You’ve probably been searching for something on Google near you like a restaurant or maybe something like “Italian food” and the first results on Google’s search is a map with a list of 3 to 5 Italian restaurants listed below it that are physically near your current location. That’s called a Local Pack SERP Feature. If you have a business and your business listing does not show up in Google’s search results in that same spot when someone searches for the category your business is in, Velocifox Digital can help get your business in Google’s top 5 search results or at least very close to it!
How to get started with Local Search Optimization
For this article, let’s assume that you are in “real estate” as an example.
As a Realtor, your business is as local as it gets and you are probably doing everything you can to optimize yourself locally in your market. This process is tough, very time-consuming, and technologically dense at times.
A lot of real estate agents think that they can’t do any search engine optimization (SEO) if they are using a template site or a site that doesn’t allow them to have access to the inner-workings and admin panels. While that’s true for traditional SEO, the rules for local SEO are completely different. You don’t have to have a website that allows you to edit anything for local SEO and you can do this no matter what kind of website you have. In fact, if all you have is a web page, a section on a website or a subdomain of your broker’s site, just buy a vanity domain name, redirect it to your page/section/subdomain URL, and use that.
Business Listings and Citations
To be able to do your own local optimization, you need to understand it a bit. Local optimization is mostly about acquiring as many online listings and citations for your business as possible. However, there are some conditions.
First, those business listings and citations need to be exact replicas of each other in terms of your business name, address, phone number, and website address. If one of your business citations lists your business address as, “201 S. Spring Ave, New York, NY 12345” and another one of your business citations lists your business address as, “201 South Spring Ave, New York, NY 12345” then you will lose some favor with search engines for a lack of accuracy and consistency.
Second, you’ll also need to ensure that you don’t have any duplicate listings or citations for your business on any given site because it could cause the search engines to assume you are trying to “game” the system by doing double-entry, but more commonly, it will just send mixed signals to the search engines about the credibility of your business by causing confusion about which business listing is accurate.
In terms of importance, there are about 150 business listing/citations websites that your business should have a listing with to be the most successful in terms of local organic optimization; however, it’s likely that even your strongest competitors only have listings on about 50 of them. By getting as many listings and citations as possible for your business, making sure they are all 100% identical, and deleting any duplicate listings or citations, you’ll either start showing up in your relevant local search results, or you’ll at least get much closer, depending on the competition in your area.
Listing and Citation Websites
Here’s a short list of listing/citation websites:
- Infogroup (aggregator)
- Factual (aggregator)
- Best of the Web
- Acxiom (aggregator)
- Yellow Pages
- Neustar (aggregator)
- Apple Maps
- Brown Book
A lot of these sites cost money, but quite a few are free. Several of them also require phone verification for the phone number you’re submitting as your business phone number. To list your business, simply follow the instructions for each site.
More is better!
Remember that you want to try to flesh out your listings as much as possible. For sites that allow photos, add photos! For sites that allow a description of your business, add a description. And for sites that allow you to add your business hours, add your hours! The more sites you have listings/citations on, and the more information you add to each listing/citation, the better your rankings will be. Just remember to always keep your basic business information (your business name, your business address, your phone number, and your website URL) exactly the same on every site.
Need help with your SEO?
SEO is one of the most important long-term investments you can make for your business, but because the work is so tedious and specialized, there are plenty of companies out there who overcharge for it. SEO is very time consuming and most business owners don’t have the time to dedicate to it, but the more you know, the better off you are when hiring a marketing company to handle your SEO.