The last thing you want as a business is to strategize and implement an excellent SEO strategy but lag in rankings because of an inaccurate business listing. The consistency of your listings on the web can either help your business thrive or serve as a barrier to getting new customers to notice you online. When planning your SEO approach, ensure that you include local listings into your strategy and that your online business’s health is in good shape.
What are local listings, and why are they important?
Local listings are added to directory sites such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo so that when people search for your business or the service you provide, you appear in their search results. While these three search engines are probably the first to come to mind, hundreds of listing sites are across the web. The consistency of your information amongst these listings plays a huge role in ranking on the more prominent platforms such as Google.
The most common of these directory sites, and debatably the most important, is Google My Business Page (GMB). With it, you can add your business name, address, attributes, hours, categories of business, images, and more useful information that drives an online customer to your business. If your company does not already have a GMB Page, that is the best place to start with your local listings. Your GMB listing allows you to take charge of the information people see when searching for your business or doing a local search for your product or service.
When people search online for a local product or service, they are generally looking to make a purchase- hopefully from you. According to Search Engine Land, 78% of local mobile searches lead to a purchase in-store or online. Therefore, you want to ensure all your listings are updated continuously to stay accurate and consistent, aka clean listings so that you can drive as much traffic to your site as possible.
How your local ranking is determined
In addition to the accuracy of your listings, several factors influence your local search ranking:
Google review count and review score
More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking. By encouraging customers to leave a positive rating of your business and actively responding to Google reviews, you can boost your rank.
Relevance refers to how well a local Business Profile matches what someone is searching for. Add complete and detailed business information to help Google better understand your business and reach your profile to relevant searches.
Distance considers how far each potential search result is from the location term used in a search. If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google calculates distance based on what we do know about their site.
Prominence refers to how well known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results reflect this in the local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so (SEO) best practices apply.
How to clean up your listings
The manual process of cleaning up listings often requires setting up accounts, claiming existing listings, and rounds and rounds of verification methods. An abbreviation, an added comma, or other small typos to search engines like Google is considered an inconsistency, directly impacting your rankings. For example, Klout9 and Klout 9 would be considered two separate business listings to a search engine instead of two listings for the same company. Google counts each listing on other sites as a “Citation”. The more citations you have plays a large factor in where you rank in the maps section of google search results.
As you can see, cleaning up your listings manually is a very daunting and time-consuming process. The good news is some platforms serve as central hubs to push your information out to all of these listing sites online from one central place. This ensures the accuracy of your listings and allows you to quickly and easily make changes as necessary. If you would like more information on how this process works, start by doing a business listing health audit with our Business Listing Audit Tool today.
To stand out from the rest in local listings while elevating your brand, call the experts at Klout9.