If you have a business, you want people to find you. The build it, and they will come theory, it doesn’t fly. To do this, you must build as many roads to your business as possible. You have to differentiate yourself from the competitor. You must create signals that your business is open and can be trusted. This needs to happen offline and online.
Offline you might paint your storefront a pretty color and put a sign-up. You’ll advertise in a local magazine, put up a billboard, create business cards, flyers, and brochures, and sponsor a local event. These tactics help prospective customers find you and learn about what you do. When people start referring you, you’ve created a trust.
These prospective customers use local search (Google, Bing, etc.) to find businesses in their area or a city they visit. Like you must build roads for people to find you offline, you must do the same online. An effective strategy beyond just having a website and social media presence is through local listings/citations and building up your online reviews. Think of listings/citations as roads pointing people to your business. Think of online reviews like you would word-of-mouth referrals. The more roads you have, the more signals you send to Google that you’re a legitimate business, which helps your search engine ranking. The more five-star reviews you have, the more people trust you, and this even signals to Google that you’re an authority online and helps your search engine ranking. Let me explain this in a little more detail.
What Is a Local Listing/Citation?
A local listing or citation is an online mention of your business’s name, business description, address, phone number, and website. It can include photos, videos, hours of operation, social media platform links, accepted payment forms, a place to leave online reviews, and more. You want to ensure you give as much information in your listing as possible to help the search engines understand your business, and the algorithm determines how to rank your site in the search results.
A listing/citation can occur in local directories, on websites, blogs, social media, and within apps.
Types of Listings
Industry-specific listings include professional organization directories, magazines, or review sites.
Geo-specific listings include directories like local business networking groups or Chambers of Commerce websites.
Data Aggregators allow top-tier directories to create profiles and drive traffic to your business. Google Business Profile, Yahoo! Business, Localeze, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Bing Places are all examples. There are many, many more!
Smaller directories often pick up data and citation information from extensive directories, such as Yext.
Managing Local Listings
A business can submit and manage their online listings through the use of local directories, citation tools, and through services like what Keep it Real Social offers. This involves submitting business details and information to directories and aggregators. It also consists in updating information as things change. This can take a lot of time for a business, and keeping everything updated can be a headache, which is why listing management services are excellent.
Updating your information is crucial. When data is accurate online, it can help your search engine ranking. Remember, these are all roads to your business, and the more roads you have, the more signals you send to Google that you’re a legitimate business. You have authority online. When information needs to be updated and accurate, it’s like a roadblock; Google won’t send people in your direction because of this roadblock.
Having a listing management service keeps your information updated on these more prominent directories, which helps from misinformation being spread, which can hurt your business and create these roadblocks that prevent Google from sending people your way when they search.
Why Local Listings Matter for SEO
You have to tell people about your business offline and online if you want people to know who you are and what you do. Local listings/citations are a tactic to help drive high-authority backlinks to your website, which signals to Google that you’re the real deal. The more local listings/citations you have online with top aggregators and online directories, the better. It indicates that your business exists, it’s established, and it’s open for business.
Just like you don’t want to pass out a business card or brochure or have a billboard up with misinformation, you want to have your business listings have accurate information. This is why managing your listings is essential; using a listing management service makes that easy.
Invest in local listing services if you want to:
- Increase your chance of outranking local competitors
- Increase your brand authority online
- Provide valuable information to prospective customers when they search. Drive more online and foot traffic to your business
- Rank higher in the search engines
It’s challenging for a business to rank high in search engines, which is why local listing/citations are essential to increase your online authority and give it a leg up in the search results.
If you’d like to hand the local presence reigns over to a team of professionals, get in touch with us today.