As a small business owner, it goes without saying that you need to ensure that your business can be found by the people looking online for your goods and services. This is why we are going to discuss your business’ listings / citations consistency and why it matters as a foundation of your local search results rankings.
What Are Online Directories and Why Are They Important for Local SEO?
Online Business Directories are websites that scrape the Internet looking for information about local businesses. Their goal? To gather as much relevant and accurate information as they can about local businesses so they become a reliable source to Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines. Big online directories like Google My Business, Yelp and Hotfrog reap the benefits of their hunting and gathering efforts by showing up towards the top on local business searches.
Online directories also allow you to get a backlink to your website from a trustworthy site. While not as crucial as they once were, backlinks can still be important to the search engines as a ranking factor, it lends to your business’ credibility when you’re accurately linked to reputable sites.
Your Customers Are Searching for You Online – Can Your Business Be Found?
Research shows that 97% of consumers search the web to find local goods, products and services, but according to the Local Search Association, 56% of local businesses still haven’t claimed their Google My Business Page (GMB) — which is quite possibly the most important online directory to claim. Businesses that aren’t claiming, ensuring their business info is correct and optimizing these often-free listings are missing out…
For instance, according to Search Engine Journal, signals within a business’ GMB page is among the top search engine ranking factors. These signals include online reviews, pictures and having the page Owner Verified (this means the business owner took the time to verify and/or correct the information Google had listed about their business.) One of the most popular ranking factors is having a keyword in the Google My Business page’s business name – which can help you rank at least 1.5 spots higher with just this factor alone.
The popular SEO site, Moz.com has also shown that Google My Business Signals and Citations information, such as a business’ NAP information, also impacts search engine results.
Accurate citations help people discover a local business, which can result in web, phone, and foot traffic, culminating in transactions. Inaccurate citations, however, can misdirect customers, leading to loss of reputation and revenue.