If you own a business or run a marketing team, one of the most frustrating things that can happen is finding errors on your Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook business listings. What's worse is if your competitors are coming up higher on Google. Marketers call these types of rankings a business' Local SEO. This post is intended to share with you the basics of how local search and SEO work, and how you can take back control of your business listings.
How Does Local SEO Work?
You have probably heard of SEO, if you haven't, that catchy little acronym means search engine optimization or how your business ranks in search. Right off the bat it's important to know that SEO and Local SEO are two different things. Local SEO is defined as a marketing technique in positioning your business throughout search engine map listing directories, sites, social media & apps. Ergo, when you "Google" a business, it's the list of what appears on Google Maps and listing directories. You likely have a Google My Business page set up, so you have a gist of what I'm talking about. But, what do you do if you don't see your listing at all? In the online world that's equivalent to missing a front door on your brick and mortar storefront, so yeah it's kind of a big deal.
Now that you have a brief understanding of Local SEO...
How do you get your business listed?
If you haven't already, minimally, you need to register your business on the major search engines. Here are the links if you want to get a head start: Bing, Google, Yahoo (note- Yahoo Local now uses a third party to add your business). If you read further, we're going to show you how to utilize one platform to control 100+ global directories, apps, sites, GPS, & maps.
Now, if you already have some active listings...
How do you find out if your business information is accurate?
There are multiple scans available online to check the accuracy of your listings. Guess what? They're going to try to sell you something after. Spoiler Alert- at the end of this article, I will send you to our SIX Marketing scan for free.
Once you run your business listing scan, you will learn two very valuable things:
You Will Have Errors
SIX Will Provide You Solutions
I would estimate that over 99% of our clients have errors when we first run this scan for them. Without getting too technical, there are automatic systems in place that will aggregate your information across the web. You could have never listed your business in any online directory and still have errors. Annoying, isn't it? Your information could have been aggregated from dozens of locations including online phone books, your website, your local chamber of commerce and more. The point is it is vital to take control of this information. As scary as it is, you could lose business if your phone, address, phone, website or email is incorrect.
The easiest way to fix these errors are to invest into correcting them. The real question is what's more valuable to you- time or money?
Business Listing Management Doesn't Have to be a Nightmare.
G.I. Joe always use to say "Knowing is Half the Battle". A business listing scan will help you understand whether you have minimal errors or hundreds!
Whether you have a few errors or hundreds, there are dozens of ways to take control of this information. Some platforms our SIX team uses are simply awesome. They will correct all of your business listings as well as protect that information from ever being changed. We can also push any information we want out to all of these listing directories in one single click. That means we can help a client push a promotional message to Yelp, Foursquare, Google, Bing, Apple Maps, Yahoo & 100 other sites with one post. We can manage reviews in real-time on the local listings partnership network. You don't need an agency to manage this (although it could help), any 4th grader with an iPad can use this technology.
Again, you do not necessarily need listings platform to help rectify errors, that is, if you have plenty of time on your hands. You can setup a login on all of these listing directories and manually manage all of them. If your time is valuable, then know the cost of the platforms is extremely affordable but you should work with the right partner that you trust.
Business Listings & Local SEO Recap
You need to be in charge of the way your business is positioned to your clients and customers. Inaccurate information will cost you profits and could hurt customer service. The first step is to run a scan and see if you have errors. Once you see your scan, our SIX Marketing team will provide you will some solutions- you have the option to fix each error on your own or we would be happy to correct them for you. You can decide what works best for your business. If you want our help, we are here, if not, no worries you will have a free report for your records.
Once your listing errors are managed properly your business will increase its Local SEO and begin to show up higher in search results.