Why Are Local Listings Important for SEO?
There are many ways for local businesses to increase their visibility online, but few are as effective as investing in local search engine optimization (SEO). This is because prospective customers use local search to find businesses in their area, making local SEO a great source of highly targeted traffic.
But ranking in local search isn’t always easy, especially if you’re trying to compete with larger, more established businesses. That’s why building out your local listings is important when it comes to increasing your site’s authority and giving it a leg up in the search results.
Find out what local listings are, what types of listings exist, and how to use them to improve your local SEO.
What Is a Local Listing/Citation?
A local listing (or local citation) is an online mention of the name, address, phone number, or website for a local business. These listings can occur in local directories, on websites or blogs, on social media, or within apps.
Local listings help users find local businesses and can affect a business’s traffic earning potential. By building out local listings, businesses can potentially increase their search engine rankings and attract more customers.
Types of Local Listings
Local businesses can actively submit and manage their online listings through the use of local directories and citation tools. Typically, this involves submitting your business’s details and contact information to a variety of listings and aggregators.
Local businesses can often seek to build out listings in directories specific to their particular industry. This might include certain professional organizations, magazines, or review sites.
Likewise, businesses can submit their information to geo-specific directories like Chamber of Commerce websites to be referenced alongside other local businesses in their area.
Major Business Data Platforms/Aggregators
There are quite a few top-tier business data aggregation sites and directories that allow businesses to create profiles and drive traffic. These platforms include Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo! Business, Acxiom, Localeze, Yelp, and more. Businesses can also submit their information to review-oriented sites like Facebook and the Yellow Pages.
Websites, Blogs, and Publications
Finally, businesses can also build out or earn supplementary citations via news sites, blogs, online magazines, apps, government websites, and more. Businesses can earn these listings naturally through visibility and reputation, or they can submit them manually by creating a profile or conducting outreach.
Managing Your Local Listings
Note that many citations are earned through the automatic aggregation of data from major business data platforms to lower-tier directories. Smaller directories and websites can pick up this data from larger directories like Infogroup or through aggregators like Yext or Moz Local.
That’s why it’s important for businesses to manage their local listings, so they can control the spread of data (or misinformation) to other websites. If their business name, address, phone number, or website are incorrect and this data is circulated across the web, this can hurt their rankings, traffic, and revenue.
The best thing to do when you see incorrect information about your business online is to reach out to the directory or website and request to fix the errors. Sometimes submitting a change is simple and other times it is quite difficult – this all depends on the platform.
What Are the Components of a Local Listing?
The main components of a local listing are the business’s name, address, phone number, and website URL (NAPW). Most listings have at least this information, but will likely include some additional information, such as:
- Business description
- Business category
- Company photos
- Hours of operation
- Payment forms accepted
- Holiday hours
- Customer reviews
- Links to social platforms
- Email address
We recommend that you fill out as many of these components as possible – to the best of your ability – so you provide valuable information to potential customers. At the same time, this information helps Google gain a better understanding of your business, helping the algorithm determine how to rank your site in the search results.
Why Local Listings Matter for SEO
Local listings matter for SEO in that they help drive high-authority backlinks and increase a company’s visibility in the local search results.
Note that not every local listing will include a backlink to your website (or if it does, it won’t always offer that coveted “link juice”), but at the very least it will direct more users to your business and indicate to Google that your business is the real deal.
Local listings are important for SEO because they:
- Provide valuable information about your business to prospective customers
- Increase your business’s visibility in local search
- Increase your chances of outranking your local competitors
- Drive traffic and customers to your business
- Attract links back to your website
- Give customers a place to provide a review of your business
- Increase your brand’s authority and build trust with your audience
The more online indicators that prove that your business exists, is established in a local area, and is open for business, the more likely it is that your website will rank higher in the search results.
Therefore, you should invest in your local SEO to attract as much traffic and customers as possible!