Online marketing is a complex and ever-changing business. By now, most companies realize the importance of quality Search Engine Optimization or SEO. This will ensure that their product or service ranks high on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).
Good SEO will give them a good chance that their target market will see and visit their site when they search for keywords related to that business. SEO is a dynamic discipline and the best practices continuously change. There are, however, a few fundamental principles that always apply. An important, yet often overlooked SEO principal is local business listings.
Local business listings are an essential and powerful element of the overall SEO strategy and ignoring it is a big mistake. It is generally free and does not take a large amount of time so there is no reason it should be neglected.
Whoever handles your SEO strategy must maximize the use of powerful local business listings and check on them regularly to ensure the information is accurate and up to date.
What Is a Local Business Listing?
As the names suggest, they are listings or a portfolio with details of your company on a range of platforms and sites. They should explain the nature of your business and include the company name, contact details, the address, operating hours, and other relevant information. The company URL and email address should also be included.
Some will also allow you to include photographs so use these to portray the business in the best possible light. Most are divided by category, so it is important that the business is listed in the correct category or multiple categories if relevant and allowed. Where possible, include links to your social media accounts such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Many internet browsers turn to these directories and if your business is not there or the information is not accurate, you have already lost their business. They will come across a competitor and engage with them. Apart from the direct use of these platforms and directories, all these listings point back to your company and enhance your overall SEO and therefore your page ranking. It also improves the credibility and authority of your business and business page.
Examples of Local Business Listings
There are literally thousands of sites and platforms where you can list your business. Someone who has knowledge and experience with SEO will know where to find these. There are some tools that can assist, for example, Synup or Moz Local, but mostly, it is based on research and experience.
A few of the main listing sites include:
- Google Business Listings, Google + and Google Maps
- Yellow Page
As mentioned, there are thousands more based on your industry and location. It is essential that each one has at least your NAP (name, address, phone number) details and whatever additional relevant information you can add.
It can be a time-consuming exercise and rather tedious and it is not possible or necessary to be listed in every directory. Again, those with experience will know which the more relevant and valuable options are. It only must be done once must be checked from time to time to ensure the information is still relevant and accurate.
Why local business listings are important
The main aim of online marketing is to make your company visible and easy to find. Powerful local business listings are an excellent and free way to do this. It will make your company easier for potential and existing clients to find, provide them with valuable information about your company and allow them to reach you either by telephone, email or through your website.
The effort is definitely worth it and the listings themselves will give your organic SEO an additional boost.
The importance of online visibly increases all the time. In the past, most people would turn to the trusted Yellow Pages when looking for a business, a product or service. Nowadays, most people will use the internet, most often Google. If your business is not easy to find and contact information is lacking, browsers will come across other companies that provide that product or service.
This seemingly small and insignificant element of SEO is extremely powerful and is an essential aspect of your SEO campaign and online marketing strategy. Make sure it is done correctly and comprehensively and that the data is accurate and relevant. You cannot afford to lose business because a free SEO opportunity has been neglected.