In the digital age, it is increasingly important for companies to be visible online. After all, rating platforms and social networks are replacing what we still know as the Yellow Pages: a sorted company directory. So businesses recognize the importance of having their business profile in local directories. Leveraging the expertise of professionals like experts from SEOTwix, organizations aim to enhance their local online presence by creating professional business profiles that will attract more customers.
In this post, you’ll learn what local listing is exactly and how it can help you boost your local business visibility.
What is a local listing?
Local listing refers to the entry of company information in online directories. In this way, companies increase their findability on the web. And for potential customers to reliably find a company, it is important to be represented in the 25 important online directories and to ensure that company profiles there are complete, correct, and consistent.
A business listing in a local online directory is a short profile with the most important information about a business. This includes things like name, address, phone number, and website URL.
Why is local SEO so important for your business and how can you increase your local visibility?
You keep hearing that local search engine optimization is important for businesses, but you’re still not fully aware of what’s behind it. In fact, with regular adjustments to Google’s algorithms, local search and related topics (ratings, mentions, reviews) are becoming more and more important. Why? More and more searches are being made on mobile instead of desktop.
Did you know that 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a business within a day? That’s why businesses need to build up their local visibility so that potential customers can find them not only in Google search but also right where they are.
This is where Local SEO comes into play: this form of search engine optimization aims to place local and regional businesses higher in search results to be found by (potential) local customers. To do this, you should first apply local search engine optimization to your website by using relevant location-based keywords and integrating a local reference in the meta information for your blog articles. In addition, there is another measure to improve your local ranking: Local Listing.
Local listing: how to improve your local ranking
Local Listing means the uniform listing of company data in all important online directories. One of the most important tools for this is Google My Business. This service from Google allows businesses to enter their data such as name, address, and telephone number (also called NAP data) as well as opening hours and website free of charge. This information is processed into a uniform entry and displayed next to the search results in a corresponding Google search.
Beyond Google My Business, there are many other opportunities that businesses should exploit for local visibility. These include entries in other search engines such as Bing, business directory portals, navigation map services, voice assistants such as Siri, and in social media because that’s where your potential customers are usually located. In addition to NAP data, a company description, keywords or categories, and products are added to the company profile to give users as complete and professional an image of the company as possible.
What is the goal of local listing?
The goal of the local listing is, on the one hand, to reach potential customers who are looking for products or services that you also offer in the vicinity of your business – and then to direct these consumers to your location. Secondly, it aims to improve the company’s ranking in local search results, as the number, as well as the consistency of the location information, has a direct impact on the placement in the search engine.
Another impact on the ranking of the company in Google searches is backlinks, which are created by linking in directories or portals. The more backlinks point to a website, the more trust Google develops in it. As a result, the ranking increases.
How to create a perfect company profile for local business listings?
1. Use keywords in the title and description
The first optimization measure you can implement is quick and makes a huge difference. Inserting relevant keywords has a very big impact on local ranking through business listings. Therefore, be sure to put the most relevant keyword for your business in the title tag or your business name.
You should pay particular attention to the fact that you should only use this method if these keywords are relevant to you. Do not use keywords that do not belong to your company at all.
Nevertheless, if the keyword logically fits your company name as well as your website, then you should implement this measure!
2. Pay attention to the categories
Choosing the right category (or categories) for your business listing is one of the most important things to consider because many searches are made through categorical terms. Again, as with keywords, we recommend that you specify the primary category that is most important for your business. In addition, we recommend that you specify a maximum of 4 or 5 further categories that apply to your company’s range of services.
You should make sure you assign them correctly from the start, as your post will then be displayed directly in the correct categorical queries.
3. Upload images/videos
It is worth uploading images or even videos of your company not only for a better ranking. Users love to look at pictures of businesses they don’t know yet and get a first impression. It is therefore much more likely that more users will click on your business listing if you have also uploaded images. Through images, users have the feeling that they already know the company better, because trust is created through images.
Since you can decide which images to upload, you can upload, for example, the building, the premises, or employee photos, but also product photos if you have, for example, a bakery or a jewelry or flower store. You should show your best side because first impressions count! Of course, they don’t have to be professional photos, but you can still create a very positive first impression with friendly-looking images. All you need to do here is set a cover image and upload the company logo and provide a few other images. This is quite simple and this number is already sufficient for most users. Always make sure that the file size of the images is small here as well because since many searches are made from mobile devices, it is vital that loading the images does not consume too much data.
4. Respond to reviews and ratings
Reviews or ratings are hugely important when it comes to conveying a positive impression of your business. Reviews, just like images, convey trust and have a very positive effect on user behavior. Many users, before they invest their money in a product/service like to read through customer reviews. Through these reviews, the potential customer has the feeling that the company has already been “tested” by other customers and has turned out to be good. Therefore, potential customers then think that there is a very high probability that they will also have a good experience with your company.
To get more reviews, you can directly address your customers about it. A short comment about the purchased product/service is quite enough. In most cases, satisfied customers will gladly do you this favor and leave a review.
But here the fun does not end. Because you should also respond to the reviews! It is best to give a friendly reply within a few days and thank them for the review. 20% of customers want a response to their review within a day. However, when responding to reviews, be careful not to always give the same answer, it’s best to always modify it a bit.
5. Specify company location
If your company has a specific corporate address (e.g. office, store, etc.), then it’s worth including it in any case. If your company does not have a physical company location, then you should at least indicate a “catchment area”. This refers to a specific area where you offer your service. Your business profile will then be displayed to users who are in the vicinity of this area and are looking for the services you offer.