In this episode of Actionable Marketing In Minutes we discuss directory & local business listings, and why accurate information is important for results.
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As the parent company of digital marketing agencies that specialize in both B2C and B2B arenas, DirectiveGroup has seen an unfortunate similar attitude across the board from many companies. That is the belief that local directory listings are an inconsequential piece of the marketing plan. It seems to have been demoted to the back burner of important marketing activities to consider.
These days, social media and content marketing – and most any type of inbound marketing tactic – are considered by many companies to be the only tactics necessary for driving people to their website.
We would never suggest that these activities are not important. They are indeed vital, but ensuring you have your company listed – correctly and comprehensively – on a good number of directories is also essential.
Let me tell you why.
Oftentimes, a company believes – incorrectly – that the only purpose online directories serve is similar to that of the old fashioned Yellow Page ad in that if they take out an ad it could increase reach to potential customers. They consider an ad to be an extra, but unnecessary, boon. If you have one, great. If you don’t have one, maybe next year.
But, local listings are not only for potential customers. They are fundamental to Google’s ranking algorithm. Does that come as a surprise to you? That nugget of information does not seem to be well-known to most. Your NAP (or name, address and phone number) must be absolutely consistent across anything and everything that lists your business. That means on your website and on any other platform.
We’ve often discussed in both our blogs and podcasts, how important it is for Google to remain relevant and trustworthy. By observing their algorithm updates and other changes and by reading or listening to interviews
by their top brass, we can easily understand that they’ll do just about anything to remain the top search engine dog.
Trust from searchers is key with Google. And, their trust in you is just as important to them. These days, as a result of data gleaned from the entire web from their millions of crawling bots, they’re able to supply searchers with all your pertinent information within their local search results. Information such as your NAP, hours and reviews to name a few. If that information proves to be conflicting or just downright wrong, they will rank you in a much more obscure position in the search engine result field.
You must continually earn Google’s trust by claiming and verifying online directory listings. And then, you have to work diligently to maintain that information.
Something as simple as having more than one person working on your listings who may each prefer to list your NAP differently can actually be a detriment. For instance, how’s your phone number listed? Does one person use dots, while another uses dashes? That matters! Most companies don’t know that.
And here’s something else that you might not have considered. Let’s say, you do have your listings accurate and in order. But, then what if the Chamber of Commerce, or the government, or another organization has you listed in a way that doesn’t jive with what you have. Whoops. Now, there is an inconsistency that Google bots will definitely find and penalize you for.
But, how to find them, you may ask.
You will need to find each instance of a mention of your company. One way to do this is to do a Google search of your company name, or phone number, within quote marks. This should pull the listings that are out there. But that’s just the start.
I think I’ve proven how important accurate listings are to your search engine optimization. My hope is that you will now consider listing your business in a few online directories.
But, there are hundreds of online directories to consider. The next question is how many is enough to list in? And, which ones? Now, that’s a question for another day. Please stay tuned. We’ll be covering that topic in an upcoming edition of Actionable Marketing in Minutes.
We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Please connect with us on Twitter @DirectiveGroup or on LinkedIn. Let us know what you think and what you’d like to hear about next. And if you like our podcasts please share with your networks using hashtag #actionablemarketing.
Join us for a future episode as we start a three-part series discussing the importance of Conversion Optimization.