The core job of any local search marketing campaign is the development of local business listings. A local business listing is an online profile that consists of your business name, address, phone number, as well as other items. There are thousands of web sites and directories on which local business owners are allowed to create totally free business listings. Many of which you may already have heard about Google+ Local, Yelp, Bing Places, Internet Yellow Pages, and Yahoo! Local.
The purpose of creating local listings is to make your small business visible on the web. Every new listing you create increases your likelihood of being found by prospects. At the same time, many of the local business indexes share information with one another. Therefore, the more places that you’re listed plus the more visible you are, the more these indexes have confidence in the accuracy of your business data, bettering your possibilities of ranking well in local search results.
To be able to qualify for a local business listing in any index, your business needs to meet all 4 of the following criteria:
- Have a company name or DBA
- Have a local telephone number that matches your city of location (not a shared telephone number, toll-free number, or call tracking number)
- Have a physical street address (not a shared address, PO box, or virtual business office)
- Make face-to-face contact with your clientele (business is not performed virtually)
After you meet all four of the above factors, you’re ready to move ahead to the following topics:
Most indexes will need you to verify each and every listing you write. Know what to expect through the claiming process.
Your Small Business Title
Your business title is one of the most important factors for ranking well in the local search engines like google. Using a title that remains consistent across all data sources is crucial; it helps the search engines establish trust with the existence and location of a specific business.
Your title really should reflect your business’s real-world title.
In addition to your business’ real-world title, you may include a single descriptor which will help shoppers find your business or understand what exactly your business offers.
Marketing and advertising taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or Web address aren’t valid descriptions.
Examples of acceptable titles with descriptions (in italics for demonstration purposes) are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant”. Examples which wouldn’t be accepted would be “#1 Seattle Plumbing”, “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas”.
It is Important to Categorize Your Business Properly in Search Engines
In general, search engines like google will consider your business listing as being primarily relevant for sets of keywords and phrases that relate to your chosen categories. Failure to pick categories or miscategorization will severely reduce the visibility of your local business listing. You are likely to find yourself edged out in the results by competitors who have correctly categorized their businesses.
Claiming Your Local Search Listings
Claiming any listing of your business on-line verifies that you are the owner of a valid business and permitted to take care of its presence online.
- Most entities will first ask you to find out whether or not your business currently exists in their index. Don’t be surprised if it does, even if you have never created a listing there! Unless your business opened its doors today, chances are, there’s some listing of its existence on-line. In general, you’ll be prompted to enter your business name or phone number to find any existing listings.
- Next, you’ll review any current information, correct any incorrect information, and provide any new or missing information about your business name, address, phone number, website address, business categories, and other info. This is when accuracy and consistency really count! Remember: You need your core business information (name, address, phone, website) to be identical on each and every directory.
- Once you have filled out your business’ information, you’ll be asked to go through a verification procedure. This usually happens in one of 3 ways:
·Via a direct telephone call during which you will verify via a pin number
·Via a postcard and pin number verification
·Via an e-mail in which you’ll be clicking on the verification link
If you are verifying via postcard, alert all staff members who retrieve mail to be on the lookout for a postcard. These generally arrive within just a couple of weeks, but are relatively plain and small. You don’t want them to become lost! Check your mail thoroughly each day.
Why Duplicate Listings Matter
When a local business has more than 1 listing for a one actual location in an online listing, these other listings are regarded as duplicates. Many negative outcomes can arise with the presence of multiple listings, detracting from your local business’s potential to rank high and gain customers.
The Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines speak in very plain language concerning the number of listings your business can have:
There are some exceptions to this, as with the case of multi-partner legal firms or multi-practitioner health care offices, but in most cases, failure to comply with the above rule may result in any or all of the following:
- In the duplicate listing situation, you don’t know which of the listings will outrank the others. You could end up having a very visible listing with an out of date address, a wrong telephone number or other issues showing up for your searches instead of your approved, authoritative listing. New customers might be misdirected by the bad information, causing you to lose business.
- Your review equity could be split up amongst the different listings. Instead of having a single profile with 20 good reviews, you might have 1 listing with five reviews and another with 15. If your listing with only 5 reviews is the one that shows up, the good reputation you are building will be invisible to your prospective customers.
- Major search engines like Google won’t know which of your listings to trust, whether within their own index or within other indexes they rely on for data. You always want to deliver a single, clear signal about your business to the search engines from every place it’s listed.
- As a result of way that data is fed from one local business index to another on-line, even 1 duplicate listing with incorrect info may be duplicated across a number of platforms. Outdated listings with incorrect data can wind up generating new listings with duplicated mistakes.
- Management of a one listing over a variety of directories can be difficult enough. If your business has to update information, it’s possible you’ll wind up editing the wrong listings if they’re duplicates. Your changes may never appear live given that you aren’t editing the listing the search engine or index has decided is most authoritative for your business.
Regardless of how duplicate listings are created, it is really always a best practice to attempt to get them eliminated.