When someone is searching for your business, you want to make sure they can find you. One of the best ways to do this is by making sure that your information is accurate and up-t0-date online, anywhere where they could be searching. Managing your local listings is a crucial step to making sure that your prospects can find you, but where do you start?
There are more than 150 relevant business listing services across the web, and new ones crop up all of the time. If you are managing your listings yourself, that number seems impossible. But the good news is, you can focus your efforts on a handful of sites and still have a big impact so long as you choose the right ones. First, you will want to manage and update your listings on the “big hitters.” Start with Google My Business, Bing, Apple Maps, and Yelp. Then, you may want to choose some industry-specific listings. One way to narrow it down to the listings that may be most important to you is to perform searches for your business name and keywords for your top services to see what listings come up in the search results. This accomplishes two things – first, it helps you understand where you may already be listed online. And second, it shows you what directory sites rank organically in your area for the services you provide.
The fact is, mismanaged or inaccurate listings can cost you business. To that end, one of the simplest ways to prevent this is to maintain consistency across your listings. Make sure your business name is spelled and capitalized the same across all listings. If it’s listed on Google as “Laundromat,” don’t list it on Yelp as “The Laundromat.” Make sure you include the same information across all listings when available, including the same website information, the same phone number, the same address. Be sure to utilize the same pictures and the same branding where applicable. This will help make sure that prospects have an easier time finding you online.
A recent study showed that 50% of local searches lead to in-store visits within one day. Before visiting a business for the first time, people frequently search for your listing within map apps on their mobile device. It makes it simple for them to locate you based on their current location. So making sure your map listing has the correct information is paramount to ensure that prospects can find you. But this is about more than checking your address. Locate your map listing and ask for directions yourself. Make sure that the directions take you right to your front door. While more often than not Google Maps or Apple Maps will get it right, on occasion the map pin will be located on a different side of the building, or across the street, from where you are actually located. If you do find that to be the case, you can update your map pin as long as you’ve claimed your listing.
If your business has changed names or moved, you will want to perform searches to make sure there are no duplicate listings. Duplicate listings can make it difficult for prospects to find you, and make them question which listing is the correct one. It can even hurt your local search ranking. Duplicate listings can happen for many reasons, depending on where the information is coming from. The best way to find them is to go look for them. Start with the more prominent listings listed earlier, and then check all of the local listings important to your business. This particular fix is important, but know that it can be time-consuming to go through the process yourself.
This next tip applies to multi-location businesses and franchise businesses that have the same name and branding. Without exception, you will want each unique location to have its own listing. Consistency still applies here – but at a grander scale. You will want to make sure there is consistency in naming (except in cases where different locations may offer different services). You will also want to make sure that the correct phone number and website corresponds with the correct location. Also, keep in mind that rules may differ depending on your business type – for example: healthcare – so do your research first.
Managing your local listings can be a time-consuming but worthwhile endeavor because of the benefit to your online presence. It can also be a challenging process, so give us a call if you have doubts. We’re here to help!