Before going out, you’ve probably used a local listing on Google, Bing, or Yahoo! to find more information about a business. Where is it located? When does it close? How do the reviews look? These are all questions that can be answered quickly by looking at an optimized local listing.
Search engines are becoming increasingly focused on location based results. They may pull location information from a computer’s IP address or from a cell phone. This means that someone searching for a bakery in Miami will see results from nearby businesses and not from doughnut shops in Los Angeles without having to specify which city he or she is in.
Local listings on search engines are among the most valuable tools for a small business. The only cost involved is a little bit of time and effort to claim your business on the search engine and enter your business information. A good listing goes beyond an address and phone number. You also have the option add photos, categories, descriptions, and precise map locations. By providing a wealth of information, you give customers more reasons to choose you over your competitors. Focusing on optimizing your local listing can help you efficiently reach customers in your area.
The three local listings you’ll definitely want to claim your business on are Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. You can also claim pages on Yelp, Citysearch, and YellowPages. All of these have free options for local listings, but may require you to have an account. Others may offer paid accounts with enhanced features.
Parts of a Local Listing
This information gives the most basic details about your business. This includes the name of your business, the physical address, your hours of operation, and the categories your business belongs to. Filling these details ensure the searcher that they have found the place they are looking for. These details make the difference between Jack’s Diner and Jack’s Carpets.
How can people get in touch with your business? Provide a phone number for people to make reservations, schedule appointments, and ask questions. You can also list your company website on your local listing to direct traffic towards it and provide more information for searchers.
The reviews shown on your local listing are pulled from various sources. To fill this area of your listing, encourage your customers to leave reviews. This is a great opportunity for you to monitor what people are saying about your business. There are also ways for you to address negative reviews. You can personally respond to a review through the website the review was written on or you can ask Google to take down a review if it is inappropriate, irrelevant to your business, or is just plain spam.
Search engines will often give you spaces for additional things. Try posting photos of your dishes, products, or location to give a visual feel for what your business is all about. You can also try providing a discount for online searchers through a program like Google Offers.
No matter how much information you choose to put on your listings, make sure it is consistent between all pages. This will help your page rankings and prevent confusion. Keep your information updated and stay engaged with those who take the time to review your business.
Seeing the results from optimizing your local listing may take some time. Stay patient. Making sure searchers have all the details they need to make an informed decision can be worth it for your small business.