With internet users increasing daily, businesses should leverage this opportunity to reach more customers, improve brand awareness, and increase sales. However, leveraging the online opportunity is not as easy as it sounds. In order to dominate local searches, you must optimize your business’s website to improve your ranking on search engine results pages. The process of enhancing your website to improve your rankings on SERPs is known as SEO.
SEO is divided into on-page, off-page, technical, and local SEO. While all types of SEO can help you rank in searches across the country and globally, local SEO can help you dominate SERPs in a specific location. As a result, local SEO is crucial to small businesses that serve a particular area. To dominate local searches, you must put your business in front of local customers.
Leveraging local SEO means more traffic, leads, and conversions. Above all, it creates a local playing ground for all businesses. With local SEO, small businesses can compete more effectively against established brands with unlimited resources and budgets. Local SEO strategies can help smaller enterprises neutralize large brands’ advantages. For instance, most established brands focus on broader keywords and brand recognition. Small and medium-sized businesses can use this to their advantage by focusing on value prepositions to attract local customers.
Besides, you are missing out on a significant amount of traffic if you fail to take advantage of local SEO since 35% of all search traffic is local. Optimizing your local listings is perhaps the most cost-effective way to make your local SEO a success. This guide will walk you through local listings and how they can improve your website’s performance.
What are Local Listings?
Local listings or citations are essential websites containing vital information about your company, such as business name, contact information, and address. In essence, local business listings increase your visibility and make it easy for local customers to find your business.
A typical business listing should contain the following information about your business:
✅Contact details, such as phone numbers, fax numbers, email, and social handles
✅Reviews and ratings
✅Services and products
✅Link to your website
✅Payment forms accepted
✅Alternate phone numbers
Generally speaking, it’s best to provide as much information as possible to provide valuable information to your potential customers. Further, this helps search engines understand your business, increasing your chances of ranking higher on SERPs.
How Do Local Listings Improve Website Performance?
Now that we have covered what local business listings are, you are probably eager to know how listings can boost your SEO rankings. Search engines like Bing, Google, and Yahoo look at several factors to rank websites for a particular keyword. All search engines strive to provide the most relevant and convenient results for each query. To do that, search engines have developed a set of rules to rank websites. This is what is known as search engine algorithms. Each search engine has its algorithm.
Search engines consider various ranking factors when ranking websites, such as:
Business listings can boost your SERP rankings by helping you to attain some of these factors. Creating and optimizing local listings can be a source of quality backlinks. Moreover, local listings can enhance mobile friendliness because 67% of smartphone users prefer ads customized to their city or zip code. Optimizing your local business listings can also portray you as an expert in your niche. Sharing up-to-date business information can also improve brand authority and credibility.
Up-to-Date Local Listings can Increase Calls and Visits
Did you know that 88% of local searches on a mobile device result in a call or a visit within 22 hours? Providing as much information about your business as possible can help you deliver everything your prospective customers want to know in one place.
If your prospects don’t have updated information about your business, they cannot get in touch with you. You would miss out on such a significant opportunity if that were to happen. So, strive to provide as much information as possible and update it from time to time. This is important since 70% of search results send customers to a physical store.
There are various circumstances when you should remember to update your local listing, including:
✅When moving or relocating
✅When you notice inaccurate business information
✅When you introduce a new service or product
✅Post recent photos of your storefront or office after a renovation
Increases Your Business’s Visibility on Social Media
Social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are integral to your local SEO strategies. These platforms allow business owners to connect with local customers. Add basic company information like business name, address, and phone number to your business profile to improve your visibility. You should also post regularly to keep your audience attracted.
Here are creative ways to attract, engage, and retain your prospects on social media:
✅Use social media to make real connections by responding to clients, liking and commenting on positive brand comments, engaging in trending topics, and offering loyalty deals
✅Offering real-time customer service
✅Sharing informative content
✅Encouraging customers to share your profile
✅Sharing seasonal content
✅Broadcasting office events
Creating a prominent online presence on social media platforms can help you reach over 75% of internet users who rely on social media to find reliable brands. After all, Google and other search engines can rank your social profiles and posts in organic search results, which may lead to more clicks.
Boost Your SERP Rankings
As mentioned earlier, search engines analyze various factors to provide the most relevant result to a search query. Therefore, search engines like Google use a Query Deserves Freshness algorithm to provide the most convenient results. That’s why you should strive to keep your business information up-to-date to boost your SEO rankings. Besides, having the wrong business information on your profile can hurt your credibility and SERP rankings.
Beyond that, search engines consider other crucial details like relevance, distance, and prominence. Relevance refers to how well your business profile matches a customer’s search. Keeping your business information up to date helps search engines better understand your business. Location refers to the distance from your local store to the location term used in the query. Search engines can also use customer data to determine the location.
Finally, prominence is how well your business is known. For instance, well-known local brands will likely rank higher on local search results. Search engines determine reputation based on how well a brand is known across the web.
Build Brand Authority and Trust
Local business listings can significantly impact your brand’s authority and trust. When it comes to SEO, a website isn’t enough for businesses. Search engines will also factor in your brand’s trustworthiness and authority when ranking it. Companies and organizations mentioned by other authoritative platforms with many positive reviews are likely to rank higher on SERPs. Generally speaking, search engines will check directories, articles, and links to determine if your business is trustworthy.
You should list your business on reputable local listings and encourage your customers to share reviews and ratings to build authority and trust. According to a BrightLocal Survey, 77% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Additionally, 89% of consumers are likelier to work with a business that responds to online reviews. As such, simply getting tons of reviews is not enough. You must also respond to them promptly to encourage prospects to work with you.
To create a solid review acquisition strategy, you should do the following;
✅Collect emails or text numbers and send review requests after delivering a service or a product
✅Add a review us page on your website and link it to your local listings
✅Encourage your customers to leave honest reviews personally
✅Avoid spammy review management services
✅Deal with negative reviews promptly by apologizing and taking complete responsibility
It is Cost-Effective
Another reason you should start using business listings to improve website performance and brand awareness is that they are cost-effective. There are tons of free local directories online that you can use to reach more potential customers looking for your goods or services.
How to Set Up the Perfect Local Business Listing
As you can see, local business listings have the potential to improve your website performance and help you build brand awareness and credibility. This means that listing your business on local directories can improve your bottom line. If you are eager to create your first business listing, there are a couple of steps you should follow.
For starters, you must select the channels you want your business to be listed on. Chances are that you have already noticed the many online local directories available on the web. However, online local directories are not created equal. Some can boost your SEO efforts, whereas questionable directories can hurt your rankings. So, take your time to find reputable directories that use white hat strategies such as:
In order to choose the correct local directory for your business, consider domain authority, page rank, mobile friendliness, reliability, and analytics. Once you select your preferred directories, set up a comprehensive and engaging business listing. While each directory has its guidelines, almost all require you to provide your company’s relevant data, such as a business address, website, social platforms, and your business’s socials. If you are setting up your listing on more than one directory, ensure that your information is consistent across all platforms.
Setting up a business listing is not enough. You also need to update it from time to time to increase your chances of ranking higher on local rankings. You can do that by sharing updates on your business profile. Above all, keep your contact information up to date. You can also add photos to your business listing to give prospective customers an insight into your business. However, avoid overly polished images because they can create doubt. You should also avoid stock photos since search engines don’t like them.
As mentioned earlier, search engines strive to return the most relevant and up-to-date results for a query. That’s why you should monitor trends and provide regular updates. Since many people are now using digital assistants to search for products and services online, optimizing your local listings for voice searches would be best. Typically, voice searches tend to be longer.
Another trick that can help you provide relevant content to boost your SERP rankings is monitoring Google Trends. With Google Trends, you can monitor how your target search terms behave in real-time or during a specific time frame. The good thing with Google Trends is that it allows you to find keywords by region or country. Let’s say your bakery in San Diego wants to rank higher for a specific cake flavor. You can use Google Trends to see what your prospective customers often search for. From there, you can include that information in your business listing.
Finally, you must have a clear call to action in your business listings. A call to action (aka CTA) is a statement that encourages your target audience to take action. These words include:
✅Fill out this form
✅Book a call
✅Schedule an appointment
✅Schedule service now
Adding a killer call to action in your business listings can help you get more conversions and, ultimately, more sales. Also, consider having powerful landing pages for each service or product you offer. Landing pages can help you share more information about each product or service. You can optimize your landing pages by adding keywords in the title and throughout the content. Also, add alt tags to your product images.
Local SEO: A Powerful Tool for Small Businesses
Local SEO is a powerful tool for small businesses that don’t have the resources to compete with Fortune 500 companies. Focusing your effort on local searches can increase your brand’s credibility and rankings on a budget. And with search engines introducing new features daily for local searches, now is the best time to get started. If you don’t have the budget or resources to manage and optimize your local SEO strategy consistently, you can work with the #1 San Diego SEO company.