7 Mental Traps That Keep Businesses Down in the Local Rankings

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Yes, it’s tough to build a site that’s more than an online paperweight, and improve your rankings, and get reviews, and so forth.  If you’re not visible in Google Places and beyond but you’re trying, at least you’re headed in the right direction.

But many business owners talk themselves into not doing enough to get the customers they need.  They hurt themselves with weak excuses.

You don’t want be one of those people.

I’ve heard every excuse you can shake a stick at.  They all seem to fall into at least one of seven categories.


Mental Trap 7:  “I can’t handle too much business.”

Not the worst problem to have, is it?  But I’ve got a few possible solutions:

Pay someone $10 / hour to answer the calls and fill up your calendar.  (And read Perry’s book.)

Or turn away some customers.

Or raise your rates.

Or work out a referral deal in which you refer customers to someone else and get to wet your beak.


Mental Trap 6:  “I don’t have the time to learn about Google.”

Then pay someone to help.


Mental Trap 5:  “I don’t have the money.”

Then spend a little time learning how to improve your visibility yourself.

Don’t have time or money?  Well, you can’t get something for nothing, so get creative – like by drafting your family into doing some of the work.


Mental Trap 4:  “I’m already spending a fortune on advertising.”

Do you want to continue spending a fortune on ads?  There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as your ads attract people who eventually convert and become customers.  If I hand the bank teller $1 and she hands me back $5, I don’t say, “Hey, I don’t like spending all this money.”  No – I stick my arms between the couch cushions to find every penny and quarter that I can turn into a dollar that I can turn into $5 at the bank.

Or if the advertising isn’t effective, then stop the madness at once and work on your free visibility in Google Places and elsewhere.


Mental Trap 3:  “How do I know I’ll actually get visible?”

Depends on how realistic your goals are:

If you’re trying to get visible in a city your business isn’t located in or very near, I’ll tell you right now that your chances aren’t good.  Location matters.  In this case, you should add paid options, like AdWords, to your arsenal.

If you’re in a cutthroat local market, like for “Los Angeles divorce lawyers” or “New York City jewelry,” you can get highly visible if you really want to.  But you’ll have to find a way to stand out, and it’ll take longer.

But if you’re in a “normal” market but just aren’t ranking well, a little time or money can take you far.


Mental Trap 2:  “I’m not good with computers.”

You don’t have to be. (Re-read answer to Excuse #6: have someone else do it.)


Public Enemy #1:  “Now isn’t a good time.”

When is a good time?  When business is good, you’re busy with customers and day-to-day upkeep.  When business is slow, you’re busy scrambling for customers.

Keep doing what you’ve been doing, and you’ll get what you’ve been getting.

Is your local visibility what you’d like it to be?  Why – or why not?

What’s a mental trap you’ve been in?

Leave a comment!


  1. Straight and to the point. It’s easy to find excuses for small business owners to not act on something. I talk to small business owners every week completely afraid about tackling online marketing challenges. I’m going to send this to a few of them, I think they’ll appreciate it.

  2. Nice piece Phil. I think that rule 1 is such a killer. Business owners can slip into routine apathy and don’t want to ‘destablize’ their status-quo for fear of it adding more work & more stuff to think about. Comfort is a killer.

    SEO does deliver new customers when done right, but it takes time to get there. There’s no point waiting until business is slow to get started. Start now, think big & grow your business to the next level.

    • Thanks, Myles. Very well-said.

      “Comfort is killer” indeed. I think a turning point comes if/when people realize that their visibility is bad enough that pretty much any effort will help.


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