In our experience helping local businesses in diverse industries, we have encountered a pattern of common mistakes that businesses make with their digital marketing.  Here are the five most common ones that we have run into while helping local businesses in Front Royal, and the surrounding regions.

1. Inaccurate or Incomplete Contact Information

One of the biggest factors to how well your website ranks in local Google searches is your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number)  information across the internet. consistency.  Google’s stated mission is to provide users with the most useful and relevant information.  For local searches, this means that Google wants to make sure that the websites for local businesses have accurate and consistent information about how to contact them.  Fewer things are more frustrating to users than finding a local company and then being unable to find accurate contact information.

In my experience, many local businesses have out of date, incorrect, or duplicate contact information.  Updating and correcting contact information across all online directories can go a long way in improving Search Engine Rankings.  One great tool to use to see whether your NAP citations are consistent across all online directories, review and social media sites is MOZ local which lets you see which directories or platforms have any problems.  If you have a significant amount of out of date or inaccurate information to correct, I highly recommend their paid tool which will let you do that easily and quickly (trust me it is a pain to have to log in to each site to update it manually)!

2. Unclaimed Digital Real Estate

Who doesn’t want free real estate?  Yet in my experience, many companies fail to claim all of the free profiles that are available to them.  Even if you aren’t planning on maintaining a presence on a particular platform, it is a best practice to set up a business presence on all of the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest).  Not only will this help your SEO, it will also prevent anyone from coming in, pretending to be you, and then filling “your” profile with unflattering and inaccurate information, and bad reviews.

In addition, make sure that you have your Google My Business listing completed, they are incredibly helpful for local searches and provide helpful insights into how many people are viewing your information online.

3. Google Analytics Is Not Installed

How will you know how your website is performing if you don’t have a way to track how it?  Google Analytics provides businesses with a wealth of valuable information about how many people come to your website, how long they stay, what pages they visit, how they found it, and much more.  This data is key to knowing the success of your marketing strategy and where to make any necessary improvements.

4. Failing to Maintain, Update and Secure your Website

Websites are like houses, they require regular maintenance and upkeep to avoid problems from cropping up.  Between plugin updates, theme updates, and WordPress updates it is unfortunately very common for local businesses to continually put off bringing their site up to date and ensuring that it remains functional.  In addition to regular updating, it is important to test the functionality of any online forms, check for broken links, and make sure that backups are being regularly performed.  If you allow comments on your website it is crucial to make sure that these are being properly moderated to avoid spammers trying to use your website to get a backlink.  Website maintenance isn’t the most glamorous task, but like regularly cleaning a septic system it is an important one to do in order to avoid finding yourself in an . . . unpleasant situation.

Website Code5. No Access to Their Website

This mistake is the most costly one that we have encountered.  Many local businesses choose to leave all control and access of their website in the hands of their digital marketers.  Its an understandable mistake, many small business owners know they don’t have the expertise to maintain their website and want to outsource that to professionals who know what they are doing and think that it is unnecessary to maintain control, access and oversight of their website.

Unfortunately, there are marketing companies who take advantage of their client’s trust and abuse it.  We have encountered cases where, a client wished to switch to Elegant Peak after their current digital marketing company failed to deliver results, only to find that their website was being held hostage.  The other companies refused to release the customer’s website files, DNS login, and C-Panel access.  In a less sinister case, the person maintaining the old website died, and the client was unable to access their website to perform updates.

Don’t find yourself in this situation!  Maintain access to your website; if it belongs to you, you deserve to have access to it.  At Elegant Peak, we insist on giving clients access so that they never have any fear that their investment in their website could be lost or used to manipulate their decisions.

Bonus Mistake #6. Not Contacting Elegant Peak for a Free Consultation

Have you made any of these mistakes in your digital marketing efforts?  If so, don’t worry you are in good company.  Over 90% of the companies we help have made one or more of these mistakes, fortunately, they can all be fixed! If you have any questions or would like to know if you are making any of these common digital marketing mistakes, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.

 Katherine Scott is Elegant Peak’s Director of Marketing with a specialty in Social Media Marketing.  Her mission is to use the power of words to tell your story, technology to share that story, and psychology to influence others to act upon that story.  When she isn’t wrangling her three rambunctious kiddos, you can find her with coffee in hand and nose in a book.  She speaks fluent Geek.

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