Rightly so, businesses place a lot of focus on their website; ensuring that it is both user friendly and search engine friendly. However, getting a leg up in local search results will require more than a solid-functioning website. Today, relevance, proximity, authority, and popularity are super important for a business to thrive in local search results. Done correctly, citations, niche directories, and local listings provide valuable links to your website that accentuate overall search engine strategies.
High value local listings for both general and niche industries can have a legitimate impact on search engine results and E.A.T. (Expertise, Authority & Trustworthiness) The best news is that they have little to no required investment -other than time. Below is a list of the top 5 general citation listings based on a combination of MOZ Domain Authority, Alexa Ranking data and other core components of local business search optimization.
- Google My Business
The most valued place for a local business with at least one physical location is, by far, Google My Business. Add your business listing for free to gain customer reviews and show up in more local search results including Google & Google Maps.
- Bing Places For Business
Bing weighs more heavily on social signals & pulls reviews from third party sources such as Yelp & Facebook. Free listing & very worthwhile to add this smaller search engine to your local search strategy.
- Better Business Bureau
The BBB receives a massive amount of traffic, builds trust immediately & appears on page 1 of many organic brand searches. (Google approved) Even the free, non-accredited version, is a win-win for local business.
Yelp follows some strict guidelines that make it difficult to acquire new reviews & have bogus reviews removed. On the other hand, Yelp reviews are shared on other platforms. Most importantly, information from Yelp is used to populate Apple Maps.
When someone searches from Google or Bing, your LinkedIn posts can appear. This type of professional platform quickly builds authority, trust & also can be used to build a network of new clients & referrals for your business future
Honorable Local Listing Mentions
A free company Facebook page allows an opportunity to gain reviews and engage with huge daily base of customers. It is expected for a local business to have a page, however, if the page is not current or engaging, it can have a negative impact on a business brand. Secondly, I have removed Yahoo Local Business listings from my top 5. They have been through many changes in recent years. The complications of having to manage this listing through a 3rd party company (YEXT) takes it out of my top 5. If you do not mind the hassle, go for it. I choose to ignore it & replace that time with more productive endeavors.
Please do not litter the internet with listings that have no clear purpose. (In an effort to inflate traffic numbers from paid ads, companies like Yellow Pages and Yellow Book have been known to do this.) Instead, ensure that each referral site truly adds value to your overall online strategy. Local SEO consultants who setup and manage these efforts utilize marketing tools that measure the popularity and value of each potential link. Measurement data includes data such as traffic, ranking and domain authority. If you do not have the ability to hire professional help, just use good common sense. For example, if you are a local law firm, it would make sense to have your information on AVVO. On the contrary, it may not make sense to list on Grub Hub or Zillow.
Use citations, niche directories and local listings to brand and inform. Done correctly, they provide links of qualified eyeballs to your business website. What works for your business may be slightly different. Just stick to the citations that are most relevant to your specific industry and town and have the most impact on local search results & website traffic. If you need assistance setting up or managing your business listings, contact us for affordable pricing options.