Back in the day, getting information about a local business involved flipping open the family phone book and dialing their business telephone on your landline. Then came the rise of search engines, which allowed us to hop on the desktop device and get the information we needed.
Now, thanks to smartphones, we are liberated from needed to conduct searches ahead of time to find information about businesses. We can search on the go. Get a sudden craving for tacos as you’re riding in the passenger seat on the way to do some shopping? It’s as simple as Googling “tacos near me” or even just Mexican food — and, bam, the search engine results show you all the possible eateries in your area offering what you want.
There are also many reputable local online directories potential customers search when deciding which businesses to patronize. For instance, a homeowner looking for a plumber might conduct a search to compare local contractors, looking at their locations, ratings, and more to decide who to call.
For business owners to take advantage of this mobile culture, they must ensure their business is being shown to potential customers in the area. This is where local business listings come in.
Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Efforts
The simplest way to say it is: The better your local business listings, the more SEO benefit your company reaps. As one expert writes, search engines see each listing in a legitimate directory as a “citation.” Together, these citations give your business credibility — as long as your business info is consistent across listings and all the listings link to your website.
At the end of the day, taking the time to optimize your business listings can give your business more authority, which can boost your SEO rankings — not to mention simply make your company look more trustworthy and real in the eyes of customers.
What to Include in Your Business Listings
We’ve established that better listings tend to mean better SEO results. But what makes a listing good or bad? Thoroughness is one aspect. For instance, listings that are partially completed with missing information are less useful to the customer, and therefore less likely to help your SEO. Consistency is another key. If your contact information differs between listings, this can cause confusion for customers while sabotaging your SEO performance.
Here are a few tips from Moz for getting the content of your local business listings right:
- Name of business: Be sure to put your official name as it appears on your sign, website, etc.
- Location: Include your complete physical address for physical locations only, not virtual offices.
- Company website: Be sure to link directly to your organization’s unique domain rather than a social media page. Consider which landing page it makes most sense to link here.
- Category of business: Choose a range of general and specific categories that accurately sum up your business, trying to encompass as many different categories as possible without stretching the truth of what products/services you offer.
- Company description: Consider this your “elevator pitch” to gain trust and attract traffic. Focus on writing clear and compelling copy rather than trying to use as many keywords as possible.
- Images: Aim for high-resolution images of the outside and inside of your business. Also make sure that user-generated images are accurate and appropriate from time to time.
- Social media pages: It’s worth including as many platforms as your business uses, as these can be touchpoints for customers to gather info and contact you.
Local business listings are essential because they affect your SEO rankings, therefore your findability online, and also affect customer perception of your brand.