Sign up for weekly recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
Prioritizing Local Search Profile Listings: 2 Methods
Looking to start building those citations for local SEO? Columnist Lydia Jorden shares her strategy for determining which local business listing sites are worth investing in.
Undertaking local listing management can be a daunting task. We all understand the importance of standard local listing management: update your local listing profile on a variety of websites to ensure visibility in the world of local search. Simple enough.
The challenge arises when determining where to focus your local listing management efforts. Claiming profiles and taking ownership over ones that were previously managed by someone else can be a lengthy process (sometimes taking months), and it is important to understand which local business listing sites to focus on when initiating a local listing management strategy.
I determine which local search websites are worth pursuing profiles on through two specific means:
First, I consolidate top local business listing sites (for my specific industry) by Domain Authority. Those sites that have a high Domain Authority take precedent when claiming and creating profiles because, in conjunction with my local listing optimization strategy, I can also strengthen my inbound link profile.
The second method involves exploring searcher behavior in Google Analytics, then utilizing this data to seek out opportunities to increase local online presence based on referral traffic sources.
Method 1: Local Business Listing Site Domain Authority
Moz defines Domain Authority as a metric “that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines.” It is measured on a 100-point scale.
We can use the Domain Authority of specific local business listing sites to determine which of these sites should capture user attention — or, put another way, which sites are more likely to rank higher in search results, allowing a searcher to click through and find Business XYZ through barnacle SEO methods.
The chart below shows the Domain Authority associated with popular local business listing sites, as measured by Moz’s free Open Site Explorer tool, which helps marketers research “behind the scenes” of a link. I use this tool to determine if garnering a local profile on the site is worth exploring.
Based on this information, I would prioritize building my local listing in Google My Business and Yelp before I would explore opportunities with Superpages and Best Of The Web.
Of course, the above is a high-level overview of sites that all have relatively high Domain Authority, and honestly, I would likely prioritize all or most of these sites.
However, if you are working within a specific niche (e.g., healthcare) that has a variety of industry-specific local business listing sites that your customers use to find you (e.g., ZocDoc, Healthgrades), the Domain Authority method can help you determine which sites are worth investing your time in to build a local profile.
Method 2: Local Search Behavior In Google Analytics
Data pulled from Google Analytics can provide deep insights into determining where to focus local listing management efforts, as well as if there is potential to further meet your business goals through advertising on local business listing sites.
In conjunction with the Domain Authority method, I’ve always used Google Analytics to help me determine where to begin my local listing management implementation, and it’s important to keep in mind that priorities will be different depending on your business’s target market and the websites your customer base utilizes for local search.
Navigate in Google Analytics to Acquisition, then All Traffic, then Referrals.
In this display, you can see where the majority of your traffic is finding you. This can show if there are any local opportunities you can capitalize on to achieve your business’s goals — whether it be brand awareness, conversion optimization or streamlining local search for a better user experience.
For example, I can deduce that the business is “review-driven” if I find that the majority of referrals are coming from Yelp and Angie’s List. In this case, the next move would likely be advertising on Yelp, or perhaps launching a review-generating campaign in an effort to boost the business’s organic listing on local review sites.
Conversely, if you find that most of your referral traffic is coming from sites like BBB.org, you may want to pursue local business listing sites that have strong credibility for your specific industry. Once you’ve compiled a list of sites that fit this description, cross-check them through the Open Site Explorer to further determine if advertising there is worth your time and money.
Track Your Efforts
Monitoring the local profiles you’ve created is a critical aspect of understanding their value and determining where to hone your efforts.
Many local sites, such as Google My Business, provide deep insights to allow you to determine your local listing’s performance. Yelp provides a dashboard telling you about searcher behavior on your page. Local, industry-specific business sites will often offer similar data (sometimes even free of charge) to those who build an online local profile.
You can then use this information, gathered over time, to seek out additional opportunities. These opportunities could range from advertising on specific local business listing sites, if those sites garner strong referral traffic, to creating a retargeting campaign for those who clicked from specific local sites and then bounced from your site.
We can all agree that the importance of local search should not be understated, regardless of the options that you choose to explore when executing a local listing optimization strategy. Still, these two techniques are sure to jump-start your strategy or give you some ideas as to where to begin.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.