Debunking ‘21’ Common Local SEO Myths

“Search Engine Optimization,” a digital marketing tool that helps businesses to grow. Since the evolution of digital marketing, many businesses have come up with creative strategies to better their market competitors.
There is a high stake competition among local businesses to achieve better local and organic search result ranking.
When it comes to implementing Local SEO for local and organic rankings, there are too many misconceptions among the public.

Relevant: Effective Ways to Improve Your Local SEO Rankings

There are a lot of outdated myths about Local SEO on the Internet. All those half-truths in blog posts and guides have left Local Businesses with a lot of misinformation. This prevailing misinformation could hurt the progress of your Local Businesses, thus need debunking.
This article will study and debunk the most common 21 Local SEO myths among the public. We will learn how they affect the ranking of your local business and its growth.

Myth #1: Google My Business(GMB) Isn’t That Important

The most important part of Local SEO services is “Google My Business.” When someone says they do not need GMB for their Local Business, they are lying.
GMB is the platform where Google gets necessary information on your Local Business to show local map search results. Businesses need to have their verified GMB profile.
A GMB profile will have your:

  • address
  • contact information
  • website URL, and
  • operational hour details.

You can add multimedia like photos and videos of the place to entice your customers. The users will get all the information in one place. So if someone wants to check out your business or at least contact you about it, it will be easy for them.
Google has added many engaging features for local businesses over the years.
Local businesses can use features such as ‘Posts’ to announce:

  • upcoming events
  • specials
  • festive offers.

It will make your local business stand out.
Updating your GMB profile at a regular interval will keep your customers interested.
Not having a GMB profile is one of the most common myths, destructive to any new business venture.
Some businesses try to compete without claiming a verified GMB profile in the local area. They optimize their websites and fill them with keywords. But without a verified GMB profile, they are at a big disadvantage than their competitors who have.
So Local Businesses must adhere to a simple marketing strategy by claiming their verified GMB profile first. Hence, it’s a myth that needs to die.

Myth #2: SEO Is Not as Effective as They Say

The second myth is about the effectiveness of SEO implementation.
Yes, it’s a digital marketing strategy going through constant change, but it is effective.
It’s not a fantasy or a myth.
SEO is real and can boost your business sky-high in the market. There are these prevailing misconceptions about SEO and its uses due to some amateur analysts.
People questions SEO and its effectiveness due to its lack of certified courses. So when someone hires an SEO provider, it is only based on trust and previous client reviews.
Many amateur SEO analysts do a poor job with SEO implementation.

  • It leaves the client nowhere.
  • It is the reason for the rise of this myth about SEO.

Most of the unskilled SEO analysts are the one who uses this myth to explain their failures.
A professional SEO consultant will help make your business website adhere better to Google’s algorithms. It will result in increasing your site traffic and revenue.
SEO implementation is easy once one figures out Google’s algorithms for specific query strings. Google never publishes them. But, SEO professionals with a better understanding of what will bring a website in adherence to those algorithms can figure out.
In the end, all algorithms are made up of mathematics and logic.
An SEO professional lives and breathes any changes in an algorithm daily. They are aware of algorithms and their working capabilities.
Local SEO is a real weapon to boost your Local Business. It’s the truth behind the prevailing misconception.

Myth #3: Keyword Targeting Is Not Necessary

This is one of the rumors prevailing due to poor SEO implementation by amateur SEOs. Keywords are important. They are relevant to any digital marketing strategy for a local business.
People have misconceptions about the use of keywords and their relevance now. Whenever someone is searching for a business on Google, they can see keywords on the results’ first page. It is a clear sign that keywords are still playing a role in your local business ranking.
Yes, the Google search process has come a long way since implementing the ‘Hummingbird’ algorithm. So, it will be wrong to say that keywords don’t matter.
Targeting relevant keywords in a website’s content is still useful. SEO experts always keep a clear keyword SEO strategy for Local businesses.
Implementation of the ‘Hummingbird’ algorithm:

  • Informs us about the importance of a certain set of keywords in the website content.
  • It made Local SEO implementation much easier than before.

Relevant : What is LSI Keywords: Do they Impact SEO Rankings?

Keywords are important because it tells us about the user’s intent. Many leading social media networks rely on keyword targeting. It helps them to meet their users’ demands.
So irrelevance of keywords is a myth that needs to die. Place a keyword targeting SEO strategy for your business. It is a constructive practice for any Local Business.
Keywords are like a guide in SEO implementation. SEO professionals will implement keyword targeting on your website content. And, it will accompany your local business to its desired place in the local ranking.

Myth #4: Content is the Most Important Factor in Growth

Many business owners live by the saying, ‘Content is King!’
If not false, content is not everything a business needs to grow.
The truth is, in local business quality of content matters more than the quantity. It’s a stubborn myth among people that more content means more growth.
At present, for SEO experts, content is an important asset to a local business’s design, links, and usability.
Content cannot independently help a local business climb through the ranks. So, it needs relevant links to support it.
In local SEO, you must have both content and links because they are inter-dependent.
Many amateur SEO consultants would feed you misconceptions and false promises about using more content for success.
They would tell you that it will be better for your local business if you have more content on your website. All these mistaken beliefs can hurt your business venture in more ways than one.
So content is not King, it is important, but it depends on other SEO factors. Just like a link needs content, content needs links.
Your business venture’s local ranking can be better once you put content with better web designing and links.

Myth #5: Citations Doesn’t Help With Local Search Results

There are many misconceptions about citations and backlinks. Some people believe that citations won’t help their local businesses succeed.
Many business owners think that citations cannot help boost their local business ranking. These are the prevailing myths among the mass.
Ask an SEO expert about the importance of citations. They will tell you citations are the building blocks in local SEO implementation.
Link building, engagement, content creation are all secondary implementation in an SEO campaign.
Citations can increase a website’s visibility and reach. It may not bring you traffic, but it can help you expand your local business.
A citation audit is imperative for any local business aiming for a better local ranking and reach. A local business relies on accurate NAP and other business information online to expand their network.
Word-of-mouth and printed poster days are long gone. Citations play a huge role in mobile search result ranking for local businesses.
Local businesses with cleaner citations are easy to check out for online customers. Businesses with inaccurate citations lower the visibility of their business websites. And it results in lower customer engagement.
Do you want your business to get more reach and inquiries?
Then, providing accurate citations will help you achieve that. Google uses accurate citations to verify business details in a locality.
Google sorts the local businesses as per their quality of citations provided. Hence, a local business with accurate and cleaner citation would get more visibility to the users. It also increases customer reliability and business reach.

Myth #6: Duplicate Content Gets You Penalty

It’s a myth among people that duplicate content on your local business website will attract a penalty. There is no penalty for duplicate content in local SEO.
As we have discussed before, content is not everything that a business needs for a better local ranking. So, that being said, cloning content is not outright illegal—[As per the Google guidelines for local businesses].
Copying content can affect you with the ‘Panda’ algorithm of Google. Google Panda algorithm affects the ranking of an entire website rather than some pages of it.
It is an algorithm that determines a website’s ranking as per the quality of its content. So, lower the quality lower the rankings.
Google rewards site with high-quality content by returning them at the top of the search result. Hence, it is important to maintain good quality content for your local business ranking.
Google uses a content filter that finds duplicate content easily. But it retains the original content providing websites in the market.
If there is more than one website with the same set of content descriptions, then Google will list one of them, whichever is posted first. Hence, it will only rank one of those two businesses in the search results.
Plagiarizing content from a different website for your own business is unethical. It can land you copyright issues from the original content owner. It has nothing to do with Google penalizing you or how your local business rank.

Myth #7: Everyone Should Follow Big Brands’ Strategy

Digital marketing and SEO are evolving every day. So, marketing strategists keep their data updated for different types of businesses in the market.
A particular strategy might work for one business. But, that doesn’t mean it will work for other businesses as well. Hence, following a big brand strategy would not guarantee your business’ success.
A prevailing myth of copying SEO strategies from big companies would bring your new business enormous success. It is a misconception that needs to be debunked.
Local businesses assume that big companies know something better than them.

  • It leads them to make some bad decisions and investments that they regret afterward.
  • It is better to define your own business goal and stick to them.
  • It is a good practice to learn from big brands’ strategies. Do not copy them for your local SEO. It is something you should avoid.

Do you want to experiment with some SEO strategies for your local business?
Then, do it on a page that gets less traffic.
The data will show you what works best for your business and what doesn’t. It all comes down to whatever your customer needs.
One big brand is doing certain SEO practices because their customers want them to. It does not necessarily mean your customers also want that particular SEO practice from your business.
You are a different local business, so study your customers’ demands first. You can deduce multiple SEO practices as per your customers’ needs. And incorporate the one that suits your business the most.
Never let your business suffer because of such myths about big brand strategies.

Myth #8: Implement Maps SEO Separately from Organic SEO

Maps SEO and Organic SEO go hand in hand for a local business’ SEO implementation.
People have the misconception about the separate implementation of Maps and Organic SEO yielding better results.
The borderline is Maps SEO is not something that can be done separately from organic SEO for your business.
Both Maps and Organic SEO implementations complement each other. It depends on each other for better results. So make sure they understand how to work around the Google 3-pack. Know this when you hire an SEO company for your local business.
Maps SEO and Organic SEO are directly connected. So, any changes you made in either will affect your local ranking. Hence, the need for separate implementations of Maps and Organic SEO never arises.
If you are a local business, it is in your best interest to hire an SEO consultant. Hire someone who knows how 3-pack works.
When they implement SEO, you have to make sure that they aim for your business to get local and organic rankings. More than 70% of local listings end up on the first page of organic ranking as per a survey.
So next time someone suggests you do separate Maps and Organic SEO for your local business, tell them it’s a myth. We need to debunk this as it is one of the most common myths in the public domain.

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Myth #9: Citations & Backlinks Are No Different from Each Other

It is a common misconception among people to think citations are the same as backlinks. It is a myth.
Many business owners think they do not need backlinks to boost their SEO as their local business has more online citations than others. These myths are misleading many business ventures to their downfall.
So what is the difference between citations and backlinks?
In short, citations are online mentions of a local business in a Google search directory. They can make or break a business’ online presence.
Local citations are a great asset for reaching more potential customers in the locality. So, provide accurate business data in Google My Business.
Inaccurate citations could hamper your business by costing you loyal customers. Hence, it is always wise to update your recent business-related information.
Backlinks are links that will lead a visitor to a business’ web pages or posts.

  • Some citations may carry backlinks in them for more customer engagement, while others don’t.
  • Some backlinks may or may not include a citation with the link.

In the end, the quality of citations is a factor in local business ranking.
Citations include NAP and other business information in your GMB profile. So cleaner citations create more chances of reaching potential customers in a geographic area.
There are many debates about citations and backlinks. They are certainly correlated, if not the same. Hence, the myth among the mass about them being the same needs to be busted.

Myth #10: Claiming Your GMB Listing is Mandatory to Boost Your SEO Ranking

Claiming your business listing in Google is beneficial. It cannot assure you a higher local SEO ranking. It is misleading to say that it will get you more visibility.
Verifying your GMB business listing will not get a higher local ranking. So what happens when you claim your business listing in Google?
Claiming your business listing means you are telling Google about your local business’s area of operation.
Google ensures that your website gets the necessary visibility to more clients/customers in that particular area.
Listing your business website would not get you the necessary hike in search traffic or local SEO ranking.
Google’s guidelines will tell you extensively about the proper procedure for your business’s better local ranking.
Incorporate proper SEO for your business. The hired consultant should follow those steps properly to get the desired results.
Provide accurate business information, correct NAP, and clean citations. They are the deciding factors for local SEO ranking before claiming your business listing on Google.
The real help to claim your Google listing will get your local business more public exposure. It can increase traffic to your websites and social handles.
All these are necessary steps that will lead your local business to get higher rankings. But, only claiming your Google listing will get you a better ranking is a myth.
You need to incorporate many complementary steps to get any definite hike in your local business’ ranking.

Myth #11: Social Media Has No Value in Local SEO

It is a myth that originated from people who don’t use social media. It is far from the fact that social media plays an important role in local SEO for local businesses.
People who don’t use social media or don’t understand its capability have this delusion. They say that social media is useless for SEO campaigns in local businesses.
Social media is a leading contributor to a business’ growth and success.
Many SEO farms rely on social media for business promotion and expansion. It provides businesses with a plethora of opportunities to boost their organic and local ranks alike.
Having a social handle for your business shows your audience the ‘human’ part of your local business. It increases your business’ visibility. It reaches through likes, shares, and page visits by active users in your locality.
Unlike personal social handles, business social handles should be maintained by professionals. One must be careful of the content of the handle as well as the frequency of posting.
Do a thorough study of local audiences’ social media behavior. It will help you figure out what works for your business the best.
You can look at your local top competitors’ social handles for ideas that will get higher traction. Similarly, you can compare your website and social media handle with your competitors. It will help you to determine which social media platform gets more engagement.
A strong social media presence will have a positive effect on your business’ local rankings. This debunks the belief that social media is not useful to a business’ local ranking.

Myth #12: Meta-tags Play No Role in Local Business Rankings

Many business owners have misconceptions about the role of meta-tags and meta-descriptions in the local business ranking.
Before debunking those myths, let us know what meta-tags are and how they are helpful to a local business.
Meta-tags are HTML tags that appear inside the head tags of a webpage. It is a great way to provide site information to different search engines.
When someone searches for something online, they are shown a preview snippet under each result. There are three parts to a meta-tag:

  • The title tag
  • The meta-description
  • Meta keywords

Meta tags can attract more clicks from search engine users by making your website result attractive. It will increase your local visibility. Thus, it will increase your local business ranking.
Contrary to Meta tags, Meta descriptions play no role in influencing your local business ranking. Meta descriptions are a part of Meta tags. In that, you can write anything you want about your local business.
Irrespective of what you write in the Meta descriptions, Google will choose relevant content and show it as a search result.
Meta descriptions are still useful to a local business. The reason is that they can get a website more clicks and conversions.
SEO has come a long way since its origin. Now SEO plays a major role in influencing local and organic rankings of businesses in the market. Meta tags are important, and one should use them to get better rankings.

Myth #13: Breaking Google Guidelines Will Affect Your Ranking

Breaking rules has its consequences. But, it has little effect on your business’s local ranking in SEO.
One of the two things could happen when you break Google My Business guidelines.
First, you could get a warning and a soft suspension. It means you cannot manage your local business through GMB.

  • It will bar you from receiving all notifications related to your local business.
  • You can no longer use GMB features to post or respond to reviews by your customers.
  • It is a big issue, but it has little to no effect on your business’ local ranking.

Second, things can get serious, and you will receive a hard suspension. Businesses getting a hard suspension is rare, but it is there. If your online local business listing violates a sensitive rule, then a hard suspension is applicable.
The hard suspension is serious. Google will remove your Google My Business listing along with your entire images, reviews, and maps.
It will all be taken down by Google. So, your listing won’t exist in local search results to rank. Hence, make sure you read all google My Business guidelines before listing your local business.
Google has made proper guidelines for businesses to use Google My Business. While implementing local SEO, a professional should adhere to those particular guidelines.
Google doesn’t have an algorithm to lower a business’ ranking when it violates Google My Business guidelines. Hence, the myth among the public; about breaking Google guidelines will affect your local business ranking should die down.

Myth #14: Deleting Google My Business Listing Will Remove It from Google

Deleting your Google My Business listing will not delete your business site from Google. No, it would not. It is one of the most recent myths about local SEO implementation. This myth started with a violation of GMB guidelines for a business.
Violating Google My Business guidelines will attract suspensions on your business sites. But, just deleting your GMB listing will not affect your business’s online presence.
As a business owner, one should claim their business listing to improve their local business ranking.
Claiming a listing would make sure when someone uses Google Maps in your locality, your business name would appear as one of the landmarks in there.
There are many possibilities to boost your local ranking. But, you should remember that there is no sure-fire way to climb up on the rankings.
Incorporate other factors such as:

  • Meta tags
  • NAP consistency
  • Quality content, and
  • An attractive front end.

It would help your business get the desired local ranking.
Business owners always try to get rid of duplicate business listings in Google My Business to avoid confusion.
For example, there is a restaurant in Austin, and it moves out of that address, then the business needs to update its new address.
Google urges business owners to update their current address at regular intervals to avoid confusion. So, it is natural for business owners to delete pre-existing GMB listings. Hence, debunking this myth about SEO is important.

Myth #15: Guest blogging is a Blast from the Past

A lot of SEO specialists started this rumor a few years back. This myth is misleading. So many local businesses do not include any extra space for guest blogging on their business website.
The truth is that guest blogging is very much alive. And it is in trend to boost the local ranking.
So, what is guest blogging?
Guest blogging has no apparent difference from normal blogging.
In guest blogging, an outside author will contribute content to your business blog. It will increase your reach and garner more traffic for your business site.
But, there is a catch to it.
Google has an update for guest blogging that punishes low-quality content on business sites. Content marketing thrives on high quality and engaging content for business profiles.
Most of the famous brands’ websites get contributions from numerous freelancers and outside authors. It increases their engagement. Also, it skyrockets their local ranking and organic ranking alike.
Imagine your local business getting hundreds of contributions a day for your website content. It will help your business get the necessary exposure. Thus, it will improve your local business ranking.
Google has no algorithm to decipher a guest post on a business site. It cannot differentiate between an author’s blog and a guest blog.
Guest blogging is not dead, and it probably never will. Guest blogging plays an important part in improving a local business’s ranking. So, the myth of its being dead should die down.

Myth #16: Website Speed Has Nothing to Do with SEO

Website speed doesn’t matter, a common misconception among local businesses. When you hire an SEO agency, they will brief you about their procedures to improve your local and organic ranking.
Most of them will tell you that your business website speed has no role in improving your local business ranking, which is false.
People who spend their time online need quick search results and fast site response. Website speed is an important factor for customers to avail of your services.
We have discussed so many factors that contribute to your local business’s ranking. When all those factors are equal between two webpages, site speed works as a tie-breaker.
We have also discussed Google Panda and how it retains a site with good quality content. A fast-loading website also gets preference from the Google algorithm.
As per a survey, a local business can increase its customer traffic by 100,000 sessions a day after cutting its page speed by 50%. That is a whopping number considering the amount of competition in the market now.
When we talk about Site speed, we mean how long it will take to load your DOM (Direct Object Model). These are the visible items on the main page of your business site, excluding the advertisements.
An improved site speed will get you more engagement and search traffic. It will lead to better website performance in your locality. Hence, site speed plays a major role in boosting your business’s local ranking and organic ranking.

Myth #17: Website User Experience is Overrated

In this fast-paced society, convenience is everything to the people. Online users want information as fast as possible.
They trust Google to provide them with such websites to get them all the necessary details they want. That is why a local business needs to improve its user interface and experience to meet users’ demands.
A website’s user experience is the only factor that counts towards real business growth.
From responsive design to content sharing, the emphasis is often on what the customers need first and then the business details. So calling user experience overrated is a misleading thing. Also, it is a myth that needs to die.
When someone says user experience is overrated in local SEO implementation, correct them by saying it is not.
User experience is an important factor for a website’s external popularity.
A thoughtful and innovative user experience always attracts more traffic to your local business website.
It will encourage your site visitors to share it with more users. They will bookmark it for future references. Hence, a better user experience would help you better your local business ranking.
Google rewards websites with a better user experience. Google shows the website to more users and other promotional content.
Now more than half the searching is done with mobile phones. So, your local business website must have a mobile-friendly mode for the users. Google has listed mobile-friendliness as one of the local and organic website ranking parameters.

Myth #18: Bigger Service Area Brings You Better Local Ranking

When you start a business, it is important to define your target customers and target area.
The service area plays a major role in your business growth and expansion. But it is a myth to believe that it can get you a better local ranking.
Google allows you to set up your service radius on the map. They will ask you to set when you list your business in Google My Business. It will determine how far you can travel to serve your customers.
Marking a bigger service area on Google will not get you a better local business ranking. Many SEO agencies will make you believe that. But it is not true.
A bigger service area means the number of local competitors for your business will increase. It could very well lessen your business visibility and customer engagement.
In Google, you will only rank in the locality of your given business address. So having a bigger service area would not rank you in nearby localities.
If a business has service in 10 cities, it will not impact its ranking in those cities. It will only affect its ranking in the address given in Google My Business.
Suppose an SEO expert suggests you keep a larger service area for your business. Ask them to make it compact around your given Google My Business address. After all, a larger service area will neither affect your local ranking nor your organic ranking.

Myth #19: Google+ is Mandatory for Business Promotion

Some SEO experts said somewhere once about Google+ helps with local SEO, and the myth got its origin.
If you publish more Google+ posts and engage more users, it will increase your local business ranking. It is a misconception still going around after all these years of digital marketing development. Don’t get yourself fooled by this misinformation.
In local SEO implementation, we only trust results. So, nowadays, if you search for any famous brands, you will not mention a Google+ account in their description. It is shocking but true. Google+ has been outdated for a long time for local SEO campaigns.
Whenever you search for a brand, you will find all other social media handles except Google+. The reason is that it plays no role in the local business ranking.
Some years ago, if you had searched for a brand, their Google+ account was there in organic search as well as local search results. It has changed in the meantime.
Now you would not even find an icon of Google+ in many brands’ social media description box. Google has stopped linking Google My Business listing with Google+. The reason is that it plays no role in influencing local or organic ranking for a business.
It is almost impossible for users to see your Google posts unless they search you by name. Hence, it is futile to believe that posting on Google+ will skyrocket your local business ranking.

Myth #20: Listen to GMB Support Team About Your Ranking Issues

People think that Google employees know the best SEO practices to better local business ranking. Many people have this misconception. This is a myth that has been amongst people since SEO’s origin, and it needs debunking.
There is no doubt, Google’s customer service assistants may know a few tricks to boost your local business. But not all those tricks work. They can provide you with few tips. But, they provide general methods for a better local ranking.
As a local business listed in Google My Business, it is wise to consult with a Local SEO expert to improve your online business growth.
Keep in mind that customer support employees at Google My business are no SEO experts. Those employees have no incentives to reveal any secret SEO strategies for your local business.
The three most common advice SEO experts provide for a business’ rank boosting are:

  • To rank better in the 3-pack, you need to change your business description.
  • Over a while, duplicate/cloned listings will fix themselves.
  • Increase your Google+ posts, and it will help in your local business ranking.

In previous points, we have discussed all three points to clarify how each one of these can influence your local business ranking.
Hence, before taking any actions, one should verify what SEO professionals recommend in case studies and big surveys. Hence, it is wise to match up all ranking-related strategies before your SEO implementation.

Myth #21: Reviews Are Useless in Local SEO Implementation

There is a myth going around among the SEO agencies and people alike that reviews don’t matter anymore.
People are starting to believe that nobody reads reviews anymore. They think that it does not contribute to a local ranking. These rumors are a bunch of lies and need to be debunked.
Studies and surveys show that reviews carry the same weightage as word-to-mouth promotions. They play a huge role in deciding a customer’s preference.
Online reputation has become a deciding factor for customers to choose a local business. Reviews are now a driving factor of ranking in Google My Business listing for a local business.
When someone searches for anything in Google, there will be more than ten options available in the search result.
Increase your online reputation via reviews and testimonials of the customers. It is the key to winning this cut-throat market competition.
Many business owners delete bad reviews to escape negative feedback from their customers. It is an unsavory practice to build a business reputation.
If a business gets negative reviews, it is better to address them politely instead of deleting them. This gives the business owner a chance to explain the inconvenience to the concerned customer.
Reviews, testimonials, and case studies increase your business site’s visibility. Also, it contributes to the same local ranking.
As per a survey, more than 90% of consumers read reviews. They determine if a business is good or bad by reading customer reviews and other business-related data. So the fact is that reviews are very useful for a business to rank better in their locality.


All of these points are contributing to a business owner making good or bad decisions. It is important to hire an SEO professional. They can optimize and maintain your Google My Business listing for a better local business ranking.
Hence, implementing a simple and creative SEO strategy will help your business rank better. Get in touch with us to speak with a local SEO expert today.

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Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.


Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.