Everywhere you look in the marketing world, people are talking about search engine optimization. Prominent and successful SEO is the digital equivalent of having an inflatable gorilla in front of your store to attract foot traffic: it’s all about grabbing attention.
Getting profitable web traffic isn’t just about numbers. It’s about quality.
Not only do you want to attract new readers, but you want readers who are likely to become customers. That means you need local users, and your local SEO makes that happen.
Because local listings are among the most crucial aspects of your SEO, you don’t want to miss these local listings management tips.
Go Hunting and Claim Everything
The first step to managing your local listings is finding those listings in the first place.
Scour the web to find your listings on every directory you can find. Many of these platforms let you claim and verify your listings so you can manage them, so that’s the next step.
As you hunt, make a spreadsheet. Include URLs for all the listings you find, and note whether you’ve claimed them.
When you’re done, go through that list and make sure you have listings on the most popular sites. That includes Google My Business, Yelp, and YP. Think about any major directories in your field too.
If you don’t have listings on those major sites, create them yourself. Sometimes you need to go through one process to create the listings and a separate process to claim them.
Look for Accuracy
As you find and create all those directory listings, check all the data for accuracy. Most listings will include your website, address, business name, phone number, and business hours at a minimum.
For any listings that have incorrect or incomplete information, update them. Having consistent information gives you a more credible online image and ensures that customers can reach you no matter where they find you.
Any time your business’s details change, you’ll be glad you have that spreadsheet. It makes it easy to click into each one and update the information.
Schedule in Your Local Listings Management
Most local listings allow customers to post reviews. For many businesses, the hardest part of local listings management is keeping up with those reviews.
Some directories will send you an email when a customer posts a new review on your listing and some won’t. Never assume you’ll get a notification. As busy as you are, all you need is a few minutes every couple of weeks to check for new reviews.
Set up a recurrent note on your to-do list every two weeks. With that spreadsheet in hand, all you need to do is click into each listing to check for new reviews. If you don’t have time, it’s an easy task to delegate too.
Respond to Every Review
Speaking of reviews, starting today, respond to each one.
For positive reviews, all you need is a quick note to thank the reviewer for their kind words and to say that you look forward to serving them again.
Negative reviews are more tricky, but business owners tend to overthink them.
With negative reviews, don’t go into details or get into a keyboard fight. Be compassionate and voice that you’ve heard their concerns. Then invite them to contact you to discuss the issue further or let them know that you’ll be in touch.
When you’re responding to reviews, remember that other potential customers will read it. In fact, your response is more for them than it is for the reviewer. You want to send the message that you’re listening and you care about making customers happy.
Take Advantage of What Your Listings Offer
Every directory has its own set of features and if you don’t use them, you’re leaving opportunities on the table.
For example, Google My Business allows you to publish posts, similar to social media posts.
Take the time to get to know each of your local listings and how to best take advantage of them. Creating posts about your latest blogs and new services can provide helpful links to your site.
For some listings, you can pair them with your social media profiles. For others, you can enable a messaging option which lets customers connect with you directly on the listing.
As you do this, prioritize your time. Start with directories that get high traffic like Google and Yelp. Dedicate plenty of time to these listings and work your way down to the lesser-known ones.
Consider All Your Options
Managing your local listings is one of those situations in which you get out of it what you put into it. Making the most of every listing takes a lot of time, upkeep, and attention.
If you don’t have room in your schedule, you always have the option of hiring a professional. There are SEO professionals and tools to focus on any specific area you choose, including your local listings.
Becoming a Local Legend
We won’t lie: improving your local SEO is a big task. It takes work on your own site and on other websites like local directories. Like your general SEO, it’s an ongoing job that requires upkeep if you want to keep your results.
Consistent and thoughtful local listings management is one of the most important things you can do for your local SEO. The tips above will help you find and make the most of all your listings.
Still, local listings are one piece of the larger puzzle of SEO. To continue boosting your web presence, start buying text links and furthering your knowledge about SEO with our tools.