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One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when trying to drive traffic to your site is to overlook the potential of local business listings. They are being displayed more and more often in the SERPs and, with addition of paid listings, often dominate the space above the fold.

For a lot of businesses, their services are provided to a local audience, and getting in front of these people at the time they are looking for the product or service is vital. To make sure you are getting the most out of your business listing it’s important to make sure it’s correctly optimized by addressing the following factors.

Complete your profile

The search engines want to give users the best experience possible, and business listings that provide a large amount of information are going to be seen as more useful. When completing your profile, try to make sure that you put in as much information as possible to help users out, including images and videos if available.

Get listed elsewhere

As well as your local business centre listing, try and get listed on other business directories such as yellow pages, these can help search engines to confirm your location even further. Local business listings will also help to drive traffic in themselves. You need to make sure that you have the same address listed on these directories that you have on your business listing to make sure you fully benefit from these listings.

Start yesterday

Search engines have been seen to show a lot more trust in listings that have been active for over six months. This is most likely an attempt to prevent spam results from just popping up in the listings. If you haven’t claimed your local listing yet you should do so immediately, even if you don’t optimize it just yet, an aged listing is very valuable.

Categories

When setting up your local business listings you will be asked to select relevant categories for your business. It’s important here to not only choose categories that are relevant to your business, but ones that people are actually searching for. These category names are ideally going to be the keywords you want to rank for in your area.

Reviews

Business reviews on your page help to improve user experience and also increase the amount of content on the page. Getting a few reviews can help to improve your listings position, and also the trust a user has in your brand.

Address

A real help when trying to improve your business position is to include your address on every page. This helps to reassure the search engines about your business location. It is vital that the same details are used across your website, your local listing and any other sites that you submit your business to. Search engines will be looking to match up these addresses across the web to increase the trust they have in your listing, and inconsistent addresses can be potentially damaging for your sites reputation.

By looking at the factors covered here you can help to ensure that your business listing is well optimized and ready to drive traffic to your site.

About the author: Ben Hook is the director of Navaro, a search marketing company helping clients to increase their online presence with SEO and PPC.

Beth is a member of our SEO team and works as a Search Marketing Executive. Her role is to write creative copy and help clients optimise their website.

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