local seo citation myths

Putting To Bed The Myths of Local SEO

In SEO by Ryan Freeman

More of us than ever before are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of local SEO when it comes to getting our businesses noticed. However, there are a host of myths out there when it comes to this element of your marketing strategy.

Here, we take a look at some of the popular misconceptions about local SEO and put them to bed for good so that you can get on with maximising your marketing potential.

1) Suite Numbers Affect Rank

It’s interesting to note that many people sharing spaces with other businesses wonder whether having their suite number featured in their address gives them a unique NAP listing. There’s a persistent myth that adding suite numbers makes the address more visible.

This simply isn’t the case. In fact, Google frequently overlooks suite numbers and won’t use them except as a visual aid. Of course, suite numbers help your customers to find you more easily, but they won’t boost you up the rankings.

It’s also important to be aware that if you invent a suite number of yourself, this could backfire. Google could actually remove the listing if it appears to be a fake address.

2) Breaking The Google Guidelines Causes Ranking Penalties

First of all, yes, there will be consequences if you break the My Business guidelines. There are two things which could happen in this event. You may be given a soft suspension which prevents you from managing your local business through Google My Business.

This creates problems since you won’t receive notifications or be able to respond to reviews or use Google Posts. However, essentially, your listing’s ranking won’t be affected. On the other hand, you may be given a hard suspension. If this happens, you’re facing a serious problem.

For more serious infractions, your whole local business listing will be removed and that means you won’t be ranking anywhere for local SEO. There isn’t, however, any algorithmic method used by Google to negatively affect listing rankings which violate the guidelines.

3) Your Rank Is Impacted By Your Service Area

Business owners are able to set their listing’s service area in the Google My Business interface. Essentially, this offers a visual indicator of the distance you’re prepared to travel to offer your service to customers.

There is a common belief that the information entered into this section influences rankings. This isn’t true. The locations in which you rank will primarily be based on your address location and the searcher’s own address.

4) Call Tracking Numbers Hurt Rankings

If you use a call tracking number, this won’t damage your ranking as long as your regular phone number is moved to the Google My Business additional phone line. On the other hand, don’t put a call tracking number on any third-party directory, since Google struggles to consolidate these.

5) Minor Differences In Citations Is A Huge Deal

Lots of business owners are worried about minor differences such as using Ste rather than the word Suite, or having brackets in their phone number. In some cases, there’s little that can be done about this – often the formatting is decided by the site itself and you can’t change it so that it’s consistent across the board.

Luckily, Google’s algorithms are capable of recognising these small differences, so they won’t impact on your rankings. Check out Geocoder.ca if you need more convincing – you’ll see how different address formats are all geocoded to exactly the same location!

For example, these two addresses would be understood as the same business entity:

  • Acme Floral & Gift, 123 Main St, Springfield, IL 34567
  • Acme Floral & Gift, Inc., 123 Main Street, Suite 2, Springfield, Illinois 34567-9876

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

NAP Consistency Is Still Important

Although these five myths have been put to bed, it’s important to recognise that NAP consistency and accuracy is still absolutely essential. If your business listings aren’t accurate every time and don’t contain the same information regardless of which site they’re on, your local business SEO rankings will suffer. If you aren’t sure how to ensure NAP consistency across your listings, contact Strider today. Our value SEO plans for local businesses will make sure that you stay visible to your customers so your business can grow and thrive.