Search marketing can be tricky. It seems like there is always someone out there trying to game the system with a new gimmick every week. I recently read a quote by Wil Reynolds that simply said, “You do SEO for PEOPLE not for GOOGLE.” If more people took this approach when crafting their search marketing strategies we would have a far better user experience on our websites.
Staying true to Wil’s statement mentioned above, having correctly executed local listing (commonly known as citations) for your business is key to a successful local search marketing strategy. Local citations are basically the phonebooks of the Internet, and there is power in consistent listings. When people search for something that you offer, you’d like for the search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, to serve your business as a result. In order to do that, you have to be there and be accurate.
So what do local citations look like? Well they look like listings on popular websites that you’ve not only heard of, but probably have used: Yelp, Yellow Pages, SuperPages, FaceBook, Manta and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are just a few. Websites like these act as your “phonebook” of the internet. When you are Google-ing something from your computer or smartphone these listings are helping to feed your search. Now see why it’s so important to be there?
Here is an example of a client that has recently gone from not showing up to dominating local search in both organic and Google’s local pack:
This has all been achieved by meticulously going over every local business listing (citations). Making sure the information is consistent and accurate. Using the exact business name, physical address, local phone number, website and email address across all listings. When information differs across the web, search engines have a difficult time figuring out which one is the correct result to serve to searchers, and often do not serve anything. Remember that Google’s ultimate goal is to make a better web experience for it’s users, and they will do that by providing correct information.
Here are a few things to get you started:
- Identify: find all of your local listings.
- Create: submit and claim listing in all local directories.
- Consistency: make sure all of your information is an exact match. Also only use local phone numbers and physical addresses.
- Eradicate: make sure to eliminate all duplicates. Check for past business names, old addresses and phone numbers. If you are not able to update the old listings make sure you delete or merge them with the new ones.
If you find all of this to be a little overwhelming, don’t worry….most people do. Let us do the tedious work while you sit back and reap the benefits!