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Local Listings and SEO

The Role of Business Listings in Local SEO

Local business listings and citations play a vital role in reputation, rankings, and revenue. That’s why it’s critical to see the big picture of their purpose

Online marketing: a necessity for all local businesses

Not so long ago, local business owners had a set of offline publicity options, such as paying for Yellow Pages inclusion, advertising in the local newspaper, print marketing in the form of brochures and coupons, postal mail marketing, telemarketing, and local radio/television buys. All of these are still viable options in many industries. But while some offline avenues have become optional, Internet marketing is now a necessity for every single local business. If a business can’t be found on the web today, it’s akin to being “nowhere.”

Citations: Multiple older media in one digital package

Fully filled-out structured citations are incredibly comprehensive, doing much the same job as traditional offline advertising. Consider the following:

Yellow Pages – Fingers may still be “doing the walking” on smartphone screens, but searchers no longer need to thumb through a heavy print directory or even to be at home. A consumer located anywhere is connected with any business in town instantly via local listings on major platforms like Google My Business, Facebook, or Yelp. While some business models still see good ROI from print Yellow Pages directories, it is costly, whereas inclusion in most of the online local business data indexes is free. Plus, the online audience is vast, with two-thirds of the world being online and about 70% percent of US residents owning smartphones. The basic data within your local business listing is a dominant driver of traffic and revenue.

Print Marketing – The taglines, descriptions, attributes, driving directions, coupons, menus, reviews, and owner responses included on many top-tier local business listings do all of the heavy lifting of traditional print marketing. From a single complete listing, a consumer can discover a business, learn where it is, what it does, what special offers it runs, who likes it, and how well the company takes care of its customers. It’s everything you could fit into a brochure but in an accessible, digital format.

Radio/TV Advertising – On local listings that support images, video, virtual tours, call buttons, and links to social media profiles, a consumer can both see and hear a business from the comfort of their cell phone. What’s more, they can click to call or follow social media links to interact with the business directly — something a radio ad can’t really provide, and for which TV still needs to catch up. A robust local listing provides a thorough experience in the blink of an eye.

Choosing the right online listing platforms

No competitive local business would give up the powerful — and largely free — advertising potential of online listings, but it’s important to maximize your ROI by allocating staff hours efficiently. There are two considerations here:

  1. You should determine which platforms it makes sense to be listed on. It’s not a best practice to devote hundreds of hours to getting listed on every possible search engine, index, or app, just because they exist. Instead, hit the majors (Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, YP, etc.) and then hand-select other platforms that are highly relevant to your company’s industry or geography. By getting listed only in quality places, you won’t squander sweat equity.
  2. Creating local business listings can be toilsome and boring. It’s exciting to get your best data together in a spreadsheet, but it isn’t all that fun to enter that data over and over again into the forms of the various platforms. This has led to the rise of automated solutions for active location data management like Moz Local. These solutions allow you to fill out a single form, distributing your data to high-quality platforms and continuously monitoring it for progress and any changes. You can always supplement your automated push to the majors with a small investment of time in building listings on geo/industry-specific platforms, but the fact is that automation lightens the load, reduces human error, and leaves your team free to focus on more creative projects.
  3. Whether you decide to take a fully manual approach or a semi- or fully automated one, the most important thing to remember is that local business listings are extremely powerful.
  4. You’ve heard the horror stories of residential numbers getting accidentally published on print Yellow Pages ads, resulting in a whole year of unwanted phone calls for the homeowner and none for the business. Online business listings are no different, and inconsistent or bad data can misdirect consumers and negatively impact transactions in just the same way.
  5. Because of this, no local business owner can afford to neglect the data published about his company on the Internet. The most sensible thing is to take control of that data and manage it on an ongoing basis to ensure both its consistency and its spread across the web.

The Role of Business Listings in Local SEO

Local business listings and citations play a vital role in reputation, rankings, and revenue. That’s why it’s critical to see the big picture of their purpose

Online marketing: a necessity for all local businesses

Not so long ago, local business owners had a set of offline publicity options, such as paying for Yellow Pages inclusion, advertising in the local newspaper, print marketing in the form of brochures and coupons, postal mail marketing, telemarketing, and local radio/television buys. All of these are still viable options in many industries. But while some offline avenues have become optional, Internet marketing is now a necessity for every single local business. If a business can’t be found on the web today, it’s akin to being “nowhere.”

Citations: Multiple older media in one digital package

Fully filled-out structured citations are incredibly comprehensive, doing much the same job as traditional offline advertising. Consider the following:

Yellow Pages – Fingers may still be “doing the walking” on smartphone screens, but searchers no longer need to thumb through a heavy print directory or even to be at home. A consumer located anywhere is connected with any business in town instantly via local listings on major platforms like Google My Business, Facebook, or Yelp. While some business models still see good ROI from print Yellow Pages directories, it is costly, whereas inclusion in most of the online local business data indexes is free. Plus, the online audience is vast, with two-thirds of the world being online and about 70% percent of US residents owning smartphones. The basic data within your local business listing is a dominant driver of traffic and revenue.

Print Marketing – The taglines, descriptions, attributes, driving directions, coupons, menus, reviews, and owner responses included on many top-tier local business listings do all of the heavy lifting of traditional print marketing. From a single complete listing, a consumer can discover a business, learn where it is, what it does, what special offers it runs, who likes it, and how well the company takes care of its customers. It’s everything you could fit into a brochure but in an accessible, digital format.

Radio/TV Advertising – On local listings that support images, video, virtual tours, call buttons, and links to social media profiles, a consumer can both see and hear a business from the comfort of their cell phone. What’s more, they can click to call or follow social media links to interact with the business directly — something a radio ad can’t really provide, and for which TV still needs to catch up. A robust local listing provides a thorough experience in the blink of an eye.

Choosing the right online listing platforms

No competitive local business would give up the powerful — and largely free — advertising potential of online listings, but it’s important to maximize your ROI by allocating staff hours efficiently. There are two considerations here:

  1. You should determine which platforms it makes sense to be listed on. It’s not a best practice to devote hundreds of hours to getting listed on every possible search engine, index, or app, just because they exist. Instead, hit the majors (Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, YP, etc.) and then hand-select other platforms that are highly relevant to your company’s industry or geography. By getting listed only in quality places, you won’t squander sweat equity.
  2. Creating local business listings can be toilsome and boring. It’s exciting to get your best data together in a spreadsheet, but it isn’t all that fun to enter that data over and over again into the forms of the various platforms. This has led to the rise of automated solutions for active location data management like Moz Local. These solutions allow you to fill out a single form, distributing your data to high-quality platforms and continuously monitoring it for progress and any changes. You can always supplement your automated push to the majors with a small investment of time in building listings on geo/industry-specific platforms, but the fact is that automation lightens the load, reduces human error, and leaves your team free to focus on more creative projects.
  3. Whether you decide to take a fully manual approach or a semi- or fully automated one, the most important thing to remember is that local business listings are extremely powerful.
  4. You’ve heard the horror stories of residential numbers getting accidentally published on print Yellow Pages ads, resulting in a whole year of unwanted phone calls for the homeowner and none for the business. Online business listings are no different, and inconsistent or bad data can misdirect consumers and negatively impact transactions in just the same way.
  5. Because of this, no local business owner can afford to neglect the data published about his company on the Internet. The most sensible thing is to take control of that data and manage it on an ongoing basis to ensure both its consistency and its spread across the web.

Vaishali

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