Local Listing Optimisation: What is it?

23 September 2014
Published: By: Becky Dudley

Local Listing Optimisation is often referred to in Local SEO – but what does it actually mean? Local Listing Optimisation is the practice of retrieving search results that are the most relevant to your location. If I were to tailor a Google Search to a business type, using the example of “Best Thai Restaurant” – Google would return Google+ results of Thai Restaurants in my area first, and then organically, listings from other sites compiling of reviews and top 10 sites etc.

The same happens for smart phone searches, too!

That’s all well and good, but why is it so important to Local SEO? More and more articles today, specify the sheer importance of a business’ Name, Address and Phone number (known herein as NAP), for local listing sites as part of a business’ Local Listing Strategy. The most popular search engines (Google, Bing etc.) use NAP information on local listing sites, such as Yell, Yelp and many more, to confirm that a business does actually exist in that location.
Essentially, the more specific your NAP and Category details are on these local listing sites, the higher your chances are of being listed further up. Having said that, having inconsistent NAP data on local listing sites can hinder your chances of good search performance. Other details, like pictures, a company logo, description text and opening hours etc, can do wonders when trying to enhance your search performance.
Fear not, it isn’t actually to late to cleanse your Local Listing Data! Tools do exist to upload the same data (at once) to over 1,600 handpicked local listing sites that display the same information across the board. This process offers consistency throughout your Internet presence.

There are several different areas to take care of when employing your Local Listing Optimisation Strategy:

Consistent NAP
• One of the top points to be made, here. Ensure that your Name, Address and Phone number are listed consistently across all of the sites, and that they match the same details as your website. Even to the letter and layout of the phone number.

LLO Categories
• You really want to make sure that you try and use the same category tags throughout the different listing pages. It’s a true shame that there are no standard categories that span across the different listing sites. Some sites will let you pick a handful, whilst others let you list them. If you’re in any doubt, play it safe by always picking the category that maps to Google+ Local categories. If you absolutely can’t find one that matches, check your competition and see how they categorise.

• Citations refer to listings and mentions of your website and NAP details on other listing websites on the Internet. These websites do in fact differ from your conventional link-building websites, whereby they contain NAP details and a minimum of one business category and all of which allow for opportunities to add rich content.
• What you can do for your website’s citations is claim any listings already on the web, and optimise them with your company’s rich content. You should also make every effort possible to amend incorrect listings, as listing with wrong information could potentially damage your search performance. You can either claim the listing and correct it yourself, or tell the listing company.

• Content is crucial when enhancing your listings with rich content. Many factors that make your listing more appealing to the search engines, include: A company logo, images, opening hours, web and social media links, descriptions and email addresses etc. All of these different details allow for you to product really engaging content to make your company more appealing to all audiences.

So to recap, Local Optimisation really has to be used if you want your website to be featured on Google for a local area search. I can’t stress enough, the importance of keeping your NAP’s consistent between websites. The tools are there to take one set of details and broadcast them across a large number of online listing websites. As long as you stick to these principles, you can rest easy knowing that your online citations are consistent.

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