How Should You Manage Your Local Listings?

It’s important to know how to manage local listings when optimizing your website for search.  

Video Transcript:

David: So, we’re talking about local listings in the process here, and I think what you’re asking about is this Google sheet. Is that what you’re asking about?

Onawa: Yeah.

David: So, I created this Google sheet a while back, and it’s got a ton of information in it. And so, the idea here is, collect the information you need from your business, and then you work through each of the different websites to fill in and claim for your business. So, the idea here is there are services that will do this for you, but if you need to do it manually, this is how you do it manually. So, you’re asking about why we’re adding all these different sites, Onawa?

Onawa: Yeah. I mean, I have a reason if a business already has a lot of these, but they’re kind of under slightly wrong old name, or there’s a couple of phone numbers. You know what I mean? That’s really the basis of it.

David: Yeah, yeah. That’s a good question. It used to be, and to some degree it’s still true, that Google here is confirming that the business’s real name, address, and phone number are correct. One of the ways it does that is by you submitting and verifying it. Another way it does it is it corroborates the information across several reputable sources. Some of these are more reputable than others. But the more of these potentially that you have that are consistent with what we call the nap, the name, address, and phone number, the more confidence Google has that your listing is correct, and the more likely it is to serve it in response to search engines. Would you add anything or amend that, Tricia, in any way?

Tricia: Yeah, I think that’s pretty much it. Google does look at some other things out there as far as whether it trusts the business or not, and it can help as far as the trust aspect. So, I would say if you’ve got information out there that is incorrect, at that point, I would first look at, what type of place is it on.
If it’s incorrect and it’s on Google, Apple Maps, Bing, Better Business Bureau, some of those big ones, I would make sure that you get it updated. And you could even do that manually. One thing I like to do is search without signing up… BrightLocal has a thing where you can put your business in and have it pull all that stuff together for you unless you’ve already done it. And it can go through and show you a list, which ones are the red ones that don’t match. Then, you can go through those and decide if you need to go in and update them. As far as local SEO, your Google Business Profile is your most important one.

Onawa: That one is right.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: And that’s the one I highlighted in yellow, because you should make sure of that, since that’s the most important one. Even if you use a service to help you with this, don’t let the service create that. That’s one you should correct manually, the long way yourself.

Tricia: Yeah. I like to tell businesses not only to create it themselves and be the owner of that profile, but also, especially for small businesses, I would not connect anything to it that sends it information. So, let’s say, you have something connected and you’ve moved and you’re going to update your address. And so, you would input it into this other service to tell all these places to update it. I would not connect Google Business Profile to that. I would do that all by hand, personally, because you have less risk of it getting suspended. When you make changes like that, there’s always a suspension chance if you have any big changes like that, which it doesn’t sound like you do on your Google Business Profile. But just like thinking about it in the future, I don’t like connecting anything that could send Google information that could be wrong, as well.

Onawa: Okay.

David: So, with each of these URLs, under the citations website, I tried to put at least as far as I can keep up, the most accurate place to update or add information to that site. So, for Dunn and Bradstreet, it’s the register link. For Google My Business it’s create. These change a lot, so I can’t say that this is completely up to date, but it should at least get you in. I’d focus on the ones on the top, and then, hey, if you get some at the bottom, fine. But these probably matter a lot less than the ones on the top. These are in order of importance.

Tricia: I think, personally for me, that the Better Business Bureau I would add that up higher towards the top. That’s just my opinion, and that has changed for me over time. I think that having that is important for Google, but people are going on to see that you’re actually listed there, not necessarily that you have a paid account with them. All these that we’re talking about here are the free accounts. But you will get hounded by some of them to pay extra to sign up to do more stuff with it. You can get so much more out of it, but I’d say I wouldn’t do that.

David: Yeah, some of these, and I should probably mark it, are very aggressive in their sales tactics.

Tricia: Yeah. Yes.

David: Yelp is the worst of them. And it’s important to be listed on Yelp. But they will try to sell you what you don’t necessarily need. You do not necessarily need a paid listing in the Better Business Bureau. If you have a reputation problem, you will need to buy the paid, because what happens is you cannot get an A+ unless you’re a paid subscriber to the Better Business Bureau. So, that’s kind of a scam. But it can help, and they will do stuff like mediate disputes. So, they do provide a real service. It’s just a little disingenuous to say this is not an A+ business. Why? Because they did not pay us to become an A+.

Tricia: But they love that. Yeah.

David: But yeah, I think I updated this a couple years ago, so it probably might be a little bit out of date, but this will be a good starting point. And, as with a lot of things in the SEO process, just try to get as far as you can. You don’t have to complete everything, do a few and come back. Or like, do one, and then next week, come back and do another. But you know, the most important thing is getting your Google My Business and then working down the list. For instance, a lot of my clients already have a Facebook page, but it’s not the Facebook page with an address. And I don’t want to manage their Facebook campaign. I will opt out of that sometimes.

Tricia: Right. 

David: But you know, I’ll do Bing. Bing is actually where Alexa gets her data.

Tricia: When I do my Google Business Profile audit, even though it’s not really a part of the profile, I do a very short synopsis of citations, and if I see anything inconsistent in the top ones, I note that. And I tell the client you need to get access to this if you don’t have it or go in and update it. So, that is one of the things when I work with clients for local SEO that I focus on.

David: Okay. Does it help?

Onawa: Yes, that does help.

David: So, there’s a little secret feature in this little worksheet. If you fill out the information here, as much as you can, then you go this second tab, it’s going to create local schema for your business. And you can copy the JSON, go to the schema markup validator, insert a code snippet, paste your code, run a test, and it’ll tell you if you have valid schema or not. And then if you add that, because it’s JSON it’s not a code that’s visible, it’s schema that Google can pick up. So, it’s nice way to add schema manually to a page. You’d have to do it in the footer or something like that. I’d also probably recommend you make sure that the actual name, address, and phone number are on the page in regular text, in addition to adding the schema. But one of the goals here is if you fill out, you could even go a little bit further in this sheet. And you can have the schema added to your site pretty easily.

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