Put Business Listings to Work for Your Brand—and Your SEO
It’s obviously good to have your business listed online in as many places as possible, from Yellow Pages to Foursquare. These listings, called citations give you more ways to show up in search results when people look for the kinds of products or services you provide. But did you know that business listings can also boost your position in the search results? One of the ways Google ranks your website is by checking all its incoming links, including those from these types business listings, and generally speaking, the more inbound links your site has, the better your search engine rankings.
But the power of this SEO boost from Google can be dramatically decreased if all the listings are not perfectly consistent. The problem is that business listing sites populate themselves with information using software that scours the web for business websites—and other business listing sites—and automatically pulls information from them. Yes, it’s good to be listed everywhere you can, but because the listings are automated, some of them may be pulling from old web listings about your company that have the wrong email address, street address, phone number, or different spellings of your company name. And as smart as Google algorithms are when they check these listings, they run into trouble confirming links that have conflicting information—even the placements of commas in your address or the use of parentheses in your phone number. Google not only discounts these listings, but also degrades your site ranking because of them. Fortunately, this can be fixed with citation building. We’ll discuss that below, but first, let’s look at some of the places your site should be listed.
Top Business Citation Sites
No matter what kind of business you’re in, your company should definitely be listed on the “big ones.”
- Yellow Pages
- Angie’s List
Sites like Yellow pages, Manta, Superpages, Citysearch, Localeze and Hotfrog are pretty much what you would expect from a localized online business listing services.
Foursquare adds a new wrinkle to the formula by allowing users of their app to “check in” when they visit your business. Other users in their Foursquare network can see where they are, adding more power and credibility to your brand.
Angie’s List is a specialized local search for residential services like roofing, remodeling, etc. If your business fits into this category, you need to be there.
US Logo’s citation building service gets you listed on all these sites, and confirms that all entries are consistent. We also monitor new, automated listings of your company and correct those for consistency when they come online. The result is a much more coherent matrix of information about your company, which makes it easy for Google to find your new listings, confirm them and reward your site with higher SEO.
The Power of Local Search
If most of your customers are in Wichita or South Central Kansas, local search listings do much more than improve your site SEO. Consider that, when a web user in Wichita, KS, types in a Google search for your type of company, the algorithms do their best to provide local results, but they don’t always succeed in narrowing the field. Business listing sites use additional programming to refine search results to local areas, and that’s why people go to them. If they’re looking for an Italian restaurant in Wichita, for example, they may see results for Kansas City restaurants, travel review websites and other fluff that doesn’t put spaghetti in their bellies right away. Business listings provide local search results that give users the information they need to quickly make a decision on where to eat dinner, buy a lawn mower, get a haircut or any of the other myriad services that can only be provided locally.
It’s also important to realize that these sites have their own apps, which people are using, so if you’re not listed on Yellow Pages, you won’t show up when potential customers use its local search app.
Citation Building Corrects Inconsistencies and Improves Your Site’s SEO
As mentioned above, citations can boost your SEO, but a citation that spells your company name differently or is otherwise inconsistent with other citations on the web can hurt you. We use citation building software to correct inconsistencies among business listings for your site, leaving a clear path for Google to rank you higher. The software pulls the correct information from your business Facebook and Google business pages, then begins the process of repopulating business listings with the correct NAP data, including:
- Your business name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Web address (domain URL)
New and updated listings (that you may be unaware of) can come online anytime, so we also monitor the web for new listings of your company and make any needed corrections.
The Importance of Reviews
Most of these sites allow customers to grade the quality of your business, and new potential customers look very closely at these ratings. If you only have 2 out of 5 stars and your competitor has 4, it will hurt your business, so it’s important to be aware of your customer ratings and make adjustments. Bad ratings can be a blessing in disguise, however. They can tell you where you may need to make improvements in your product or services, your store front, your lobby, your staff training, and so on.
In addition to making operational changes based on this customer input, it’s very important to reply promptly to negative ratings and comments when they occur. Potential new customers do look at bad reviews, and when you reply to one, they see that, too. Consumers understand that people make mistakes and no business is perfect, but a bad review and comment hanging out there without response gives the impression you’re not paying attention to your customers.
If you’re responding to a bad review by working to correct the problem, say so in a reply to the negative comment, then follow through on your words. You may even consider asking the complainant to contact you so you can give them a discount or gift certificate for their next visit to your establishment. This gets them back through the door and provides you with a rare opportunity to turn a critic into an ambassador because, guaranteed, they will feel special when you invest this amount of energy in winning them back. If they take you up on your offer, ask them to post a reply to their negative comment and place a new comment on the business listing site. This makes your efforts visible there, which can do amazing things for your brand credibility.
Getting Started With Citation Building
You can monitor these sites manually, make changes manually, and hope you’re catching everything out there, but the web is an organic creature with new content and site updates happening every day, so it’s not the best plan and certainly not an efficient way to go about it. US Logo’s citation building service makes it easy and affordable to stay on top of this crucial aspect of your site’s SEO. Give us a call at (316) 264-1321 or email [email protected] to learn more.