Google releases update after update hoping to improve the search experience for their users. Other search engines follow suit. And the more local-focused they become, the more important it is to make sure you are managing your local listings so that you can make sure you are found by prospects in their moment of need. But where to start?
Here are five tips to make local listings management more manageable.
1. Get Your Business on the “Big Hitters”
There are 150+ relevant business listing services across the web, and new ones crop up all of the time. If you are managing your listings yourself, that number seems impossible. But the good news is, you can focus your efforts on a handful of sites and still have a big impact so long as you choose the right ones. First, you will want to manage and update your listings on the “big hitters.” Start with Google My Business, Bing, Apple Maps, and Yelp. Then, you may want to choose some industry-specific listings. One way to narrow it down to the listings that may be most important to you is to perform searches for your business name and keywords for your top services to see what listings come up in the search results. This accomplishes two things – first, it helps you understand where you may already be listed online. And second, it shows you what directory sites rank organically in your area for the services you provide.
2. Stay Consistent
It’s true that mismanaged listings can cost you business. To that end, one of the simplest ways to prevent this is to maintain consistency across your listings. Make sure your business name is spelled and capitalized the same across all listings. If it’s listed on Google as “Laundromat,” don’t list it on Yelp as “The Laundromat.” Make sure you include the same information across all listings when available, including the same website information, the same phone number, the same address. Highlight the same features in the description text. Be sure to utilize the same pictures and the same branding where applicable. This will help make sure that prospects have an easier time finding you online.
3. Check Your Map Listing
Fifty percent of local searches lead to in-store visits within one day, according to a recent study. Before visiting a business for the first time, it is very common for prospects to search for your listing within map apps on their mobile device. It makes it simple for them to locate you based on their current location. So making sure your map listing has the correct information is paramount to ensure that prospects can find you. But this is about more than checking your address. Locate your map listing and ask for directions yourself. Make sure that the directions take you right to your front door. While more often than not Google Maps or Apple Maps will get it right, on occasion the map pin will be located on a different side of the building, or across the street, from where you are actually located. If you find this to be the case, as long as your listing is claimed it is a relatively easy process to update your map pin.
4. Make Sure You’re Not Seeing Double
Especially if your business has changed hands in the last several years, you will want to perform searches to make sure there are no duplicate listings, especially on Google My Business or social media. Duplicate listings can make it difficult for prospects to find you, and make them question which listing is the correct one. It can even hurt your local search ranking. Duplicate listings can happen for many reasons, depending on where the information is coming from. The best way to find them is to go look for them. Start with the more prominent listings we talked about earlier, and then check all of the local listings important to your business. On Google, you have a few options for resolving this issue. This particular fix is important, but know that it can be time-consuming to go through the process yourself.
5. Keeping Up with Multiple Locations
This next tip applies to multi-location businesses and franchise businesses that have the same name and branding. Without exception, you will want each unique location to have its own listing. Consistency still applies here – but at a grander scale. You will want to make sure there is consistency in naming (except in cases where different locations may offer different services). You will also want to make sure that the correct phone number and website corresponds with the correct location. Also, keep in mind that rules may differ depending on your business type – for example: healthcare – so do your research first.
Managing your local listings can be a time-consuming but worthwhile endeavor because of the benefit to your online presence. But it can also be a challenging process, so give us a call if you have doubts. ReachLocal is here to help!