More businesses are focusing on local SEO, and for good reason: it’s a lot easier to reach customers in their neighborhood than on a national level. However, local SEO doesn’t just mean optimizing your own site for local searches. As Rachel Lindteigen points out in a recent column, it also means optimizing your presence on other web properties—places like maps and review sites—which customers may see long before they spot your site.
How do you optimize that presence? Rachel offers several musts:
- Get on Google. Google is the world’s most used search engine. It also offers one central portal to set up your business listing across all its services (search, maps and Google Plus, to name a few). That portal is called Google My Business and is totally free.
- Get on Yelp. Yelp is to review sites as Google is to search. For most people, it’s the first and last place they go for reviews before heading out the door. Your business may already be on Yelp, but you can claim it and then take control of the listing.
- Make Those Listings Look Good. As Rachel points out, just being listed on these sites isn’t enough—nor is fact checking your location and contact info. Make sure your hours are there, upload attractive photos, and create specials.
Rachel is right all around, but to her list we would add several other must-do’s:
- Get on Apple Maps. This is a huge one that business owners often overlook, which means it’s a great opportunity. Every user who has an iPhone or iPad has a default Apple Maps app, yet Apple Maps seems to have less businesses than Google Maps. That means adding yours could put you ahead of your competitors. There are two ways to do this: one is to simply go to Report a Problem > Location is Missing on the map app itself. The other is the new Apple Maps Connect portal, which is similar to Google My Business. We recommend Maps Connect; it requires creating a login and a little legwork, but lets you make a much more robust business listing.
- Get on Bing. Bing gets far less searches than Google, and Bing Maps is newer and less detailed than Google Maps. However, like Google, Bing offers a single entry point to put your business on all services across the platform: maps, search, etc. And Microsoft is working to make Bing the default search engine (and map app) for as many devices as possible. It also offers its own Google My Business clone: just head to Bing Places and claim your listing.
- Use specialized directories. While Yelp is the biggest review site overall, there are others that are widely used for certain types of businesses. Restaurants and bars should be on Urban Spoon, for example, and hotels should be on TripAdvisor. No matter what your niche there are likely specialized sites that provide listing and reviews. Choose 1-3 that are relevant and get your listing on all of them.
Ideally, optimizing your listings around the web is part of a unified SEO strategy that addresses all parts of your online presence. That’s exactly the kind of comprehensive, results-driven SEO that EverSpark offers. Want to find out what we can do for you? Contact us for a free consultation today.
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