If you haven’t heard the buzz already, Google and other major search engines have started to pay a lot more attention to local searches. There’s a good reason why: 70% of all internet searches are for local businesses and 59% of Internauts use Google every month to find a local business.
And what we are finding is that a lot of people have neglected to register their website (for free) with the major data directories. Google scans those directories (aka “data aggregators“) to identify the local companies that are relevant to what you are searching.
See, Google knows where you are located based on your IP address and many other factors. If Google knows that you are currently in Miami, it makes a lot of sense for Google to show you search results with companies located in Miami instead of a company located in Orlando.
The good news is that its easy and “mostly” free to do it. Now it’s easy but very time consuming and can be frustrating at time when you have duplicate or listings with errors. Patience will be required, and getting it fixed overnight will take about 2-3 months.
Don’t do Internet Marketing SEO until your local listings are fixed
It will be counter productive. Just consider Local Listings as the foundation for SEO. If you don’t have a proper foundation, you will never be able to build a solid house. Being listed to the 14 major Web directories creates valuable links back to your business’s website. This helps your corporate website with more search authority and relevancy while helping you rank better with your keywords.
Why is it important
Take Ownership: you want to take ownership of your local listing to protect yourself from someone else trying to pretend to be you, or redirecting traffic to them.
Better Ranking: getting your local listing in order will be very helpful in having your website rank for your keywords.
Be a step ahead of your competition: or maybe level the playing field if your competition has corrected their local listings. There’s nothing wrong with checking how your competitors is doing with local listings. If they are doing very good, they are most likely eating your lunch. If they are doing poorly, you will soon be ranking better than they are.
How to fix your local listing
There are several tools you can use to help you get your local listing in order:
(Note: having a local listing does require a valid local address (no PO Box) and a valid local business number.)
1-Moz Local (https://moz.com/local/overview)
Simply click on the “Check my listing score”, enter your company name & zip code, and Moz will show you the companies that are listed with that description.
Click on your company name and you will get a score in % of accuracy. Anything below 50% is not good at all, between 50-70% is okay but needs to be fixed, anything above 80% and you are in fairly good shape. Of course, you want to get as close to 100% as you can.
Moz charges a small yearly fee of $49/year and is connected to 5 of the major data aggregator (Infogroup, Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual)
You can do the same by adding your business name & business phone number to check your results. Personally I prefer Moz because they focus on the major directories where Yext adds many listings that are quite frankly irrelevant.
Yext charges over $500/year and is connected to only 1 of the major data agreegator
Here is a good article showing a good in depth comparaison of Moz, Yext and a few other similar systems.
Based on our study, we highly recommend Moz Local to fix your local listings.