10 Simple Tips for Local Listing Success

The following is guest post by Emily Thompson:

Local search is becoming one of the most affordable and simple ways for local businesses to connect with prospects and get involved in their community. Did you know that 82 percent of local searches online result in further action: a phone call, site view, in store visit or immediate purchase?* With statistics like this, creating and optimizing your local presence is more important than ever.

The reality is, there are many facets to optimizing for local- including on-page factors such as title tags and meta data, and utilizing your geographic modifiers with your keywords as you optimize your content. While each component is important, one of the most critical pieces is off page: your local listing. For Google, these listings are often given prime placement- right at the top of the page. This placement is key, providing local businesses with visibility that was previously unattainable.

Here are 10 easy steps to help your listing get in to that coveted “7-Pack”.

  1. Submit your listing. This step alone is the most important. Just submitting and verifying gives your listing a higher level of trust with the big G.
  2. Include your city name and industry in your title. This is helpful not only for the search engines when aggregating results, but also for users as it reiterates your location and helps your listing to stand out.
  3. Choose the categories for your listing wisely. Google local business center gives a plethora of choices for the categories for your listing. Make sure to thoroughly look through and pick those that best suit your products and services.
  4. Be thorough in your description section. This is the most content you can provide about your business in your listing, so make it count! Be descriptive and give people a reason to choose you over your competitors.
  5. Use a local phone number. Providing a local number helps the search engines ascertain that you are located where you say you are.
  6. Ensure your listing is 100% complete. This is one of the simplest, and most effective steps to do. Include pictures, videos, coupons, etc. Google is all about the user experience and the more complete your listing, the more helpful it looks to them.
  7. Be sure there is only one, optimized listing for your business. I have seen this make a huge difference in the position of a business listing. Make sure to research and find any existing listings, claim them and suspend or optimize where necessary.
  8. Update your listing whenever you can. It can be as simple as adding a new coupon, but ensuring your content is current helps Google know that you are relevant and provide up-to-date information.
  9. Reviews for your business are essential. In certain industries, the amount of reviews you have (positive or negative!) can mean the difference between first and second page for your listing. Try encouraging reviews from satisfied customers.
  10. Make sure your information is accurate and submitted to other directories as well. Google actually aggregates information from other directories, along with the information you provide when you submit. It’s recommended to submit, standard information to as many other local directories as you can to ensure accuracy.

It’s really that simple to get started with your local listing. While there are no guarantees, optimizing can have an extremely positive impact on your listing position. Have any tips from your experience with local listings? We’d love to hear them!

*Source: TMP/comScore, October 2008

Emily Thompson is the Online Marketing Coordinator for Kutenda Internet Marketing Software. Kutenda offers software and services for small businesses to succeed in online marketing and grow their business.

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