Mar 22, 2010
Business Listings Identity Manager Localeze Provides Pitfalls to Avoid When Creating and Maintaining Online Local Search Listings
VIENNA, Va. – As business listings are the underpinning of a local business’ online search presence, Localeze, the largest business listings identity manager for local search, is giving local businesses critical insight into establishing and managing their listings.
“Proactive and ongoing management of online business listings should be an integral part of a local business’ online strategy because they serve as the core or ‘anchor content’ of a company’s local online presence,” said Jeff Beard, president, Localeze. “Listings are often submitted to multiple local search platforms from a variety of third-party sources, which may have slight variations in the local listing’s Name, Address and Phone number (NAP), potentially creating multiple representations of a local business online. This hinders the ability for local search platforms to know which listing is the “true identity” of the local business.”
According to Localeze, it is important for businesses to establish authoritative control over and maintain their business listings across the Web, giving local search platforms confidence in the listing’s validity and accuracy, as well as the ability to link other unique content to it such as user generated reviews and social media.
The Top 10 best practices for a business to protect and optimize its online local business listings identity are:
1. Provide a consistent Name, Address or Phone Number (NAP)
If a business is self-submitting to local search platforms and social networks, it is important not to use variations in core listings information -NAP - as this can create multiple versions of a local business' online identity and make it difficult for local search platforms to verify the identity of a business.
2. Update listings on all major Local Search platforms
By submitting business listings only to sites like Google Maps, a local business establishes their “true anchor identity” in only one place and may miss the opportunity to be found on other major search engines, Internet Yellow Pages, social networks and vertical directories.
3. Do not confuse business listings with paid search advertising
Paid search campaigns do not take the place of local search listings. Even if a business has a banner ad or paid search campaign, they need to incorporate business listings identity into their management strategy.
4. Don’t just submit local search business listings; actively manage them over time
Businesses need to proactively manage their listings and make updates when a location moves, closes or opens. It is crucial to check in to re-verify periodically even if nothing has changed, so that local search platforms have a higher level of confidence that listings are accurate.
5. Avoid using a P.O. Box number
A physical address to a true business location should be included in local business listings when possible, because some search engines do not recognize P.O. Box numbers. Those businesses with only a P.O. Box number should provide the physical address that was used to set-up the P.O. Box.
6. Don’t ignore long-tail directories
Businesses shouldn’t forget about the dozens of long-tail directories that provide added exposure to consumers and serve as a reference-source for major local search platforms to verify and link business listings information.
7. Don’t change the company's business listing name for SEO
Local businesses shouldn’t add marketing language, descriptive keywords or branding into their company name for their business listings. This creates confusion of a business’ anchor NAP identity. Most local search platforms provide areas to add descriptive keywords and text to accommodate extended information.
8. Don’t replace your primary phone number or URL with tracking numbers or URLs
Tracking phone numbers and URLs cause a listing to appear inconsistent and can confuse local search platforms during the verification process. Call tracking phone numbers and URLs should be utilized in paid advertisements, but businesses need to be wary of improper use that can confuse a business listing’s identity.
9. Think long-term versus short-term
Managing business listings requires a long-term strategy for maintaining information across many local search platforms. Businesses need to take a strategic approach of managing their listings and remember that submitting content once—and only in one or two places—isn’t enough.
10. Establish an internal business listings identity management guru
Business-managed listings are very important to local search platforms, provided the manager of the information is authorized and up-to-speed on best practices. Typically, marketing and/or Internet marketing specialists are ideal to handle the ongoing maintenance of listings. Make sure to designate a guru within the organization no matter the size.
Localeze is the largest business listings identity manager for local search. As a trusted partner, Localeze maintains direct, authorized relationships with local search platforms, national and regional brands, channel partners and local businesses. The company provides businesses essential tools to verify, manage and enhance the identity of their local listings across the Web. Through these relationships and access to authoritative local business information, Localeze is the largest provider of trusted, enhanced online local business listings in the local search industry. Localeze is a privately held company headquartered in Vienna, Virginia.