At least once per day, 87% of smartphone owners use a search engine. And in America specifically, 60% of all adults are using their smartphone or tablets to search for information on local products or services. In fact, 50% of all online searches are done with local results in mind.
The takeaway? Local results are a huge part of the search landscape, and that means local SEO needs to be a major focus of your overall SEO strategy.
So what is it that effects local SEO? How do you make sure that people searching for your business locally find the information that you want them to, and that your business comes up first?
It’s All About The NAP
The most important information when it comes to local SEO is a business’s NAP – Name, Address, Phone Number. NAP is so important for a few reasons. For one, it represents the information that searchers are most likely searching for. Half of local-mobile searchers say that when they search for a local business, they are looking for information like a local address or phone number. 68% percent of local searchers have let the information take them directly to action by using a “click to call” or “get directions” button. That’s probably why search engines value NAP so highly.
Yet despite this, Search Engine Land says that of over 350 small businesses surveyed, nearly half have never updated their listing information online. The problem isn’t that they don’t know this information is important (85% say it is), nor that they aren’t aware of errors (50% say they are). The main problem, at least for 70% of respondents, seems to be that they don’t have the time.
So, if time is your concern, let’s make this simple. Here are the two areas you should focus on first and foremost when it comes to your location listings.
In one form or another, accuracy of NAP information represents three of the top ten negative ranking factors for local SEO. That means having an absence of NAP or inaccurate information can really hurt.
Your business information is likely going to show up in several places across the internet, from Google, to Yelp, to TripAdvisor, to Facebook and even your own website. Accurate NAP is one of the best ways for search engines to verify that your business is a legitimate business listing that is not misleading to searchers. Anything that might mislead or confuse searchers is noted and weighed by search engines.
Not only does your NAP information need to be accurate on all web directories your business is present on, it also needs to be consistent across all of these directories. That means not just the directories you think are most important, or want people to use, or actually remember signing up for – it means all of them.
This can be harder than you might think, since it requires knowing about/remembering all business listings and updating them every time your business moves, if you ever change your business phone number you want displayed, or if you ever make any changes to your business name. Even small changes like adding an apostrophe can create damaging inconsistencies.
While Name, Address and Phone number are some of the most important pieces of information for your business location listings, they aren’t by any means the only information that appear in directories. Website, hours of operation, pricing, forms of payment accepted – are all just some of the types of information you might be able to provide, depending on the directory. But the more of this information you fill out, the greater ability you give searches to find your business based on these requirements, and the higher you show up in search rankings. The same goes for information on your social media channels, as searchers may go there for information about your business before ever landing at your website.
In conclusion, your location listings across the web can be a huge boon to your business, and are crucial for your local SEO, but you have to be diligent in making sure you provide as much information as possible for each listing, and that the information you provide is both accurate and consistent across all listings. Every touchpoint people have with our brand should be constant and reinforce that you are a professional company that is deserving of their trust. This is just one of the necessary steps in doing so.
Contact 10twelve to discuss a professional location listing profile build out and implementation on over 100 of the top location listing platforms.