Late last year, we released Local Listings, a tool that helps your business or group get listed in over 100 online directories with just a few clicks.
Recently, we’ve talked about the importance of local search for small businesses and how local search differs from Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
So by now you know that showing up in local searches is incredibly important for your business. But do you know what to include in your local search listings?
To help you cover all your bases, we’ve put together these 10 best practices to help ensure that not only will you show up in local searches, you’ll show up first!
1. Use a consistent business name
Sounds simple, right? However, we see many business listings with slightly (and sometimes very) different names on different directories.
For example, your business could be listed as “Joe’s Seafood” on Google, but on Yelp, you’re listed as “Joe’s Nantucket Seafood” or “Joe’s Seafood LLC”.
These minor name differences might be easy for you or me to interpret as the same business, but algorithms sometimes don’t have the same judgment and may interpret these as different companies.
If they see them as different businesses, they may not show up in a search for Seafood in Nantucket.
2. Upload a photo with your listing
Nothing hurts a Yelp or Google Plus profile more than a blank photo area. People searching Yelp for local businesses spend 2.5 more time on a Yelp Listing with Photos.
Our Local Listings tool makes it easy to upload a logo or photo of your business once and get that photo submitted everywhere.
3. Link to your website
Believe it or not, many directory listings don’t include a link to the business’s website. Although directory listings may provide enough information for some prospective customers, make sure to have a link to your website for those who want to learn more.
4. Pick categories for your business
Directory sites like Yelp and YP.com rely on category groupings like “Italian Restaurant” or “Portrait Photographer” to provide accurate search results to users. If you don’t submit categories for your business, your business will rank more poorly in search results.
5. Make your business listing pop with a description
Once you’ve covered all of the basics, write a brief description on your business (2-3 sentences).
Car Guyz Collision Center does a great job of this with their YP.com profile. They cover the main details on their service and quickly show that they are experts in the field of auto repair.
6. Post your hours
Have you ever showed up at a business only to find out that it was closed? Don’t you wish this information was available when you searched and found that business online?
Make sure your customers never encounter this issue by submitting your open hours with your listing. Open 24 Hours? Make sure to mark that too!
7. List payment methods
How can your customers pay you? Do you only accept cash or do you accept all major credit cards?
Don’t lose customers at the point of sale because they didn’t know in advance.
8. Get reviewed!
Once you’ve submitted your Local Listings profiles, let your customers know that they can find you on Yelp, Google, and YP.com.
If you’ve provided a positive experience, this should lead to reviews. Businesses with positive reviews are significantly more likely to show up in search results and get clicked on more often by prospective customers.
In fact, a study published in the Economic Journal showed just an extra half a star on a restaurant’s rating can make that restaurant 30 to 49% more likely to sell out its tables for that evening.
9. Show your longevity
Most directories provide the opportunity to enter the date you started your business. Don’t skip this seemingly small field!
Customers trust businesses that have been around for many years and most directories display this information prominently.
10. Se habla Español? Let the people know!
Prospective customers often look for businesses they can identify with.
If you or your staff is multilingual, let visitors to your directory listings know they’ll feel at home with your business.
If you follow our 10 Local Listings best practices and submit your business through Webs Local Listings service, you’ll be sure to improve your local search rankings in no time!
Let us know how you stay at the top of your local search results and if there are any other best practices that you follow for your small business.