The ABCs of Local Listing Management

Local Listing Management is more important now than ever, whether you have one or two or over a thousand locations. It is vital to make sure your information shows up accurately to ensure your potential clients are getting the right information and, more importantly, finding you. Below are the ABCs of local listing management.

A – Amenities. If you haven’t seen these in your Google My Business dashboard, you should go check it now. This selection allows you to tell users what your location offers, such as restrooms, wheelchair accessibility, and more.

B – Business name. Pretty obvious, right? But this is important. The business name is one of the first things users are going to see when looking at the local results, so this needs to be accurate and spelled correctly.

C – Categories. These let the search engines know what your listing is about and what keywords to associate it with. It’s important to know which categories fit best with your listing and what time of the year to use them if your business is based on seasonality.

D – Description. While this doesn’t get picked up everywhere, having an accurate description of your location is important. Most syndications require a long, medium, and short description.

E – E-mail. While most users will call or request driving directions, some will try to get in touch via e-mail. When you provide a contact e-mail address, make sure it’s one that gets checked and used regularly.

F – Friends and family. Whether you’re getting your page up and running on Facebook or verified on Google, friends and family can help you get started by spreading the word. Ask them to like your page and share it.

G – Geolocation. When it comes to targeting specific areas, the location of your business and clientele matter. For instance, say you’re twenty miles outside of Boston and want to target residents living inside the city. The chances of you ranking higher than businesses similar to yours in Boston are slim. You could show up, but preference will be given to the locations closer to where the users are searching from.

H – Holiday hours. Most search engines will provide a “holiday hours may differ” message, but you shouldn’t leave it up to users to figure this out. If your location is closed on popular holidays, then mark it as such. If it’s open, make sure it’s marked as open.

I – Information. Your listing information needs to be as complete and accurate as possible. You’ll have whatever required information readily available, but any additions that can be published should be added. This way users can find out as much information about your location as possible.

J – Juxtaposition. When it comes to updating map pin placements, more often than not I ask the store manager what is located next to them. This is the simplest and easiest way to make this update outside of listing the exact latitude and longitude.

K –  Knowledge Graph. This section pops up in Google from time to time and gets a lot of questions—mainly, “how do I get my information to show up there?” The fact is that Google pulls information from a variety of places. While no one can guarantee that they can get this to show up, it can be influenced. Knowing where and how Google pulls this content will help your listing display more information.

L – Listings. This is also known as the name, address, phone number (NAP) site link. Hopefully, by this point you know what this is.

M – Maintenance. Once the location information has been verified and updated, it will stay correct until you update it, even if you open new locations, close old ones, or change hours and the linking URL. All of this is work that will need to be done from time to time.

N – Negative reviews. Surprise, surprise: you can’t make everyone happy. In a perfect world, only customers who had a great experience would leave reviews. There isn’t much you can do about negative reviews that don’t include comments; however, for those that do, you have an opportunity to respond. Ignoring negative comments won’t make them go away. Answering questions and working to ensure your customers are satisfied is how you can turn upset people into ambassadors for your business.

O – On-page content. The content for each location URL used on your listing matters. The content needs to match the offerings, localities, categories, and keywords you’ve associated with the listing.

P – Photos. Where is your location? What does it look like? Is it clean and inviting? Photos can help users determine this information once they search for and find your location.

Q – Questions. Users search for information because they have questions. Your listing should provide all of the answers, including amenities, payment information, and discounts that can be used. Listen to the questions that get asked in the store, and see if there’s a way to answer them online. The recent rollout of Google Posts will allow you to answer users’ questions before they arrive or call.

R – Reviews. Yeah, technically we’re listing this twice. So what? Negative reviews are one thing, but positive reviews are another. Blank five-star reviews are worthless. They will boost your overall rating, but if there’s no context, it looks like the store owner or employees are inflating that rating. Reviews need to describe the experience, and they need to be detailed so others can read about it and decide if they should go to your location.

S – Special hours. Are you running seasonal hours for the holidays or summer? You can set these hours to run only during a set date range without having to change them manually. Best of all, Google will allow you to do this via spreadsheet. It may take a little while, depending on the number of locations, but it is much easier than doing it one at a time within the dashboard.

T – Trust. Whether you realize it or whether customers even know about you, your businesses have a reputation online. What’s said about you and what reviews say about you define your reputation. The information you display and the reviews you cultivate can help others gain the same trust that your current clients already have in you. A high review rating online and an A+ standing with the BBB and other services can help establish this trust.

U – Unclaimed listings. You know what locations you have and where they are. If you’ve verified your business at the corporate level for Google and Bing, then this should be easy; if not, this is going to take time. It’s easier to update or adjust information on claimed listings than it is on unclaimed listings. If there are unclaimed listings that shouldn’t be there, you’ll still have to claim them to get them removed.

V – Verification. As stated above, verifying locations at the corporate level for Google and Bing helps a lot. However, this can only be done if you have more than ten locations. If you have fewer, then the verification process will be a bit more tedious. Communicate clearly with each location and be prepared to look for postcards and schedule phone calls if needed.

W – What. What are customers searching for? Doing keyword research can help you identify proper categories and content to create for your listing and location pages. Once you’ve answered this question, you can begin to answer a lot of the questions your audience has.

X – X-ray. It’s next to impossible to hide behind fake reviews. Google and many others have spoken out against using fake reviews (positive and negative). The best way to succeed in this area is to be as transparent as possible. If you buy positive reviews but the experience in store is horrible, it will quickly become clear that your business isn’t as good as it appears online.

Y – Yahoo. What was once a major contributor to overall site traffic is now a thorn in many sides. The only viable option to update Yahoo “right now” is through Yext. Yahoo does pick up information through Infogroup; however, it doesn’t guarantee to update it very often. Ask yourself one question, “Is this investment for Yahoo worth it?” How much traffic do you currently get from Yahoo compared to other search engines and directories? Chances are it is referring only a few people. However, if it is a strong contender, then you may opt to invest in updating your information.

Z – Zomato. This is a business directory that is specific to restaurants. There aren’t a lot of industry-specific directories online, but it would be a good idea to do some research to see what is online so you can be included. Many directories offer free listings, and others might be included in your overall syndication if you’re paying for full service. It’s just a matter of finding which ones you can be included in and see what’s required to expand your overall reach online.

There you have it—the ABCs of local listing management. If you have questions or are looking for a partner to help you with this, get in touch with Vizion! We’ve become pretty good at helping businesses do this for a number of years now.