When someone is looking for a product or a service, the internet is probably the first place they’ll check. People want to know where to find it, and other basic information about businesses that offer those services. Since these types of search results are local in their nature, not using them is missing an opportunity. It’s basically one of the best advertising you can get online. And one of the major pillars for your local SEO. When you include your business in these listings, you’re presenting yourself to a wider audience. With a wider audience comes the potential for more clients, increased sales, and of course, a bigger profit. However, to do everything properly, you need to know how to set up a local business listing first. Read some tips here and get in touch with our professionals at AZ Citation Services to get the help you need.
Set up a local business listing with ease
The thing that makes local business listing and citations so important is the fact that it’s the sum of all basic information about your business. Directories that contain this type of information require you to necessarily fill in your NAP information. Where NAP stands for name, address, and phone number of your business. However, it can, and probably will contain additional information as well. Those include website address, working hours, pictures, videos, lists of products, reviews, and many more.
Where to start?
When considering where to list your business information, there are several popular places to start with:
- Google My Business (GMB) – today, one of the most popular and fundamental places to list your business. The reason to start with it is simple. Almost everyone today is using Google on a regular basis. It’s a default search engine on most devices, and it’s perfectly doing its job. Simply put, you don’t want to miss such a chance when it comes to advertising your business.
- Yelp – this is another popular place to list your business for local searches. It’s business-oriented and covers all types of industries. It allows you to connect with customers, but also with other businesses.
- Apple Maps – a major map app for Apple devices. Just like Google is popular on Android smartphones and computers, Apple Maps are the core of searches on iPhones and iOS devices. And the best part is that it allows you to list your business so it can be easily found.
- Bing Local – not so popular as it used to be, but still one of the major locations to list your business.
- Business directories – there are many types of business directories, large data aggregators, government websites, and similar locations convenient for submitting citations and other business information.
Prepare your business information
First, you will need to prepare all your business information before you start setting up your listings. This is important for more than one reason:
- To be ready to fill out all those forms when submitting your information.
- To provide accuracy and consistency of information across all citations in listings.
- For easier maintenance of information in case of changes.
When creating your listing, having a sheet with all that is required, in one place, helps a lot. Whether you are going to manually enter all the data or will choose the automated service, you will need a “gold standard” of information.
The three main attributes in your sheet should be your NAP:
- Your Business Name
- Business Address
- Phone Number
Followed by other information:
- The website address, or URL
- Categories where your business belongs
- Working hours
- List of products
- Social profiles
- and more
Having all this information ready will help you speed up the listing creation process.
Start searching for existing mentions to set up a local business listing
Before you start setting up your citations in local business listings, you will need to check if they already exist. Maybe someone already made, or mentioned your business, so you have to be sure. Of course, you can start by using the Google search engine first, and proceed with useful SEO tools. If there is none, you can start adding them. But, if there are some, it’s always better to try to claim them. The point is, you want to avoid duplicate citations whenever possible. Proceed with registration and claim your business. Again, make sure to correct and update all the existing data with the right information.
You will have to verify your business
When you start setting up your local business listing, you will have to verify that you are a business owner. The entire procedure is not the same for every directory, but there are a couple of similar steps:
- You may receive a call at your business phone number to tell you the pin code.
- Also, the pin code can be sent by postal service to your business address.
- You may get an email with a verification link on your business email.
Eventually, the time frame of completion may differ. While in general, platforms mostly automate this process, there are some that review submissions manually.
Adding all the information for your local business listing
Assuming your business qualifies for a local listing, and you have everything verified, you can start adding other information. Remember, all information has to be accurate and consistent across all platforms. Every citation, every listing, every mention has to have up-to-date information. Also, you have to pay attention to formatting. Mostly, Google recognizes smaller variations like “St” and “Str” for the street. Even though one is not even correct. However, others might not. Here, the best practice is to stick to the correct one, everywhere. And the same rule applies to other information as well.
Don’t forget to maintain your business listings
In the end, the only thing left to do is to regularly maintain and clean up your business listings. If anything changes, like your business phone number, immediately update your listings. The consequences of not doing it in time can be significant. Among other things, it can deter potential clients and hurt your reputation. Meanwhile, try to maintain proper communication with visitors through various channels. Overall, social media and reviews can be a powerful tool to acquire better ranking positions in searches.
Finally, now that you know how to set up a local business listing, you can focus on other matters. You can start increasing your online presence, work on your SEO, and establish a firm communication with potential customers. There are many ways and steps you can take to improve your business, but all of them require you to know how to approach the problem.