You want your business to be visible in as many places as possible, and if you are serving your local community, you want your business to be found easily by locals and visitors to the area. We are going to look at how to ensure you are maximising your listings.
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What are local listings?
A local listing is the online mention of a business’s name, address, phone number and website address for a local business. These listings can appear in several places including local directories, social media, websites, blogs or even within apps (e.g., food places on Just Eat, Uber Eats etc).
It can be difficult for a local business to compete against major brands on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), so small businesses need to utilise online local listings to help grow their business and connect with local customers. The good news for smaller and local businesses is that nearly 50% of all searches on Google are for local information.
Local businesses should regularly check the details of their business on directories to ensure the accuracy of the information. If you spot any accuracies, you need to contact the directories to rectify the information. Inaccurate details could result in lost revenue and traffic to your website and could also negatively affect search engine rankings.
How local listings help with SEO
You do not have to be a whizz at SEO, but just by getting a few of the basics right, you can help grow your local business. A comprehensive local listing is great for SEO as they build your visibility, provide plenty of information about your business, as well as helps to drive backlinks to your website and social presence.
Local listings are important for SEO for several reasons:
- Increase your business’s visibility in local search – You want your business to be found in as many places as possible.
- Drives traffic to your website – More traffic to your website increases its authority to the search engine and in the long term, that can mean ranking higher on search engines.
- Allows customers to review your business – Search engines love reviews especially 4* and 5* reviews as they show that the website is trustworthy.
- Builds trust – Not just for customers but also for SEO purposes.
- Increases your brand authority – With links from listings sites to your website, you are building your backlinks and answering questions people may have about your business.
What are the core elements of a local listing?
You want to make sure your listing gives as much information as possible to ensure you are going to get the most traffic. Here are the key features to include:
- Business name – what does your business call itself?
- Business address – Where are your premises?
- Phone number – Another obvious one, but very important!
- Website URL – Make the link clickable so people can get to your website direct.
- Business hours – nobody wants to turn up to a business only to find it closed!
- Categories – This is particularly important. Choose a category that closely matches your business.
- Description – While this can be long, try keeping it concise on what your business sells. Some listings allow you to add hyperlinks too which is a fantastic way to push your most popular goods or services.
- Directions – if you want people to visit you, a directions CTA will help them find you easily.
- Links to social media channels – This allows people to easily access your social media channels.
- Image – especially handy if you are difficult to find, an image provides customers with a picture of what they are looking for.
- Prices list/menu/services offered – This allows people to easily compare prices and services.
- Accepted payment methods – If you only accept certain payment methods, make sure you let people know.
How to set up local listings
Once you have all the information gathered above, you need to start listing them on as many sites as possible. Some sites are free while others have a charge for premium services such as priority listings, or even adding reviews.
If you are going on holiday or there are changes to your working hours with bank holidays, Christmas break etc, we have a handy guide to help you create special hours on search listings.
Claiming your listing
With all the sites you choose to list your business on, you may be surprised to find your business is already on some of them. If this is the case, you need to claim your listing. You will need to check if the information that is stored about your business is correct, and if not, you need to correct it. The site will then need to verify that you are the business. To do this, they may contact you via phone, email or even a postcard. If you are getting the postcard, make sure you and all your staff are aware, so nobody accidentally throws it away. It can take some time between verification and your details being updated so don’t panic too much. We do advise you that while you are awaiting verification, you do not make any more updates to your listing.
Top business directories
- Google Business Profile (formerly Google my Business GMB) – The world’s largest search console. It is worth setting up a GMB account. We even have a great blog to help you set up Google Business Profile.
- Bing Businesses – Do not underestimate other search engines. Bing is used primarily on desktops and is the default search engine on Windows 10. Additionally, Bing is the search engine used for Cortana and Alexa, so this resonates strongly for voice searches. With over 900 million searches a day, it is worth listing your business there.
- Thomson Local – A great business listings book that has now gone online. You can list your business for free or pay for priority listings, photo galleries, and reviews.
- UK Small Business Directory – Another free business directory, although there are also paid options for listings. This one has been going since 2002 and is aimed at small businesses as the name suggests.
- Yelp – A free online directory that can help you grow a business. Here you can list your business and potential customers can see your reviews too. Reviews help build trust as they are authentic.
- 192 – A popular directory that is free to list your business.
- Touch Local – A free service that allows you to list all the key components of your business.
- Free Index – They offer a free and premium service where your business can get listed as well as receive reviews. The premium service here offers you more leads as well as no ads on your business page.
Why not get started on sorting your local listings today? There is no better time to start than now!
LOCALiQ is always here to help businesses navigate the digital landscape. You can contact us to see how we can help you. Additionally, if you found this useful, then why not sign up to our monthly newsletter that is full of useful and insightful digital marketing news?