For local businesses, local listings have always been critical. Local businesses just had to sit back and wait for customers to find them in the days before Google and mobile devices took over the world. Customers were readily finding their way to local companies, whether by stepping in front of them or looking them up in the phone book, and conversions were booming. Unfortunately, for nearly two decades, things haven't been that simple. Local companies are now under pressure to make themselves open to the public.
Benefits of Local Business Listing
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Local business listing has several advantages for local businesses. They not only boost a company's online visibility – and its chances of being discovered online by potential customers – but they also allow the company to reach a larger audience. We go over these and many more advantages of local listings in depth below.
∙ A Significant Increase in Online Presence
The fundamental goal of a local firm should be to reach as many potential clients as possible. Search engine optimization tactics, such as entries in internet directories, are crucial to achieving this goal—increased online visibility results in more website traffic and in-person visits to a storefront.
Another factor to consider is that if a customer uses voice search to find a local business listing, Google will not respond to businesses that do not have web listings. Given that local intent accounts for 40% of all mobile voice searches, local company owners must have their information available online, including their location, phone number, store hours, and services.
A local listing comes with the added benefit of an automatic boost in search results. Search engines will focus on the information supplied in the listing rather than extracting information about the business from other sources (e.g., Facebook, website, blogs, etc.). This gives the company web-wide uniformity, which can help it rank higher in search results while also establishing trust with search engines.
∙ Consumer Reputation Has Improved
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 64 percent of consumers trust online search engines more than anything else when it comes to investigating local businesses. Why should customers trust a company that does not appear in search engine results? Consumers are considerably more inclined to try a well-reviewed local business listing on Google unless they already know and like the firm.
A fully fleshed-out, accurate internet listing instills more trust in a customer. They want to know the particular location of the business and why they should go there. Customers are no longer drawn in by billboards, magazine ads, or word-of-mouth marketing. If a local business is trusted, it must be published online, with complete profiles of accurate business hours and services.
∙ Customer Feedback and Sharing that is Beneficial
Consumers check an average of 10 online reviews before deciding whether or not to trust a local business, according to BrightLocal. Where would these trustworthy customer reviews come from if a local business isn't listed in any online directories or review sites?
Local businesses can dramatically enhance their consumer interaction by allowing online customers to offer honest comments. Furthermore, the company can reply to favorable and unfavorable evaluations, thereby strengthening its reputation on business listing sites. Most shoppers read local businesses' comments to reviews, indicating that it's not only the customer feedback that matters.
Furthermore, customers are likely to talk about local businesses on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. Companies with an online listing are more likely to be shared on social media, increasing their exposure to potential customers and their backlink profile.
∙ Increased Chances of Outranking Competitors
It can be difficult for a tiny local firm to create a reputation that competes with the next-door competitor. This is especially true if the other company has many favorable ratings and accurate information on the internet.
Local business listing services help small companies compete with larger enterprises and chain stores. Mom-and-pop shops don't stand a chance against giant corporations on their own, but when it comes to local listings, size doesn't matter because search engines rank businesses based on other variables like trust.
∙ Local Shoppers Get Free Online Advertising
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Many small firms struggle to put aside funding for marketing. Fortunately, many web directories, such as Google My Business, allow local businesses to add their information for free. It's a cost-effective strategy to raise brand awareness and online presence without resorting to expensive advertising. If a company does not have a directory listing, it is effectively wasting free advertisement. If you represent a local business that does not yet have a Google My Business listing, here's how to get one.
What is the Best Way to Make a Perfect Local Business Listing?
You'll fill out a form with a specific set of fields every time you establish a structured local business listing, whether on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or elsewhere. It's vital to remember that Google, as the leading player in local search, has set the standard for formatting data. When creating most of your citations, you'll be following these general principles to ensure that they match your Google My Business listing.
1) Your Company's Name or Title
In this field, always use your real-world business name. Because Google can read street-level signage, ensure that your name is formatted the same way on your business sign, print marketing, website logo, and phone. Add no more keywords, geographic terms, or other modifiers to your company name.
Always include your physical address, with no changes or additions (such as fictitious suite numbers). It would help if you did not create a business listing for PO boxes or unstaffed virtual offices because they are not real-world addresses.
Put your street address in line one of the Google form's address section and any suite or mailbox numbers in line two. To prevent weird formatting, this is a wise practice to follow for nearly all citations.
3) Number to Call
While Google's guidelines favor local area code phone numbers, toll-free numbers have been supported for several years. This is especially significant for local businesses like hotels, where most customers are from out of town, and a toll-free number is handy. If you use a toll-free number on your Google My Business page, this number should appear on your website and in all of your citations.
4) URL of the Website
Google specifies that your listed website URL directs visitors to a page owned by the firm rather than a third party, a social profile, or somewhere else. Your website is a place where you can try out some new ideas. If you point all of your local business listing to your homepage, which has more authority than an internal page, you might discover that your results improve.
However, keep in mind that what you gain in rankings may be lost in human usefulness. You don't want a user to click on a listing only to be directed to the wrong landing page after navigating your site. There's a discussion about whether rankings or usability should define where your citation URLs point in the local SEO industry.
When it comes to categories, no other site has as strict or specific standards as Google, yet it's critical to be as precise as possible when describing your business. Make it simple for platforms and search engines to figure out who you're most relevant to.
A specialist firm may not always discover the most appropriate category to represent itself on a given platform. When this happens, the best practice is to pick the closest type feasible and then rely on other aspects (such as the business description) to clarify the specific nature of the company's goods and services.
6) Describe Yourself
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This section allows you to showcase your company's most compelling and impactful aspects – the features that most persuade a potential consumer to pick you. In most cases, you'll have several hundred characters to construct a brief pitch for your business. You can write a distinct description for each platform or build a single description and publish it across all of your citations if you want.
A field for submitting a tagline or slogan can be seen on some local business listing platforms. There's no need to create a business listing if you don't already have one. Still, this field can help with customer awareness for firms whose taglines have become locally recognized thanks to radio, television, or social media marketing. Nike's slogan, "Just Do It," is an example of a well-known tagline.
8) Social Profiles
Many systems allow you to link to your profiles on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Filling up these fields whenever possible is worthwhile to direct them to further types of user experience and customer assistance.
According to Google, photos significantly impact local business listing click-through rates, so whenever a platform allows it, it's always a good idea to post as many high-quality images as possible.
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Ensuring your content is optimized for search engines is one of the most effective ways to advertise your site. This is an area of digital marketing where the best website builder for small businesses should help you get a head start. For example, Strikingly includes an integrated SEO tool that lets you easily modify your page's metadata (meta descriptions, image alternate tags, and so on) to make it more search-friendly.
Your local search engine rankings are directly influenced by the quality, consistency, and dissemination of your local business listing, which leads to web traffic, foot traffic, and transactions. Given the significance of this component of the local search visibility marketing puzzle, taking the time to ensure that your listings are accurate, complete, and discoverable on essential platforms is well worth the effort.