The Importance of Local Business Listings

Many businesses looking to increase their profits and marketing efforts overlook the importance of local listings and citation building. Some companies don’t know where to start or the correct processes needed to create them. If they do create them, they often miss the mark in updating them when they change or add locations thus throwing off their past local SEO efforts.

What can Local Business Listings help you achieve?

Local listings are used to help boost your company’s presence on Google Maps while offering a link back to your website.  They can be used to find both business to business (B2B) clients and business to customer (B2C) leads. 

In this article we hope to give both newbies and professionals some quick tips to improve their local SEO game and improve their online presence.

What is Local Business Citation?

No- it’s not the same citation police give you. A local citation is a good thing. In layman’s terms a local citation (business citation, local listing etc.) is a directory listing your company is in. It’s like the YellowPages for the internet but you don’t want to be in one YellowPages book you want to be in many. 

A listing will include your name, address and phone number which is often referred to as NAP in the SEO world. Bored? Take a NAP.

More often than not a directory allows a user to post additional information such as a link to their website or office hours. A listing like this is sometimes referred to as a, “UNAP” where the “U” stands for URL.

Types of Local Business Citation

Citations come in a couple forms: Structured and Unstructured.

What is a Structured Local Business Citation?

A structured citation will have the most pertinent company information on its page. Look at Yelp and YellowPages. The data is well organized and structured. 

What is an unstructured Local Business Citation?

An unstructured citation is when your company information is listed on a website that is not a directory such as a blog, news site or wiki.  

Structured or Unstructured, every time your NAP is mentioned Google gives you an upvote on your site or Google My Business Listing. When creating these directories, you don’t always need to create a link to your website but having one added where you can will add a backlink to your site.

Why are Local Citations so important?

The more strategically placed citations you have is an upvote to your website and Google My Business page ranking. The more upvotes you have the more credit you have as a business and so search engines will award you a better ranking.  Better Rankings means more traffic which means more sales.

Taking your local listing building seriously is very important as it ties in with the broader scope of internet marketing. A good local SEO strategy is usually used in conjunction with other marketing strategies linking users to a high-quality landing page.

Having a good listing strategy also has a significant impact on your company’s revenue. SEO studies show that 70% of the world’s population prefer a virtual search over old school methods like a phone book.

Creating your local listings is a free way that you can increase web traffic and profits by an estimated 20%. 

How to Build a Local Business Listing

Creating and claiming and verifying your listings is important but how do you create them? 

You can partner with a local SEO agency to submit and verify your data or you can do it yourself. Doing it yourself can be time consuming.

If you do choose to do it yourself you will need to create a spreadsheet to keep organized.

In this spreadsheet make a column for: listing URL, date created, username and password. It may even help to create a second email for all this information to go to. 

Now you will want to search for business directories in your area.

Find the best category for your niche and submit your information. You will want to keep things consistent so be sure to add your NAP the exact same way every time if the platform allows.

If there is an option to add more information be sure to add as much information as possible. 

Updating the listings if you move locations

Moving locations is common in many businesses but poses many risks. As you build listings, they may get picked up by a data aggregator. If this happens it may become very difficult to change your listings and it will throw your rankings off or worse, direct clients to the wrong location.

If this happens you may want to look for a local citation clean up service. They are experts who will act on your company’s behalf to change these listings.

Conclusion

Having a strong online presence is one of the best ways to win the SEO game. Creating strong local citations is a sure-fire way to drive more foot traffic and phone calls. By overlooking your local citations, you are missing out on a relatively easy to acquire traffic source.

If this happens you may want to look for a local citation clean up service. They are experts who will act on your company’s behalf to change these listings.

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