You've Got Google+ Covered -- Now What?
If you have already verified your Google+ business page, is claiming and optimizing your local listings on Yelp, Facebook, or Bing Local worth the effort?
We all know that Google is king when it comes to your local listing search presence. So why are other local listings like Yelp and Bing Local, or social sites like Facebook and Twitter, worth the time and effort?
Think of your local search presence as a root system holding up a tree. If Google and your Google+ business page make up the tap root and that is all that is holding the tree up, that doesn’t give it much grip. Yes, it's the most important root, but that alone will not make it stand strong. Spreading out by listing your business on other sites will give your business a stronger, more credible presence online -- a stronger root system.
What are the best methods?
One of the best ways to help your local listing rank well is to improve the quality and consistency of your listings on said sites, like Yelp. More connections lead to more credibility, which leads to better rankings. Improving the consistency of your business information (e.g. ensuring your business name, address, phone number, etc. are listed exactly the same on every local listing) shows search engines like Google that you care about what your customers and clients see, and that you don't want to confuse them with misinformation.
Once you've created and optimized your Google+ business page, move on to Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, Yelp, and beyond. (See the helpful list below for some great places to get started.) These listings will make your business more visible not only to Google but to potential customers.
What about social networks?
Expanding to social networks like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter will help too - especially if you use them. Giving your business a social presence with shareable posts and interactive opportunities can boost your credibility even more. These sites are often hubs for local reviews, which are immensely important, as they are an increasingly significant ranking factor for local search.
Are there practices or tactics you should avoid?
As always, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Listing your business more than once in the same local directory creates duplicate listings, which can split traffic and, if unchecked, can provide false or out-dated information, creating confusion for both Google and your clients.
If you're planning on setting up social profiles for your business, beware of oversharing. It can be annoying, leading people to unsubscribe from your page. Posting a few times a week is generally accepted as a good balance.
Where you should start
Google should be your first step, but expanding your local presence to other sites is essential for success. Even if you think a site isn't hugely popular or important anymore, listing your business there will give it more credibility and increase its chances of being found by potential customers.
We recommend the following local directories and social networks. Most of them have free options, and are generally agreed upon to have high value and ranking factors.