When is the last time you checked your online business information? No, I’m not just talking about your website but most people don’t even review that. How about the information that directories and other sites have listed for your business?
I recently had a local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) client I was working with and as part of the local optimization, we reviewed their online listings that they had setup. In addition to that we searched for their information on other sites that had been setup automatically by those companies. What did we find? Very inconsistent information and an actual wrong phone number on hundreds of sites. Google Places, the local search listings powerhouse, had their phone number listed as a number that rang to nothing. Yes, no wrong number, no answering machine. Nothing. If you were a prospective client calling this client and had the phone ring 12 times, what would you do?
What we ended up finding is that this wrong information was put on a website by someone unknown and that information was then used as a source for hundreds of other sites that just listed that information. It took us a couple of days to find all of the incorrect information, contact all of the websites, and get the phone number and incorrect information changed but the impact is significant. Now when someone searches for their name on Google, the highlighted Google Places listing now has their correct phone number.
While maybe this doesn’t sound like a local SEO technique, it can significantly increase your local traffic. Google considers each listing of your business name, address, and phone number (local area code is best) a citation, which is like a vote for your information being correct. If you have conflicting information out there, Google gets confused on whether it’s correct or not. This can result in lower rankings for local searches.
Do yourself a favor and search for your company name, search for your phone number, search for your address. Review all of the listings and make sure that all of your information is updated. If there is basic information listed on a site, make sure you add in an address, phone number, description, and link to your website. All of this information is considered part of the local citation or “vote” for your information’s credibility.