Google, and other major search engines, favor local search optimization (especially for businesses) because a large number of searches conducted online are for local information.

Local SEO is a really important part of any Internet marketing or search optimization strategy.

Not only because of the search engines’ bias in favor of local results, but also because attracting a local audience is simply more valuable for most businesses.

This article shows how important it is to create and maintain a wide array of local business listings for great local SEO, and how to manage and maintain these listings to drive high converting traffic from local search.


Business listings & local SEO

The reason business listings in various directories are so important is that Google, and other search engines, use that information all the time.

Search engines love information

Local, niche directories are a rich source of data for the search engines that they can use to verify or contrast with the information in their own indexes.

Because of this, citations (listings that use a business name, phone, and address) need to be uniform and accurate, as far as possible, across the board.

Along with all the major business listing sites that everyone knows about (i.e. foursquare, MapQuest, Yellow Pages, etc), it is also important to find a good selection of really local, and preferably niche, directories to add listings.

Business listings are a source of reviews

Many people leave comments and reviews of a company off-site (i.e. they don’t want to post it to your business), so they leave them at their source of reference (i.e. the business listing where they found you).

Obviously, customer reviews are sheer gold for ravenous search engines looking to assign page rank and quality ratings to your business website.

And, while it can be a chore to manage and maintain the various business listings scattered across the Web, at least knowing which ones are out of date or missing can help focus your energy.

Local listings are high converting

Think about someone driving through town and searching for something like “takeout pizza [town]“.

The chances are that a search like that is going to end in a conversion because that person is looking for a specific product in a specific place, right now.

Local listings (and by extension, local SEO) are really valuable precisely because they tends to cater for people’s immediate needs better than more generic search terms.

This makes it all the more important that your business has a presence in as many local listing directories (that are of good quality) as possible, and that the information provided is up-to-date, accurate and uniform.

Anything less, and you’ll start losing one of the most valuable slices of the search traffic pie to competitors across the road.

Given the important of local listings and local SEO, it is worthwhile looking at how to manage and maintain everything better than the business next door, in order to get your nose out in front of local searches.

Managing and maintaining accurate business listings

Around 70% of all business listings contain inaccurate information leading directly to a loss in revenue. Worse than the immediate loss in revenue is the frustration and irritation caused by bad business information, that reflects poorly on your business (before the customer has even had a chance to interact with you).

  • 43% of business listings have a missing or incorrect physical address
  • nearly 20% are missing a URL or Web address
  • 18% are missing a phone number, or have the wrong number listed

Missing or outdated business listing information is tantamount to throwing money down the drain – especially for businesses that rely on the Internet (which to some degree or another, is all business).

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