What are the Consequences of Bad Local SEO?

Local SEO is like a unique plan that helps more people find their business when they search for things nearby. It’s all about your website showing up in search results when users search related to your area. People rely on search engines like Google to find nearby businesses, which makes this crucial.

Now, how is Local SEO different from regular SEO? Local SEO optimises the online business to attract customers in a specific local area. At the same time, regular SEO aims to improve a website’s visibility in general search results, irrespective of location. Local SEO focuses on searches like “near me” or mentions your location. It wants your website to appear at the top when people search for things close to where you are. This works for both the map results and the average search results.

Local SEO becomes even more critical if your business has an actual store people can visit. Google says that 30% of searches on phones are about location, and 78% of these location searches lead to people buying things offline. This shows that you can gain more customers through proper local SEO.

Understanding Bad Local SEO

Bad Local SEO means doing things incorrectly when trying to optimise and make your business appear in local searches. It’s like trying to follow a map but going in the opposite direction. Even though you’re trying to do better, these actions make it harder for people to find your business online. This means fewer people in your area will see your business when they look for things, and that’s not good for business. Several standard practices contribute to bad Local SEO.

Inappropriate Keyword Usage

Keywords are essential in local SEO, as they inform search engines about your page’s content context. However, overstuffing your content with local keywords can do more harm than good, leading to poor user experience and lower rankings, and could even result in penalties from search engines.

Inaccurate Business Information

Consistency in your NAP data (Name, Address, Phone Number) across different directories and your website is essential for good Local SEO. Differences in this data can confuse search engines and visitors, resulting in lower rankings. NAP inconsistencies cause most problems with local search results.

Lack of Localized Content

Your local SEO efforts will only work if your content is relevant to the local audience. Developing content specific to your local area, including information about local events, community stories, and services, can drastically improve your visibility in local search results.

Neglecting Online Reviews

Online reviews are a crucial factor for ranking in local search. Ignoring customer reviews, especially negative ones, provides a wrong impression to potential customers and search engines. Addressing positive and negative reviews signifies that you’re responsive to customer feedback.

Failing to Utilize Google My Business (GMB)

Google My Business is a free tool that helps manage your online presence across the Google platform. You may improve your visibility in Google’s local search results and on Google Maps with a well-optimized GMB profile. Ignoring this results in missed opportunities. Your company can avoid these typical errors by maintaining a planned Local SEO approach. Search engine optimisation (SEO) locally is an ongoing procedure that calls for regular attention.

Consequences of Bad Local SEO

Local SEO is like a spotlight that helps your business shine when people look for things nearby. But if this Local SEO needs to be done correctly, it’s like using the wrong type of light, and it doesn’t show your business the best way. So, bad local SEO can make it difficult for customers to find your business online when they search related to it in your area. Let’s see how bad local SEO affects businesses:

Decreased Website Traffic

Imagine telling someone the wrong directions to your shop, and they would need help finding it. Similarly, bad Local SEO can result in incorrect information online, confusing search engines and causing your website to not appear in relevant searches. If a website’s local SEO is not practical, it could lead to a significant decrease in its traffic. This means potential visitors might never even know your website exists.

When your website doesn’t appear in search results, fewer people will visit your website. It’s similar to having a shop on a quiet street where few people pass by. With fewer visitors, people have fewer chances to explore what you offer on your website, like your products, services, or information.


Having fewer people visiting your website can have adverse effects on your business. It’s like having a store with only a few customers, and you will make fewer sales or connections. Plus, search engines keep track of how many people visit your site. If they notice few people are interested, they might not show your website to others, making it even harder for potential visitors to find you.

In summary, bad Local SEO can lead to decreased website visitors, which is unsuitable for your business. Ensuring your Local SEO is on point is like having a clear and welcoming entrance to your shop, inviting more visitors to explore your website and what you offer.

Reducing Business Reputation

Local SEO is like a megaphone that tells people about your business. When done right, it helps spread positive vibes, like a good friend recommending your shop. But if Local SEO is done poorly, it’s like spreading false and incorrect information, spoiling your image. Brand reputation is crucial for every business, as 85% of consumers turn to the Internet to learn about a company before purchasing.

When your business details are incorrect online due to bad Local SEO, it’s like giving your friends the wrong phone number. They might end up frustrated or annoyed; similarly, potential customers might feel the same way about your brand. They might wonder, “If they can’t get their details right, can they be trusted to provide good products or services?”

A brand’s reputation is built on trust. Bad Local SEO can lead to incorrect business information, like wrong opening hours or outdated addresses. This can create confusion and frustration among customers, like showing up to a party only to find it’s cancelled. And just like that, your brand’s credibility takes a hit.

Customer trust is fragile. If potential customers see your business showing up in incorrect places due to bad Local SEO, they might start to doubt whether your company is reliable. Moreover, a decline in local search ranking can lead to a negative perception of your business’s professionalism and ability, which can be challenging to reverse and may result in long-term damage to your reputation.

Drop in Local Search Ranking

When your local search ranking drops, fewer people in your area will see your business’s listing in search engine results when they look for the items or services you provide. When you have good online visibility, your business appears on the digital map when someone looks for services or products in your area. Users look up the physical location of a business on Google Maps. But if bad SEO practices are at play, it’s like dimming that light, and your business might not show up correctly.

Think of your business as a puzzle piece in the online landscape. Good online visibility puts that puzzle piece right where it belongs, making it easy for customers to spot. Bad SEO practices, however, can misplace that puzzle piece, making it hard for potential customers to find you. This is particularly true for location-based searches, where people look for businesses in their area.

Consider this scenario: your business has impressive offerings, but bad SEO leads to incorrect information online. Potential customers might see outdated opening hours or wrong addresses, causing frustration. They might even give up and choose a competitor instead. This not only affects your business’s visibility but also reduces customer trust. They might give low ratings and negative feedback, which can drop your ranking in search results.

Significant Decrease in Sales

When a business is easy to find online, it’s like having a big, bright sign that says, “Come in!” This helps bring customers to the business. But bad local SEO is like having a sign that’s hard to read or missing altogether. This means fewer people might come to the company, and that can lead to fewer sales.

Trust is essential when people decide to buy something. Just like you trust a friend’s suggestion, customers trust reliable businesses. Good local SEO helps with this by giving correct information about the company. Many mobile local searches result in an offline purchase. This highlights the importance of local SEO in driving in-store sales and conversions. But bad local SEO can mess things up. It might show wrong details or mixed-up information, making customers unsure about the business.

So, when local SEO is done well, it’s like having a clear path to the shop. But bad local SEO can block that path, making it hard for customers to find the business. This can lead to fewer people coming in, less trust in the industry, and, ultimately, fewer things being sold.

Penalties from Search Engines

Some people use sneaky tactics in SEO, called black-hat tricks, to try to cheat their way to the top of search results. But just like real detectives catch rule-breakers, search engines can see these tricks, too. After detection, they penalise those who tried to outsmart the system. Search engines have intelligent algorithms that watch out for rule-breakers.

These tricks can include stuffing a webpage with too many keywords, hiding extra content that regular visitors can’t see, or even creating fake links to pretend a website is more popular than it is. These seem like shortcuts, but search engines are intelligent. They can spot these tricks and take action.

When search engines discover these sneaky tactics, they lower the website’s rank in search results, making it harder for people to find. In severe cases, they might even remove the website from search results altogether.

How to Avoid Bad Local SEO?

As we know, Local SEO is a powerful strategy that can help your business grow on the internet and attract more customers to your physical business or store. It helps to ensure your business is seen by people looking for products or services nearby. Here’s a simple breakdown of how to avoid alarming local SEO and use Local SEO to your advantage.

Accurate Business Details

Like sharing the correct address with friends, your business needs accurate online information. Ensure your business name, address, phone number (NAP), and other details are consistent across all platforms.

Optimising Google My Business (GMB) Profile

A free product from Google, Google My Business (GMB), helps businesses control their online appearance on all of Google’s properties, including Search and Maps. To optimise your GMB profile, ensure your business name, address, and phone number are accurate. Add relevant categories, business hours, and a business description. Marketers believe using Google My Business profile features impacts rankings in the local pack.

Keywords Research

Find keywords relevant to your business and include them naturally in your website content. Keyword research for local SEO is about finding the right words and phrases people in your area use online searching. Doing it well helps your business get noticed by locals and avoids mistakes that can harm your local SEO efforts. It’s all about using the right words to attract local customers.

Optimise your Website

Incorporate local keywords into your website’s content, meta tags, headers, and title tags. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as many local searches are conducted on mobile devices. Also, consider creating location-specific pages on your website if you serve multiple locations.

Collect and Respond to Reviews

Online shoppers screen through user reviews before buying a product or service, explicitly trying to find negative reviews. Positive reviews build trust. Encourage satisfied customers to write reviews on Google or other platforms, respond to them politely, and address negative reviews gracefully.

Build Local Citations

Local citations are internet mentions to your company that often contain your NAP data. Your local SEO can be improved by creating local citations. Ensure your company’s information is consistent across different internet listings and websites. Your business can reach more customers if you use local citations properly.

Utilise Local SEO Tools

There are various tools available that can help with your local SEO efforts. These include Ahrefs for keyword research, Moz Local for managing local citations, and Google Analytics for tracking your website’s performance.

Case Studies: Bad Local SEO

Case Study 1: Gingersoftware.com’s Misused SEO Technique Manual Penalty

Gingersoftware.com, a site getting 66% of its traffic from Google-based organic search, received a site-wide manual penalty from Google for unnatural inbound links. This penalty led to a massive drop in their organic traffic by a whopping 94%. This case study highlights the drawbacks of using unnatural inbound links and the severe penalties that can result from them.

The same case study further explained that in the past, the company had used various black-hat SEO techniques, such as buying links, posting low-quality blog comments, and automatically building thousands of spam links. While these techniques may have provided short-term SEO gains, they ultimately led to penalties that severely damaged the site’s SEO performance.

Case Study 2: The Impact of High Directory/Lead-Generating Sites

This case study focused on general contractors and revealed that directories comprised 78% of the first page of search results and lead-gen sites, leaving only 22% for actual businesses. This over-reliance on directory/lead gen sites resulted in lower visibility for local businesses and pushed their rankings down to the second or third page of search results. This case study highlights the importance of organic SEO strategies beyond directory listings.

Case Study 3: Wastecycle’s Struggles with Local SEO

Sustainable waste management business Wastecycle hoped to attract more consumers by advertising its services to those in need of nearby skip hires. Despite implementing local SEO strategies, the company only saw a minor increase in organic visitors in local cities and clicks for the targeted term “skip hire.” This case study illustrates the challenges of optimising local SEO and the need for a well-thought-out strategy.


Local SEO is like a map that helps people in your area find your business online. When you do it in the right way, it can help your business show up in local search results, bring more people to your website, and get more customers.

Doing local SEO right means ensuring your business’s name, address, and phone number are the same everywhere online. It also means making your Google My Business profile look good, using the right local keywords on your website, responding to online reviews, and getting your business listed in online directories.

But if you do local SEO wrong, it can hurt your business. Things like having wrong business information online, not taking care of your Google My Business profile, not using the right local keywords, ignoring online reviews, and having a confusing website can make your business hard to find online. This can cause a drop in website traffic, resulting in decreased sales.

We also looked at some case studies showing what can happen if you do local SEO incorrectly. Some businesses got penalties from search engines, making it even more challenging to find online. Some even got deleted from search results.

In conclusion, to ensure your business is easy to find online and gets more customers, it’s important to do local SEO right and avoid Bad local SEO.

What do you think?

What to read next