Local search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective way for companies, specifically multi-location businesses, to connect with consumers who are searching online for local goods and services. Local SEO allows businesses and consumers to intersect at various moments in the decision path, making the consumer aware of a business, leading that consumer toward more information and eventually toward a final decision.
According to MOZ, 50 percent of local SEO ranking factors are tied to local directories, making them the largest single factor that can impact rankings. Local directories are also one of the most popular places where consumers search for information about local businesses. While 53 percent of people turn to search engines, 21 percent use digital directories as their primary source for information. Business utlize local digital directories to improve local search engine rankings as well as reach consumers who actively search through digital directories.
Simply claiming directory listings is not enough to create a positive impact on local SEO results, a directory syndication strategy is necessary for maximum results. Inaccurate, inconsistent or only partially filled out profiled may in fact have a negative impact on search results because of the confusion created.
- Not Claiming Listings on Key Sites. Marketers should research their key local directories for their specific industry. Not claiming listings, having duplicate listings, or not updating out-of-service or relocated location listings are all common issues which can be easily fixed.
- Corporate versus Branch or Franchisee Conflicts. Franchise businesses must create a system to organize profile and listing management. Otherwise listings may be claimed by both the home office and the individual franchise, creating conflicts, which can cause search engines to question the accuracy of the information and not include it in search results.
- Branding Inconsistencies in Listings. Every piece of information inside a listing must be consistent to maximize the local SEO power. This includes branding inconsistencies such as logos, trademarks and slogans.
- Hijacked Listings. Businesses in the past have had their listings “hijacked” and changed, dramatically reducing business. In one example, someone changed a restaurant’s information to say it was closed on weekends, despite being open. The resulting loss of eaters was enough to shut down the business. Marketers should keep an eye on all listings, checking regularly for any unauthorized changes.
- Mismatched Phone Numbers. Many businesses attempt to use call tracking numbers to identify leads that come from directories. While this practice may work for the physical yellow pages, if used digitally it will create confusion because different phone numbers will be listed for the same business location.
Click here to download ZOG Digital’s report on Digital Marketing for Multi-Location Businesses and read the rest of the 9 most common mistakes being made today and much more on how multi-location businesses can optimize their revenue streams through local SEO strategies.