6 local SEO mistakes that novices make

When startups or small businesses are starting a local search marketing strategy, there are a few novice mistakes that many of them make.

Not doing keyword research
Keyword research is very important for SEO. If small-business owners assume they know the right keywords to use without using Google Keyword or another tool, they might get their local SEO wrong from the start. SMBs should also check out what keywords their competitors are ranking for.

Ignoring Google Plus
This is probably the easiest mistake to rectify. Google's search crawlers pay the most attention to activity on Google Plus, so small-business owners should make sure they claim authorship on Google Plus. According to Search Engine Journal, claiming authorship could become even more important for local search if a rumored AuthorRank algorithm takes hold.

Not getting link building right
Link building is still important, but Google's recent updates show that link quality trumps quantity. If a site builds too many links at once, it can incur heavy penalties in local search rankings from Google and possibly other search sites. It's still okay for businesses to build links themselves, but natural link building from others is Google's most favored link option, so businesses should find a way to include this into their local internet marketing strategy.

Spammy content
If a site has a blog just for the sake of having a blog, and it offers content that is not helpful to users, search engines will eventually notice. Small-business owners should consider hiring a knowledgeable blogger to provide valuable content, which will boost local SEO. Additionally, having good content can improve brand impression and increase referral traffic. Other useful content for SEO includes guest blog posts and social media marketing, provided they are user-centered.

Not being user focused
Being user focused means a lot of things, but when small businesses aren't user focused, that usually means they are overloading on keywords, providing sub-par content and optimizing the local search for search engines, rather than for human users. A good place to start for new businesses is to design sites that offer excellent user interface and user experience. Google's Panda penalizes sites' SEO rankings when they don't provide good user experience.

Not getting SEO help
Many small-business owners find that it's better to hire an SEO agency than to attempt to do local SEO themselves. This is because it is the job of SEO experts to stay up to date with the latest Google analytics information and evolving local search trends. Small-business owners often simply don't have the time.