Gone are the days of The Yellow Pages getting delivered to your door. Replacing these books are the many directory sites and search engine local listings. Many business owners may not see the full value of local SEO, and more times than not, these are the businesses that need it the most. Whether you are a small business owner or a franchise business, local search is a critical step in your customer’s buying process. The foundation of local optimization starts with local SEO listings.
Second, is filling out and managing your local listings on search engines. Google is the most widely used search engine that plays a huge part in local search, and should be your starting point. Google’s local listings management tool, Google My Business, makes it easy to fill out company information with an associated Gmail account. There a few things to consider when filling out your Google My Business listing. First is replicating the correct NAP information listed on your website and choosing the correct categories. Choosing the correct primary and secondary categories can help your rank. Yahoo!’s and Bing’s local listings, which function much like Google My Business, are also worth filling out, although they are not utilized as much as Google. After you complete your local listing, you want to make sure that you claim your listing, either through postal mail or phone number.
The third step is to fill out the correct information for popular directory sites that serve all industries, including Yelp, Yellow Pages, Manta, Foursquare, etc. One thing to note, is that every directory site is a little different, and with that, there are different categories to choose from. For example, the Google Category “car dealer” is listed as “car dealership” on Foursquare, but “auto dealers new & used” on Localeze. For more help on this, you can check out Moz’s local listing category tool.
Lastly, find any reliable industry-specific directory sites. For example, Urbanspoon is a directory site used by the food service industry, and Houzz is a popular directory site for home contractors. Depending on your industry, there may be directory sites to leverage while other industries may not have many – something to consider in your local strategy.