by Margery Spears on May 02, 2011
Google, Bing and Yahoo offer online business listings to help promote your business to local Internet users. Claiming, adding, and validating your online business listing page in the local business directories can increase your business and website traffic, enhance your search engine optimization efforts, attract new customers, and reduce your marketing costs by increasing your local business’ Internet visibility.
Whether you own a barber shop or a home electronics store, with97% of consumers using the Internet to research products or services in their local area before they buy, and 53% of Bing mobile search queries focusing on local results, maintaining a local search presence for your business is critical to your success. Fortunately, claiming or setting up your page in local business listings is easy and in most cases free.
Business listings are originally compiled from crawl data and information from trusted sources such as the Better Business Bureau and other business directories such as InfoUSA, Acxiom, and Localeze. A link to the business listing page is then added to local search results along with information taken directly from that page. It’s definitely to your advantage to claim your local business listing before your competition claims it. Then, you can correct or augment the listing, add pictures or videos, select categories, and use any of the features offered such as map tags and coupons.
Links to these local business listing pages are often added to mainstream location-specific search results, giving your company listing greater visibility and allotting them more space—and therefore more impressions—in the search results devoted to your business.
In other words, instead of waiting for your web developer to update your website and for the search engine spiders to crawl your web copy, online local business listings provide an additional channel for you to deliver business information directly to the search engines for inclusion in search results. Some businesses who claim and utilize their business listings say they get as much as a 10% increase in new customers. You can use this local listing to reduce your current marketing costs or to augment your existing campaigns. In addition, you get:
In addition to the benefit of increased visibility, claiming and completing your business listing gives you the opportunity to optimize that page with your business-critical keywords for greater relevancy, just like you’d SEO optimize your web copy. Additionally, consistent geo-location references are important for ranking on Local (or map) Search. Be sure to fill out all the available information fields consistently across all the online business centers to help establish trust in your geo-location. Business listing centers will allow you to correct the business location on the map if necessary.
So, how do you get started? First, claim your page in local business listings. By claiming your page, you can tell the search engines directly about your business by using your relevant, business-critical keywords and improve trust in your geo-location for better Local Search rankings. Claiming, updating, and maintaining business listing pages is easy and, in most cases, free.
If you want to read a more detailed overview and get additional tips on how to claim and update your local online business listing to enhance SEO and benefit your business’ Internet visibility go ahead and download our complimentary Executive Brief: Improving Visibility with Online Local Business Listings.
Contact us if you want to chat about SEO, paid search, web analytics or have questions about any other aspect of your digital strategy. We’re always happy to answer questions.