Spring has officially arrived and when better to turn your thoughts to tidying up your local online listings. Dig out your mops and rubber gloves, let’s get started!
1 Google My Business Local Business Pages
Top of the list is your Google My Business Local Business Page. This “online listing” puts your business on the Google Map. If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business Local Business Page listing yet, now is the time to do it.
Claim via google.co.uk/business.
Download my step by step guide to claiming your Google My Business Local Page (what a mouthful!) by popping your name and email in the box at the bottom of this post.
Take a good look at your listing.
- Are you breaking any of Google’s golden rules? Check the guidelines regularly because Google do change them without notice.
- Check your business name – is it your real business name? Delete any extra words and phrases.
- If you are a service based business, check your address is hidden
- Review your categories – have any been added that aren’t relevant?
- Delete any out of date images and add new images – don’t forget to caption and geo-tag
- Refresh your description if needed. Add a couple of links to relevant pages on your website but don’t go crazy. Take it easy on the keywords too – stuffing won’t help your ranking but could damage it.
Make a note of your business name, address and telephone number (NAP) exactly as it is listed in your Google Local listing.
Google use mentions of your NAP (name, address, phone number) around the web to rank your listing. It is very important that your business details are consistent across sites, including on your website. If there are too many differences, Google will assume that these listings are a different business and may create another duplicate map marker. This is not good news for you and does not mean more exposure!
2. Check your local directory listings
Hopefully, when you were setting these up you were organised and kept a list of directory and review site listings! If not, don’t worry I’ll explain how to find your listings a little further down.
Go through each of your local listings and check that your NAP is in the same format as on Google Local. For example:
Joe Bloggs Ltd, 123 High Street, Mytown, MY1 T0WN
is not the same as
Joe Bloggs and Sons, 123 High St, MyArea, Mytown, MY1 T0WN.
As a human, we know that these businesses are likely the same. Google local bot will likely get confused, it’s not human!
Make a note of any differences, you’ll need them later. Correct any differences in NAP to reflect your Google My Business dashboard as far as possible.
Update your descriptions, categories, images and offers as necessary.
3 Find other local listings and citations floating around the web
Over time, your business will collect citations that you did not originally set up. Your business details are often shared between directories, or scraped from sources to be reused. Using a few simple Google searches, you can track these down, claim them where necessary or request the information is updated.
If you have not kept a list of your directory listings, you can use this method to find your original listings too.
There’s no need to get fancy here, all you need is a list of sites where your business is mentioned. You can use the Firefox browser with the SEO 4 Firefox add-on to export results.
- Install the SEO4Firefox and restart Firefox
- Open up Google.co.uk (or whichever Google search you use)
- Click the settings link at the bottom of the Google search page. Choose “Never show Instant results” and set results per page to 100
In the search box type in “Your business name” in quotes and -site:www.yourwebsite.co.uk
With SEO4Firefox switched on you’ll see a menu below the search box. The important part is the “csv” link. Click the link and save the csv file. It can be opened again in a spreadsheet.
If you’re a Chrome user, add the NAP Hunter Lite extension and download results as a csv.
Work your way through your list, claiming any unclaimed listings and correcting the data. Search again using any modifications of your NAP that you have discovered and previous business addresses.
Make a note of all instances where your name, address or telephone number do not match that in your Google My Business dashboard. It takes time for data to be updated, you’ll need to go back and check them later.
4 Google Plus and Maps Check
Finally, make sure that Google have not created new listings using incorrect data. Open up Google.co.uk and click on Maps. Search for your business name and all alternative NAPs you have found to ensure there is only one listing.
Google Maps don’t make it easy these days and often only shows 1 result even if there are multiple listings. Open Google Plus and search again using combinations of your business name and address.
Found a stray listing?
Don’t claim it!
- Log into the Google account you used to claim your GMB listing, open up the duplicate business listing.
- In the About tab, click the “edit details” link at the bottom of the contact information section.
- A new Maps tab will open up, choose the Leave a note that this listing is a duplicate with a link to your active, claimed Google Local listing.
The good news is the Maps method now works for standard Local pages and service based businesses with hidden addresses.
It can take a while and several attempts for Google to remove a duplicate listing.
Note: Duplicates will keep appearing if your business data isn’t corrected on other sites online, as Google pulls in data from other sources. Ensure that you clean up your local listings.
5. And relax…
Phew! All that took some work! Yes, it can be tedious and time consuming cleaning up your local online listings – especially if your business is well established. You’ll be amazed at just how wrong some of these business listings can be.
Save your spreadsheet of online listings for ease of use next time. Remember, it can take several weeks for data to change over and flow through to associated sites.
Schedule in some follow up time next month (and the month after, too!)
If the thought of wading through all that info makes your toes curl – I can help you.
Over to you…
Do you regularly check and add to your local online listings? How often do you add new information?5 Steps to Spring Clean Your Local Online Listings by Jan Kearney