Where are your prospective customers, clients and patients going to find you if they’re searching online?
No surprise – Google.
Google has been focusing on local search because it wants to give its users the best experience possible. Google know that when someone is looking for a restaurant, doctor’s office, fitness center, kids activities, or law office, they want a “local” result – something nearby. According to Google, 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.
Google looks for certain pieces of information to help them decide who to rank higher in search results. For local search, Google’s primary ranking factor is how many and the quality of your directory listings, also called citations. Just fixing the top directories isn’t enough. You need to continue to find new directories and optimize those listings with the right keywords.
While it may seem daunting to effectively list, manage and optimize your business for local search, there are 5 steps that will help you simplify the process and dominate local search.
1. Business Listings Audit
The first step in the process is to identify your duplicate, erroneous and/or incomplete listings. By identifying your existing (and missing) listings, you’ll be able to gauge how much work you’ll have to do.
To make this process simpler, you simply need to plug your business information into a free report tool like Yext or Synup which will instantly check the major online directories and give you an analysis of your business listings.
This local business has a lot of work to do with a 91.4% ERROR RATE:
2. Systematic Directory Submissions
Once you complete your business listings audit, you can begin the process of creating new listings, fixing erroneous data, and merging duplicate accounts. Each directory will require different inputs, but in general you’ll need to put a consistent business name, address, and phone number. It’s crucial that this data is consistent across the board to ensure the best results. Studies have shown that directory optimization leads to 6 to 10x better effectiveness on directories like Yelp (in terms of views and conversions.)
Most of these online directories will require that you verify your business data to make sure you actually work for the business you’re claiming. The methods and approval time vary greatly by network. Some may only take a few minutes and a phone call, while others can take weeks and require you to receive a postcard in the mail.
3. Clean Up Google My Business
Google My Business is hands down the most important local online directory. It powers listings on Google Maps, phones, tablets as well as local results in broad based search queries. Google My Business verifies much of its business listing data by reading the information from many other directories, which is why it is so important to complete as many online listings as you can.
Here’s how a local business will look in search when it’s been optimized:
4. Getting Better Rankings by Enhancing Listings With Rich Media
Steps 1 – 3 focus on creating clean, consistent data across the web. Once completed, you should then revisit each and every listing to optimize them for local search and conversion. While each directory will vary, some of the key activities include:
- Writing SEO friendly keywords into your business’s description
- Selecting industry specific categories and tags
- Uploading rich media like pictures and video to enhance conversion optimization
- Adding links back to your website for customers to learn more
- Including hours of operation and payment methods
5. Monitor and Report
To prevent atrophy from setting in, your listings must be monitored and measured each month to make sure they remain consistent. Events like employees leaving, new locations opening, a change of operating hours or other updates will require changes to your local directories. Reporting on clicks and impressions will also let you know if your directories are adding value to your business by showing you how real customers are interacting with your listings.
Many small business owners realize they don’t have the time and/or expertise to manage their online presence. That’s why the Small Biz Marketing Specialist is here to help you dominate local search. Contact us. We’ll make it fast and simple for new customers to find you.
(NOTE: If you struggle with figuring out what marketing campaigns to do every month, check out Silver Platter Marketing – it’s like having marketing handed to you on a silver platter!)
About Stacey Riska
Stacey Riska, aka “Small Business Stacey” is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small business and rebuilding Main Street. She helps small and local business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients, MORE sales, and MORE money. Stacey is the founder of Small Biz Marketing Specialist, THE go-to place for marketing tips, techniques and strategies that get results. Stacey is also the creator of the Daily Deals for Massive Profits Training Program, an online video training program that teaches small and local business owners how to use daily deal sites like Groupon to skyrocket their business growth and get massive profits. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn’t!) and spending time with her amazing husband.