Negative Local SEO Ranking Factors to Avoid!

Local SEO Ranking

The SEO ranking factors are one of the most important aspects of business success. In most cases, you will find the businesses protect themselves from negative SEO factors, sometimes even knowing them. It can happen while you are focused on improving the business’s online presence.

Negative Local SEO

Indeed, the common negative SEO ranking factors are easy to handle and combat as they are just the opposite of the positive SEO ranking factors. As a small business, you can have two categories. Here is the complete idea to effectively understand the importance of handling the negative SEO ranking factors for better visibility.

Categories for businesses

There are two types of categories in which you can fall.

  • Location-based business.

  • Service area business

The location-based business means customers are opting for services and goods from your location. Whereas service area business means you are delivering the goods and services to the location of the customer.

Undoubtedly, both the business face challenges within what we call the local search area. If your business is in the service area based, that can be more challenging. It is realized more if you are trying to gain visibility in the city lack physical presence. In this blog, you will be learning some of the most common negative SEO ranking factors and the tactics to avoid them.

Why is it important to deal with SEO ranking factors?

There is more to be learned and applied than to realize. It is particularly true in the domain of SEO. The ranking factors are like a weapon for any online business. It decided the range of customers you can influence with your products. You can also explore functional SEO tactics for ranking your content to have a clear understanding!

SEO factors functional

Fortunately, to make the SEO factors functional, you can opt for innumerable ways and methods. And interestingly, you are not alone in this process. In these regards, it is worth taking a short drive into the realms of negative SEO ranking factors. It will help you develop a brief understanding of how all the search results work and the parameters which have their base.

Note that the local businesses should always be aware of the SEO ranking factors to avoid potential mistakes. Also, you can prevent search engine penalties.

Negative SEO ranking factors detrimental for businesses

  • No local address

If you do not have a physical location listed on your website or Google My Business Listing, you can trouble yourself. This is not a good sign for your online presence! For any business that is trying to rank best in the local results, it is essential to have a legitimate local address to Google. It is mainly done to help Google understand that it is real and legit for the viewers.

Local SEO Ranking

  • No local phone number

Don’t fail to list the phone number. It can be the worst mistake for your online business. If you are listing multiple locations with the same phone number, it will lose your site’s credibility. The search engines would not consider them to be authentic.

No local phone number

  • Uncrawlable NAP

Remember, the search engines should be able to identify the business’ NAP information. If they cannot do so, you will not get your website in the search lists! Never provide contact information as a part of the image of your business. It is because Google won’t be able to detect it. Make indexing the website as simple as possible so that the search engines can use schema mark-up.

  • Google My Business errors

Have you updated the contact information? If not, do it now because outdated contact information or incorrect information is detrimental to website rankings. It will reduce credibility, so you may not be able to see your site in the search lists.

Suppose a business is anticipated to move to some other location or a new address. In that case, the information fed on Google My Business and different other website listings should be updated immediately. It will help you avoid penalties.

  • Keyword stuffing

Adding zip codes or city keywords into the footer can help a site work for location-based search? This was something that was believed to exist and b functional for a long time. Indeed, it did work sometimes, but not always!

Keyword stuffing

But Google eventually figured this out and was ready with the current algorithm updates that penalized sites that manipulated search rules like this. Now, you can see that Google has stated explicitly in Quality Guidelines that if you are loading any webpage with irrelevant keywords to manipulate its ranking, it can, in turn, harm your site’s ranking. It creates a negative user experience.

  • Are you setting up the wrong categories on your Google My Business page!

This is manipulatively silly, right? You know your business better, at least better than the customers. So, you will not choose the wrong category, right?


Google My Business

Do you know google looks into the first category that is well-chosen as your primary category? So, it is the best practice to choose appropriate, relevant, and specific categories to be genuine in approach. For instance, if you are a piano tuner and you choose “Musical instrument repair shop.” You will find it difficult to get rank in searches for piano tuners.

Often, it is the general habit of the business to stuff keywords into their categories. They do this by choosing the general categories. So, in this case, Google tells us that you should add your business in one or two categories.

It is helpful if you be specific to your categories and choose them wisely. You can use the category research tool in Moz local. It will help you to navigate the vast seas of google categories.

  • Usage of “monkey keyword” anchor text

You may be asking yourself frequently whether or not to use descriptive anchor text, right? Indeed, using them frequently is a good option, but over-optimizing them can be a bad idea! It will have detrimental effects on your rankings.

Indeed, you will be surprised to know that Google claims that all websites should be built for the users and not for the search engines. To back up this claim, they regularly have updates for better algorithms so that creators cannot manipulate the parameters.

Other Services

Google looks at the over-optimized anchor tags as bad and may also penalize your site if you use them too frequently.

  • Duplicate content on every location page can be dangerous.

First of all, duplicate content is bad for a number of reasons! Here are the implications for creating duplicate content. Have a look to understand better.

If you are creating duplicate content for your site will create confusion for search engines to “choose” what they think the best version for that particular page. Indeed, your idea of the best version may not be the same as search engines think of!

Roto Rooter

It creates unnecessary internal competition. For instance, imagine your content is competing with yours only! That is pathetic, right? It will harm your overall rankings.

overall rankings

If at all google believes that you created the duplicate content intentionally, your site may be removed from Google’s index. Indeed, it can be a manual process.

So, you see, none of the above cases are desirable. Often, businesses attempt to rank better in several location-based queries. In this case, all businesses create location-specific landing pages with almost the same content with negligible changes, and these changes can be in the form of change in city or state name. For Google, it will see it as a bad user experience.

  • Monitor your social media mentions!

Sometimes, it is seen that the spammers create a fake account on various social media with your website name or a company. It would be best if you always tried to remove these profiles by reporting them as spam. It should be done in the early stages so that those sites do not have any followers.

If you can find out the person using your brand name, you can also use tools like Remember, as soon as someone mentions your name on any social media or a website, you should be informed and should take proper action.

  • Steer clear of Google search engine penalties

Even if you are ignoring the search engine guidelines for ethical SEO, you can have your site land in serious trouble. One thing is googling can penalize your site. It can also demote your search rankings. In the worst case, it can also remove your site from its index altogether!

Here are some of the main penalties that you should keep in mind.

  • Failing to consider Google’s Pigeon Update

Google’s Pigeon Update was introduced in 2014. The traditional ranking factors do carry more weight in determining the different local search results.

  • Thin Content (Panda)

Search engines are good with the content that satisfies the queries of the users. This is where Google’s Panda Algorithm comes into the picture. It was introduced in 2011 and detected all the sites which have thin content. To avoid being slapped by Panda, follow these steps rigorously!

Ensure you have enough copy on your website pages that effectively address users’ needs!

Include photos and videos as and when required!

  • Watch out for the reviews!

Good quality links have great value for your site. In the same manner, good reviews are fantastic for SEO ranking factors. An influx of negative reviews can do badly for your site. On the other hand, the reviews are relatively easier to manipulate. So, it is advised to keep an eye on the same!


So here are the 25 negative local ranking factors based on my research.

  1. Incorrect business category
  2. False business address across web
  3. Mismatch NAP across different data ecosystem
  4. Unmaintained sites/malware affected sites
  5. Violation of Google webmaster guidelines
  6. Violation of GMB (Google My Business) guidelines
  7. Mismatch of address details in GMB page
  8. Multiple location with same phone number
  9. Absence of crawl able NAP in the website
  10. Domain Authority of the website
  11. Quality of the inbound links to your website
  12. Keyword unoptimized content
  13. Keywords not in domain name (it still works though they have EMD update)
  14. Low CTR from the SERP
  15. Lack of diversity in backlinks to the website
  16. Lack of diversity in anchor tests used for backlinks
  17. Missing of microdata/local citation in the website
  18. Unstructured HTML document of the webpages
  19. Un-optimized/duplicate title and meta description for the pages
  20. HTML NAP does not Matching GMB Location NAP
  21. No Geographic keywords in you anchor texts
  22. High velocity in your backlinks acquisition
  23. Authority of the third party site reviews
  24. Negative review from authority site(Yelp Elite, Google Local Guides,)
  25. Fake review by Google profiles

The bottom line

SEO ranking factors play a critical role in placing your age on the web. The negative SEO factors can be detrimental to your business. So, keep a note of the above-said aspects to have a benefit for your business site. Indeed, there are other SEO ranking factors also that will determine your ranking in search engines. But at the same time, it is advised to choose the top factors to rule so that you get an overall idea to play safe!