There are many myths surrounding Local SEO. Some of these are misinformation spread by the ill-informed or even people working at Google.

However, many myths are formed as a result of people assuming that things work in a particular way? In this article we’ll put three of the most common assumptions to bed.

 

  1. “Local SEO” and “Organic SEO” can be done separately.  

Local SEO is aimed at making sure your site appears for local searches – e.g. ‘storage in New York’, whereas organic SEO is the general practice of making a website appear in the search results for certain queries.  

These are both aspects of the same thing, you could think of Local SEO as an extension, or branch of organic SEO depending on how you want to look at it.

 

Local ranking factors

 

You can see from the Moz industry survey on local ranking factors that a large portion of the ranking factors for the local results are also factors for your organic rankings. The above image was taken from this survey and shows that Google My Business signals only account for 14.7% of the local ranking factors. Counting external local signals and review signals as well we can see that “Local SEO” accounts for 36.7% of the ranking factors.

This is why you can’t just do local SEO without also optimising your site for organic rankings as well, they impact each other.

Your rankings in organic results and local results are highly correlated; if you rank well in the main results chances are you’ll rank well in the local pack results.

Of course, since the recent Possum update this isn’t as true as it used to be, but it is still true.

 

  1. To remove a duplicate Google My Business listing you should remove it from your GMB account.

Duplicate listings are a remarkably common and irritating thing to have to deal with. It’s not surprising that when people find out they have a duplicate listing and they want to remove it they go into their Google My Business (GMB) account and click the nice button that says “Remove Listing”. Obvious right?

 

Remove listing button

 

Unfortunately removing the listing here isn’t the same as removing it from Google search. What you’re doing is removing it from your GMB account.

Here is an explanation from a Google support article:

You can remove a location from your account if you don’t want to manage it anymore. You’ll no longer manage the location, but it will still appear on Google. Removing a location can’t be reversed: if you want to manage the location again, you’ll need reverify it.

The listing will still exist, it will just no longer be verified by you, but it will still be able to appear in Google for terms you would want your real listing to appear for – which brings us on to the next myth.

 

  1. If you haven’t verified your listing then it won’t appear.

This is one of those ‘grain of truth’ type myths. Verified listings will tend to rank above non-verified listings, but this isn’t always the case, particularly in smaller locations where there is less competition. In the below image the number 2 listing is unverified but still ranks above many verified listings.

 

Unverified listing ranking

 

The reason verified listings tend to do better than non-verified listings is because they tend to be much better managed. The person managing the verified business’ page will be more likely to have added in plenty of information about the storage facility, made sure it’s all correct, included plenty of attractive photos and be actively encouraging people to leave reviews.

And like we mentioned in the first myth, there are other, non-GMB related, factors that will decide how your local listing ranks, that could lead to an unverified listing outranking verified, or even well managed listings.

Did any of these myths surprise you? Had you made any of the assumptions above? Let us know if there are any myths you think we should have mentioned here.

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