A Local Listing is an entry in an online local directory of a business’s NAP (read last week's blog for an explanation of NAP).
Google My Business, Yelp, the Yell.com etc. are all online directories that contain thousands of Local Listings. Each Local Listing includes a business’s NAP, and other details about the business, such as its hours of operation. They have largely displaced their printed predecessors and many have kept their name (e.g. Yellow Pages).
Increased Online Visibility
The entire purpose of a Local Listing is to make businesses visible on the Internet, and they are the backbone of Local SEO. Every new local listing created by a business increases that business’s chances of being seen by even more customers and to increase its profit margins. This is a classic example of businesses having an online presence without needing a website.
Very often, the search engine results pages (SERPs) will list a whole page of Local Listing results from these directory sites. Clicking on any one of them will take the searcher to a list of businesses matching the search query. From there, searchers can select businesses and can find out more about those businesses. If the business has a website then many of these Local Listings will provide a link to it.
Some will provide the ability to load images, videos, links to other online profiles, featured products, special offers etc. In some cases, these are premium (paid) features but sometimes they are free. Local SEO involves making the most of the free features. For instance, ensuring that the business has selected the best search categories to improve its chances of being found.
Local Listing Momentum
Often these online local listing directories will share and exchange information with each other. Some will only add businesses that they find are already online somewhere else. Therefore, adding a business to many local directories is likely to create a snowball effect. The more places and the higher authority of those places that a business is listed, the greater the trust that the search engines will have that a business is important.
And the more information – and more importantly, the more consistent information – that appears about one particular business, the higher that business is likely to rank. What is difficult for the layman to know is which local listing directories have the most influence. For instance, Apple Maps is widely used by consumers but it does not allow a business to provide much information other than their NAP. But Apple gets its information from certain other directories. Knowing which ones, is therefore important if a business wishes to be prominent in Apple Maps search results.
Due to the changing nature of the Internet, there are always new local listing directories and the page rank of existing directories is constantly changing. Local Search consultants can advise on the latest trends and help their clients to make the best selections for their business niche.
We work with your website designer to improve your ability to be found in Google and other search engines. And to look good wherever you may appear online. We specialise in local SEO and most of our work is off-site. But there still needs to be some on-site work undertaken by your webmaster to complement what we do. If you would be interested in finding out more, please use the Contact Form on our website.