For business owners, there is nothing more important than being found by potential customers. It used to be easy; we just opened the phone book. Today, we open a web browser, and the search results can be frustrating when your listings are wrong. I have done quite a lot of research on the topic and been successful claiming Google+ Business Pages, fixing incorrect phone numbers on search results and gaining higher rankings by adding information to internet directories.
If you have a listing appearing incorrect in search results, chances are something is wrong at the source. My sources explain there are four main sources feeding data to the major search engines Google, Yahoo! and Bing. The first place to start is to check out your listing at one of these data aggregators:
At a recent conference hosted by Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, an SEO expert recommended that you try to match EVERYTHING in your internet listings, especially your phone number, the exact way your business name is listed, and even staying consistent on how you abbreviate your street name. Since you are basically talking to a computer, it makes sense that it would see a street name of Daphne Ave. and Daphne Avenue as inconsistent. It doesn’t make it wrong, but the fact that it is inconsistent, causes the listing to not carry as much weight as those that are consistent.
Another recommendation is to do a search for your product name on Google. For various popular keywords, Google will display a group of local listings first. Make sure your business listing appears in the list. Not surprisingly, I have found creating a Google+ page for your business helps your business appear in the list. A good example is this Google Search for shutters in Daphne, AL. The results are good for local company, Beds and Blinds, and listings show their website in addition to their Google+ page.
Sometimes, a company needs to claim a page that is appearing on Google but is not currently being managed. It is a great feeling of accomplishment to claim a listing that is already appearing high on Google listings and maximizing it to show an updated description, adding photos or even videos.
Google will often pull information, especially for restaurants, from review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or UrbanSpoon, and display the results in an inset box. If no one has claimed the page, you can tell by the tiny print appearing under the listing that says, “Are you the business owner?” Clicking on the link will take you to a page where Google will let you claim the listing after verifying using a postcard to the address listed, or a phone call to the business phone number listed. Other sites where business information appears have a similar verification process either by phone call or postcard.
Local search strategy is complex and is always changing, but getting your information listed, accurate and consistent can help your customers find you and, may even help you stay a few steps ahead of your competition.
–By Deborah York Geiger, Content Fresh