This guest post was written by David Dague, vice president of marketing, Localeze. The company provides businesses tools to certify, enhance and manage their local listings across the web and makes local business data available to local search platforms.
As social and mobile app usage grows among consumers, marketers are taking a closer look at the importance of creating, securing and managing an impactful local presence across multiple online platforms.
For businesses big and small, establishing and actively managing anchor local business listings – name, address, phone number (NAP) and additional enhanced business information on the web is critical for breaking through the online clutter and ensuring that local listings are indexed by social and mobile apps, search engines and other online directories.
Location-based service (LBS) applications like Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla allow consumers to check-in and share tips about the businesses they frequent, e.g., restaurants, hair salons, retailers. Accurate, geo-coded local listings are the key foundation for these sites so that users can find relevant businesses and other merchants of interest nearby. A business’ spatial network is increasingly important, as consumers want to know what is around their checked-in locations.
For example, after checking in to dinner, a user might be looking for a nearby ice cream shop on their mobile phone and find one recommended by a friend through a LBS app.
Geolocation presents marketers with a big opportunity as social LBS apps add another layer of engagement between businesses and customers – at the local level. For example, Foodspotting, a mobile and online food recommendation guide, allows consumers to share photos of their favorite dishes at nearby restaurants, rewarding users who upload useful content. This is valuable for both users and restaurateurs as highly relevant, location-based detail is being shared based on a user’s interest and location.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts for ensuring your local business presence is optimized across all online platforms – social, mobile, search and LBS apps.
- Create or claim your business listings. Once established, “check in” on or update your listing frequently, so that LBS apps and search engines have a high confidence level in the source, and accuracy of the information provided.
- Try a mix of special offers and calls to action to elevate your social-mobile presence.
- Designate an internal business listings guru within your organization.
- Confuse business listing management with paid search activities. Even if you have a thriving Google Adwords campaign, you need to pay close attention to the accuracy of your organic online business listings.
- Add call tracking numbers to your business listings. Instead, leave call measurement phone numbers for paid search. It is critical that you present a consistent phone number everywhere, as many local apps use it to cross link and share your information. It is also important not to dilute your paid search tracking efforts.
- Create multiple identities for your business online. Try to keep your name and address information consistent across search engines, social networks and LBS apps.