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May 31, 2023

4 Reasons Why Business Listings Benefit Local SEO // Local Marketing Insider #060

Backlinks, citations, NAP alignment and more. 

Hey! Welcome to Local Marketing Insider where 10,000+ local marketing professionals get better at reputation strategy & more with insights delivered 2x a month.

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If you haven’t done this before or it’s been a while, consider checking in on your business listings.

Listings are foundational.

To be found at all you first need to show up where your prospects are searching for your products/services.

The explicit purpose of a robust listings strategy is to drive referral traffic. Additionally, there are search engine optimization benefits when submitting your business to trustworthy local business directories – backlinks, citations, name, address and phone number (shortened to NAP) alignment, and useful information.

To Clarify, What Do We Mean by “Business Listing?”

A business listing is your address, phone, and hours (basic information) on any public directory. Consider common ones like Better Business Bureau, Yellowpages, Google, Facebook and Apple Maps, or less common ones like Alexa or Hyundai’s navigation systems.

A critical first step for any business is making sure that basic information is on each of these sites and is correct. Doing so drives referral traffic and other SEO benefits, which we detail below.

Referral Traffic

The most fundamental business listing benefit is the mere existence of your business listing on as many sites as possible. Each one introduces new opportunities for prospective customers in your community to find you.

Not only can listings on each site drive traffic, but each contributes to providing positive SEO signals. Google uses these to elevate your Google Business Profile, further contributing to increased referral traffic. 

4 SEO Benefits of Business Listings

1. Backlinks

The number of one-way links to your site, from relevant and quality sources, is one of Google's top ranking factors. When you create a listing, you also create a new backlink. It's the easiest, most reliable backlink you'll ever get. This will help you appear more competitively in local search results.

2. Citations

References to your business on other websites, without a corresponding backlink, are commonly referred to as "citations." They are beneficial to local SEO because Google utilizes full citations (which include your address) to pinpoint exactly which businesses are geographically relevant to certain search queries, and can preferentially show these local listings to people physically located in the same area.

3. NAP Alignment

"NAP" stands for "Name/Address/Phone Number," and aligning NAP means that your basic business information is always consistent across the web. If you've relocated your storefront without updating your listings, and, for example, if Google's algorithm spots two different addresses and three phone numbers associated with your brand, the search engine is less likely to prioritize the visibility of your business over your competitors.

Inconsistencies lead Google to guess some of the information is wrong, which would provide a poor experience to searchers if they recommend your business. A unified presence gives Google and other search engines confidence that if they recommend your business the searcher will be able to get in touch with you via the phone number or find your business at the address listed.

4. Useful Information

The algorithm is designed to provide useful information to their users so anything that can be deemed inaccurate is a major ding in search ranking for your GBP -- i.e. if a user clicks "Suggest an Edit" to your name, location or hours, you're in trouble. If Google finds discrepancies between your listings it will question your business’s validity.

Wrapping Up

To be metaphorical, if a backlink is a "vote," then a citation could be considered GPS and consistent NAP info a warranty.

Managing your local business directory listings provides all three, increases Google's confidence in the legitimacy of your business and gives you the best chance of prominent visibility in local search engine results.

Thanks for reading! If you're interested in adding streamlined management of your listings to a complete reputation strategy, check out our Listings Management Beta.

See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @Widewail


Jake Hughes

I’m Marketing Manager here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. In Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0-100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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