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Last updated September 10, 2018
To further the discussion on optimizing local search, we will go back to the equation listed earlier: Ranking = Location + Information + Corroboration + Input + X; X being defined as the consistent unknown and ever-evolving factor contributing to the unpredictability we see in results. The other criteria of the search equation are better understood.
1. Location: Distance from "Centroid" (the geographic center of the local search area) - the closer your business is, the higher you rank -- well kind of. This factor has been reduced in weight recently as in many cases relevancy has been proven arbitrary to fixed geographic center points. At a minimum, claim your basic listing and make sure business name, address and telephone numbers are accurate and complete to take advantage of this location factor.
2. Information: Listings containing more robust information and links rank higher in results (e.g., a website link, keyword-rich content, media, etc). Enhance your listing with keyword-rich content targeting the top keyword phrases prospective consumers may use to find you. Consider using variations of the most popular terms like "painters" and "painting". Listing "brands carried" is a good way to target popular keywords. Run some tests using Google Analytics available in the GLBC (Google Local Business Center) to narrow down your keyword focus. Be sure to add media to your listing: a company logo and multiple store/product photos go a long way - video is a bonus.
3. Corroboration: How many other local search engines or directories have your same listing published? Each time the information contained in your listing can be tied to a matching NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) on other "relevant" sites, your listing is awarded a "citation" -- the more citations you have, the higher you rank. This corroboration between relevant sites builds trust, and the trust factor is critical.
Corroboration and link building are perhaps the best things you can do to rank. With Google Caffeine rolling out, there's been some big changes in SEO practices - even more emphasis on building unique and quality rich-content as well as creating corroborating links from as many trusted sites to your page(s) as possible. Start by building out your LBL (Local Business Listing) with enhanced content, and use this as a template to "manually" distribute your information to as many relevant sites as possible (see the list of notable sites below).
4. "Objective" Consumer Input: How many consumer reviews/ratings or other sources of user input does your business have on "relevant" sites? To maximize citations and achieve the highest possible ranking you need to get as much positive feedback as possible. Encourage your happy customers to go online and give you a positive review on multiple sites. Here are four easy tips on how to get more reviews. Google favors citations differently across various industries so it is important to solicit reviews on sites specific to your vertical. Negative ranking factors: Avoid using an 800# or multiple phone numbers across listings for tracking purposes (consistency in NAP is key); non-local area code; use of a P.O. Box; multiple LBLs with same phone number and/or DBA and/or address; stuffing geo-targeted keywords into non-related categories or fields; high percentage of bad reviews.
You can start with your Google Maps listing and in a similar fashion work your way through the roughly 100 other search engines, IYP directories, maps, mobile sites and niche local/social sites. This is a laborious process which requires ample time and web expertise to get it right and establish lasting results. It typically takes our team of EZlocal gurus almost four to six weeks to complete our initial manual distribution for each business we optimize. If you are looking to rank in the top seven of the Google Maps section, we highly recommend utilizing our seo services as part of premium membership.
Below is a list of the more notable submission sites.
Local Maps: Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, AOL Local, Ask Local, Platial
Local Listings Sites: Citysearch, InsiderPages, MerchantCircle, Yelp, Cityvoter, EZlocal*, Yellowpages, YellowBot, Yellowbook, Manta, Best of the Web, Superpages, Hotfrog, DexKnows, CitySquares, Kudzu, Brownbook, OpenList, GetFave, Judy's Book, Angieslist, Switchboard, AnyWho, InfoSpace, ServiceMagic, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon, Zagat, VirtualTourist, Praized, Local, DiscoverOurTown, Tyloon, Mojopages, Genieknows, Wcities, Metrobot, Magic Yellow, Whitepages , 411, AssistGuide, Topix, Menu Network, Decidio, Go2
Business Networks: Entrepreneur Connect, Intuit Business, PartnerUp, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, BizJournals
Passive Submission Sites: Localeze, InfoUSA, Axciom, iBegin, EZlocal*, GetListed *EZlocal operates as both a manual and passive content distributor as well as an IYP directory.
Factors like regency, accuracy, "certificate of trust" and depth of content are the critical elements to supporting a business' image, increasing "findability" and generating qualified, ready-to-buy local customers.
EZlocal has created an easy, affordable single source for businesses to realize the benefits of online local search engine distribution, optimization and content management. Sign up for a free consultation today at EZLocal, your local search experts, today and learn how our Google Certified search experts can do the work for you at pricing starting as low as $95 per month.
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