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How-To: Optimizing Business Listings in Local Search


Making search feel
less like a quest

This month, a comScore study reported that search engines have become the primary resource for seeking local services.

With that in mind, Search Engine Land listed some takeaways from SMX West, intended to help small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) optimize their business listings across local search.

Highlights from the post are below.

In the event that your brick-and-mortar business serves multiple neighborhoods or towns where you lack a physical location, Chris Silver Smith proffers the following advice:

  • Develop a panoply of city- and neighborhood-specific content on your website to show search engine spiders you serve those areas.
  • Register a PO Box and get a local phone number in the extra towns or neighborhoods you serve.
  • Claim your profile on local portals or data providers that only require a business name and phone number, or that accept PO Boxes as addresses.
  • These steps will make sure Google Maps adds your additional "locations" to its web crawl, at which point you can claim them as local business listings, Search Engine Land writes.

    To optimize business listings and increase citation totals, co-presenter Steve Espinosa suggests:

    • Including yourself in as many relevant categories as possible on Yahoo. Sometimes this yields multiple URLs, which in turn can yield multiple citations.
    • Purchase Yahoo's Enhanced Product for $9.95/month. Espinosa found that just having the "Merchant Verified" checkmark increased his phone calls by 180%.
    • Use video as a citation source and direct traffic driver. A video thumbnail and a local listing on the same search result page can drive a 340% increase in phone calls.
    • Well-constructed profiles on social media sites like Twitter can also be used as citations if they include a business name, address and phone number.
    • Link your profiles and citations directly from the lading page you list on Google's Local Business Center. This will ensure that Google crawls your citations and ties them back to your local business listing.

    Wrapping up, Search Influence's Will Scott added that linking your local profiles from your own content, and building links to those profiles through external content, enables you to leverage the domain authority enjoyed by Yahoo.com or Yelp.com on search sites.

    A large enough volume of links, targeted to the right sites, will ensure the profiles will both be seen as powerful citations for your Google local business listing — and they'll rank well organically on their own for geo-targeted searches.

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