Gone the days when people go to Yellow Pages to find local businesses. Today people want efficient and quick ways to get information. Considering the accessibility, ease of use and relevance of content most of the customers looking for reviews or business use the internet or search engines like Google, Bing to search for businesses and products. To address this, the search engines started categorizing and classifying content as per specific locations and results got more localized. The popular choice of users to select which business or product to engage with is now presented in a much more localized manner considering the technology innovations of Google places and other similar products. One way of getting consumers to choose businesses and compare them is via Local Business Directories.
So what are local business directories? Local directories helps to locate local businesses in the users area in quick time. It’s an aggregation of relevant businesses. For example: I need to find a place to eat out in a city. If I have a listing of all restaurants in the city with relevant reviews and rating, I would be influenced to choose the one with good reviews and ratings. Local directories collate such content and provide it for easy comparison to the potential customers. How does local directory work? One can submit the business information to local directories like Google places, citygrid etc. which again gets submitted to other major local online directories as well as popular mobile and GPS devices.
Benefit?. It’s also a new way to advertise business information. It’s like free advertisements, the more your businesses get listed and replicated across different access medium like mobility, search engines etc., the more places your customers can find you, which in turn will make it much more easier for customers to find you!. How to make money by providing value added services? Say, you are a web content developer. There are many popular content management systems available (like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc.). One of the most popular one around is WordPress. If you can have a Local Directory created on your website, it will help improve traffic to your website. People looking for relevant content will come to your site to look at ratings and comments. You can put your product listing or provide advertisements to good businesses to list on your local directory.
More and more people using Google search are seeing more local results thrown up on the top. They are bombarded with local options for nearly everything they search especially when on a mobile device. Hence now it is more important for businesses with a local base targeting to target and top the local search metrics. Here we are listing top 5 Tips for local SEO to top local search results and boost their traffic and business.
Claim Your Online Listing: This is the first and the most important step. You need to claim your listing on Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local. Once you fill out your details after creating an account on these platforms, you will need to verify your business details through a straight forward process of post card verification or a phone call. Once it is done you are ready for the next steps. If you don’t have a physical address on some location or don’t want people to know your real business address and have reason to keep it discreet you can use certain services which provide you with business mail forwarding and other services (please keep in mind that use of these services is in the grey area and should be avoided for all practical purposes.
Optimize your Listings: Putting in accurate and detailed business information such as address and phone number, is of utmost importance. Opening closing times and days of operation etc. are required. Description of your business activities is very important as well as using your keywords in the text as well. Use high quality images and videos of your business. This is of utmost importance as it plays a major role in enhancing user experience. Leaving any of the important field in the listings blank is not recommended. Accurate information that is optimized to help you rank well and also to attract your potential clients and impress them is the key to proper local SEO.
Online Business Reviews: Reviews are another important part of your local Listing. Reviews play a super crucial role in local SEO and most of the local listing sites are completely fine with businesses requesting their customers to leave a review. You should request your customers for writing a review through e-mails, invoices, contact form and thank you pages, among other places. Keep in mind any review is good for business, even negative ones. However keep in mind not to have too many bad reviews. No business is perfect and negative reviews are part of business life. Many businesses are afraid of bad reviews, but keep in mind no company can keep 100% of their customers happy. Another important thing to remember is that many potential customers may find it suspicious if a company only has positive reviews.
Optimizing your Website: Optimizing your website is also crucial. Display a local phone number prominently on your homepage and landing page in text format (don’t use image) and mention your local business address again in text format only. Make sure that the phone number is a real working local phone number with local dialing code mentioned and not an 1800/800 type of number. Also make sure to use the full mailing address of your business and make sure that the details are same as used on the listing and there is no difference. Make use of schema to optimize your website. Use multiple landing pages if your business caters to different geo locations. Optimize each page according to the targeted location.
Local Citations: It is important to list your business in the local directories and local classifieds sites. The search engine algorithms still depend on these to gather more information about the business and their popularity. So use sites such yelp, yellow pages etc. to list your business and help boost your local rankings.
These five top tips will help you in your endeavor to boost your online presence and help you beat the local SEO competition.