Here at Go Local Interactive, we believe in strong and consistent online listings. Listings are, many times, the first impression a business is able to give its potential customers. Improving listings doesn’t just allow for a positive first impression, but it gives businesses a better overall search engine and web presence as well. In order to completely optimize your listings, it’s integral to take a two-step approach. First, feed location information to the top Data Aggregators and then manually claim and verify the listings. While there is a lot of talk out there regarding which method is correct, we have found that a business might not get the same results by using just one of these strategies, which is why we always suggest utilizing both.
Let’s Start with the Data Aggregators
Feeding your location information (Business Name, Address, Phone Number, etc) to Data Aggregators distributes it to over 250 various sources. Not only do these Aggregators include major search engine sites, such as Google and Bing, but directories, mobile providers and in-car navigation systems as well. Submitting your location information on a regular basis ensures that sites pulling information from the Data Aggregators can access the most recently updated data whenever they need it.
According to an article from Local SEO Checklist, the majority of search engines don’t gather all of their data information on their own and have to rely on third-parties that provide verified data. This is why data aggregation is so important to the process.
Manual Claiming & Verification
The second process to optimize local listings is manual claiming and verification. More and more sites are now giving businesses the opportunity to “claim” a listing on their site. Manual claiming allows a user,for all intents and purposes, to ‘own’ the listing data, which allows them to make changes and updates to the location data. These changes are usually published within about 48 hours, which is substantially different than feeding to data aggregators, where there’s a chance that it could take several months for listings to be updated (depending on the site’s timetables).
Which sites should you Claim?
Currently there are four main sites that are recommended for Manual Claiming & Verification. These sites are Google, Bing, Yelp and Apple Maps.
- Google is obviously king, as it is the most used search engine available.
- If Google is king of search engines, Yelp is king of review sites. Users are able to submit reviews and photos they believe accurately represents their experience with the company – whether that be positive or negative. By claiming Yelp listings, businesses are able to verify that the location information listed is correct and add branded images to their profile. Not only that, but claiming the listing allows a business to respond to both positive and negative reviews from users. This shows customers that the business is willing to take the time to provide quality customer service. Without claimed Yelp listings, you’re missing out on that opportunity.
- Bing is growing in popularity, and acts as the default search engine on Internet Explorer and functions such as Siri (iPhone).
- Apple Maps is the last major site that we suggest claiming on. There are many erroneous listings on Apple Maps, because the program previously guessed where locations were by pulling information from a variety of sources. In early 2016, businesses were able to start claiming their locations, instead of relying solely on Apple Maps to show users the correct information. This is a big deal, as Apple Maps is the default mapping service on iPhones. When a person asks Siri for directions it automatically refers them to Apple Maps.
Two is Better Than One
To fully cover all of your location listing bases, it is best to feed your business’s location information to Data Aggregators regularly, as well as claim and maintain your listings. Pairing these two together will get you the most accurate listings, which will allow the process for your customers to find you be a breeze!