SEO used to be somewhat simple. You would do some on-page and off-site optimization. Now, there are many aspects of optimization. The most important of those and probably even more important than search engine optimization for your website is Local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the optimization of local search directories and online reviews, the two most important ways of getting customers.
Why is Local SEO so important?
- Customers looking for your business online will often search for you online and may find you or a competitor.
- Customers who are looking for a business to call will look online.
- Online searches have mostly replaced the Yellow Page books which are now starting to discontinue print versions.
- Almost everyone is walking around with a smartphone today which makes it very easy to find a business online.
- You don’t even need a website for customers to find you online.
- Customers looking for your business may look online for your contact information, address and hours.
- Customers will look online to check out reviews of your business, even if they already know you.
- Multiple citations can help search engine optimization for your website – a citation is a mention of your business name, address, and phone number or website on a local search directory.
What does it mean to claim your local business profile, page or listing?
Claiming your local business profile is simply the process of
- Finding the local business profile page for your business on local search directories
- Telling the directory that you are the owner of the business; and
- Entering the information about your business and/or correcting inaccurate information
Make sure that you enter the correct information in every field! I see many errors such as a website URL incorrectly entered so a potential customer or client on a directly won’t be able to click through to your website. For instance, using one of our free reports on a company, I found the company’s URL was listed as yourlaywer.com/citibank with the word lawyer misspelled which resulted in a Server not found message.
You should also display your business contact information on your own website. Local Search SEO Contact Page is a free plugin for your WordPress website that displays microdata formatted business information for both Schema.org and hCard formats in a customizable look. It also generates a QR code, Google map, geo-tag coordinates, and social media buttons.
What Happens If You Don’t Claim Your Local Business Listing?
It’s shocking that many businesses have not claimed their local business profile!
After searching for this business in Google, I found the business listing on the right side of the page but it wasn’t claimed and only has the address. It is missing the phone number, business hours and website link as well as other information.
You can see the business listing for this plastic surgery medical practice on the right side of the page in Google The first couple of links are for other businesses in other locations but Google has the right business on the right side of the page. This business listing has some information but is missing information.
Create, Correct and Update Your Local Business Listings Yourself
You can use Citation Builder at Brightlocal.com which is a pay-as-you-go service to list and update or correct your business listing information at online directories. You can pay once starting at $2/site and only need to pay again if your information changes. If you want to audit and monitor your local business listings and reviews, you can use their software on a monthly subscription.
25 Most Important Local Search Directories
There are over 70 local search directories. You can claim your business listing at each one manually or use our service. Following are 25 of the most important ones:
- Google Places (Google+ Local)
- Yahoo Local
- Insider Pages
How can a business prevent negative reviews?
Using software to request reviews from your customers or clients, you can be notified before the review is posted. You can park negative reviews and respond to disgruntled customers. You can also allow and respond to positive reviews.
Review management software allows you to
- Prevent negative reviews;
- Generate more reviews;
- Distribute positive reviews among various directory sites like Google, Bing, Yelp, and others which make it more likely that customers will see your positive reviews and helps with search engine optimization. You don’t want all your reviews on just one online directory.
Reviews are vital today. Potential customers and clients look for positive reviews before buying or hiring a business. A lack of reviews or bad reviews can significantly decrease the flow of new business and even repeat business.
Your business needs to encourage reviews but prevent negative reviews where possible and respond to negative reviews where customers or clients have posted reviews. You should always respond in an apologetic and constructive way to negative reviews.
How Search Engine Optimization Companies Manage Local Business Listings & Reviews
It’s a lot of work to claim all of your local business listings and update them. If you ever change any of your information, you’ll have to do the work all over again. Additionally, you want to periodically add additional information such as a new video to your business listing. The more you add to your business listing, the better optimized it will be. But every time you add to your business listing, you’ll have to do it on every one of the local business listing websites you claimed.
Search engine optimization companies use software that allows them to enter your business information in one place and automatically update as many as 70 local business listing websites. This can save as much as 70 hours of work every time you update your business listings.
It’s also a lot of work to manage reviews of your business. First, you’ll have to find them because you don’t know where customers may have entered a review about your business. It’s often a good idea to respond to positive reviews and its and necessity to respond to negative reviews. Additionally, you’ll want to ask your customers to post reviews about your business because it’s the single most important aspect of attracting new business.
Search engine optimization companies also use software to manage reviews. The software will alert the user about every review on all of the review websites concerning the business and quickly and easily allow entering a response. Additionally, the software allows much better management because instead of hoping that customers will leave positive reviews about your business, you can use the software to request customers to post a review. The software will alert you about the review before it is posted and allow you to either post a review or park it so it is never seen.
Software to Manage Local Business Listings & Reviews
Top10GoogleResults.com offers this software with three different levels of service (includes both management of both local business listings and management of reviews):
- $250 per month – Do-It-Yourself
- $500 per month – Do-It-Yourself with Assistance
- $1000 per month – We Do It for You
If you’re interested in this service, we’ll give you a free report of your local business listing status and reviews. Just contact us.
The Three Most Effective Ways of Generating Business, Local Business Listings; Positive Online Reviews; and…
There’s another high tech/low tech way to generate more leads, customer and repeat customers. That’s by using a greeting card and holiday card campaign that works automatically just like an email campaign but sends stock greeting cards or customized greeting cards in the US mail.
The cost to send customized greeting cards is only $0.93 plus first-class postage per card.
There’s nothing more effective than claiming your local business listings; generating positive reviews online; and generating goodwill by putting your brand in front of people on greeting cards customized for your business (this site has information about greeting cards for lawyers but the greeting and holiday cards can be customized for any business).
If you’re interested in this service, just contact us.