Before you begin reading this post, pause for a moment, pick up your phone and perform a search for the products and services your business specializes in. If your business doesn’t come up in a local search, your local listings (or lack of information on your local listings) could be the reason.
Local search is any search conducted for a specific geographic area, such as “fishing excursions Pensacola” or “roofers in Milwaukee.” 46% of all searches on Google are now local.1 When consumers perform a local search, they’re ready to make a purchase. 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchase.2
Google’s goal is to provide the most relevant results to a search so your goal is to make sure your listings are optimized to be matched for relevance. Before you can manage your local listings, in most cases, you need to claim them first (essentially provide proof through a simple phone or postcard verification that you are authorized to manage these listings). Although there are many listings sites where your business information can appear, the main citation sites you should begin to concentrate your efforts on are Facebook Places, Apple Maps, Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Yahoo and Mapquest. Each site provides instructions for claiming your listings.
The objective upon claiming these listings is to review content for accuracy, making updates and completing all fields to help your business come up in a search, and to provide up-to-date information to the buyers performing the search. When updating your listing sites, review displayed information for accuracy and complete all of the fields. Listing sites include information such as your address, phone number, hours of operation and website URL. When updating your listings, be consistent, especially with pertinent information such as your business name. Pay attention to spelling and abbreviations. However you choose to display your name, consistently represent on every listing. If you are Joe’s Motorcycle Repair, LLC on your Google Business Listing, this is how you should appear on all listings. If you end up with a listing as Joe’s Cycle Repair, you could end up with duplicate listings, confusing potential customers and making it more difficult for you to manage your listings accurately.
If given the opportunity to include information about the products and services you provide and any features that set you apart from your competitors, take the time to complete these fields to your advantage. And upload photos! Buyers want to see who they will be doing business with. Show off your best attributes whether it be the exterior of your building or your interior product displays, or both. Don’t be shy!
And finally, respond to online reviews. Show both Google and prospective customers that you care about delivering an exceptional customer experience. Whether positive or negative, respond to them all. Thank reviewers for taking the time to share feedback. Let customers know that you value their business and their comments. And, request the opportunity for off-line conversations with the posters of negative reviews.
1 16 Stats that Prove the Importance of Local SEO
2 Study: 78 Percent Of Local-Mobile Searches Result In Offline Purchases
3 Wrong Business Information and Poor Reviews Drive Customers Away