No matter what, there are (and likely always will be) misconceptions and “myths” when it comes to local SEO. These questions and statements come up time and time again, and it’s clear that there are a number of very common misconceptions that rear their head every so often. Let’s take a look at the top 5, and what makes them “wrong”:
Myth 1 – Breaking any Google guideline will result in your rankings being penalised
Actually, one of two things could happen if you break any of the Google My Business Guidelines; soft suspension, or hard suspension. Firstly, if you receive a soft suspension, you will lose the ability to manage your business on Google My Business, meaning you won’t receive notifications and you won’t have the ability to utilise Google Posts or even respond to reviews.
Seems quite severe, doesn’t it? The only positive to a soft suspension is that the ranking of your listing won’t be affected.
A hard suspension, however, is even more serious and will result in Google completely removing your local business listing. This includes all reviews, maps and images; and you can kiss your local results listings goodbye!
Myth 2 – Suite / Office numbers are a ranking factor
The topic of suite numbers has been around for quite a number of years. If you are a part of a larger shared office building or sharing a space with other businesses, it may appear as though adding a suite / office number to your published address will give you a unique NAP (name, address, phone number) listing.
This simply isn’t the case. Google will more often than not ignore suite numbers and doesn’t utilise them for anything other than a simple visual aid. Sure, they make sense for customers to be able to find you, but don’t expect them to give you any sort of boost to your rankings.
Don’t be tempted to add a suite number if your registered address doesn’t actually have one, either. Google may think you are spoofing your address and remove your listing entirely. Google doesn’t like spam!
Myth 3 – Your service area impacts where you rank
Business owners are able to set the service area for their listing from within the Google My Business dashboard. Essentially, this feature gives an indication of how far you are willing to travel to service customers, or the general region you offer your services to.
It’s a common misconception that this information determines how and where your listing will rank on Google. The truth is your ranking isn’t determined by your service area whatsoever. What locations you rank in are mainly based on the location of your address (what city you’re located in), along with the city the user is searching from.
Myth 4 – Refer to the Google My Business support for ranking issues
The GMB support team is active on Twitter, Facebook phone, chat, email and via their online forum and their service is incredibly helpful. However, this is only relevant for support regarding the features of Google My Business, not SEO. They are experts in GMB, not the Google algorithm, ranking factors and SEO.
Myth 5 – Using a tracking number for your calls will hurt rankings
This is simply not true. By using a tracking number and adding your regular number to the ‘additional phone’ field, Google will be able to see you are the same business and therefore avoid any duplicate listing issues.