Have you been schooled in Local Search yet?A few members of Fathom attended the GetListed.org local university seminar. Local rankings have huge weight in the search results being that they are always near the top of the first page when a local keyword is entered. Since Google is so advanced, local results will even appear when it thinks you are searching for something local (Thank you Google for looking out for us). I probably don’t need to tell you this but over 90% of searchers click on the first 5 results on the first page. So you can conclude that many users look to the local listings for their link of choice.
What sites should I submit to?
There are thousands of local sites in the “web-iverse.” Your first priority is to be listed in the big players like Google Places, Bing Local Listing Center, Best of The Web and YellowPages.com. Often the big sites will already have your company listings, in which case CLAIM, CLAIM, CLAIM! If these locations go unclaimed they are able to be edited by anyone who comes to the page. Once you claim it you are the only one authorized to make changes. Once those are submitted and or claimed, you can search for more local sites and directories. There are also many niche local sites ideal for a specific industry. Nearly all industries are represented, it is important to be a part of those sites as well to show consistency and associate your business name with your industry as much as possible.
How do we become visible?
First, have a plan for your listing. Lay out and collect all the necessary information, images, videos, etc. to fill your local listing. It’s important to note that when optimizing, you should really put yourself in the user’s shoes. Ask yourself, what you would like to know? What is relevant to the user? Make it easy for them to use, find information and contact you. Not only will optimizing for your users pay off with prospective customers, it will also pay off with you rankings. Google and Bing are too far advanced for obvious spamming techniques. So be legitimate and you will be taken you seriously. This can lead you to the top.
Be consistent, meaning make sure your address, phone number, business hours, etc. are all the same across all the local listing domains. Target your categories based on your industry so that you can compete well. Make sure they are relevant to your industry and terms that are searched for by your market demographic.
One thing that really makes local search unique is reviews. Statistics show that 70% of users trust what customers say online even if they don’t know them. So work to gain citations, mentions, recognition and reviews. These also must be legitimate, users and Google will sniff out fake or paid for mentions and reviews. It’s as simple as asking your customers to review your site and you can even give them an incentive. Just make sure that they are stating that they were asked to do so in the review. These posts will get more respect than forced reviews. Good old fashioned customer service and consistency are your best friends when it comes to local search. Keep your customers happy and your information consistent and you should move up in the listings.
Learn more about Fathom’s local SEO services for businesses looking to get qualified local visitors that will convert.
Read other blog posts about local search engine optimization.