Consumers often search online when shopping for services like insurance. Successful businesses have a large online presence to attract potential customers from these searches. Local business listings are crucial to help build an online presence.
What is a local business listing?
If you’ve searched your business in Google, you may have noticed that your business information appears across multiple websites like Citysearch, the Yellow Pages and your local Chamber of Commerce. These sites are known as online business directories which store business listings for local businesses. Business listings are a profile that typically include your name, address and phone number, also known as your NAP.
What are the benefits of business listings?
- Improved SEO Listings on sites that have strong domain authority are among the ranking factors search engines consider when determining what to list and where in search results. The more business listings you have, the stronger that signal is to search engines that you are a legitimate and trustworthy business. Insurance search terms are very competitive so business listings also give your brand more opportunity to appear in searches that your own website may not rank highly in.
- Increased brand awareness Most business listing sites include more information than just your name, address and phone number. You can add your logo, photos of your office, a link to your website and even a description of your business and specialties. It’s like a digital billboard for your business.
- Social proof Ratings and reviews are key to influencing consumers who see your online listings. Surveys have found that consumers trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from someone they know.i Business listings that include reviews give searchers social proof of your expertise.
Which business listing sites should you use?
Google My Business is one of the most important listings you should manage. Google is among the most popular search engines and will serve Google listings in search results and in Google maps. Google My Business listings can also support additional business information about your office and is a popular listing used by consumers to read reviews.
In addition to Google, Bing is also one of the top search engines. Keeping your listing current on Bing Places should also be a priority. Online review directories, which include sites like the Better Business Bureau and Superpages, provide social proof of your expertise to help influence consumers. Other major online directories include Foursquare, Yellow Pages, Chamber of Commerce .com, Nextdoor, Mapquest, eLocal, and local.com. The more directories your business is listed on, the more opportunity your business has to be found by potential clients.
How do I manage my business listings?
It’s important to make sure your listings are maintained. Search engines and consumers prefer listings that are accurate and up to date. Outdated or mismatched contact information will frustrate consumers. Eighty percent of consumers lose trust in local businesses if their contact information or business names aren’t updated or consistent.ii Some listings sites such as Google may even use outdated data from another directory to update a listing if it believes that is the correct data to provide a better experience.
Adding your business and maintaining it on local business sites is typically free, but it can become a cumbersome process to claim dozens of listings then review them on a regular basis for accuracy. And if bad data is listed on these directories it can take weeks to clean up. Instead of managing your business listings yourself, you can use a digital tool to help you streamline the work or hire a vendor who can manage this process for you. Yext and Moz Local are popular tools that provide an easy way to scan and manage your listings.
Listings should be considered a foundation of your digital marketing. They can help boost your awareness and traffic without having to spend budget on paid digital ads.