When golfers are searching for local search terms, they are likely looking to play soon, and local business listings offer quick and accurate solutions. Conversions on local search tend to be much higher than regular search, and therefore you need to make sure you are on top of your local search engine marketing. Here are a few things you can do to differentiate yourself from the competition and really step up your local SEM strategy:
Local Listings Groundwork
Being included on the big local listings is your first step. Ensure that your business is included in all the major directories (Yelp, Yellowpages.com, Foursquare, etc.), as well as any industry specific ones, like GolfAdvisor. Some listings may already exist, and it may just be a case of claiming your business so that you can take ownership of the listing. This is especially true for your Google My Business profile, which is your most important local listing. Remember to implement the following:
- Claim your business via a verification process
- Include accurate business contact information & hours
- Include a small number of relevant categories that represent your business
- Add up to date and high-quality logos and course images
You should also do this for Bing Places and Yahoo! Local. It’s always a good idea to keep track of all your different business listings in a comprehensive list or document to avoid creating duplicate listings. It also enables you to be consistent (more on this in the next point) in your information across all listings.
Speaking of duplicates, its good practice to remove all duplicated entries, as multiple listings for one business or location can become confusing, both to potential customers but also to Google. There are many subscriptions services, such as Moz Local and Yext that you can purchase to automatically add your business to the major listings. They also offer duplicate suppression and monitoring in many cases.
Consistency is Key
Keeping your information consistent across listings, especially your NAP+W (Name, Address, Phone number and Website). As mentioned before, keeping your business information consistent is crucial for avoiding confusion and generating solid, complete brand awareness. This goes for more than just your contact information. Make sure your messaging, advertised specials and all media (especially logos) are correct and consistent in your local listings.
Listing accuracy is Google's method for determining if it can trust a local business search result. So even if you have inaccurate data on a source that you're never going to go to, you know your customers are never going to go to and probably isn't driving that much traffic your website, it’s still important to be consistent! Again, this is how Google is measuring how much it can trust your information, and if Google can’t trust what it finds, it will be much less likely to display your info, even if your Google Local Listing is 100% correct. You can also use 1-2-1 Marketing’s free Marketing Grader & NAP analysis to make sure your info is clear and consistent across the web.
Online are a very important part of your local search optimizations that too often go unnoticed or unattended. Reviews can really make or break your business in our age of digital searches and research. Check out some of these stats compiled by Vendasta:
- 92% of consumers now read online reviews
- 86% of people hesitate to purchase form businesses with negative online reviews
- 80% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 48% will visit a company’s website after reading personal reviews
Online reviews can be bittersweet. On one hand, good reviews can really benefit your site, drawing in new customers and building up your brands integrity. On the other hand, just one negative review can have a big impact on how potential customers view your course. Many of the popular review platforms allow you to respond to reviews which can help you diffuse some negative posts, if you keep it professional and sincere.
Now that we’ve established the bulk of our listings criteria, it’s time to put the icing on the local cake! Schema markup is code that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. Here's an example of a local business that has markup on its event schedule page:
This is particularly important for local information, as it will help those spiders crawl your location pages and you’ll benefit as a result. In this study by Searchmetrics, we see that pages with schema markup rank an average of four positions higher in search results.
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