12 Days of Business Listings For Holidays and the New Year

The holidays are an important time to look at how your local business identity is performing online.

In the spirit of the season, let's take a look at the 12 days of managing online business listings so that consumers can find you this holiday shopping season, as well as in the coming new year.

1. Ensure Your Business Listing Can be Found

Check online sources like search engines, Internet yellow pages, and vertical directories from a consumer perspective to find out where your listings are appearing.

2. Claim and Certify Your Listing

Each month, online consumers perform over 3 billion local searches for nearby products and services. It's vital to certify, enhance, and manage local business listings to improve visibility, increase security, and connect with prospects.

3. Keep Anchor Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) Consistent Online

If not, consumers might find multiple identities for your business or might not find your business at all if search engines question the accuracy of your listing.

4. Pay Attention to Long Tail Search

Businesses shouldn't forget about the dozens of long-tail directories and emerging social and mobile applications that provide added exposure to consumers and serve as a reference-source for major local search platforms to verify and link business listings information using your consistent NAP.

5. Take Advantage of Enhanced Content Online

After taking control of your listing, enhance your business listings with details like hours of operation, payment methods, products offered, and special incentives.

6. List Your Business in Mobile/LBS Apps

Consumers are using geolocation apps more to find nearby businesses. If you haven't yet, sign up for and check if your listing is on Foursquare, Facebook Places, Gowalla, and other LBS apps.

7. Manage Listings Over Time

It's crucial to take control and proactively manage listings and make updates when a location moves, closes, or opens. Re-verify listings periodically, even if nothing has changed, so that local search platforms have a higher level of confidence that listings are accurate and secure.

8. Remember: Organic Local Search is Different Than Paid Search Advertising

Paid search campaigns don't take the place of local search listings. Even if a business has a banner ad or paid search campaign, they need to incorporate business listings identity into their management strategy.

9. Increase Presence on Social Media Sites Like Facebook and Twitter

Pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube can boost your local SEO. Add multimedia content like photos and videos for maximum exposure.

10. Create an Internal Advocate For Your Business' Online identity

Internet marketing specialists are ideal to maintain listings. Make sure to designate a guru within your company.

11. Avoid Call Tracking Numbers Within Business Listings

Don't include tracking lines in your business listings. Instead, use them for advertising forums like paid search.

12. Don't Change the Company's Business Listing Name for SEO

Local businesses shouldn't add marketing language, category keywords or branding into their company name for their business listings. This creates confusion of a business' anchor NAP identity.

About the author

Jeff Beard is General Manager & Senior Vice President of Localeze, a Neustar service. A listings management veteran, Jeff is responsible for leading Localeze's long-term strategic vision while driving growth, new-product and business development. In 2005, Jeff led an initiative focused on building information products targeted at the local search industry. From this initiative, Localeze was created. Localeze has quickly become the largest business listings identity manager for local search.

Prior to Localeze, Jeff served as vice president of corporate development at TARGUSinfo, where he led the company through its acquisition of Amacai, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of TARGUSinfo. Jeff was a key player in Amacai's 2001 launch and was primarily responsible for the operation and management of all business units. Prior to joining TARGUSinfo, Jeff spent 13 years at Acxiom Corporation, where he held a variety of sales, sales leadership and product positions.