Local Listings, Citations & Directories

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 Directory Listings

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.  

5-Step High Impact Listings For Local Business

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. YELP

    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.

  5. LinkedIn

    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.

Internet Listings For Local Success

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.

Local Business Citations Overview

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.

Mobile Content for Local Search Results

Local Organic Search & Mobile Devices 

The increased usage of mobile devices is what originally drove Google’s mobile-first indexing. At least 1/3 of all searches today are related to local inquiry from mobile phones. Local businesses today do understand the importance of ranking high on mobile search. Local organic SEO on mobile is absolutely required for any business who desires to gain a larger share of the market in which they are a part of.  Besides creating great mobile content, there are big challenges ahead.  Building from broad SEO implementation, there are additional moving pieces to manage. (Incorporating local schema markup, sitemaps, adding location citations, creating content that matches local user intent, optimizing location pages & Google My Business, attention to site speed, etc.)

Local Search Is Geo Targeted Results

Don’t forget that local organic searches focus on the  geographic area in which the search is being conducted. Therefore, results will vary depending upon where the search is conducted.

An abundance of relevant mobile content that matches searcher intent… the better for you!

Mobile Content for Local Organic SEO 

Your optimized mobile site needs content more than ever.  Mobile sites may display content differently but mobile-first indexing has not changed the overall purpose of for creating content that aligns with more searches and relates to what people are looking for. Producing and optimizing local content is still one of the best ways to boost your visibility and achieve better rankings in local search results.

For your local businesses, the end goal for content should be to increase local organic visibility for a larger number of search queries. This should include tapping into more “long-tail keywords.” Don’t forget the importance of inserting local keywords into the beginning of on-page SEO for your local content. (Title Tags/Meta Descriptions.)

Ideas for Local Content

Through content, you can make your business a knowledgeable and trusted source; a leader in your local community, and within your industry.

Publish your great content strategically on different channels…

Go for the niche! Find areas of opportunity that competitors are missing, even if those keyword phrases don’t show as much search volume. It’s always interesting to look at the keyword phrases that driving people to your site, or to competitor sites. There are so many free tools out there that can generate great ideas. Depending upon the end goal of your mobile content strategy, you can turn to Facebook, LinkedIn and Google analytics for audience insights. Google analytics will also provide snapshots of current traffic data. Google’s keyword planner is an easy and free tool to measure search volume for keywords, and keyword phrases.

Location Landing Pages

Local landing pages and business blogs are a great way to cover niches while supporting the top level pages on your website. Adding local reviews to relevant pages on your website is another great idea, and don’t forget PR. You can host local events, but many small businesses are more likely to attend or support local events. Although citations are correlated with local SEO, don’t forget the importance of link-building. If you support a local business or local event, be sure to ask them to place your logo and a link from their site to yours. Lastly, feel free to “piggy-back” on local news stories that may be relevant to your business. You can do this really easily through social media posts, tweets, and so forth.

What about a Mobile Responsive Website

If a business has available resources to invest, it may be worth looking into one of the newer platforms available to support a more mobile-responsive site. However, investing in a new website isn’t always the best solution, or the first necessary step. Before dumping a ton of money into a new site, have an SEO Strategist perform a website audit to determine areas that can be improved on the current platform. If the cost to optimize the current website exceeds what it would take to start from scratch on a more mobile-responsive site, then the business can make this decision with all the data at hand.

Local SEO on Mobile Devices

Local organic SEO on mobile should be the sole strategy for business. Google continues to shrink the real estate of local results.  Especially if your business is part of a super competitive industry, appearing in local search results on mobile is not only going to be the sole strategy, but it’s also going to be a continuous project. Your web developer may not have all the answers for you. Make sure you have the right Digital Strategist to do the job.

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