Posted on April 21, 2021 by Megan Davis Local listings may seem like an old book that you can put on a shelf, let it get covered in dust, and forget about. But local listings still matter. There are huge opportunities in making sure your business is correctly represented online through local listings. Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s start with some definitions. What are local search results? If you’ve ever searched ‘pizza near me’ while you’re at home and tried the same search while you’re out of town, you probably noticed that the search results you got were very different. That’s because Google’s results are greatly based on your geographical location. According to Google, “Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search.” What is Local SEO? Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an optimization strategy that helps increase your visibility in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) of a specific location. This is usually where your business is located or your services are offered. Example: Let’s say you have a local business, like a restaurant, or a store, or offer specific services within a specific area. You want your site to rank for relevant searches, performed by a local audience, and you can do this through local SEO. It may seem obvious that you would want to rank in your service areas, but let’s attach some real numbers and data in case you weren’t sold: 46% of all searches on Google are for a local business or local service. (SEO Roundtable) 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day. (Think with Google) There are a lot of important things to consider when working on a local SEO strategy. Here are just a few: Proximity of business from user’s search Website’s on-page and technical optimization Backlink profile Local listings GMB optimization Quality of content on site And so much more! We could spend all day getting into the details of these SEO tactics, but I want to focus on one that I see falling by the wayside far too often: Local Listings. What is a local listing? A Local Listing, or Citation, is the mention of your business’s name, address, and phone number on a third party site. This can also be referred to as a NAP – Name, Address, Phone number. Online citations can take a handful of different forms and could include any of the following: Company name Address Phone number Business hours Products Services Website link Social media links Images and/or videos Just to name a few, some popular third-party listing or directory sites include Yelp, Angies List, Tripadvisor, and BBB. But if you start looking around, you will find thousands of listing sites. These can take the form of a business directory, review site, industry-specific literature, local media outlets, social media pages, GMB, and more. The Nitty Gritty: Why do Local Listings Matter? Small businesses can gain a huge competitive advantage if their business is easily found in search. Remember the local stats from above? 46% of all searches on Google are for a local business or local service. (SEO Roundtable) That’s a lot of opportunities for your business to be found! Google and other search engines use local listings to verify data and provide users with the most accurate information. Once a citation has been indexed, it can act very much like a backlink and can help boost your local search rankings. Ensuring your listings are accurate is a critical component. Search engines rely on data for ranking purposes, so presenting accurate and consistent data matters. Let’s not forget about the users either – incorrect and incomplete data can lead to a loss of trust from them, too. In a study from Bright Local using 2018 data, they found: 93% of consumers say they are frustrated by incorrect information on an online directory 80% of consumers lose trust in a local business if they see incorrect or inconsistent contact details In the last year, 22% of consumers visited the wrong location for a business because the address was incorrect online Potential customers are more likely to abandon a platform and head for a competitor’s site if they think they’re being misled (intentionally or otherwise). Here is one more stat for those of you who still want to shelve local listings: A Yelp page is present in the top 5 results for 92% of search queries that contain a city and business category. While technical SEO and on-page optimization hold their own weight in your site’s success, local listings still matter. They can be the difference between being at the forefront of local searches or at the bottom of the heap where nobody is interested in clicking or converting. Get Found in Local Searches Managing local listings can be a daunting task. But luckily, we’ve found individuals who excel in finding, and fixing, those little details. If your local rankings have been slipping or you’re nowhere to be found, we can help. Get in touch with the local search gurus at Webfor.