Are you a small business providing a service in your local area? If so, its time to grab yourself a mince pie and warm drink, sit back, and prepare to take some notes! (or you could just bookmark this page, obviously)
2012 hasn’t been the easiest year for those small businesses out there trying to compete in organic search. With lots of recent Google algorithm updates favouring larger brands coupled with the process of competing against these entities becoming more time intensive (and therefore a much longer term strategy); smaller businesses need to do everything they possibly can to get ahead and promote their offering online.
Fortunately, there’s one thing you can do to make a real difference in a relatively short space time and, more importantly, at little or no cost! (every little helps, right?). I am, of course, talking about taking advantage of Local Search Listings.
Before I go on, I should probably explain that this post isn’t going to go into the nitty gritty of what Local Search is or how and what you should be doing, we have a nice free white paper that you can go ahead and download for that. No, this post is here to convince you, as a business owner, to take notice and really give your local search profile the attention it deserves.
Why is Local Search So Important & Why should You Care?
Google Maps and local listings have been around for a long time now so it’s no new thing; but with algo updates like Vince (geo targeted and personalised search results), the increase of mobile, and the move from Google Places to Google+; in 2013 you need to make sure you are doing everything you can to get the most out of your local search presence.
Too many times I’ve gone to search for the telephone number or address of a local business only to find it isn’t there or, even worse, the information provided is incorrect. I’m sure we all have experience on just how frustrating this can be, but have you thought about the business impact this can have? The wrong number in the SERPs can instantly destory your first impression with a potential customer, through absolutely no fault of your own. That customer might just hunt you down, but often they’ll just move right along to the next result.
Thankfully, most of the time Google does a fairly good job of automatically sourcing business listing information from various partner sources on the web but there are also many occasions where it doesn’t get it quite right; afterall, it’s a monumental task and they can only work with the data available to them. It was only this morning that I was helping a client fix an issue where one of their local dealers had the wrong number attached to their local listing – a Sandwich Shop a few miles down the road were getting all of their sales calls! This was all because they share a similarity in business name and Google had incorrectly put two and two together and came up with six in the SERPs.
It’s not just the potential for inaccuracies in data though, business listings that have been claimed and correctly filled out stand a far greater chance of performing in Local Search results – meaning more traffic and more calls for your business.
If you’re a small business owner that has not verified their Google+ Local listing yet, its time to set 30 minutes aside and really make a difference to your local search listings and your customers! Do it now!