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What does a good local listing look like?
Not to go all Charles Dickens on you, but chances are, if you’ve tried to improve your local listings, you’ve been through the best of times and the worst of times. Local search is a complex, algorithm-based game. Ignore it, and your business runs the risk of being excluded from search results, having incorrect information on your listing, and losing out on new clients.
Getting local search right means big wins for your business. Getting it wrong can have all kinds of consequences, both intentional and unintentional.
So, how do you know if your listings are good or bad?
Let's pretend you own a medical spa based in New York City called FakeSpa.
(Note — this is a pretend company. If you own a company called FakeSpa, we're sorry and kind of confused.)
Here's what your listing would look like if it was perfect:
Why does it matter?
Unclaimed listings get weird, fast.
Improving the accuracy of your local listings positively impacts your business in ways both obvious and less obvious. Bad listings can have all kinds of unintended consequences. Here are some examples:
You might think not claiming your business on platforms like Google My Business just means you won’t have a profile, but you might be surprised to learn that’s not the case. Google’s small army of web crawlers will use the powers at its disposal to create a listing based on the information it finds online. This can result in some...errors.
In the case of our fake spa, here are three examples that might result from unclaimed listings (based on true stories we’ve seen):
Incorrect information isn't the only risk you run with an unclaimed listing. While search platforms will collect all of the information they can find (whether or not it's correct), there's still a good chance your profile won't be complete if you don't claim your listings.
Improving Your Local SEO
So, what can you do to improve your local search?
Claim your listings
Before you do anything else, claim any local listings for your business on platforms like Google My Business, Bing, Yahoo! and Yelp.
Fix your listings
Once you’ve claimed them, it’s time to audit your business listings and make sure the information collected is correct. Update anything outdated, add missing information, and double-check everything, especially the contact information (including contact forms!).
Optimize your listings
What actually makes your listings “good?” Beyond the basic NAP information, it’s crucial that your listing contains the correct primary and secondary categories. If you’re a medical spa, but your business is listed as a pizzeria, you aren’t going to show up when someone is looking for botox, but you might show up when they search for buffalo mozzarella. Listing the services you provide, your business attributes, and any other information will help a ton.
Other things to consider are the photos included with your listing, social media links, business hours, answers to any questions, and a link to your website.
Submit to local online directories
Once you’ve got your listing dialed in, it’s time to submit it to local search engines. It’s no secret that Google has the majority of the search market share, but there are still plenty of other places to submit your business listing. This will largely depend on the industry and location you’re in, so careful research is your friend here.
Create a contact page
Creating a page that features all of the information your clients need to know about where you’re located and how to contact you helps cut down on incorrect information and customer frustration. This is especially important if you have multiple locations.
Focus on your reviews
Reviews are a huge part of local search. Google is looking for three very specific things when it comes to your reviews:
- The number of reviews. More is more, but generally, 40-50 reviews is a good minimum.
- The overall sentiment of the reviews. Having a majority of your reviews be positive is a good thing, but having exclusively positive reviews is not.
- Your responses to negative reviews. Google and your prospects are both paying attention to how you respond to negative reviews, including how quickly you respond. Don’t ignore them!
Monitor your citations
Local search is not a one-and-done thing. Regular monitoring of your listings and mentions of your company on the internet is important because things can and do change. Regular monitoring of your reviews is important too, due to the importance of responding to negative reviews.
It’s not easy to rock local search. The combination of strategy and time required to really dial in your local listings is sometimes best left in the hands of a capable professional. That’s why we created Local Power, our local listing tool that helps optimize and monitor your local listings without you having to lift a finger. Oh yeah, and did we mention it pays for itself with just one new conversion per month? Our users see all kinds of success with this tool (seriously, we have the stats). If that sounds like you, contact us to get started.
Contact us for a free demo.
If you’re ready to speak with a knowledgeable marketing professional, we are pleased to offer a free online demo and consultation.