Reviews are the biggest local SEO ranking factor and are often compared to links in organic SEO.
Business Listings (ex: yellow pages, Manta, BBB, etc.) with reviews also stand out, so encouraging your customers to leave a review will increase your chances of success regardless if those reviews are positive or negative.
Within the business listing ,providing better business category information about your company gives Google a better understanding of the “topic” of your business and creates a signal that you are related to any localized searches about what your business does.
This will be the easiest way for your business to show up in search and maps.
Tips for Ranking Higher Using Business Listings
The most important component of local SEO is a trinity of information known as the NAP. NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number.
Some people call it the NAP+W, adding in the Website for good measure. Any local optimizer knows this much.
Imagine someone searching for a plumber who will come to their house at 4am to stop a burst pipe from flooding the basement. They will likely search for Emergency 24 Hour Plumber. The search engine will try to find businesses it can identify not just as plumbers, but as plumbers who are clearly available for emergencies on a 24 hour-a-day basis.
If your company meets those requirements, but doesn’t clearly convey that information to the search engines (via proper SEO), it is not likely to appear in the results for that type of query.
Google has shown slight in favor towards new, smaller, and more active companies.
While most of its ranking bases have to do with a brand’s history and authority, Google also gives the people what they want and that often means showcasing local businesses that have the right information online.
Sometimes people are looking for more knowledge about your business. They may know the name, but want to find the phone number or address.
Other times, they may know a certain type of enterprise exists at a location, but need to discover the name. They may need to check operating hours, find driving directions, learn what brands are carried or discover what’s on the menu or where to park.
Good, Local SEO + Accurate Business Listings + Time = WIN
When people search for this kind of information, SEO helps the search engines provide it to them via the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Google has a long history of providing free tools such as Analytics and Webmaster Tools to business owners for the sole purpose of helping them increase their online visibility.
While its predictive and customized search features are relatively limited for the time being, the search engines are able to generate specific results based on the person who is searching.
As long as you’re logged into a Google account, your search history and your geographic location both play into the type of results you see.
Aside from building customer trust and helping with SEO, Google’s mark-up of a company or product in search can now include reviews and ratings.
Without SEO, your pages may not rank highly and unless it ranks on the first page of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), potential customers are going to have a hard time finding your business’ website.