Consumers are constantly searching online for local business information on their computers and phones. There are search engines, review sites, social media platforms, online directories, maps, niche-specific search engines, and more. If you’re wondering whether your business listing matters, the answer is YES! Read on to learn about why business listings matter when trying to rank on search engines, attract customers, and stand out from your competition.
Related: Business Listings eBook (free download)
Why Business Listings Matter
The short version of why business listings matter is because they help you to earn trust from and get discovered by search engines and customers. Let’s dive into the details.
Business Listings Impact SEO
Local search experts agree that your business listing is one of the critical factors that impact your ranking in local search results, along with reviews, social media activity, incoming links, user actions and more. While customers may be able use some judgment to determine whether they have found the correct business, it’s much more difficult for search engines.
When your business is listed on a search site, review site or business directory, this is typically referred to as a “citation”. Citations are thought to be important for ranking in Google’s local search results. The more links from established sites you have to your website the better because this increases the certainty that the contact information is correct.
Listings Help You Get More Customers
The greater the visibility of your business info online, the greater your chances to attract new customers. Set up complete profiles/listings on review sites (Yelp, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor), social media platforms (setting up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles), map apps (Google Maps, Bing Maps), and online yellow pages (Dex, YP, Hibu). The more places you are listed online, the greater the chances of your business showing up for a search for the products and services you offer.
Making Your Listing Matter to Search Engines
Each business listing you create is an online footprint for your business and another route for customers to find you. In order to get your business to show up in searches, you need to be as consistent as possible. This means business name, address, and phone number.
When your business name is different on two or more listing platforms, Google often views these listings as two separate businesses. This will negatively impact your ranking on search engines. For example: If your business name reads “Lola’s Salon” on one listing site but “Lola’s Salon & Style” on another, you are causing confusion for search engines.
Search engines can distinguish minor inconsistencies in the way an address is written, for example when abbreviations are used in an address. Small details like different street numbers and outdated addresses matter and need to be paid close attention.
While it’s good to use tracked phone lines for different marketing campaigns, you’ll want to keep your phone number accurate consistent on directories. This helps search engines further validate your business and serve it up in results.
Monitor and Maintain
There is a lot of opportunity for inconsistency, such as if your business has moved, your phone number has changed, or someone submitted your listing incorrectly. Make yourself a cheat sheet of how you want your name, address, phone number and website to be listed and monitor your listings regularly.
Making Your Listing Matter to Your Audience
It’s important to have consistent and accurate listings for search engines but even more importantly, for your audience. If people find two separate locations for your business, they won’t know which is correct and might choose the competition instead.
If they find your business listed under one name on a map app, and then look it up on Yelp to find it titled slightly differently, how can the be sure if they’re looking at the same business?
Your listing is like a storefront—a messy or neglected one will drain the confidence in your business out of customers.
Include a Website Link
Be sure include your website link in your listings, not a Facebook link. Consumers expect businesses today to have a website and sending them to Facebook is an easy way to send them away.
If you don’t have a category listed for your business, you will miss the opportunity to show up in search results for the categories of your business and services. Even worse, the wrong category will turn away customers. Of course, the categories must be relevant to your business. Google allows 10 categories, while Yelp and Facebook allow 3 categories.
Make Sure Customers Can Find What They Are Looking For
Today, consumers have information at their fingertips and want answers quickly. Once consumers find your business listing, make sure you offer enough info to turn them into customers. Complete your listing with all the information your customers are looking for, including:
- Where is this business and how do I get there?
- When are they open?
- What do they offer?
- How can I make a reservation, an appointment or ask a question?
- What’s the menu, and how do I order?
- What do others say about this business?
Making Your Listing Matter to Your Competition
When it comes to distinguishing your business from competitors, enhancing your listing can help:
- Put some effort into adding images to your business listing that represent your business well.
- Add coupons or offers where possible. Many sites now provide these options.
- Keep an eye on your reviews. Google and Yelp reviews now show in search results and maps.
- Include a business description that captures the spirit of your business and is inviting.
Here’s an example of a descriptive and complete business listing:
This business offers a deal and check-in promotion on Yelp to stand out
If you haven’t gotten the point already, your business listing matters. For more tips, tricks, and info on leveraging your online listings for business growth, download our free eBook below: