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The Importance of Business Listings and Local Citations

Your business listing, in a nutshell, is how your business becomes visible online. The more directories you're listed on; the more your customers have a better chance of finding you.

Google and other search engines place great importance on business listings and local citations; therefore, they should be an important part of your business. There are certain elements within the ranking algorithm that are used to display results in the search engines and if your business has more citations, with everything else being equal, it will rank higher than a business with fewer citations.

Citations and business listings are not the same as link building or backlinks as they don't have to link back to your business website for them to be important. The search engines use these details in order to confirm that your business is real and should be given a spot in the listings and in most cases even promoted to the first page of search results on Google, Yahoo & Bing.

You can scan your business here to check your listings.

Now that you know how important your business' local search results are, you need to manage those listings properly and they also need to be well maintained. In order to rank high on page 1 for local search results, the search engines need to confirm your business contact details and place your business in the correct category.

Even if your local business doesn't have a website or a strong online profile, the search engines will still try to gather as much details as they can about your business. For these kinds of small businesses, keeping your online business listing correct and up to date is critical as it will affect your local search results. High ratings on review sites along with the correct business listings on trusted websites like local business associations and chambers of commerce will greatly improve your online profile. The search engines will trust your listing display those details in the search results.

Local Business Listings = Your Online Business Card

If local search marketing is important to your business or your customers, then business listings are where your entire campaign needs to get started. Should you get your business listings incorrect or don't manage them properly, all of your efforts to maintain your local search results would be totally wasted.

Search engine spiders are crawling websites searching for updated details so that they can store and cross reference in order to display your business on the search results. In order to have your local business listings indexed and displayed, the search engines require the following 3 criteria and they need to be exactly matched on all major directories. This is called NAP:

  • Business Name or D.B.A.
  • Physical Street Address
  • Telephone Number

Business Name, Address, and Phone Number

If Your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) aren’t consistent all over the internet, the search engines will not trust your listing and will cause your listing to drop in the local search rankings. Punctuation and typos such as an apostrophe in “Sam’s Car Lot” in just some of your listings can have a disastrous outcome. You need to have your NAP identical in spacing, spelling and styling all across the internet. It is important to note that all these details have to be entered as text, therefore you can't simply copy/paste your logo and be done after that.

Categories

You are allowed 2 - 5 categories for your business listings on most search engines. This will allow Google to list you in the most appropriate spot and will also let customers know exactly what your business is and the products or services you offer. Not putting your business into a category, or even worse, putting it in the wrong category might result in your business not showing up in the search results at all.

Other Details You Can Include in Your Business Listings

There are listings where you might only have to include the NAP and categories. There are numerous business listings sites all over the internet and many of them are the same, but some also allow you to put in enhanced content, such as:

  • URL of the Business Website
  • Multiple Cities or Neighborhoods
  • Business Logo
  • Product/Service Images and Actual Storefront
  • Business Descriptions
  • Business Hours
  • Review Site Business Page Links
  • Events
  • Social Media Links
  • Static and Interactive Maps

The Most Effective Way to Manage Your Business Listings

You can actually manually manage and maintain your business listings on trusted authority sites which are frequently indexed, but automation is a much easier process. Not only are these automated listings easy to set up, they will also ensure consistency in details across the internet. Yelp, Google My Business and Yahoo Local along with hundreds of other websites allow you to set up free business listings, but doing them individually is extremely tedious. The answer is to:

AUTOMATE!

AUTOMATE!

AUTOMATE!

If you are focused on managing your business, it is impossible to find enough time to not only post your business listings manually but to maintain their accuracy. There are some fairly inexpensive ways to automate the management of your business listings. This all-inclusive program allows you to establish an outstanding 5-star reputation online, which displays your business to searchers who are seeking the best in your industry.

Whatever approach you use for the management of your business listings, remember that it is vital that your details must remain consistent wherever you use your citations and business listings. The search engines will not trust your listings if there are errors and inconsistencies and potential clients are even less inclined to figure out which of your details are accurate.

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