Local SEO is taking on a life of its own, especially with the Google Panda and Penguin updates. If you have a local “brick and mortar” store or company it is increasingly important that you take advantage of the Local Search Engines and Directories.
Google Places, Bing Business Listings, Yelp, Foursquare, Citysearch, Hotfrog, Manta, Merchant Circle and there are tons more. These business listings are hugely important for any localized business, as they are becoming a hotbed for not only showing up in SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages), but also a great way to increase your overall reach to your client base and equally important, your potential client base. Search engines are starting to cross reference each other and share and link to these Local Directories. And the more consistent your information is across all of these platforms, the more clout you receive.
Don’t stop with just having the listings. Update them and keep them updated! The more completely you fill out all the information, the better your results will be.
A couple pointers:
- Fill out ALL FIELDS completely as possible
- Make sure your business name is accurate. For example, if you use an ampersand rather than the word “and”, use the ampersand in all instances. If you use the word “and” in your business name, then ALWAYS use it the same way
- Add your correct address. Don’t worry if you think you are “too far away from downtown”. The consistency and overall completeness will outweigh any geographic proximities (within reason of course). And if you lie – trust me, they will find out! And it will not be good for your listings
- Add your phone number, or phone numbers if you have multiple lines
- Add your fax number – yea I know, faxes are becoming a thing of the past, but if you have a fax number – add it
- Website Address
- Hours of Operation
- Description – write a crafty description about your business. Do not stuff it with keywords – write it as though you are telling someone over the phone about your company. Be personable and inviting
- Add pictures – if it let’s you add 10 images, then add 10 images – make sure to add your logo too
- Add videos – most of these sites will allow you to upload video or link to, say a YouTube Video
- Most of these sites will also allow additional fields or specialties. Things like, if you have good parking, or ship nationwide, or free delivery, or money back guarantees. Basically, anything above and beyond that separates you from your competition
Again, make sure you stay consistent with your business name, address, phone numbers, etc with all of these Local Directories. You might want to mix up your descriptions some, so that you have a fresh appeal on each one. You can have different pictures on the different sites too.
So, now you have all your information in place and have confirmed your listing. This now becomes a place where your clients can leave you Reviews. Reviews are a huge factor in how your listing ranks within the search engines. And again, remember, the search engines are cross referencing. Take a look at this example. This is a Google search result and it has “Review” under their information – directly linking to Superpages.com, Yahoo.com, AOL.com and so forth.