5 Tips to Audit Your Business Listings Online

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local-listing-audit-tipsThere are two things that I am absolutely certain.

One: More of something isn’t always better. In my opinion, quality always wins out over quantity.

Two: Google is a mystery and we are all merely mini detectives stringing little snippets of information together to form well-thought out theories for how they rank websites. We will never be 100% certain of the way Google functions, but we work countless hours day and night to achieve the highest level of certainty.

Or, as the writer Agatha Christie put it from her novel Murder on the Orient Express, “Then there are some minor points that strike me as suggestive – for instance, the position of Mrs. Hubbard’s sponge bag, the name of Mrs. Armstrong’s mother, the detective methods of Mr. Hardman, the suggestion of Mr. MacQueen that Ratchett himself destroyed the charred note we found, Princess Dragomiroff’s Christian name, and a grease spot on a Hungarian passport.”

Let me break it down further.

Last October, an official list of local ranking factors was put together as a way to help businesses evaluate how they are performing online in searches. Industry pros were polled and our very own head of local services, Nick Neels, was able to weigh in on his thoughts for the Do’s and Don’ts of helping your business rank better in local personalized results. He speculates while Google continues to invest in and refine its location personalized results, it is critical for large multi-unit and franchise brands to have a unified local listings management and local SEO strategy. The full article can be found here.

Local Ranking Factors

Here are 5 tips to help you audit your business listing online to achieve overall better ranking results, and bring more foot traffic to your business.

Number 1: Scrub the web for bad data.

  • There are any number of online tools to help you accomplish this. Simply conduct a search for your business based either on a combination of the business name + phone number or the business name + the storefront address. This will allow the crawler tools to search the web for any number of combinations of your business information to show you which sites you are listed correctly on, and which ones you might want to update yourself on.
  • Here’s a list of quality  tools. 

 

Number 2: Find and cleanse bad data. Go to the source.

  • How to troubleshoot and fix your business information begins at the source. When you come across a listing with inaccurate data, be sure to check the footer of the webpage to see if any larger data sources are listed as their primary data partner. Typically, there will be some indicator of where this website has pulled your information from.
  • Going straight to the source partner to clean up your data will save you time reaching out to smaller sites. If you can adjust the information from the primary source, your information will trickle down to the smaller sites when they refresh their listing information.

Ranking Factors

Number 3: Prioritize

  • Once you have put together a list of sites you know your information needs to be updated on, begin evaluating which sites you should focus on updating first based off of traffic and domain authority. Google determines the value of a site with an assigned metric to help people indicate the quality of a site. The ranking system goes all the way up to 100, but it’s easier to base these numbers off of a 1 to 10 ranking scale. These metrics are based off several ranking factors, but it can be a good indicator of site quality.

 

Number 4: Follow Up

  • When it comes to your business listing information online, it is crucial to make sure you are consistent with your information online. If people are finding variations of a phone number or address, it becomes harder for users to trust which information is correct – which also makes it harder for them to find you.
  • If you have reached out to a site that is displaying inaccurate information about your business, set a reminder on your calendar to follow up with your request in two weeks. Sometimes things get lost in translation or people are getting bogged down with other requests, be courteous to the people you are reaching out to and be as descriptive as you can with what you would like adjusted on your business listing. The more transparent you are with your inquiry, the easier it will be for them to fix.

 

Number 5: Cleanse

  • While it’s easy to put together a list of all the good things people are doing to improve their business ranking position online, there are also some tactics that can negatively affect your business ranking. First and foremost, you want to list your business in the appropriate categories. Be specific.
  • Next, auditing your business listing online is important because if you have mis-matched NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information across the web, this can negatively affect your business listing as well. Duplicates of your business listing can also harm your business. Perhaps you offer multiple services, it can negatively harm your business if you are creating several business listing names with the same phone number, and this can create duplicate listing issues.
  • House all of your information under one primary listing with a detailed business description of the services your business offers and you’ll be in the clear.

Completing a task like this with one location is easy – but for thousands of locations it can seem like a nightmare. Luckily, there are tools on the web at anyone’s disposal to allow them to run quick searches to see what their information looks like across various different sites and online directories. There is no better time to check out what your business information looks like online.

Photo Credit: David Marcu

 

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