Local Business Listings
Before the Internet, most marketing campaigns consisted primarily of printed ads in the Yellow Pages and newspapers, television and radio ads, and direct outreach via telemarketing. Even though most businesses nowadays spend most of their resources on more complicated digital marketing techniques, there are important lessons to learn from the days before the Internet. One of those lessons, which is often overlooked by businesses, is the power of simple local listings.
Local listings, sometimes referred to as “citations,” usually consist of basic business information (name, address, phone number, etc.) in order to make your business more visible across the Internet, while also providing accurate information to potential customers. Beyond this, since local listings will provide more visibility across a variety of web pages, as well as a direct way to reach your business and its website, they can also improve your search engine optimization.
In this post, we will discuss the factors that make a local listings, how to improve them, and the benefits that result from well-developed local listings.
Establishing a Credible Local Listing
The information you provide for your local listing is arguably the most important aspect of this marketing strategy. First, you need to make sure that all of the information you provide is accurate. Far too often, businesses either accidently provide the wrong information, or mistakenly provide their personal information instead of their business information. Both of these mistakes can end up driving a lot of potential customers to your competitors.
Beyond creating a credible listing, it’s crucial to continue keeping this information up to date.
Most places that you will be posting your local listing, whether through Google, Yellow Pages, Yelp, or Facebook, you will usually be filling out a form to provide specific information. Examples of the main information that will create your local listings include:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website URL
- Business description
Extra Information you might want to add to your local listing:
- Alternate phone numbers
- Fax number
- Social media profiles
- Payment forms accepted
The quality and accuracy of this information is essential in the creation of your local listing. Since these listings commonly create the foundation to any successful marketing campaign, producing quality local listings will lead to increased visibility, better SEO, and more potential customers.
Improving SEO with Local Listings
Search engine optimization can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task since there are so many different techniques to improve it. However, local listings have proven to be one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to improve search engine optimization for your business’s website. Since your local listings will be appearing all across the web through services provided by Google, Yahoo, and other search engines, they will all be providing direct links back to your website. Along with this, if you make sure to keep consistent, credible local listings, you can easily achieve massive gains in SEO.
Factors that Enhance Your Local Listing
Like we have already discussed, maintaining a consistent local listing is very important for successful optimization. If you are able to maintain the same format for your listing across multiple sources, it will help Google and other search engines recognize your listing, providing more your business more relevance and credibility.
Another factor that will enhance your local listings is customer reviews. Reviews go hand in hand with local listings for two reasons. First, the majority of people today usually won’t use a business’s services without first guaranteeing that they have good reviews. Therefore, even if people find your local listing they will usually want to see your reviews as well. Secondly, many of the places your local listings will connect people directly to online reviews about your business, on places such as Yelp. Establishing a good reputation, while also responding to customer reviews, will provide a lot of help when it comes to optimizing your local listings.
Why Local Listings Ease the Competition
When it comes to general SEO, it can be hard to compete with big businesses that have the extra resources to spend on big marketing and SEO campaigns. However, by improving your local listings, you will be able to level the playing field against these big companies within your local area. By developing an outreach campaign with the local population in your business’s area, you can establish a well-known reputation that will serve your business better compared to your big business competitors.
Beyond that, search engines tend to take into account a searcher’s location when trying to provide the most relevant results; thus, provided that you work hard to create consistent and credible local listings, your business will be more likely to appear relevant against the big businesses when a search is within your local area.
Overall, as we have discussed, local listings should exist as a strong foundation for any successful marketing campaign. By providing local listings across a wide-range of online directories, you can maximize visibility of your business and start converting a higher number of leads into actual customers. Due to the these factors, local listings can also boost your return on investment. In the end, just because the Internet has produced a new arena for marketing campaigns, some of the marketing basics from the pre-Internet days can still be extremely profitable. With how simple it can be to develop consistent and credible local listings, it is always a good place to start for any marketing campaign.