- By Mohannad B.
For a while, getting listed on as many directories as possible was thought to be the best approach to listings management, and not only that, but the ONLY thing businesses had to focus on. When the local SEO industry began to pick up momentum about 7-8 years ago, this approach made sense due to the way Google’s algorithm ranked local pages. The more you had identical NAP data in as many places as possible, the better it was for your location and the more likely you were to rank.
The industry responded with listings solutions that reflected the popular opinion at the time, enacting a “pay and spray model” across a fixed number of directories deemed “important” for ranking signals by Google. Because this approach relies on location information being syndicated to a predefined number of directories without organic claiming, it causes a number of issues:
1. Saturation: When all businesses are listed on the same directories, with no true content differentiation, no one wins.
2. Stagnation: Impressions skyrocket at the initial creation of the listings but plateau fairly quickly, and in many cases start to dip over time. If everyone in the industry is also claiming and updating basic NAP data on the same set directories those who want to succeed will have to go a step further.
So what’s the answer to owning local marketing with these realities in mind?
Most local SEO experts agree today that it’s not about the quantity of citations you have, but the quality of the sites they are featured on. They also highlight how important it is to claim existing listings, and delete duplicates where you can. To succeed in the local ecosystem today, first focus on choosing the right directories for your industry based on pertinent local data, and then ensure you are constantly refreshing your listings with new, valuable content.
To help brands own their local listings SweetIQ has launched The Smart Network.
Using data that the SweetIQ Local Marketing Hub has collected over the last 8 years, we have compiled a network of directories parsed by vertical which focus on the best search and discovery sites by industry. “Great,” you say, “So that solves the issue of being listed in the exact same places as everyone else, but what about the issue of basic NAP data being the same across all channels? How do I increase impressions on those listings?”
Constantly updating the locations’ listings with relevant updates is one method we’ve seen work for our clients. By updating location descriptions with rich content like photos, and including relevant links to sales and promotions that synchronize with an overall marketing calendar we’ve seen an increase in impressions over time, as well as a lift in the number of actionable clicks on any links. By looking at relevant metrics like calls to stores, driving direction requests, in-store visits, coupon redemptions, UBER rides completed, etc… our algorithms are able to measure the impact local campaigns have had on increasing the flow of in-store visitors on a store-by-store basis, and of course in aggregate across an entire brand. This type of data is invaluable to our customers who are now able to attribute actual dollar spend at the store level that originated from a local campaign.