Important Attributes You Should Know About For Your Local Business Listing
The Title Of Your Business
What you call your business is among the most crucial elements necessary for those wanting to rank highly in search engines. Having a title which is consistent on all of your data sources is vital as it helps search engines generate trust in your businesses location and existence.
For example, if your business is known simply as “Mike’s Pizza” in one location, and “Mike’s New York-Style Pizza” elsewhere, Google and other search engines may erroneously report that they are two different businesses when it does its indexing. Make sure you pick just one title your business uses, and make sure to add yourself to directories, including traditional Yellow Pages, with the exact same title.
The Quality Guidelines that Google advertises for local businesses recommends the following factors be implemented when you create a name for your business. The title of your business should reflect the title it uses in the real world. Besides the real world title, you can also include one descriptor to help your customers understand what the business does or where it is located.
Marketing slogans, store codes, URLs, and phone numbers are not considered valid descriptors. Some examples of descriptive titles include “Mike’s Pizza Restaurant” or “Starbucks Downtown.” Examples that are not considered acceptable include “Mike’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas,” “Mike’s Pizza Fastest Delivery,” or “#1 Austin Plumbing.”
Besides the examples using a single descriptor that Google provides, don’t just add extra keywords to the end of your business name. This can cause inconsistencies when your business data appears on the internet.
If your business is brand new, it might be beneficial to have a name for your business that also describes your geography or services. As an example, “Mike’s New York Pizza” is a better and more relevant name for the business than simply “Mike’s.” If you are trying to come up with a name for a brand new company, it is smart to think about keywords as you evaluate options for the business name.
If your business already exists and you are interested in changing the name, you can opt to register for a new D.B.A. or “Doing Business As.” Then, you will have to make edits to all previous mentions of your business under its old name so that the listings include your company under its new DBA moniker. While this can sometimes be beneficial, be aware that changing your business’ name can cause you to lose some of your existing reviews and rankings. Think carefully before making this decision.
Citations and Links
Google, Bing, Best of the Web, Yahoo and other major search engines learn about your company in two ways: links on other sites that direct to your site, and tracking the sites where those links are located.
Tracking any citations of your company as well as where on the web these citations show up.
The major search engines employ these two factors when they determine the ranking of any particular business. When other factors are the same, the business that has the most links located on high-quality websites in the local area, such as city government or chamber of commerce sites, and the highest number of citations on websites around your area, ranks the highest. So it’s important to ensure that your business name, phone number, address, and website address is listed on as many different sites as possible.
What is a Citation?
A citation is a mention of the name of your business on a web page that is not one of your own, including your phone number, address, or both, even if it does not contain an actual link to your website. For example, an online phone book or directory listing your business but not linking to it is considered a citation. It can also include mentions on your local business association site or chamber of commerce page where your business is listed, even if there is no link to your site. Sometimes other websites use another term, called “web references” but this is simply a synonym for citations.
Lots of local search engines will let you enter business into several categories, generally between 2-5, to help users learn what your business does.
This is important when it comes to creating a successful local listing for your business. Search engines often use this category data as they determine which businesses should rank highly for certain searches. Search engines often will skip businesses that are uncategorized or miscategorized for specific sets of keywords. Often this happens when the phrases and keywords are particularly competitive. If there are already a high number of businesses listed in a category that a user may be searching within.
Ratings and Reviews
Ratings and reviews can help prospective customers choose your business as they peruse the goods or services you provide. A bad review can make a person back out quickly to return to their search, and a good review can inspire the person to pick up their phone and give you a call. Because ratings and reviews are displayed differently on the each particular search engine, there is a bit of debate on whether or not ratings and reviews actually impact a business’ ranking, however, these reviews do in fact influence whether or not a customer chooses your business over another.
It’s crucial that you engage your customers, and it is especially important to encourage happy customers to leave their review on their favorite search engine. It is also important to recognize if somebody has left a poor review. Reach out and contact the customer to learn what they did not like about their experience, and find out if you can do anything to help them have a more favorable opinion.
Every review site has their own set of rules. Some of them do not have clear or strict rules, however, the two largest, Yelp and Google, have strict policies that you must adhere to. For example, Yelp does not allow the businesses listed to ask for reviews from customers with anything more than a small sticker advertising Yelp for the business or an icon to place on a website. Google will not allow suggestions for the content of reviews.
If you want to ask your customers to make a review, know what the rules are on the site you hope they list their review on before asking.
Videos and Images
Having attractive video and images has been documented to increase how many clicks a listing garners. They also are a smart way to show what your business has to offer, such as projects you have completed, products available, your workers, or your home office. A great image can ensure that your listing stands out against the crowd.
When it comes to ranking, images and video don’t increase your results. A local Google+ listing that has no photos will probably have a similar chance to have a good rank as one with 3 videos and 6 images, however, a customer is often more apt to click on your results when you have a great image.
Recently, Google has improved how visible photos on their Google+ listings are, displaying an image next to every business listed on their results page. Choosing the right photo, both as your cover and for your Google+ page, along with a gallery of photos, is essential if you want to engage potential customers who may find your listing.
The social elements of locally-based SEO are becoming more important every year and learning how to actively participate in your customers’ favorite social sites can be crucial for every local business. Some platforms for local listings and reviews let you interact directly with your public. For example, having a Google+ Business and Google+ Local page that is merged will let you communicate with people who follow you, just like you would on Facebook or Twitter.
You are also able to interact with people who leave reviews on Yelp and Google+ Local, so you can respond to reviews whether they are positive or negative. While some types of social media can influence your overall ranking in the search engines, how much they impact your local rankings remains unknown.