Local businesses need to do an entirely different type of SEO. Name, Address, and Phone Number must be consistent on your local listings.
And there are hundreds of listing services that effect your local SEO.
How do you start doing local SEO if you are a busy business builder?
I recommend the following 5 sites for my customers: Google My Business, the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Bing Places and Facebook.
There are many more to select from but each of these provides a specific benefit to you and to your customers.
Google My Business
The 800 pound gorilla in this list, Google My Business provides you with a listing for Google Maps and Waze. This listing is under your complete control; you can add posts, pictures, monitor reviews, update hours and more.
Google’s local business offering integrates with their other search and analytics tools but still provides you with robust insights on the local listing.
The biggest benefit of Google’s business offering is the fact that people using Google navigation apps on their phone will be able to find your business when they are looking for a business to call or within driving distance.
Better Business Bureau
The BBB is the first place most people go to file a serious complaint. You want to have your business listing claimed and be actively managing it before any issues happen in the future.
Besides complaints, the Better Business Bureau has some good free tools to manage your local presence and marketing.
I recommend my customers use Yelp’s business tools to keep their Yelp profile up to date, monitor links, and communicate with customers.
Since Yelp is all about reviews, having an active presence here is essential for most small businesses*.
So unless you are working in such a niche that no one would ever search for you on Yelp or are so high level business-to-business that your customers would not use a consumer review site, get on Yelp.
*Disclaimer: unless you are regularly getting leads from Yelp using a free profile, do not spend money on advertising. If you can afford $300-$600 a month in a roll of the dice, be my guest. Otherwise only spend money if you have already proved the platform. When Yelp paid advertising works, it works really well. When it doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work.
You might be wondering if Bing is even relevant anymore, but it is. Besides the small percentage of people who use Microsoft apps for search and navigation, Bing Places is part of Microsoft’s cloud data services and anyone building an app on their platform will use Bing places to fill in their data set.
Since you cannot know who is using Microsoft’s data to build an app or website that impacts your area and target market, you need to be on Bing Places.
The good news is, setting up your data on Bing is fairly easy. You can just import your information from Google My Business.
The final site I recommend, Facebook is important for local SEO because of how often customers ask for recommendations in buy/sell groups for local areas and on their general timeline.
If your business does not have a page with easily accessible address and phone number, your recommendations will be passed over for people who do.
Which one of these do you need to improve on? Share your local profiles in the comments below so that our small-time community can help you succeed!