The Role Business Listing Health Plays in Local SEO
Do you know if your business listings are correct? Why should you even care? We are going to investigate the importance of ensuring your listings are up-to-date, uniform and how often they can change if you are not monitoring them. This has a major impact on your practices local search engine optimization and showing up first in google search results.
First off, what are business listings?
Business listings are the contact details of your practice or business listed online. The most common and recognizable listing is your Google Knowledge Graph (pictured). Typically most businesses verify and update at least this listing, however, most don’t take advantage of some of the visual features (such as adding images) that can greatly increase your monthly impressions and interaction (calls, requests for directions, etc.). In fact, businesses with this additional visual content receive a whopping 416% more interaction. However, did you know there are 80+ additional review and listing sites out there???
Why Should I Care? Especially if I have never heard of the listing platform?
While it’s true many of the listing platforms you need to verify, update and monitor are not recognizable to the general public and do not receive the traffic or reviews that the likes of Yelp, Facebook or Google, they are just as important nonetheless. This is because the high-trafficked platforms are constantly checking the accuracy of their information against smaller listing sites such as SuperPages, WhitePages and Citysearch and visa versa to ensure the best search experience possible. The more uniform your listings are and the more platforms you are on the greater confidence Google has that the information they deliver on your business is accurate. Therefore, the more likely they are to return your listing if it pertains to the person’s search query.
How do I go about correcting all those listings?
First, you cannot fix anything if you don’t know where to start. Start by running your business through a free listing scan to get an instant snapshot of the health of your listing and review status, what errors are present and how you compare to other businesses in your area. Once you have accomplished this there are two different ways to go about fixing existing errors. One, which I have personally done many times for clients over the years, is the good old fashion manual process. Just as you might suspect it’s a nightmare, not to mention I have had many corrected listing reverts back to previous information whipping out all the time and effort you spent updating them. Also, it is a downright pain claiming most of these listings. Many require you to jump through hoops. The second option is to automate 80-90% of the process via software or online solutions. Relative to the time it takes to update all of these platforms this is by far the most cost and time effective method. Lucky for your business in recent years the second option has become more readily available and cost-effective with many agencies offering such services.
Once I have updated or corrected my listings, why should I continue to monitor?
Once you have claimed, corrected or bolstered the information across your listings your job has just begun! Why? Because your listings can change or errors can pop up as often as 1X week (check out the example above for proof)! If you are trying to manually handle the monitoring process it would take hours of time to visit each of these sites, login, and verify accuracy. Again, this is where a business listing monitoring & management software comes in handy.
Just like you should not ignore your credit score you definitely cannot ignore the health of your online business listings. To get started it’s as simple as putting your business through a free scan. While it will not guarantee your business will be on the first page of Google it is a substantial step in the right direction. SEO is like a credit score, not one single thing gets you a perfect score but there are two or three things that make up a large percentage. It starts with business listings and if you want to know about the role reviews play in local SEO read our new post.