50% of local searches do not occur in search engines, but in local directories and mobile apps like Yelp, FourSquare, Facebook, YP, etc. With 7.5 billion local searches per month, that’s a lot of volume.  Sadly, most local businesses are not remotely optimized.  A lot of local SEO experts talk about citation building, but you are wasting time and effort if you are only focusing on getting your name, address and phone number right.

What we have found in optimizing local directories for thousands of clients is that adding descriptions, photos and videos to profile listings increases customer conversion by 5-10x.   That’s a lot of people.  Here’s why.

Step 1: Richer Directory Profiles Rank 3-5x Better on Search

Rich Directory Profile Effect on Local SearchYou can see this diagram on our Buffalo Wild Wings Case Study.   It’s typical for our customers.  We start monitoring search volume on directories like Yelp, Yahoo, YP, etc. and typically what we see is 3-5x more appearances on searches.  This really isn’t surprising.  Let’s say I run an italian restaurant called Trevor’s Ristorante and I make sure my name, address and phone is correct on Yelp.

When I search for italian restaurant on Yelp, how would it know that Trevor’s Ristorante should show up?  My name address and phone are all it has except for reviews.  Then I have to hope that someone leaves a review wiht “Italian restaurant” in it.   In fact, that’s what we see highlighted in searches on Yelp.

Yelp Rich Profiles Increase Local Search Volume

By adding category (i.e. italian restaurant) and using keywords in the descriptions, Yelp now has plenty of signals to understand why I should rank for the term.

Additionally, claimed or premium listings show up in more searches.

Step 2: Rich Profiles Convert to Customers at 2-3x

Many consumers and businesses alike do not appreciate the Yelp Review Filter.  But part of the problem is that if all you have is name, address and phone on your directory profile, the only real information is in the reviews.   That’s a wasted opportunity to control your brand and optimize conversion.  A Yelp study showed that videos alone more than doubled customer conversion off profile listings.  We see similar results with filling out all the rich profile information and having claimed or premium listings.

Are You Missing Out on 10x Local Search Performance?

So there you go.  If you show up 3-5x more and convert 2-3x better, you are doing 10x better.

If you are taking a simple listings approach to local SEO and thinking only about citation building, then you get what you put in.  10x less information leads 10x the results and lots of lost opportunities to build your brand with local customers.  How do you stack up?  Here’s a free local SEO report.

If you are looking for the right way to dominate local SEO and drive improved business, check out SearchCast.