In the last few years, “near me” searches for businesses have increased by over 500%, making search engine optimization (SEO) more important than ever for local businesses. However, when someone hears the term SEO, many automatically assume we are talking about website optimization. However, it applies to a variety of other things like business listings on sites like Facebook and Google.
Business Listing Optimization
It might seem unimportant, but how your information is entered and displayed on the internet can significantly impact your business’s ability to rank in local search. Read on for a few tips on how to format your listing for optimal impact!
Where Should I Start?
Google is the dominant player in local search, and typically establishes best practices. Luckily, they offer a complete overview of their suggested general guidelines to follow, which can be critical for your listing’s optimization. Directing your attention to how you fill out your Google My Business listing is a great place to begin because it can immediately improve its ranking ability and also help increase your website’s visibility in local search.
Now while Google may lead in the local search game, it is also important not to neglect other platforms such as Bing Local, Facebook, and Yahoo Local. Consistency across all online listings will impress algorithms and show credibility to your customers.
PRO TIP: Once you’ve filled out your Google My Business listing, create a document containing the exact wording of each section you filled in. This resource will serve as an excellent reference as you update and add other listings. Plus, you can lessen the likelihood of typos, misinformation, and inconsistencies across platforms by copying and pasting the data.
What Should You Include in My Business Listing?
While each listing site asks for slightly different information, here’s a quick overview of the main components your listing needs to have.
Unsurprisingly, your business name serves as the primary way consumers will search for your listing. As a best practice, use your real-world business name exactly as it appears on your signage and logo. If you have multiple locations, such as franchises, it’s important not to add geographical terms or locations to your listing name. For example, instead of using Karen’s Cafe – Main Street, instead keep it just Karen’s Cafe.
When adding your business address, Google asks that you place your street address in line one, and any suite or mailbox numbers in line two. Unstaffed virtual offices or PO boxes should not be included, and don’t require their listings either.
For service area businesses – such as electricians or plumbers that service multiple geographic areas – your listing should only include your main office’s address, not each location you serve.
PRO TIP: While it may sound nitpicky, try to be consistent with the little things when writing your address with abbreviations or spelling out numbers.
Google guidelines request businesses to use phone numbers that will lead directly to whom they want to talk to if they are looking for general information about your business. Sending a local searcher to a corporate headquarters or a 3rd party service that doesn’t know if you have a specific brand item in stock can be a big turnoff and will likely lead to losing the sale.
Additionally, make sure to format your number exactly the same across listing platforms. For example, listing (555) 555-5555 on your Facebook, but 555-555-5555 on your Google listing can be seen as conflicting information, and lower your SEO rankings.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to include your area code! Not everyone is going to know the local area code, and anyone using a cell phone with an out-of-state number may be required to include it to complete the call correctly.
According to Google, your listed business URL should go directly to a domain page owned by your business, rather than a third party or social profile site. For companies with franchises or multiple locations, it’s best practice to link to a landing page for your location, rather than the corporate homepage.
While your business NAP (name, address, phone number) data are all necessary to include in a successful listing, don’t underestimate the power of combining it with quality enhanced content.
Enhanced content is a catch-all term for all the components that set your brand apart and detail what your business is all about! It includes photos, videos, customer reviews, taglines, certifications, awards, or any other attributes that can further build your brand identity and differentiate it from competitors.
Want to find out how well your Google My Business listing is optimized? Run our FREE GMB Audit!