When it comes to online marketing, there’s no shortage of strategies to implement. Knowing which avenue to take can be downright confusing, especially with new marketing trends emerging all the time. While newer methods like content marketing and social media strategy have received a lot of attention recently, they can all be about as effective as a clogged drain if your basics aren’t in order first.
Local SEO should be a key foundation of your overall digital marketing strategy. To maximize your local SEO value, you need to leverage the power of local listings.
Local listings are exactly the basics you need to make your business part of the competition. They contain simple information about your business including name, location, hours, and contact details. These listings may appear on their own or linked to a map.
What Do They Do?
Local listings do a number of things. Most critical, however, is their effect on your local SEO performance. Having a local listing makes your business visible in online searches. Google rewards local businesses for consistent, quality content in directories. Fill your listing with accurate, current content and you will see a lift in search rankings as well as ROI. Here’s why:
Competition is fierce. A local business competing with fellow small businesses as well as corporate giants has to fight for attention. Completing a local listing puts you in control of the information users can find online about your business and makes it visible. Keep it up-to-date and not only will Google reward you, potential customers will easily be able to find you.
Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. While there are myriad SEO tactics out there, local listings are among the most important. Every listing you create is an opportunity to link back to your business webpage and boost rankings on Google Maps. If your information is consistent and current across all listings, your SEO rankings will spike.
Get in the Game
Besides making your business visible alongside big competitors, local listings also provide a way to outdo them. The savvy local business owner can take the time to make his or her online listing relevant to the local market in ways a corporation may not be able to. Using language that resonates with your customers and engaging in user reviews are both great ways to use your listing as a platform for visibility. Good content and consistent linking in directories means you might appear first in search rankings, even against tough competition.
Reviews matter. Nearly 90% of people trust online reviews as if their own friends wrote them. While getting nothing but five star reviews is ideal, it’s not exactly realistic. Taking the time to respond to reviews is a much more attainable goal. For a small business, making up even a half star through addressing reviews can be a game changer.
Where to List
Now that you’re a local listing believer, it’s time to get started. Start with the obvious: your business should have listings on Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yelp. Next, look to directories specific to your industry. Finally, search your competitors to see where they’re showing up and add your business to local directories as needed. Once you’re all set up, be sure to monitor your listings to ensure they contain the most accurate information possible.