One of the first and most important things in Local SEO is claiming your listings in different directories so you can control what information is on the profile. If you leave business listings unclaimed, any user is able to edit them and possibly add incorrect information to the profile. Directories like Google Places and Yelp will usually verify listings by sending a PIN verification number in snail mail or by calling your listed business number. Once verified, you can then prevent anyone else from changing the content on the listing.
So why else is claiming your listing important other than protecting your profile? Well, once claimed, you can also build out your profile by adding pictures, videos, and more. One of the more important sections of your local listing is the categories section, where you are able to list your business in multiple relevant categories.
If we look at the two examples on this slide, you will notice that the verified listing on top has multiple categories they are listed under. By using all of these categories, they can help capture additional search traffic that may be looking for variations of these terms.
Looking at the listing on the bottom, you’ll notice they only fall under the category of hardware store and nothing else.
When building out your profile, it is also important to use relevant keywords in other sections of the listing like a summary or details section. This should also help with optimization and further improving your local rankings.
The final tip I’d like to share is also very important. Although it may seem pretty obvious, it’s important to have your contact information consistent across ALL local listing directories like Google Places, Yelp, Bing Business, etc. Having consistent information will not only ensure that your potential customers have the right contact info and address for you, but it can sometimes help sync your other profiles together.
As you can see on this slide, this Google Places profile is also using data from Yelp and InsiderPages.com. By incorporating this data and their respective reviews, it adds to the number of reviews shown on Google listings which is yet another factor for improving local search rankings.