Local listings have always been essential for local businesses. Back in the days of real-world phone books, before Google and mobile devices ruled the world, local businesses simply needed to sit back and let customers find them. Whether by walking in front of their brick-and-mortar location or looking them up on a phone book, customers easily found their way to local businesses, and conversions were booming. Unfortunately, things haven’t been that simple for nearly 20 years. Now, the pressure is on the local businesses to make themselves available to the public.
Today, when a customer looks for a restaurant or local service, the first thing they do is pull out their device (cell phone, desktop, tablet, etc.). A quick search engine query brings them the nearby results they’re looking for. If a local business isn’t visible online, it won’t show up in search results amongst its competitors.
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That’s where online directory listings come in. Simply put, a local listing is an online mention of a business (citation) that details the essential information of a business. If a local business doesn’t have any local listings, there are big rewards it’s missing out on.
BOOST YOUR LOCAL SEARCH RANKING
BUILD CONSISTENT CONTACT INFORMATION
Business consistency is important to every business, google also likes consistent business websites. Imagine what happens if a customer finds an outdated phone number for your business and the line is disorganized, and they’re going to take their business to your competitor. You need to ensure that customers find your correct phone number and address every time they search, no matter what site they’re using. Make sure your NAP in local listing is consistent.
SECURE YOUR REPUTATION
It’s not enough to find and correct all your local listings. You also need to “lock” those listings to make sure they don’t change again. Online directories get their listing info from aggregators that scrape government documents and other public data sources. This info is often wrong and outdated, but it could be used to overwrite your listing — even after you fixed it! Even worse, an unscrupulous competitor could claim your listing and replace your phone number with theirs. Locking your business listings is key to protecting your reputation and securing your business’s online identity.
GET MORE WEB TRAFFIC
When your online listings are correct and consistent, it signals to search engines that your business is legitimate and trusted. And when search engines like Google and Bing trust your business, more customers will see it in search results, resulting in a lot more visitors and traffic to your websites. This also applies to featured placements like Google’s Local Three Pack, Google Maps, and key placement on mobile searches.
GET MORE PHONE CALLS
Most web searches today are not conducted on computers — they are conducted on smartphones. When a customer finds your business listing with a mobile search, they are just as likely to call your phone number as they are to visit your website. That’s great news for business owners — but only if customers find your correct phone number. Updating all your local business listings is the only way to make sure customers find the right info every time.
If you take anything away from this article, it should be that local listings are 100 percent essential to local businesses that want to attract customers and maintain a positive standing with the community. Not only does a business’ correct NAP information need to be available, but the business must also update its online listings as necessary. People want to see the information they can always trust, not outdated profiles.