is another way to invite people to your site. Show Google that people already like your content to improve your chances of increased ranking in Google.
NAP Consistency and Not Taking Advantage of Business Directories
Online business directories like Yelp, Foursquare, Mapquest, YellowPages, Thumbtack, Better Business Bureau, Manta, etc. will significantly help your visibility and boost your Local SEO. Every business directory, review site, social media channel, and your website should have identical and accurate business name spelling, address, and phone number. Consistency is vital here. Add a backlink to your website, and a thorough description of your business and service offerings to each listing.
Get in the habit of getting your business name out there as much as possible. Don’t forget to research industry-specific and local directories in addition to national directories. Here is a list of top citations by country to help you get started. Need help? Our new SEO service will cover citations audits, support, and SEO management.
Failing to Write PAWsome Content
If you want to improve your search visibility, start by writing or re-writing your content to ensure it is high-quality. Every page on your website should have a minimum of 600 words. You want Google to see you as an expert on a topic, so you need to write more than a few sentences about that topic. This will, therefore, indicate to Google that your page is the best for that search query. But, keep in mind, Google is not your audience. You must write your content for your audience, local pet owners. Remember to keep all content original and avoid keyword stuffing.
Focus on publishing easy-to-read localized content on a consistet basis. The proximity of the searcher will have an effect on which results they are served; therefore, on-page organic optimization for location and keyword is essential.
Not Adding Call-to-Actions (CTA)
When a visitor lands on your site, don’t make it difficult for them to find their answer. Keep potential clients on your website. Make it simple for your clients to contact you, request a quote, or book online. Don’t make them bounce back to the next listing in Google. To do so, every page on your site should have a CTA. Adding multiple CTAs can become confusing to your visitor and cause them to lose focus quickly. Establish a goal for each page. Add a CTA that stands out so it won’t be easily missed to reach the goal.
Not Keeping Your Website Up-to-Date and Maintained
Website upkeep and maintenance is crucial for local SEO ranking signals. Google’s mobile-first indexing has now rolled out. Therefore, Google is indexing mobile not first, not desktop. If you have an old site that’s not already mobile-responsive, you are probably falling behind your competition in the search engines. Structured data markup is also essential and requires modern website structure. Using a plugin like RankMath can help you manage structured data on your website.
Not Creating Dedicated Pages for Each Service
Creating a dedicated page for each of your services can significantly improve your search engine visibility. Instead of a page like “yourwebsite.com/services” – you can create one page for “yourwebsite.com/dog-walking-yourcity” and another for “yourwebsite.com/pet-sitting-yourcity.” If you choose to create separate pages, you must be prepared to craft high-quality and unique content for each page. If you don’t have enough content, then stick to one high-quality service page.
Not Prioritizing Local Link Building
Maybe the toughest but one of the most important ranking signals is link building. The more high-quality backlinks from websites that Google trust, the better! Authoritative link building immediately establishes you as a reputable source. Ideally, you want a range of inbound links that are relevant to your business, authoritative, and organic. Never pay for backlinks or link swap as that is against Google Terms of Sevice. Backlinks from local newspapers, related services, and local community blogs can help prove to Google that others trust your site in your region.
Now if you can get an inbound link from an authoritative site hyperlinking one of your main keywords and location, you hit the jackpot!
The most crucial thing you can do to increase your local SEO is to claim and fully optimize your Google My Business listing. Many ranking signals are related to a well-optimized GMB listing. SEO is not a one and done task; it takes time and commitment to nurturing your website up the Google ranks. Schedule time each month to tackle any mistakes that have been made or register for our SEO Service.
Erika Godwin is the President of Barketing Solutions and the Co-Founder and CMO of ProPet Software, an industry-leading kennel management software. Erika has over 8 years of experience with WordPress and graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a BS, Business Administration- Marketing and Management.