People in your city are searching for businesses like yours everyday. Be sure your business listed in the places where they are looking (i.e. local listings & online maps). Chances are, even if you didn’t create the listings yourself, your business is mentioned all over the internet through review sites, local directories, city guides, on maps, social media and more. These listings – if consistent, accurate and complete – can help with local SEO but what you may not realize is that incomplete, inaccurate and mis-matched information in these listings can really hurt you. So don’t play hide and seek with your customers, they want to find you!
If you are looking to boost your local search traffic, try these tips:
Have Consistent and Accurate NAPs
Having the identical Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) across all of your listings ensures search engines can pin point your business and it’s location correctly. However, inaccurate listings may confuse search engines, even the smallest variation can kill your local SEO. Therefore verifying and updating all of your listings is crucial.
A ConstantContact survey revealed some discouraging trends among small businesses; 85 percent said that it’s important for them to be found on local search apps and directories, but only half of them have ever updated their online listings! On top of that, 50% of the businesses knew they had inaccurate listings, with 70% saying “they just don’t have the time to update them at all!”
In order for the local search engine or directory to validate the presence of your business, it must make sure that every point of data aligns perfectly. For example, if your business name is Charlie’s Killer Crepes, and you accidentally type Charlies’ Killer Crepes (a misplaced apostrophe) in your listing, then the directory might register your business inaccurately.
Your business information on Yelp must be consistent with the information on Google+, which must be consistent with the information on Foursquare, which must be consistent with the Local Small Business Association, and on and on. This is probably the most challenging feature for a company because business information can change over the months and years. Of course you can always hire someone, or you can track down all of your citations and change them yourself (if you choose this option we recommend using a spreadsheet to keep track of each site and information listed)
Offer Valuable Information
Once you are listed in local directories it can be easy to skip through and neglect filling out the listing to it’s maximum potential. It’s time-consuming and tedious but it’s exactly what a local business needs to do if it wants a top spot in search results. The best listings are filled out with as much information as possible, every added nugget of information gives you a little boost. Here are the top categories consumers want to know about when searching for a local business:
Build complete social-media accounts
A local business can thrive on local SEO through social media. Instead of visiting your website, many customers may choose to check your business out on Facebook, UrbanSpoon, Google+, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. having complete profiles on each is a must. Take this search result:
Where did all that information come from? It didn’t come from O-CHA tea bar’s website but instead, from a listing on UrbanSpoon. Showing how important it is to include your website or mobile app in your listings so potential customers can interact with your business directly.
Don’t be shy about asking for reviews
The good thing about local search is that it’s mostly under your control. You create and update your listings, even optimize your social media accounts that can bump your local search rankings. But there is one thing that you can’t completely control: Reviews. You can’t force users to post a review on Foursquare or Yelp or give you a five-star rating on Google+. But you can encourage them to do it. Motivate users to give reviews in exchange for free swag, drinks, a shout-out on Facebook, discounts — whatever. Just make sure to remind them to leave a review; post a sign on the counter or the door, put a QR code on a table or menu, anything that makes it easier on your customers to leave their feedback.
In case you were unsure, reviews are essential for local search optimization! So it’s worth it to go through some extra effort and ask for them (in a tasteful way, of course). Take a look at the example below, the search was for “restaurant in san francisco” the first two carousel results feature the restaurants with the highest reviews.
Remember it’s a mobile world out there
The majority internet users are now accessing the web from mobile devices rather than standard desktop computers. In addition, a greater number of internet hours are logged per day on mobile vs other browsing devices, accounting for 51% of time consumed online. If you’re not able to reach your audience through mobile search or display, or you’re not providing a satisfactory mobile experience you will lose customers to your competitors who are.
Many consumers are also “multiscreening”, meaning they access sites on mobile devices and standard computers. To ensure a good user experience consistency must prevail across all devices.
Customers are demanding accurate business information online, yet most of them will see wrong info. According to a recent survey, 73% of people lose trust in a business when they find incorrect information about them online; regardless of whether it is the business’s fault or the directory that posted it. This makes the importance accurate listings essential. So what are you waiting for? Go out and Seize Your Listings and stop playing hide and seek with your potential customers!