If we look at changes that Google made to Search in 2013, it becomes obvious that local search and mobile marketing are now indispensable components of any successful marketing plan to improve the online visibility of a business. In effect, local search marketing is the process of employing what sometimes feels like an endless list of tactics to optimize your local profile. The success of a local search marketing strategy it seems is contingent upon two things: Proper timing and avoiding local SEO mistakes.
Proper Timing is Key
A big part of local search marketing is knowing where and when you need to create or claim a business listing. Online, there are many local directories and they constantly pull information from each other such that, at any one point in time, it is practically impossible to differentiate which directory is pulling what information from where. But there is a hierarchy that exists among the various local data providers and aggregators. This explains why if you are to create or claim a business listing, you would do well to start with the big shots and work your way through the one-way or two-way data streams they branch into.
1. Start with the Major Data Providers
Localeze, Acxiom and ExpressUpdateUSA, previously called infrogroup are what you call major data providers. Basically, major data providers are the local directories that supply all the search engines and other local directories with information. As such, these are the local directories you want to start with to create a complete local profile for your business. Verification is usually done via a confirmation email or by phone. After updating and claiming your business listing, it will be a couple of weeks before the search engines and other local directories pull your information from the major data providers and in turn update their record of your business information.
2. Next Stop: The Search Engines
After updating and verifying your business listing with the major data providers and waiting a little while (because you want to avoid creating duplicate and inaccurate profiles), the next stop is claiming your listing with the major search engines including:
- Google Places for Business
- Bing Business Portal, and
- Yahoo! Local
Once you verify your business listing by waiting for a postcard with a pin code or for an automated phone call, you can start updating the listing with photos, videos, work hours and so much more.