Local Search – Cleaning Up the Mess

I’ve been working with a client who has decent natural search rankings but not-so-good local search rankings (e.g., Google Places). Although this client has done a good job of claiming their listings, they’re still not ranking as well as they should be in the local results.

Digging a little deeper, it’s pretty clear why.

  • For several legitimate reasons, there’s a lack of consistency in their listings in directories, Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), etc. The company consolidated from two locations to one, and, correspondingly, from two phone number to one a few years ago. That means there’s a lot of information out there from the ‘old’ location.
  • Because data providers try to do the best they can with amalgamating information, they sometimes merge accounts or otherwise modify information incorrectly. The multiple locations issue magnified that problem.
  • As is the case with most SMBs, the client didn’t know all the intricacies of local search marketing, like how important it is to have a consistent name, address and phone number across the board.
  • The client has some very aggressive competition who have managed to pull off a little map spamming.

As I’m working to fix these issues, I’m reminded of one reason that many SMBs don’t do this (beyond not knowing that they should): It’s cumbersome, time-consuming, and frustrating.

On my personal blog, I wrote a post a while ago about why now was the time for SMBs to rethink – or get – a social media strategy. In that post I outlined some important factors of social media beyond the obvious.

I think the same holds true with local search engine optimization. Local SEO can help your business rank well in the all-important maps section. In a different post on why local SEO matters, I noted that data from TMP Directional Marketing suggests that there are 2 billion local searches per month. If some of those prospective customers are looking for you, it’s worth the time and frustration to get your local listings done right.

In my next post, I’ll be writing about the steps you should take to improve (or fix) your local search presence.

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