The InsideLocal webinars consisted of 500+ local search consultants and SMB owners. The vast majority of attendees included search consultants/agencies, with 90-95% located in the USA and Canada. Hence, the data are skewed to that sector’s experience and location.
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The results of these polls help to scale the specific issues impacting local businesses and the local search community.
The Most Common Local Ranking Issues That Local Businesses Have
5 attendees were given options to choose from and were asked to pick the 2 most common issues that they found across all the clients they worked with or had businesses that they audited. Considering that each local search consultant handles 9 clients on average, it was assumed that these experiences are drawn from over 3,000 businesses.
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Key Findings of the analysis:
– The most common issue at 41% is the inconsistent citation and NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data
– 27% of the issue came from duplicate Google Places/+Local listings is the 2nd most common issue
– Google Places Guideline Violations was the least common issue, with only 4% of respondents counting this among their most common issues.
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It is a known fact that the local search space is plagued with incorrect business data. Hence, it shouldn’t be surprising to see that Citations/NAP is the number one issue that is affecting local businesses. The majority of businesses today, have NAP consistency issues at some level or the other, ranging from cripplingly bad to very minor. This issue will remain for some years to come.
It was surprising to see that “Google Places Guideline Violations” was so low. Even with frequent changes and reversal of advice in the guidelines, many businesses violate the guidelines in some way or other. It is suspected that many respondents are unclear on what constitutes a guideline violation. Hence the reason for the low score in this survey.
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It is believed that Google must educate businesses/SEOs and more. Hence they are expected to make it clear when they are in violation and must explain what action they need to take. This is in everyone’s best interest that the data is cleaned up and duplicate listings are removed.
This will make it easier to identify low-quality and spammy listings that don’t comply, and Google can mete out a more targeted penalty on the offenders.
Percentage Of Local Businesses That Have Duplicate Google Places/+Local Listings
Every consultant or agent has at least one client who has a duplicate Google+ Listing. It’s such a common issue. And the experts on the webinar thought that this is the first issue they explore when auditing a business with local ranking issues.
Duplicate listing is a detriment to ranking in Maps and Local that even if other aspects are well optimized a business often doesn’t have a chance of breaking into the local pack if their duplicate listing remains at large.
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Percentage Of Local Businesses That Have Suffered A Local Penalty
A lot of businesses have suffered a local penalty than having had duplicate listings. Local penalties can happen for many reasons. It occurs mainly due to a breach of Google’s Guidelines but not all duplicate listings result in a penalty.
And it’s believed that many more businesses may have suffered a local penalty than known. There is no clear info either in the Google My Business dashboard or Google Webmaster Tools stating that a local rankings penalty has been applied. This means that it’s down to awareness and understanding to identify a penalty.
Google could do a lot more to make it clear when and why a listing is being penalized. This will help business owners to improve their listings as Google wants them to.
The Take On Optimizing For Google+ Local Delivers Brings Good ROI
Key Findings of the Analysis:
– 28% said ROI was “Excellent”
– 48% thought that ROI was “Good”
– Just 4% said ROI was “Low” or “Very Low
With so many complexities and issues already impacting Google+Local, the analysis intended to know if SEOs see a worthwhile return from the effort invested into optimizing their listings via Google My Business.
The feedback was extremely positive. A whopping 76% of respondents said that the ROI was either “Excellent” or “Good,” while only 4% said it offered “Low”/”Very Low” ROI.
So despite the issues that impacted the ability of many local businesses to rank well in Google Maps/Local, the effort was worth the reward.
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Citation consistency is very impactful on the Local SEO for businesses that have a physical location such as law firms, nursing homes, doctor offices, rehab centers, apartment complexes & commercial property, etc. Get your citation consistency right with the help of our SEO experts in San Francisco.