In an increasing mobile world, local search profiles are becoming more and more important. If someone is looking for information on their phone, say the address or phone number of your business, they don’t want to dig through you site to find it. A local profile gives them all the information they need in a fast and efficient format. Local profiles can also rank on their own in the search engines, increasing your online brand presence. They can also be a source of targeted traffic and quality inbound links.
The same rules of on-site optimization still apply when it comes to local profiles, but here are 3 tips for local search optimization:
1. Create multiple local search profiles
Business owners definitely want to claim their listings in Google, Bing and Yahoo. These profiles often show up in the top of the SERP for each search engine, respectively. But there are plenty of other local search sites that deserve attention. Sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon are incredibly popular with customers looking to make immediate purchasing (as in choosing a place to eat or shop) decisions. Other sites like YP.com (the online Yellow Pages), Citysearch, MerchantCircle and Local.com are also great places to create a profile.
2. Fill profiles out as completely as possible
The more content you have on your local search profiles, the more information the search engines can comb through. Don’t just post your phone number and address (although those are must!) and call it a day. Include business hours, accepted forms of payment, languages spoken, directions, company biography, pictures, videos and consumer reviews. Customer reviews in particular can be incredibly beneficial. Having that element of a 3rd party recommendation goes a long way in encouraging potential customers to choose you over another business.
You can encourage your customers to write a review by offering them an incentive, like 10% off their next purchase. Most people only write a review if the experience is truly remarkable or absolutely horrible. You want everyone who was pleased with your company to say so.
3. Monitor your profiles
If you are accepting customer reviews, it’s important that you are aware of what people are saying about your company. You need to know if a string of bad reviews went up recently; they might be buying your good ones. You also need to see if other people are creating local search profiles on various sites for your company. Usually anyone can create the listing, but as the owner you want to make sure you claim each one. This is the only way you can remain in control over what gets posted.