You have heard all of the big names, Foursquare, WhitePages, Superpages, Yelp, Citysearch, etc… But what exactly do they do?
These local listings companies collect your business information, sort of like a digital phone book, and provide you as search results to people searching their site for your type of business.
Local listing sites are another way that your website can gain visibility on the Internet. Your business will show in search engine results through these listing sites, giving your business greater visibility; however, they are even more useful for SEO purposes.
Building an ‘inventory’ of expert sites that link to your website provides credibility for search engines who will then show your website higher on search ranking results. Optimizing local listings websites is a weapon in every SEO expert’s arsenal.
The next reason local listings websites are integral to SEO are for reviews. Reviews make up about 40% of Google’s local ranking algorithm. If a business has 15 positive reviews, it is more likely to get a higher click through rate to their site than those that have only 2. These count as your ‘online business testimonials’. It is extremely important for you to keep track of your reviews on local listings sites to respond to positive reviews, or if necessary, remove and address a poor review.
If your business location moves or you open up a new location, you need to be prepared to update or create new local listings profiles. This process will have to be repeated as it was before. The down and dirty is, optimizing local listings is an extremely lengthy, frustrating, and not always affective task. AdVision has had to do this three times now, and lets just say that we are dreading another move for this reason. But through all of the time and frustration, we still understand the significance of having updated local listings and we forge on.
Now that you know what they are, and why they are important, the next questions are: How can you make sure that every local listing site is populated with your business information? And do these listings contain a complete business profile?
Lets start with the latter. Having a complete business profile is the key to utilizing local listing websites most effectively. Do not just gloss over the information and ignore uploading your logo to your company page. There are reasons that these companies have these fields in your profile, and it is because they help them index your business and serve you to the right searchers. If you have a YouTube video for your business, showcase it. If your company’s business hours are input incorrectly and Google thinks that you are closed at the moment of a search, they will selectively choose to serve a competitor’s website over yours. If a searcher finds their way to your Yelp profile, and they do not see pictures of the delicious food you serve or the beautiful craftsmanship of your handiwork, that could end their interest right there. And a well-crafted business description is extremely important for your brand. This is one of the first interactions these searchers have to learn about your business and what you provide.
AdVision is a huge proponent of having complete local listings profiles because they engage the searcher and get them asking more questions. Completed listing profiles prove to the searcher that you are a living and breathing organization. If the content is compelling enough, they will visit your website for more information, and then hopefully contact you for a consultation, purchase, or inquire about whatever it is that you are trying to provide through your website.
Now, how can you make sure that every local listing site is populated with your business information? We have a tool that we use here at AdVision, our Local Listings Scanner, that will allow you to see the progress of your local listings efforts. We scan more than 50 local search websites including Google, Yahoo!, Yelp, Bing, WhitePages, Superpages, Citysearch… the list goes on and on. With this tool you can see which local listing sites are optimized for your business and which still need optimization. Then you can fix, update, delete, and revise any listings necessary.
That essentially wraps up this blog post, but of course I could talk about local listings all day. Please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions regarding this topic!