Local Business Listings: An SEO Opportunity You Can’t Afford to Miss

Grab Customers Online With Local Business Listings

Imagine that you own a restaurant on Main Street, and a potential customer is walking down Main Street looking for a place to eat. He pulls out his phone and does a quick search for nearby restaurants. He gets a list of potential places to eat, all of them within easy walking distance.

And your restaurant isn’t on the list.

A potential customer is two blocks away from your door, and he doesn’t know you exist. He’s going to have lunch at a competitor’s restaurant, not yours. How did that happen?

It happened because you’re not taking advantage of local business listings to be sure that your business reaches the potential customers that are most likely to become your actual customers.

You need to change that.

Leveraging Local Listings Made Easy

A local business listing is simply a profile of your business in an indexed list that’s accessible through search engines, and it’s a key element of search engine optimization (SEO). The listing contains vital information about your business—your business name, address, phone number (NAP)—and in some indexes, your profile can contain other information that would be useful to customers, such as your hours of operation, links to your website or social media accounts, photos, and reviews of your products or services.

The power of local listings is that they show up in search engine result’s top listings and on map searches, and they are tied to searches performed by USERS NEAR YOU. A local listing allows you to target the people who are physically nearby and who are looking for precisely what you have to offer. If you run a hair salon, and there’s someone in the neighborhood looking for a place to get a haircut, your business will show up in that person’s search results.

It’s true that many people who search maps online know what they are looking for, but there is a significant group of people who are searching for a product or service that is convenient to their current location.

The most popular local listing indexes are managed by the big search engines, like Google, Bing and Yelp. If you build business listings for these three, you’re off to a good start, and your listing will show up in Google and Bing and on Google Maps. Many companies skip listing on Bing, and that’s an opportunity you can take advantage of to get ahead of your competitors. In addition to the “Big Three”, there are actually at least 50 more locally focused search engine listings to consider.

Getting on page one of Google search results, and in their map listings will ensure that users will have easy access to your business’s complete profile information directly from their search results, and in the case of map searches they’ll be able to see exactly how to get to you from where they are.

Best of all, these listings are free, so you’ll be able to take advantage of a powerful marketing tool by investing time to do it yourself, or by hiring a reputable web design and SEO company to handle the process for you.

Making the Most of Local Business Listings

To get the most out of a local business listing, you’ll want to make sure that the index can handle your business correctly in search results and that potential customers can find you easily once they see you in their results. That means that you need to ensure that all the information is accurate and as geographically specific as possible.

Your address is important, because the index will use it to verify your location and deliver your profile correctly in results. The same is true of your phone number. Both of those pieces of information have to coincide with the actual location where you do business with the public.

If you’ve changed your location or company name in the past few years, it’s likely some of the local listing services will have incorrect information. These “errors” can negatively affect your website’s page rank, and so every listing should be checked and corrected. When you consider the time to check over 50 listing services, you can see there’s an advantage to having a local SEO team take charge of the process.

Managing Your Local Listings

A local listing is not something that you can merely create and then forget about. You should assess your listing at least quarterly to determine that it’s still accurate and that it’s taking advantage of all the features offered by the index.

Creating and managing local listings is not difficult, but using an experienced web design and search engine optimization expert to find tune your listing can help make sure that the index is delivering all it can to your business. It will also lighten your workload so you can concentrate on serving all the new customers that the listing brings your way.

Next steps

For more information on leveraging your business’ local listing, contact Vortex today.

About the author: Tom Weinkle is a founder and partner of Vortex Communications, a graphic and website design firm who offers brand agency services, graphic and WordPress web design, build, troubleshooting and training services along with search optimization, social media and inbound marketing services. Based in Miami, Florida, Tom has over 25 years of experience in branding and visual communications for the healthcare, medical, law, accounting, software, financial services and banking industries.

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