Not only can you update the multiple websites with this information, but you can also do so 24x7x364 anytime you desire. Certainly not something you will get from the once-a-year yellow page update.
The good news about local listings is that they show up on the first page of a search engine result based on the search term and the locality. For this reason, optimization a website is not as necessary as having your local listing claimed and up to date. Local businesses no longer need to wait months to get on the first page of a search engine or understand the intricacies of search engine optimization (SEO) of their business website.
Research by Kelsey Group shows 70 percent of online searchers will use local search to find offline businesses. The TMPDM study shows 86 percent of online users will be searching for a local business at some point in time. You're probably thinking that the local consumer is sitting at a computer or laptop at home performing these local searches. That is partly correct, however, keep in mind that statistics from TMPDM indicates a 31% increase in mobile search while the local consumer is about town in the past year.
Think of this to be a convergence of web data about your business with mobile devices. There the local listing information benefits your local business not only on a computer web search, but also a mobile local search.
If you have taken a look at search results for your business, products or services you will notice that a map with local results shows up on the first page of the search results. Any business that has claimed and updated their listing and has information pertinent to the search in the local area will get displayed. Understanding how to perform this process is equally important and has become more important as local business, products and services are easily available to the local consumer.
Some specific examples about local business types that will benefit from local listings include:
- If you are a franchisee, your franchisor may have the necessary information about the brand, products or services.
- If you are a bank with multiple branches offices, they each need to be claimed separately and updated separately.
- If you are a restaurant, then you will find you can update your menu into your local listing.
- If you are an automotive dealership you will find local listings to be your best bet to reach the local consumer market. This will be better than the yellow pages that are used for door stops as well as the full-page ads that no one reads in the local traditional papers that are dwindling in circulation and frequency of issues.
- If you are a professional service like a Doctor, Dentist, Attorney, Architect, then you will local listings a new outlet to reach out to the local consumer.
For small businesses or for that matter any local business marketing the steps to take to use local listings as a marketing tool are:
- Claim your listing.
- Update your listing with your business information, products and services.
- Add any photos of your business, products and services.
- Add any videos of your business, products and services.
- Add any coupons, offers, discounts for your products and services.
- Get customers to write reviews about their experience with your business, products or services.
- Manage your local listing weekly with any updates about your business, products or services.
- Now we need to do all of the above in six of the most popular local listing websites that includes Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com, Local.com, and Yelp. There are up to 20 for consideration and based on your locality and industry there could be more.
- Lastly, aside from keeping the listing up to date at multiple locations, you also have to monitor any local consumer reviews, particularly if they are negative. This will happen regardless if you have claimed and updated your listing whether you like this part or not. Consumers have been providing their feedback about a business, product and reviews for a number of years on the web into these local listings as well as through social media.
You are probably wondering why you need to manage your local listing at all these locations and not just on Google. The answer has two parts.
The first lies with the mobile marketing industry. Google may be the 800 lb. gorilla "on" the web, but in the mobile industry, the mobile application developer will decide whose database of local listings they will use to display on mobile devices.
The second lies with the local consumer who will decide which website they will use to submit their reviews and comments about a business, product, or service. This one is probably more important than the first.
Both of the above clearly indicate that Google is not going to be the primary source when it comes to mobile devices, mobile applications and mobile marketing. At least not yet!