In 2013, I tried editing local listings for the first time. I was working for a medium-sized business that had recently changed their name and branding about a year ago before and had hardly done any marketing. I worked there full time but spent about a week editing local listings and trying to take care of editing their previous information across the internet. I look back at that and realize how much of a nightmare that was.
Recently I tried editing local listings again for experimental purposes. You know what I learned? It’s only gotten worse.
It is SO HARD to post local listings yourself. It’s just a time-consuming process. There’s nothing you can do about it. Forget about doing it for someone else too. That is even more annoying due to the process of confirmations.
Here’s what I do know, though: if your local listings are not up-to-par, you are losing SO MUCH BUSINESS. Consumers on the internet do not know (nor do they care) about your knowledge of SEO. They want to find you, find you quickly, and have the right information about you (such as website, phone number, address, etc.) within seconds!
And now, more than ever, your local listings are super important due to the world of voice-search.
Alexa, Google Voice, Siri – all of these are new tools to answer questions quickly and find information easily. When one of these voice products are searching, local listings is often a first. That being said, are you going to be found quick enough? Gone are the days where someone scrolls to look for you. Now they’re being audibly told what to do. You and Alexa better be really good friends if this is going to work out for you.
This is why we began providing this SEO service. We did not want our clients’ marketing getting behind, so we wanted to be on the offense.
Here are a few things you need to know when it comes to your digital marketing strategy, SEO and local listings efforts.
1. Don’t do it manually
You NEED to purchase a service. A simple subscription that takes care of your local listings. It is not worth the hassle to pull a DIY. It may be “easy” to put all of that in, but finding the 72 most popular local listing search engines and putting in all of your data is busy work that will destroy your time.
We actually use Yext at Paper Jacket and became a partner in the process (please, before going straight to Yext, ask us about it first because we offer it cheaper than they do). Depending on the level of your plan, Yext will actually post your uninformed information and photos to 72 Local Listing Search Engines. It will also provide data to help you understand where your customers are coming from and finding you. This is a tool worth purchasing and is an annual subscription. Don’t try to skip this. It’s just one of the necessary items you’ll need for digital marketing. (ask me for a free audit of your current local search listings)
2. Voice search is happening. Stop ignoring it.
Voice is getting smarter. It’s basically going to be a household item and personal assistant to your consumers. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in. Smartphones are already a household item. Stats are saying that over 50% of searches on the internet will be done through voice search in 2019 – less than one year away. That means we’re already that close.
You need to be thinking about how well your information is found and how your content needs to be strategized around Voice-Search. Start answering questions, be consistent across the board with your information, and for goodness sake – create content. If you think you can grow a business without creating engaging content built around a strategy then there is just no helping you. Sorry.
3. Investing in consultation is okay.
Are you supposed to be a master at marketing ALL OF THE TIME? Even if you just answered “yes” to that question, you are wrong. You cannot keep up with the ever-changing world of marketing while also running your business. Sure, be involved and know what’s going on. Research and know as much as possible, but time is of the essence. Having consultation on digital marketing strategies shaped for now and the future is a positive investment. They are spending their time understanding all of this. Pay them to bring that information to you, wrapped in a nice little box that is personalized just for you.
Heck, you think we learn everything on our own? We’re constantly getting consultation on new trends and directions.
Stop thinking you know the internet and stop assuming your kids know how to strategize and execute a digital marketing strategy just because they’re on SnapChat.
4. Be active with your Local Listing
Don’t just create and forget your local listing. Work it! Make it active. To utilize your Google ranking, utilize the tools connected to it, such as YouTube and Google Plus. Facebook is a local listing. Gain followers and build engagement.
A huge item, especially for the service industry, is to ask for reviews. Reviews help build your ranking like crazy, but also help leads in their decision process. Just do me a favor – don’t just ask them to review you on Google. Give them a link that they can quickly click and review right away. It’s so much easier.
In closing, it’s about time you fix your Local Listings to make sure they are up-to-par. Ranking well for Local Listings is SO MUCH CHEAPER than ranking your website (but is also important to help rank your website).