Local SEO is an essential part of any business’s online presence. To capture customers around you, a strong local SEO game is essential.

But there are too many rumours surrounding this. You do not want to fall prey to them and lose traffic to your website. There are a lot of “tips” and “hacks” online but the real question is:

Do they work or do they attract your business into deep waters? You don’t have to break a sweat because I’m here with a lineup of the 10 common Local SEO myths among business owners.

Go through all these and I guarantee you that you will be more informed and aware of how local SEO works.


Local SEO Myth #1: Local SEO Is Only For Small Businesses

The reality?

Local SEO is essential for businesses of all sizes.

As a business owner, no matter how big or small you are, you want more visibility.

Let’s say you own a grand pastry shop in Bangalore. Every person within a 20-mile radius is a potential customer.

As a user, I would prefer your shop to be closer so I can visit and get what I want. Without local SEO, your website will not pop up in the search results when I search for “pastry shops near me” or “best pastry shops in Bangalore“.

Google always shows businesses within the user’s vicinity. This makes your business more accessible. With a well-crafted local SEO game, your chance of ranking higher in the search results jumps astronomically.

The important thing here is that this applies if you make $100,000 or $100 million a year. The formula remains the same.

If you don’t know where to start, do these three basic things immediately:

  1. The first thing you have to do is optimize your Google My Business Profile. This helps you establish your business in your location.
  2. Next, create location-specific content. Target the people around you, understand their tastes and preferences, and consistently produce content.
  3. Finally, use local keywords to help your business appear in the local search results.

Local SEO is not only for the “mom and pop” stores and this is a local SEO myth among business owners. Think about the multinational companies and top franchises that have their local outlets in a city. These compete within the city/area limit so they have to target local SEO as well.

Local SEO Myth #2: Listing Service Area Wider To Rank Higher

The reality?

Listing wider than your serviceable area has no positive impact.

I get it. You want to be THE brand in your city and we know it’s easier said than done. But listing your serviceable area wider than the actual will do more harm than good. This goes against Google’s guidelines and results, in the worst case, the removal of your business listing.

For instance, say you run a laundry company in Manhattan. That means your primary customer base is in and around Manhattan. I know the thought of “larger area means more customers” is tempting. But do not buy into this SEO myth.

Let’s listen to what Google says about the location and address constraints:

  1. Be specific about your address, particularly your PIN and city.
  2. Not serving in your business address anymore? The business location field in your profile HAS to be blank.
  3. The boundary should not exceed more than 2 hours of driving time from your business.

Google’s algorithm takes into account user feedback and reviews when ranking businesses.

You should accurately represent your service areas on Google My Business to avoid penalties. This means listing only the areas where you genuinely provide services or have a physical presence.

Rather than buying into this rookie SEO myth among business owners check out actionable marketing tips for your businesses. You can thank me later!

Local SEO Myth #3: Purchasing Ads To Appear At The Top Of The Ranking

The reality?

ADs have no impact on organic rankings. But there’s a catch.

When a customer searches for a service in a location, Google will have the best websites at the top but now, ads take up that number one position. Search for the best furniture showroom and immediately you’ll find an ad for that as your first link.


One of the common Local SEO myths among business owners is choosing paid ads assuming it will boost their ranking in search results. However, business rankings are determined by various factors such as relevance, distance, and prominence.

Here are some numbers to objectively see the issue:

  1. The average CTR for an ad in the first position is 7.94%.
  2. The average CTR for a search result in the first position is 27.6%.
  3. The average CTR for all ads is 3.16%.
  4. The average CTR for all search results (on the first page) is 8.6%.

You can see that when you have optimized web pages, you rank higher and get more views. Ads, even though spending extra cash don’t yield as much as a good web page.

Purchasing ads will not directly help you to rank higher because the algorithms are different. Google My Business helps users to find relevant and accurate information about local businesses while paid ads promote businesses for relevant search results.

ADs can help you to generate leads and increase sales but there is no guarantee that your business will appear at the top of organic search results. You need to focus on optimizing your GMB listing with accurate information, positive reviews, and relevant content related to their services.

So does that mean ads are pointless? Absolutely no!

Ads are more flexible and you can target specific services to promote. In some cases, it can be just a newly introduced service with a limited offer that lasts only a week. Ads in situations like this can be useful to your business.

The best way is to choose both if you have the budget. A strong webpage and a targeted ad bring more eyes. It boils down to your preferences, budget, timeframe, and your business goals online.

Local SEO Myth #4: Spamming Keywords In The Owner Response Will Help Rank Higher

The reality?

Spamming keywords hurt your site’s rankings.

Seeing a ton of keywords for no reason can be pretty frustrating. Some rookies take it to the next level by stuffing keywords in the owner’s response, hoping Google would reward and rank them higher. This is ultimately an SEO myth.

Let me explain this with an example of a restaurant business. Getting negative reviews isn’t good. You need to check it and address it in the right way.

Instead of providing a genuine response, spamming keywords like “best restaurant,” “top-rated food,” or “quick service,” isn’t going to work. The reader is going to be like, “How is this gonna help me?!!”

What most people forget is responses to reviews are still text that search engine crawlers detect and assess. Your listings will have a negative impact and you’ll come off as sketchy and untrustworthy.

Instead, provide thoughtful responses that address customer concerns, offer solutions or apologies when needed, and show how committed you are to improving customer service.

SEO Myth #5: Keywords in the business name rank you higher

The reality?

Maybe. But there’s no guarantee that it’ll boost your rankings.

The keywords are great. Every piece of content can have a relevant keyword of your domain. But that doesn’t mean a higher ranking is guaranteed. This is another Local SEO myth among business owners.

All the business listings in Google My Business should adhere to Google’s guidelines for business names to avoid penalties. Google can suspend your listing if you add descriptors or unnecessary information to your business name.

Here’s an example to illustrate why keyword stuffing looks spammy:

You own a pizza parlour. For better visibility, you choose to add keywords to your Google My Business profile. See the screenshot below and you will be surprised by the results. Bocs Pizza which added keywords in the title is ranked below a number of other businesses even though it has good reviews.


This name brings three problems to you:

  1. It sounds sketchy. When every top business has a simple name why would you go as far as to add too many words?
  2. It violates Google’s guidelines because it misrepresents the actual name of the business by excessively adding keywords.
  3. Your regular customers can get confused when they try to search for your business name in search engines.

What most people forget is that keywords narrow down your business to a particular domain. That means right from the start, you target a specific audience. This is good but you also want to tap into the majority audience who could turn into potential customers.

I suggest using it with caution not only with business names but also with your web content as well. It should aid you and not be your Achilles heel.

Local SEO Myth #6: Local SEO Is A One-Time Task

The reality?

Your SEO has to evolve consistently to meet the market’s trends.

“Design a solid SEO plan, implement it and you’re set for life”

This is an age-old SEO myth but it’s sad to see new business owners falling for it.

Let’s say you hired an SEO strategist to optimize your website, created a Google My Business profile, and listed your business on various online directories. Now, your business starts to appear in local search results. This is obvious and there’s nothing fancy here.

But there’s always new competition entering the market and existing businesses start to level up. This leaves you in a position to constantly work on your SEO, research new keywords, craft new content, build better backlinks, and improve your site’s ranking.

This is why you need to maintain a good relationship with an experienced SEO strategist. Do not hire freelancers. You need someone who can navigate your business requirements, understand the existing SEO plan and efficiently improve it to deliver better results.

Local SEO Myth #7: Local SEO Is A Quick Fix For Instant Results

The reality?

There is no such thing as “instant results” with local SEO.

Local SEO is not a quick fix because it requires consistent effort and time to see significant results. It’s like building a good physique. You won’t look like Ranveer Singh just through one session in the gym.

Similarly, local SEO requires ongoing efforts to improve your website’s visibility in local search results.

When you initially start working on your local SEO, it involves lots of trial and error. Even with the right strategies your rankings will not improve overnight. Your business service area and concentration of competitors play an important role here. Even with the best local SEO strategy, ranking for a business in New York will be harder than ranking in Pune for the same business using the same keyword.  It takes time for local SEO to reflect your efforts so don’t lose hope. When you see significant improvements, you can update your local SEO strategy accordingly.

A local SEO myth is that it’s time-consuming to formulate a strategy. You don’t have to do it all yourself, an seo strategist can tailor-make strategies that work for your business.

Local SEO Myth #8: Online Reviews Don’t Impact Local SEO

The reality?

Google reviews have a HUGE impact on your rankings.

Do you think a few customer reviews won’t affect your local SEO positioning?

This is a dangerous SEO myth. Google understands the significant impact they have which is why reviews are considered a crucial ranking factor.

When you search for “restaurants in Pune”, you see results based on various factors including the restaurant’s proximity, relevance, and prominence. “Prominence” is where online reviews come into play. Search engines consider the quantity and quality of reviews when determining the prominence of a business.

Now that’s from a search engine’s point of view. What do actual customers say? Turns out, new studies in town say customers expect you to respond to negative reviews and that helps them make informed decisions. 53% expect you to respond within a week.

Do businesses respond in time? Not exactly and so this is a mistake you should avoid. Address all of them, especially the negative ones. Responding to a negative review shows you pay attention and care about your customers.

A lot of positive reviews mean your establishment is popular and trustworthy. But for users, a business with exclusively positive reviews looks fishy. “Seriously? Nobody had anything to complain about?”

Online reviews also influence click-through rates. When customers see your restaurant listed with high-rated positive reviews, they are more likely to click on your listing. Better CTR means search engines see you as a valuable business and bump you higher in the search results.

Additionally, positive reviews act as social proof and can influence potential customers’ decision-making process. 88% of customers say reviews help them change their minds about selecting local businesses. Now that’s a big impact indeed!

Local SEO Myth #9: Having A Website Is Enough For Local SEO

The reality?

A Standalone website is not going to help you rank higher

Having only a business website is nothing but an SEO myth because it overlooks the importance of various other factors that impact SEO.

Everyone creates a business website with the necessary details, a great layout, and quality content. Just with this your SEO is still at level one.

Now, imagine if your competitor has invested time and effort into implementing proper SEO strategies. By conducting thorough keyword research, optimizing their website’s meta tags, and headings, and building quality backlinks, they have the complete package.

Who do you think is going to rank higher?

You won’t stand a chance. To stand toe to toe, you need to have a 360-degree approach and cover everything you need to improve your business rankings.

To build a solid content strategy, check out this guide specifically crafted for startup businesses. Apart from that, here are a few things you need to think about getting started:

  1. Reach out to top brands for guest posting.
  2. Build good internal links.
  3. Sign up for UberSuggest and start basic keyword research.
  4. If you have the budget, hire a skilled SEO strategist.

Local SEO Myth #10: You Don’t Need Local Citations And Business Directories

The reality?

Local Citations And Business Directories can have a huge impact on your rankings

If you don’t know what a local citation is, it’s the very basic information of every business. Your business name, website name, address, and phone number are some of them.

But isn’t this obvious? All businesses should be having them, right?

That’s where most owners get it wrong. It’s like skipping the optional fields in a form. People tend to skip and provide what they think is important. But for search engines, this basic information matters a lot. This is a way for them to verify if it’s you online.

The way citations help local SEO is through an engaging “recursive reinforcement”. Let me explain.

Search engines expect you to provide authentic information. Apart from verifying it themselves, they also look out for other top domains for your presence. When a Coffee Shop takes the time to list on various reputable directories. Search engines get to know about your listings and verify your authenticity.

This reinforces the trust in the coffee shop’s website. This goes on and on when you have several authentic listings, further improving your search rankings.

Now, when a potential customer searches for “coffee shops near me” search engines like Google will rank a business with better local citations than ones that don’t.

The local SEO myth here is that people confuse citations with link building. That’s not the case. They are two different things. Instagram, Facebook, Bing Maps, and Yelp are some of the primary platforms your business should be listed on. No doubt about that.

Apart from these, target directories in your industry. If you manage a restaurant, you have to be on Zomato. Do you own a resort? Then you have to be on TripAdvisor or Agoda.

Now the rumors are cleared and you’re aware of these local SEO myths. I highly suggest you read our article on common SEO mistakes to avoid optimizing your current strategy.

Want A Tailored Strategy Free Of SEO Myths?

As a local business owner, you want to be that go-to place for your neighbourhood. This can be daunting when you have a business to run. One of the common Local SEO myths among business owners is thinking that they can do it all by themselves but when it gets hard to keep up, they give up.

Forget all that headache because we at GyanDevign Tech Services are here to help you develop a website that covers all your SEO needs and helps you rank higher. Let’s get in touch and discuss what your business needs and let’s leave all the myths at the door.