Search Engine Journal recently shared information about changes in the way Google handles local search inquiries. Some of the changes are more relevant to larger businesses who have a multi-national presence, but one update that applies to everyone has to do with local directory listings.
Local directories are sites like Home Advisor, Yelp, and the Yellow Pages. Some sites feature customer reviews, and almost all of them offer local businesses advertising opportunities in addition to the free listings.
As part of a series of Google algorithm updates, the results from local directories often appears before other search results – including your business’ website. Within the local directory results, priority appears to be given to businesses that have contributed content, including a profile that describes what your business does and what communities you serve.
For this reason, it’s imperative to review your local directory listings and make sure your business information is accurate in all of them. This includes your physical location address, website address, social media accounts, phone number, hours of operation and any other information a potential new customer would consider critical.
If you find incorrect information, it is well worth your time to reach out to the directory site to correct it. Each different directory site has its own unique method of addressing errors, and not all sites are equally responsive. It is a good best practice to create reminders to prompt you to check if information has been updated as requested. Some diligence can be required.
It is vital that this directory listing information be correct because those listings may very well be the only place customers look before deciding to visit your business. If your address is incorrect or they can’t find your website online using the address provided, these shoppers will simply move on and you’ve lost your opportunity. As a good best practice, review local directory listings at least quarterly, and address issues as they are discovered.