By Farzin Andrew Espahani | Solution21 | VP of Growth and Marketing

9 Most Widely Used Myths about Local SEO

Working in the Local SEO community means that our team at Solution21 hears many myths from others regarding the best practices to ensure results through optimization efforts. Here are nine of most common myths that we hear a lot and we gathered across.

1. Removal of Google My Business listing

A common issue with Google is that of duplicate listings. While some business owners will attempt to claim the duplicate listing and then delete it, this does not delete the listing entirely from Google. Instead, it causes the Google My Business (GMB) listing to become unverified. It remains on Google Maps and continues to rank unless all details were cleared out before deletion. Deletion of a listing in GMB should only be done if the business owner no longer wants to manage the listing.

2. Claiming your page allows for ranking

It has been said that businesses left unverified on Google will completely disappear if they are not claimed. This is not true. Though claiming the page and updating the listing’s data is important, it doesn’t mean it will disappear. In fact, it has been shown that unverified business pages still outrank verified ones in areas where there are extremely competitive markets.

3. Practitioner and professional listings removed for duplication

Public-facing professionals such as realtors, dentists, doctors, and lawyers may notice that Google creates listings for them. Practice owners will often want them removed. However, Google will only do this in two cases—the professional is not public-facing (such as support staff) or there is just one single public-facing individuals in that business (a law firm with a single lawyer on staff).  These situations may result in a listing being removed or merged with another professional listing if available. Practices who have professionals leaving the office will have to mark the listing as move to show the individual is no longer in the industry or has retired to have it completely removed form search results.

4. Google+ posts improve rankings

It is believed that posts on Google+ help boost search results to your business, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Posts on Google+ will not make a difference in ranking factors.

5. Maps SEO v. Organic SEO

Both Maps SEO and Organic SEO cannot be separated. Instead, business owners should work with SEO companies that are familiar with Google Maps SEO and know how to integrate results with organic rankings. These two are connected directly and a change to a website can influence local page ranks dramatically. Businesses should rank both organically and locally for the best possible optimization.

6. Google employees are all-knowing

While the employees of Google are great, they do not have incentives in place to provide business owners with any “top-secret tips” for ranking higher in certain keyword searches. In fact, many times Google employees have been known to give advice that should be completely ignored. This includes the fact that duplicate listings will self-correct over time, Google+ posts will improve ranking, and altering a business description can ensure ranking well in the 3-pack. This advice is not applicable and business owners should tread lightly when speaking with Google employees regarding page ranking.

Setting up a large service area for better connections

Google provides business owners the ability to set a specific radius around their company to show their travel preferences for customers. Business owners once believed that setting a larger radius would allow them to rank better in surrounding cities. This is not true and businesses will still rank best in the same city as their physical address.

8. Relocating and marking old location as closed

Marking your business as “closed” when you relocate is never a good idea, as it posts a large “permanently closed” label on your GMB when individuals search for your business name. Instead, companies verified through GMB should instead edit the address when they relocate. Any unverified listings that are duplicates should be marked as “moved.”

9. Google display information

Business owners who have verified their GMB page online have the ability to change information on the listing. This is just one way in which Google obtains information on a company. They also scrape data from the company website and other third-party sources. Make sure all of your information is accurate across the board before assuming it will be posted correctly.

Source: Moz.com