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How To Avoid The Local Listings Nightmare

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Like it or not, one of the most important things you can do for your business is to get listed online. Local search optimization is a daunting task and there aren’t many companies stepping in to help you figure it out.

That’s why we’re here! In our Local Listings blog series, we will share our insights (and even some secret passages) into the local listings world.

We may not be “Google Gods,” but we have in-depth, hands-on experience in the local search directory ecosystem. I hope our personal experiences will help you get a jumpstart on your local competition and save you from taking a few, or a lot of, migraine meds.

Is It Really That Hard To Get Listed On Local Search Directories?

It sounds easy enough, right? Local listings – that’s like getting an ad in Yellow Pages? Not quite.

Don’t get me wrong, some sites are much easier to get listed on than others, but if you’re new to this technology, it’s kind of like learning Spanish. Some of the words make sense, but most of them don’t. The truth is, local listings is a cluster of confusion, and I think this infographic hits the nail on the head.

What is this glorious illustration? Well, it’s not glorious; it’s a headache and a cluster of frustration. This image is trying to depict how local listings sites feed information to one another. The problem is, Yelp might feed information to Apple Maps, but it could take Apple two months to update your listing this way. Two months! That’s a lot of lost revenue. Plus, you can’t rely on one listing to clean up your presence online.

Even worse, just when you think you master the process, they change the whole game. Case in point, (as you can see in this slightly outdated illustration), “Google + Local” was retired, but not totally. It is now a version of “Google My Business,” but don’t get too attached to that name. In the past year, I can remember working with three different versions of the “Google Local / My Business.”

Now you can see how this gets so confusing. 

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How Can I Get The Most Bang For My Local Search Listings Buck?

The key here is knowing which sites to pick and how to navigate them. If you don’t do your research in choosing the listings that will best suit your business, you’re going to waste a lot of time.

Remember that illustration? Well, that only illustrates a fraction of the directories that exist. Some people might think it’s necessary to get listed on as many of these sites as possible, but it’s not.

The question you need to ask here is, “Are my customers on YellowBot?” Don’t be fooled by their fancy webpages promising listing “advantages” and increased “revenue.” Not every local listing site is right for your company. Evaluate all of your options and only choose the ones that are advantageous to you, and ones that your customers actually use.

Back to knowing how to navigate local listings sites. Each directory has its very own steps that are required to verify a listing. Whether the verification is by phone call or postcard, if you don’t know what to expect, you can miss out and have to start the whole process over again.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it. Setting up and maintaining local listings is nothing short of a nightmare. Even if you know what to expect, you may have to try several times. It is a maddening process that makes me want to pull my hair out thinking about it! Luckily for you, I've tried and failed, tried again, failed again, then finally succeeded. Now I’m here to teach you the shortcuts, and by offering our firsthand experience, successes and failures, we hope to make the process less painful for you. Moz is also an awesome resource for everything local listings (and they're the minds behind the Local Listings Ecosystem graphic above), so we encourage you to check their website out as well. 

 

This is just the first of many blogs in our Local Listings How-To Series to come, so be sure to visit the ROI Online blog again.


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