Local SEO allows businesses to attract more online attention by appearing on higher listings on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Parameters like service, location, and name are what Google uses to judge the relevance of your business’ site — the more relevant your site is, the higher your ranking.
But because of its fast-paced — if not competitive — format, many people try to outsmart Google by cheating on their local SEO.
In Ottawa, local SEO can make or break your online visibility. And doing it right plays a huge role in making your business better.
Local SEO Works Locally
In a survey conducted by Market Drive, 82% of marketers report that SEO has become more effective. Of the 82%, nearly half said that local SEO is increasing in efficiency.
On top of that, Google says that “near me” searches have doubled over the years. Furthermore, statistics show that almost 72% consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. These are just some of the facts that make the location a top priority in local SEO.
And while it may be tempting to cheat Google by using a fake address or multiple addresses for one business, that can come with serious consequences.
Address Spamming on a Google My Business Page
Google My Business is Google’s listing of any local business in any search area. The service is provided for free by Google and helps potential customers find your business faster.
According to Google, the address that you use for your Google My Business (GMB) page has to fall under the following parameters:
- It is your business’ physical location.
- It cannot be a PO Box or mailbox.
- It has to be the location of your business’ head office
If the address does not fall under these categories, there is a chance that Google will mark your GMB page as spam. This runs the risks of your listing being flagged against potential clients; your competition; or other online marketers.
Spammers will sometimes use multiple addresses to bury legitimate GMB pages. Service Area Businesses (SAB) or businesses that service more than one location will also use an address that is not their primary location because they want to rank in those other locations. Other times, businesses simply don’t know that this is the case.
Finding the Right Path
Businesses victimized by spammers are not helpless. The best way to catch Google’s attention in this event is to report it to the Google My Business Forum. This way, a Top Contributor can always see the problem and, if needed, escalate the problem to a Google staffer.
If you own a SAB, the solution is relatively simple. Report the fake address to Google. It sounds risky, but according to experts, Google has never penalized a business for reporting spam. They may need to un-verify the ineligible listing and Google removes it soon after.
WebWaves.ca is a digital marketing service based out of Ottawa. They offer web hosting, website design, organic SEO, Pay Per Click marketing, and local SEO. Their local SEO strategy is a tried-and-tested five-phase process that guarantees maximum results.
For more information on local SEO and other services, contact WebWaves.ca by filling out their form.