Together, Local Business Listings and SEO Get Results

The longevity and prosperity of local businesses is largely determined by the ranking, reputation, and revenue they generate over time. There are many ways to maximize ranking, reputation, and revenue, but inclusion in local business listings, both in print and online, remains one of the most effective and essential strategies to increase visibility and enhance bottom line results.

The Evolution of Local Business Listings

Local business listings provide the foundation for successful business marketing. In fact, listed businesses have significantly higher ranking, reputation, and revenue than their unlisted counterparts; especially if they are listed on multiple online platforms. Today, internet marketing is all but a necessity for local businesses. If your brick and mortar business does not also have a robust online presence, it might as well be invisible to consumers. But, how exactly did we get here and what are the advantages of web-based listings? Let’s explore the evolution of business listings, including their ubiquitous online presence, in more detail.

In many ways, phone books were the progenitors of contemporary search engines like Google and Yahoo. Prior to the advent of the internet and the smartphone, the Yellow Pages were our main source of information for local businesses, products, and services. For local business owners, paid advertising in the Yellow Pages was the single most effective way to increase visibility among consumers. Over time, savvy business owners expanded their marketing efforts to include additional forms of offline advertisement such as newspapers, brochures, coupons, radio ads, and television commercials

While many of these marketing strategies remain prevalent, the growing consensus among business owners and marketing experts is that traditional, offline advertising is costly, competitive, and untenable in the long-term. Our fingers may still be doing the walking, so to speak, but customers no longer need to leaf through print brochures, directories, magazines, or newspapers to find the local businesses they need. In the Information Age, consumers anywhere can, with a few quick keystrokes, instantly connect with local businesses via digital listings on major platforms like Bing Places for Business and Google My Business Listing. Welcome to the future!

The Internet is Open for Business… Local Listings

Smartphones, tablets, and PCs have facilitated a vast and virtually constant online presence. Consider the following statistics: 96% of local searches are conducted by PC owners; 64% of local customers use search engines and directories to find local businesses; 50% of local mobile searchers search for business information (company name, address, or number); and 46% of all Google searches are local.* These statistics suggest that customers use the internet exponentially more than any other medium to search for local businesses.

Online listings are popular, in part, because they combine aspects of both digital and print marketing into one comprehensive index. Moreover, inclusion in many online directories like Bing Places for Business, Foursquare, Google My Business Listing, and Yelp is free. Whichever platform(s) you use to market your business, the
following components should be included**:

  • Business name/title
  • Address
  • Phone/fax number
  • Website URL
  • Categories
  • Description
  • Tagline
  • Social profiles
  • Images
  • Additional media
  • Certifications
  • Brands carried
  • Payment types accepted
  • Attributes

 

Done correctly, local business listings are extremely informative. From a single listing, customers can discover your business, find out where it is located, learn what products and services are offered, what offers and promotions are available, who the core clientele is, and how satisfied former and current customers are. Many local listings also support images, videos, virtual tours, and live links to social media profiles, thus enabling customers to interact with the business and/or business representatives directly.

Local Listing, Local Business Listing, Local SEO
Local Business Listing for SEO

The quality of your business listing is directly related to your search engine optimization and how well you use keywords and key phrases. SEO is an essential component of improving your local search engine rankings and driving search traffic to your website. The more consistent and comprehensive your business listing, the higher your ranking, reputation, and revenue.

Choose Platforms with Caution

Digital listings have certainly revolutionized how local businesses promote their products and services. That said, however, the advertising potential of local business listings is contingent upon the platform(s) you use. A strong online presence is important, so you must choose local business directories that will enhance your Local SEO efforts. Ideally, you want your business information listed on platforms that generate high volumes of search traffic. Presence on major directories such as Bing Places for Business, Google My Business Listing, Google+, Facebook, Foursquare, Superpages, and Yelp means your business will be visible to a vast audience of local searchers.

Anyone who has performed a search for a local business recently knows the extent to which local directories dominate the initial pages of their search results. It stands to reason, then, that local directory marketing has a higher conversion rate than most other advertising options. Listing your business in the most relevant, quality directories increases the probability that your business will be searched for, and found by, the quality – and qualified – customers you want. As your business gains traction and spreads across the web, you can join more niche platforms specific to the industry and geography of your company.

Any data published about your business, whether in print or online, impacts the ranking, reputation, and revenue generated by your company. For this very reason, no local business owner can afford to publish information that is inconsistent or incorrect. In order for local business listings to be truly valuable, all data must be accurate, complete, and easily searchable. For best results, you would do well to hire a professional digital marketing company with the expertise to support all aspects of your online advertising, to include:

  • Ad design and development
  • Content development enhanced for SEO
  • Placement of the ad on the local listing directories of your choice
  • Monitoring and tracking how well your ad performs, and adjusting as necessary to improve results

 

If you need assistance creating an online listing for your local business, Perfexion, Inc. is here to help. Our qualified professionals specialize in managing and maximizing clients’ web content, ranking, and search results traffic.

Contact us to learn more!

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* https://www.brightlocal.com/about-local-seo/
** https://moz.com/learn/seo/local-business-listing-components

SEO in Non Techy Terms

What is SEO? SEO Basics

Search Engine Optimization – SEO – is a tool used by web developers and digital marketers. Its purpose is to enhance the visibility of a website or web page in search engine results so that, when a user performs a search using their preferred search engine – Google, Yahoo, or Bing – the website or information the user searched for appears at or near the top of the list on the search engine results page, or SERP.

When a user performs a search, they enter a word or series of words in their search engine’s search box and wait for the search engine to provide its results. The words a user types are called keywords, and users generally know the keywords they type should be specific, rather than general, to get the best results from their search. For example, if a user enters the word “sweater,” they’ll receive hundreds of billions of results. But, if they enter “fuchsia cardigan sweater under $20 in size 8,” the number of results returned decreases considerably.

This type of search query is called a natural search, and the results returned are called organic or unpaid search results. In a matter of seconds, or split seconds, search engines process through billions of entries in their index and return results that are the most relevant to the search terms used. They analyze the keywords entered as well as the larger context of the query to match these with websites, web pages, etc., that are useful, informational, and relevant. These results are typically listed on the left-hand side of the search engine results page. Websites and webpages with a well-organized, well-managed SEO strategy have increased chances of appearing at or near the top of the list on SERP.

SEO Algorithm & Strategy

Early on, SEO relied on the repeated use of keywords and links in web pages. Copywriters crammed pages with keywords to the point the content was both awkward and poorly written – all in an attempt to outsmart the likes of Google. In time, search engines saw what was happening and updated and changed their search algorithms. In effect, so users would be satisfied with the search results they received and so businesses would improve the content on their websites and basically have to compete to appear high on the SERPs.

If you’re starting to see a connection between users, websites, search engines, and search engine results pages, it’s because one exists. A user performs a query using certain key words and phrases. A website is written and designed in anticipation of how a user – the business’s target audience or customer – searches for the product/service offering or information provided on the website. Search engines look for web content that contains indicators of value in response to the user’s search, such as links, images, and other relevant content on a website. The SERP lists websites/web pages that have the highest SEO relevance and value based on 1) how the user queried and 2) how valuable web content is.

SEO for Beginners, SEO Best Practices, What is SEO
SEO for Beginners, SEO Best Practices, What is SEO

SEO Strategy

The successful marketing of any business online requires a thoughtful SEO strategy. SEO requires business owners and marketers to fully understand their audience – both existing customers and their target market – and work to align web content to react appropriately to what the customer wants and how they ask for it.

Businesses need to closely examine just how their target market searches for products/services online. Today, SEO and the power behind search engines go far beyond filling a web page with keywords and matching a user’s search terms with the keywords on the website. That is because search engines rely on more than keywords when providing results to a query. They look for web content that is appealing. Content must be useful, informative, and interesting. It must respond to whatever type of request a user makes, whether it is to buy a product, solve a problem, learn how to do something, hire a service, watch a video, and more.

While SEO values the content that is visible on-screen, that is, the words, images, etc., everything that goes on behind the scenes – technical SEO – is equally important. Technical SEO is what helps search engines crawl to your website and index it. Web developers, those who handle the technical aspects of SEO, understand the techniques search engines use to access and crawl to websites, and they make sure their clients’ websites are in alignment with those techniques.

SEO Audit & Strategies

Developers are necessary for improving SEO for a variety of reasons, such as conducting SEO audits to locate issues that impede crawling; eliminating duplicate content; fixing errors; and making sure content all links and pages work the way they’re supposed to. They, along with digital marketing experts, follow all trends, practices, and updates relating to search engine optimization. As experts, they understand the trends and how they relate to the digital marketing efforts of their clients.

The web developers at Perfexion, Inc. specialize in SEO and the entire gamut of online marketing channels and strategies. They pride themselves on ensuring clients’ SEO and digital marketing efforts perform at optimum levels and that their digital marketing investment always provides a positive return. We are a Philadelphia based web design and development company located in Plymouth Meeting just outside King of Prussia.

Contact Us Today!

WEBSITE pfxn.com
E-MAIL hello@pfxn.com
CALL 610-783-7660
SAY HELLO