A powerful local search strategy for your business is an essential component to a well-developed local marketing plan. Local search directories have improved in recent years, with the integration of Google+ and Google Places as well as updates to directories such as Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, etc. Incorporating local search directories into your marketing mix can improve your search rankings and help your business gain higher visibility online.
Maximizing Google+ Local: The Integration of Google+ and Google Places
Google is one of the most important directories to provide accurate and up-to-date information about your business. Google has recently integrated Google Places local listings with Google+, transitioning to a seamless Google+ Local listing. This new approach to local directories provides a social component and allows businesses to capitalize on this budding social network to improve search rankings, drive more local business, and increase sales.
Tips for Managing Your Business’s Google+ Local Listing
Updating your Google+ Local profile requires just a few steps. The first step is to define the main product or service line that you offer, e.g., furniture company in Scottsdale, Arizona. With this, compile the following information about your business: brief description, photos, place of business (physical address), and link to the business website. You will enter all of these details about your business before submitting your Google+ Local listing. You will also be given the option to select categories that are relevant to your business so that Google can better determine when to display your listing to search engine users. Once you have filled out the basic information requested by the local search directories, you should also update the rest of the information on the form such as service area, payment options, operating hours, and videos.
If this is the first time you have filled out a Google+ Local listing or your address has changed, you will also need to authorize your address. After you submit your information, Google will mail you a postcard with additional instructions. Once the postcard arrives after about two weeks, complete the steps listed on the postcard to finalize your Google local search directory listing.
Claiming and Updating Other Local Directory Listings
In addition to Google, there are several other local search directories such as Yelp, Yahoo, Merchant Circle, Angie’s List, Bing, etc. that you should submit your directory listing. Be sure to use the same information that you used in your Google listing so that all of the information aligns across online directories. Consistency will help you maintain quality and will improve your local search rankings.
Do’s and Don’ts for Managing Local Directory Listings
Finally, there are a few things to remember as you complete your local directory listings.
Incentives. Local directory listings are a great place to list special offers or discounts to new customers online. List any specials that you are currently running to encourage prospective customers to try out your products or services.
Visuals. Upload pictures that accurately represent the products or services that you offer. This will allow search users to identify what you do quickly and easily, and it will also provide insight into how your business operates.
Reviews. Manage your reviews periodically to maintain a positive reputation for your business online. Respond to every review – positive or negative – in a polite and professional way. Being responsive to customer reviews about your business shows prospective customers that you care about the satisfaction of each and every customer.
Accuracy. Ensure accuracy across your local directory listings. Consistency is imperative to maintaining a high local search ranking for your target keywords.
Don’t use a non-local phone number. Make sure that the phone number that you use is a local landline and not a toll-free number. Toll-free numbers can make it more difficult for the search engines to track your place of business.
Don’t use a P.O. Box. Make sure to use your business’s physical address and not a P.O. box, as this can also make it more challenging for the search engines to track your location.
Don’t change your business name. Instead of adding location keywords to your business name, make sure to keep it intact to achieve the best search results.
Don’t falsify reviews. Search engines are getting better at identifying false reviews so it is important to ask for reviews from your satisfied customers rather than to create mock reviews that the search engines will notice and eventually de-value.
If you would like to learn more about how local search engine optimization can help your business, please contact Net-Craft.com at 480-563-0558 for a free local SEO consultation.