|A Local SEO cheat sheet|
This information has been successfully used by myself for some time. If you follow the steps and are very careful about accuracy and consistency, this information should work for you as well.
First, complete the following questionnaire BEFORE you begin to submit your website to the search engines, review websites and other citation sites. Some of these questions may not apply to your business, if that is the case, just leave them blank.
Be accurate and thorough. The most important thing to remember is to BE CONSISTENT! All of your submissions must have identical information or you will not get the search engine rankings that you will need to improve business.
After you have completed this questionnaire, use it and the information that it asked you to gather up, to submit to the 25 sites included below it.
Company Owner/Contact Person:
Business Name (use the EXACT company name as in MyCompany, Inc. consistently across all submissions. Do not mix it up with variations like MyCompany, LLC or MyCompany Corp. or just MyCompany):
Suite/Office (if any):
Business Primary Phone Number:
Toll Free # (if any):
Fax# (if any):
Business Category #1 (at least one is required):
Business Category #2:
Business Category #3:
Primary Email Address :
Secondary Email Address (if any):
Brands you sell or use (if any):
Products/Services - comma separated up to 200 characters :
Hours of Operation:
Payment Methods Accepted:
Tagline (if any):
Company logo: (have a digital copy handy to add to sites that ask for it and/or have a URL for one)
Service Areas (cities, counties states or radius from your office - e.g within 50 miles of my office):
Contractor#/License# (if any) :
Business Images (have handy some examples of your work that you can add to the listings and/or have a URLs for them) :
Company owner picture (have a digital copy handy to add to sites that ask for it and/or have a URL for it):
Video URL’s (if you have a YouTube account, get the code for any videos that you would like to include on your site:
Short description of your business - no more than 200 characters
Long description of your business - length varies by website
Here are, in my opinion, the top 25 review/citation sites in no particular order to submit the above information to. As I mentioned before, accuracy and consistency is vitally important. This is in no way an exhaustive listing, but it has been proven to be successful for me.
There are also many directory sites for specific industries that you should submit your business to. You can find these by searching for “Your Industry Directory Listings”
Google+ Local -
First thing you will need is an account with Google. When you create your account, you should create a unique email address that will only be used for submitting your business to Google+ Local. To create your account go here:
After you have created your account, or if you already have one that you want to use, visit this page to learn how to create a business page for your business on Google+ Local:
Yahoo Local -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Yahoo Local:
Bing Local -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Bing Local:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for The Yellow Pages:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Yelp:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Manta:
Show Me Local -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Show Me Local:
Merchant Circle -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Merchant Circle:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for SuperPages:
Mojo Pages -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Mojo Pages:
EZ Local -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for EZ Local:
Angie’s List -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Angie’s List:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Hot Frog:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Foursquare:
Chamber of Commerce -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for the Chamber of Commerce:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Yellow Bot:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Kudzu:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Brown Book:
B2B Yellowpages -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for B2B Yellow Pages:
Directory Central -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Directory Central:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for MapQuest:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Local.com:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for Dexknows.com:
Citysearch,com uses Express Update -
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for City Search:
Visit this page to learn how to create an account for nSphere:
+1 awesome. Thanks for sharing.
One thing I should point out, the "Business Name" should be the actual legal name of the entity, not the domain name.
ExampleCompany, LLC should be used, not examplecompany.com
This is because you are submitting a business, not a website.
Thanks travelin cat! Great share.
I was just coming over to add the name distinction. Glad you spelled it out.
Taking it a step further, for the purposes of Google which is the reason folks are likely doing this, the business name needs to be the real business name too.
If the name is John Smith Attorney at Law, should not use Altanta Personal Injury attorney in the name field.
|If the name is John Smith Attorney at Law, should not use Altanta Personal Injury attorney in the name field. |
I know this is in Google guidelines, but is this enforced?
I am seeing many keywords "businesses" which I know are either not named like this, or even more often - do not exist as a physical location and are only on the web. Websites attached to such profile then rank on Google local for the searches.
Well they actually JUST changed the guidelines about a week ago, which I fought them tooth and nail on.
Now they allow a single descriptor to be added. So EITHER a KW or city but not both.
So my example above would still not be allowed cuz that's not the name at all, but a complete fake KW stuffed name.
Now "John Smith Attorney at Law" could add Atlanta on the end.
FYI however I don't advise changing NAP just cuz Google changed that rule, I have a feeling it may get overturned and changing NAP is never a good idea unless necessary.
But yes you are right, Local has not been well policed and KW stuffed listings rank high all the time and even worse often score a one box and lock all the honest businesses out of the pack. Even worse than that when we report spammy ones they are seldom edited or taken down. We've been trying to get Google to clean all that up and start enforcing but I've seen little improvement yet.
NAP? Name, Address, Phone Number?
Ergo, that is correct.
Thank you for the information. Now what if your business is not local? It's world-wide, where would you suggest I submit? thank you
Amy Place pages or Google+ Local pages are only for local businesses that see customers in person.
You aren't even allowed to have a Place page if you are world-wide or are an online only business.
For that your option is organic or paid search.
Another tip: if you alter any of the components of the NAP (Name, Address or Phone Number) in your listing after claiming it and having it verified, Google will require that you re-verify the listing.
Most of the time this will be via a postcard sent to the business location that contains a PIN. This can take a week or two. Sometimes they will allow you to verify by phone, but that seems to be rare.
ok thank you
Awesome in the real sense of the term!
Absolutely what I needed.
Thank you very much
+1 times 10 :)
Very helpful info.
I've always read that a consistent NAP is important, which is why it drives me nuts when a site slightly reformats my entry.
For example, I might have submitted 123 E. West Street,1st Floor, but I end up with listings like:
123 E. West St., Fl. 1
123 E. West St., 1st Floor
123 E. West Street (no floor indicated)
Is this a problem?
What is the minimum needed to get listed in local search? Are the accounts with search engines required rather than helpful? That makes it very different from the main SERPS.
Is it global? Why do you not see local search results in some town? Does it just mean that Google has not identified enough businesses that match your search in the area. For example for "hotels in [my town]" I get no local results, although I do see them for apparently similar nearby towns.
whirledview, I'm pretty sure that the search engines understand that some citation sites will not allow you to submit the address in the same format. As long as the actual street address is correct, the suite # or floor being different should not affect your listings.
graeme_p, local businesses do not necessarily need any citations to be listed. Many are added by the search engines regardless of being claimed by the business . Claiming the listing allows you to properly complete the listing with the correct info and protect it from being claimed by someone else.
Here is a page that lists the current countries that have Google local listings: https://support.google.com/places/answer/142902?hl=en
Thanks travelin cat, I've added these to my list. :-)
aaaaand bookmarked. Thanks!
Thanks travelin cat. The page also answered a few other newbie questions I had.
The list of countries uses a new Google innovation "almost alphabetic order". In fact what they have done is sorted the countries by alphabetic order of ISO code - so the UK is ordered as GB, but the text shown in "United Kingdom".
Incidentally, the list of countries looks like "everywhere the US does not have full scale no exporting anything at all sanctions on".
This is an excellent resource. I will be making this a staple to-do for new clients. Thanks for posting this.
|use the EXACT company name as in MyCompany, Inc. consistently across all submissions |
travelin cat - Thank you for these guidelines. Regarding "consistently", I definitely understand the principle, which is essentially the need for a kind of canonicalization... going way back to the days when the founding moderator of this forum ("Chicago", aka Justin Sanger) emphasized it. He called it data cleansing.
What's not clear is how to handle business name consistency when the stars are not in alignment, which is often the case. I have a fondness for local third world restaurants and small local businesses, and often find myself trying to give these places do-it-yourself guidance so they can handle things themselves. I very often find that their business names tend to evolve over time.
A restaurant, eg, that started out as "Brandname MomsNationality and PopsNationality Cafe" on the business license may morph in fits and starts into something like "Branded-Name MomsNationality Cuisine" on the sign above the door... and the many online listings are going to show a slightly different name. One particular place I'm thinking of has just about every combination and permutation of the possible vocabulary included in generally enthusiastic reviews and listing sites. Google organic search returns pretty much five variants of the name in the top 10 results, with the reviews carrying additional legacy variations.
Even consistent submissions to the listings per the above are still unlikely to be consistent with the Business License or the Chamber of Commerce certificate on the wall. What's the current best way... for these small shops... of essentially "redirecting" all of their business name listings into a canonical form? I realize this may end up leading off into a different discussion, and the answer may (or may not) vary according to local law... but this seemed to be the best place to ask the question.
How much does the "official name" matter? Do these places need to start by changing the business license listing (perhaps a daunting task) and then changing all the search site listings to match... or can the Name just be an assumed DBA if all the listing sites get lined up? (I'm sure there are other approaches too.)
I'm aware, btw, that there are some data cleansing products out there. Am still not sure how they would tie in with the official business name.
it will greatly increase your understanding and help maintain your sanity if you understand the Local Search Ecosystems:
several years ago i was doing work in this area for a client and i made a BASS (big spread sheet) with a column for each field name i found on all the profiles of any directories, review sites, etc i found and then a row for each site.
i used this to determine the canonical data set (NAP+).
lather, rinse, repeat.
after a while it was obvious which sites shared data sources and which shared templates.
whenever i found noncanonical data (NAP) i did various searches to find and track any additional profiles with noncanonical data.
lather, rinse, repeat.
during this process i first discovered david mihm's "local search ecosystems" graphic, which he's updated annually since.
everything i saw in that graphic supported what i was seeing in the data.
using that graphic, start at the sources (Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom, Factual) and work outward.
capture all your profiles.
in some cases you might wait for sources to propagate and in other cases it will be worth fixing your profiles before the next data refresh.
lather, rinse, repeat.
whenever you find noncanonical addresses look for ways to edit any related location/address errors in Google Map Maker:
as far as these sites changing your NAP to a non-canonical form, i think google knows enough about how each site tweaks the data that it isn't a problem - especially if it's consistent at the sources and across all the platforms that share content.
@whirledview Just enter NAP as consistently as you can. But if they don't all match Google is pretty good now at parsing common abbreviations.
@graeme Yes local results are global but depends in part on search volume and local intent as perceived by the algo.
Hotels in any city should pull local results unless you are in such a small town there are hardly any.
I find it interesting that none of the sites above are actually "local" in nature. I mention this not because they're bad places to get listed but because they're not really about building a true local economy nor do they have the local economy first and foremost in their minds. These types of sites compete with actual local resources (e.g. pull advertising dollars away from local economies). Just thought I'd mention that because local is becoming a very corporate thing these days. And yes these sites are stamped out of a mold for the most part. Getting deeper than names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. and uncovering the essence of a locality is the real challenge. Having said that, the importance of getting correctly listed in the right places can't be denied.