Marketing online is not new. Most businesses are marketing online in some way – email, social, blogs, web sites or in some other way.
Local advertising, however, is only recently getting attention. Yelp has a growing following of local businesses, Google Local Search is the king of this space and other companies are providing local listings, including Yahoo and the Yellow Pages.
The problem for some businesses is that when they submit their listings they use one name for listing A, another name (similar but different) than listing B and so on and so forth.
Localeze offers 10 tips to ensure that when you market your business in local search engines you’re listing is not penalized or taken down due to incorrect listings.
Provide a consistent Name, Address, or Phone number (NAP)
If a business is self-submitting to local search platforms and social networks, it is important not to use variations in core listings information – NAP – as this can create multiple versions of a local business’ online identity and make it difficult for local search platforms to verify the identity of a business.
Update listings on all major Local Search platforms
By submitting business listings only to sites like Google Maps, a local business establishes their “true core identity” in only one place and may miss the opportunity to be found on other major search engines, Internet Yellow Pages, social networks and vertical directories.
Do not confuse business listings with paid search advertising
Paid search campaigns do not take the place of local search listings. Even if a business has a banner ad or paid search campaign, they need to incorporate a business listings identity management strategy into their marketing campaign.
Don’t just submit local search business listings; actively manage over time
Businesses need to proactively manage their listings and make updates when a location moves, closes or opens. It is crucial to check in to re-verify periodically even if nothing has changed, so that local search platforms have a higher level of confidence that listings are accurate.
Avoid using a P.O. Box number
A physical address to a true business location should be included in local business listings when possible, because some search engines do not recognize P.O. Box numbers. Those businesses with only a P.O. Box number should provide the physical address that was used to set-up the P.O. Box.
Don’t ignore long-tail directories
Businesses shouldn’t forget about the dozens of long-tail directories that provide added exposure to consumers and serve as a reference-source for major local search platforms to verify and link business listings information.
Don’t change the company’s business listing name for SEO
Local businesses shouldn’t add marketing language, descriptive keywords or branding into their company name for their business listings. This creates confusion of a business’ core NAP identity. Most local search platforms provide areas to add descriptive keywords and text to accommodate extended information.
Don’t replace your primary phone number or URL with tracking numbers or URLs
If done so, tracking phone numbers and URLs cause a listing to appear inconsistent and can confuse local search platforms during the verification process. Call tracking phone numbers and URLs should be utilized in paid advertisements, but businesses need to be wary of improper use that can confuse a business listing’s identity.
Think long-term versus short-term
Managing business listings requires a long-term strategy for maintaining information across many local search platforms. Businesses need to take a strategic approach of managing their listings and remember that submitting content once—and only in one or two places—isn’t enough.
Establish an internal business listings identify management guru
Business-managed listings are very important to local search platforms, provided the manager of the information is authorized, valid and up-to-speed on best practices. Typically, marketing and/or Internet marketing specialists are ideal to handle the ongoing maintenance of listings. Make sure to designate a guru within the organization no matter the size.
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