Your business may be doing well, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. Any company, regardless of size, can profit from having local listings. Take it from Google and Ipsos Media CT, which teamed up to examine consumer search behavior and the effects of local listings for businesses.
The search engine giant found that four out of five users use search engines to look up business listing information – that’s four out of five leads. Local listings or local citations are mentions or references of your company’s name, address and phone number found in local business directories or anywhere online.
To help you understand how exactly your business can benefit from local listings and what you can do in turn, we touch on:
- The importance of local listings
- How to set up a local business listing
- Essential information to include in your local business listing
- Top local listing websites
- Where to get professional local business listings services
The Importance of Local Listings?
Credibility → Traffic → Customers → Sales
With proper business citations, you establish your company’s credibility and garner better traffic that would become customers, which ultimately translates to heightened sales.
When you conduct a “business near me” search like the example above, Google would often present you with local businesses with proper citations, cementing the importance of local citations.
Along with Google, Rize Reviews’ senior reputation management manager, Tim Clarke also states that Yelp is essential for organic search. As you can see at the bottom of the example, Yelp is one of the top search results.
At times, consumers will perform a branded search and encounter a business citation or listing with scant details, no photos and very few reviews or none at all. In this situation, they would likely not feel compelled to make a purchase or even simply interact with the brand.
How To Set Up a Local Business Listing
When you set up a citation on a listing website or a business directory like Google, you’ll fill out certain fields with your business information.
- Prioritize the top local directory or business listing websites.
- Prepare essential business information.
- Mindfully fill out the application forms.
- Provide accurate and consistent information.
- Consult with a local listing services expert.
Essential Information To Include in Your Local Business Listing
As a part of your local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, it’s crucial to realize that Google has rightfully established the standard for best practices in local listing management because it dominates the search market.
To ensure that your other citations are consistent with your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) listing, here are the details you should zero in on.
You must always use the actual name of your company. Since Google can read street-level signage, ensure that the format of your name matches that of:
- the sign outside your business
- your print collateral
- the logo on your website
- the way your phone is answered
Do not modify your company name with keywords, geographical terms, or any other words.
Always include your physical address without modifications, such as made-up unit numbers. As they are not real-world locations, PO boxes and unattended virtual offices shouldn’t be in your local business listing.
State your street address in the first line and any suite or mailbox numbers in the second line of the address field on Google. To prevent odd formatting, adhere to this rule for all citations, provided that it’s applicable.
You must have a physical address to be eligible for a Google Business Profile. So for service-area businesses (SAB) such as independent electricians, plumbers or gardeners who serve clients at different locations, indicate on the form if you have an SAB and input an address, even if it’s only your home address. Google will then conceal your street address on your live listing.
Business Phone Number
Despite the preference for local area code phone numbers stated in Google’s standards, toll-free numbers have been supported for some time. A toll-free number is especially important and instrumental for local companies like hotels, where most clientele come from outside their area.
Make sure your website and all of your citations consistently use the toll-free number you use on your Google Business Profile page if you choose to do so instead of a local one. But unless otherwise necessary, provide a local number.
Additionally, Google prefers you include the phone number directly linked to your business instead of a call center. Other than local and toll-free numbers, you can often add a backup phone number, a mobile phone number and, in certain situations, a vanity number on local listing services websites.
Business Website URL
Google has made it clear that your website URL must lead users to a page controlled by your company, not a third-party site, social media profile, or any other web page.
Additional information you should include in your local listings include:
- Social media profiles
Before linking your social media profiles to your listing, ensure that you have a good following to represent a more trustworthy brand. And although you can’t add a review on your own as you create your listing, keep in mind that it should be your next objective to encourage reviews once you’re finished.
Understandably, this can be a dreary task; however, a local SEO services expert can guarantee your listing information across sites is accurate, consistent and optimized.
The Top Local Listing Websites
Tons of platforms serve as a business directory, but these are the prominent ones you should highly consider.
The top search engine, Google, controls more than 90 percent of the worldwide market. So this is the place to start if you intend to look into local listing management and local search marketing.
Even though Bing only accounts for roughly six percent of the global search market, it is worthwhile to have your local citation here. After all, that’s six percent of billions of online searches.
Bing also remains the default search engine for Edge browsers and Internet Explorer (IE). Given that Microsoft dominates the desktop PC industry, this makes including Bing in your local listing management more than worthwhile.
Yelp is the king of local listing services, and citations in this local directory are just as valuable as customer reviews. A Yelp-recognized survey claims that 97 percent of users who found a business on Yelp spend money in just a week.
While Yelp’s local business listing services are free, you can upgrade to its paid local search marketing for premium features like post advertisement, augmenting your local search engine optimization efforts.
Nextdoor serves as a business directory slash social networking site that caters to more than 260,000 local communities worldwide, including the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.
All of these local business directories come with a customer reviews section. Unfortunately, any business is subject to receiving negative or defamatory reviews, so it’s essential to come prepared with a response strategy or hire a review monitoring or response expert.
Where To Get Professional Local Business Listing Services
The value of setting up a local business listing runs from ensuring you appear when local consumers perform “business near me” searches to establishing your brand’s credibility and, ultimately, ramping up your revenue.
Unfortunately, many business owners do not realize their potential in reaching their target market; not only possible customers but partners and investors too. This is because they do not invest in local search marketing and local business listing services.
If you’re interested in investing in the growth of your business, Rize offers local SEO services, which include business listing setup, management and search marketing. We have a team of specialists ready to help you get started with a free consultation.