Unless you have been living under a rock, and haven’t moved out for quite some time, Google Maps is one of the online tools which are probably a part of your life. Gone are the days when people felt the need to ask for directions while traveling, especially while exploring new and unknown territory. With Google Maps, not only can you find your way about with ease, but also find customers in and around the area without having to spend much.
Indeed Google Maps can offer much more than just guide you to your destination – the best part is that it also works the other way and enables other people to find you with as much ease.
Does Local Listing Truly Matter?
The answer is a resounding ‘YES’. Regardless of whether your venture is a sole proprietorship, a family business, or a large and well-known entity, the local market is bound to have plenty of potential for you.
All you need to do is create a listing for yourself on the local search engine by using a very specific and descriptive keyword, for example Mumbai Real Estate, Pune Hardware, Bangalore Infotech, and so on. In addition to providing the online visibility that you crave for, the listing will also give you an edge over the competition, not to mention boosting your revenue courtesy the increased exposure.
Business listings on local search engines are quite comprehensive in nature, wherein they feature everything from your address, location and contact details, to images of your brick-and-mortar outlet and your products/services. Customers who are truly curious can even go to the extent of checking the ‘street view’ of your location, and determine that you actually exist rather than just being a firm on paper.
Online Visibility with Local Listing
So what happens when you simultaneously create a listing of your business in the local search engines? Suppose Google is your default search engine, the sequence of appearance on the results page would be Google Adwords, followed by Google Maps, which in turn is followed by natural organic SEO.
While Google Adwords serves as a platform for you to post your PPC ads, Google Maps reveal your location and lend credibility to your venture, and organic optimization techniques ensure that the search engine intercepts your keywords and responds to the SEO. For example, assume that you operate a petrol pump along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and register your business in the local search engine. Every time someone in the area puts in a query, the first result will be your Google Adwords listing, next would be a map displaying your exact location and then would be your rank as assigned by the search engine.
Owing to being placed so high up in the search engine, you are sure to be noticed, and can look forward to plenty of business.
Creating A Local Listing – Basic Steps
To create a listing in the local search engines, you need to follow these steps in the given sequence –
I. Logging In – Access the local algorithm of the search engine, for example Google or Bing, and find your way to the business center. Assuming that the search engine is Google, you need to log into your account and click on the ‘Add New Listing’ tab.
These initial steps are same for other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, although the names and charges might vary. While Yahoo displays the tab as the ‘Advertise with Us’ button, Bing has a separate algorithm for local listing center.
II. Enter the Details – Next, you will be required to fill in all the details, right from the name of your venture and its detailed address to your email id and website URL. Also provide a short description of your venture, and check a preview of the listing before moving on to the next stage.
III. Add/ Claim – Every listing comes with the option of add or claim, wherein new clients require to be added. Alternatively you can claim an existing listing by following the instructions provided by the search engines. As part of verification, the search engine would call you up on the mentioned number and ask you to provide the PIN mentioned on the screen. Once this is done, the listing will have been successfully claimed.
IV. Images and Videos – Spruce up your local search engine listing by adding interesting content about your business, including attractive images, and posting descriptive videos. Provide a brief overview of your venture and discuss details like delivery schedule, payment options and so on.
If possible, add a distinct category to your listing to improve your chances of being found, and also advertise any special schemes, coupons or incentives that you might have rolled out to attract more customers.
V. Apply Optimization Techniques – While it is fairly simple to create a listing in the local search engines, what is truly challenging is to get noticed, and this where optimization comes in. Without optimizing your listing, chances are that it would be lost in the vast oblivion of the Internet, and would be hardly visible to prospective customers.
Optimizing your listing would entail including –
- Carefully researched and selected keywords;
- Complete information including maps, images, videos, description, and offers;
- Specific search terms;
- Testimonials and reviews;
- Strong link-building, both internal and external;
VI. Proactive Promotion – Every search engine has a system of advertising and promotion, and the onus is on you to capitalize on it to accrue maximum benefits. Advertising on search engines may not improve your ranking, but it will definitely render your listing more visible, thus attracting more traffic.
This is also the time to think beyond the search engines, and get listed in the various local directories, like the Yellow Pages, Just Dial and so on.
Undoubtedly a local listing brings with it a number of benefits, but there are certain points which you need to be mindful of while tapping into the local markets. To this effect, spamming is something that you should totally steer clear of, in terms of representation, content and services. Refrain from projecting your business in a scale which is way beyond the reality and avoid online behavior which might put a question mark on your credibility.
Lastly, do make it a point to research your competition, particularly the ones that occupy the top 10 positions. You are bound to find some local listings which are consistent in terms of their presence in the local search engines. Check their listings and minutely observe every detail, from layout to categories and everything in between, and then apply the same in your listing.
Contrary to the popular belief, local listings can make a significant contribution to your overall bottom line, not to mention enhancing your visibility. So, don’t you think it’s a good idea to tap into this segment and make the most of its potential?