When you’re a local business owner, it’s critical that you have a way to get noticed by your community. You’re probably going to have a hard time competing with the giant corporations in search results for general terms, but when you can speak specifically to the community you serve, you stand a chance in catching the eye of relevant prospects.
That’s where local listings come in. If you don’t yet have an approach to local listings management, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll cover all the ins and outs here – from what local listings are to why they can make such a positive difference for your business.
What Are Local Listings?
Remember the good old days when the yellow pages used to be the go-to source for consumers looking for local businesses? You’d pull out your giant copy and flip through the pages hoping you could find what you were looking for with just a business name and a phone number. Local listings are the modern-day equivalent.
There are a whole bunch of local listings sites, and you’re probably already familiar with some of them. Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook are just a few examples of places where you can list your business’s name, contact details, and other relevant information in order to be discovered by consumers. Beyond these giants in the listings space, there are many smaller, niche directories where you can get listed online. And with these listing sites, you can provide a lot more information than just your business name and phone number, so searches can discover more about you that might entice them to give you a call, which is one reason they’re so important.
How Do I Get Listed?
There is a process for getting your business listed on these directories. It will include filling out a form with standard information that typically includes things like business name, address, phone number, website, industry/category, social profiles, and images.
The more information you can include in the listing, the better off you’ll be. A complete listing that has images and additional media will stand out next to a business that only has the bare bones information listed.
Unfortunately, though, there’s not a way for you to submit this information once and have it disseminated to all sites. You need to go through directory by directory and complete these forms, which as you can imagine, is a nearly impossible task when you already have so many things on your to-do list. (Don’t worry, we’ll talk about some solutions to this problem later!)
Keep Information Up to Date
A lot of consumers will use these listings as the one source for their information about your business. That’s why it’s so important to be sure your information in these listings is correct. If you move, change your phone number, or update your hours, you need to go through the process of updating this information on these sites.
A consumer who shows up to your store only to find you’re not in that location anymore or that you’re closed an hour earlier than it said you would be online is not going to be left with a great impression of your business. They’ll likely drive down the street to one of your competitors instead.
For example, over a recent holiday weekend, I was craving a cupcake from my favorite bakery, so I checked their Google My Business listing on Google Maps to see if they were open – it showed that they were, so I went on my merry way. I arrived at the bakery to see a sign on the door showing that they were closed early for the holiday. So, what did I do? I went to the nearest bakery that was open and purchased my treats there.
Not only does incorrect information have a negative effect on the customer experience, but it can also harm your search rankings. If search engines find conflicting information about your business online, search engines may penalize the performance of your website.
Speaking of SERPs…
There is an additional search engine results page (SERP) benefit to claiming as many listings as possible. The more present your business is online, the more opportunities you have to take up multiple blue links on the search pages.
Let’s say you own a boutique in Kansas City. When someone Googles your business’s name and KC, if you haven’t claimed any listings, they’re probably just going to see your website come up. The other results on the page will be for other places or things, or include listings.
However, if you’ve established listings on a number of pages, you could see your boutique’s website, Yelp page, and Facebook business page in SERPs; plus, you can appear in the featured Google My Business box. That’s four spots on the results page instead of one.
Why You Need Listings Management Help
As you can see, listings management is a critical task for any business owner to undertake, but it can be very unwieldy. Identifying appropriate listings and establishing your presence across them, making sure that your information is updated correctly across all your listings, and staying on top of the reviews that come in across the various directories – it can be a lot. Fortunately, you can get outside assistance in managing your listings so that you can focus on other things.
Are you ready to take control of your local listings? We’re here to help.