Pursuing Local Search Listings Success — How We Do It

October 15, 2015 by Nolan Alexander in Local Search Pursuing Local Search Blog Post Feature

A 5 Step Personal Interview To Assess The State of Your Local Search

Maybe you own a local restaurant. Maybe you own a group of franchised shoe retailers. Maybe you own a couple of doctor’s offices on opposite ends of town. Or maybe you are in charge of marketing all of your coffee shops nationwide. It doesn’t matter what you sell or what type of store you operate – if you have a physical location you probably think about successfully being “found” online and getting people into your stores to buy on a regular basis.


This is the “problem” that a solid local search strategy is supposed to solve, but the reality is most business owners and marketers don’t truly understand the current state of their local search – or the revenue they are losing from poorly maintained local search listings.

As our Ethologists have met more and more franchise owners and marketers, we’ve found the need to develop a “standardized” set of questions to ask potential clients as we assess the state of their local search listings. This set of questions has been so helpful to us that we wanted to share it with you. These are open-ended questions that will help you understand the current state of your local listing program and gain insight into your view of online marketing from an integration and reputation standpoint.

Let’s begin!

Question 1: What are you doing to ensure your locations are showing up on Google Maps, Yelp, Apple Maps and Yellowpages.com?

Why do we ask this?

We need to know the history of the locations in terms of local search optimization. Often, there was an employee in the past that at one time claimed a lot of directories, but nothing from then on (also, what happened to the login information if the employee has left the company?). Other times, clients have a third-party vendor like Yext, SIM Partners or other local platforms handling most of the listing management. And sometimes, the client just shrugs their shoulders. All in all, the answer to this question gives us a good idea of the current state of their local listings.

Question 2: To your knowledge, are all your locations 100% accurate on Yelp, Google, Bing, YP, Superpages, etc.? If so, what are you doing to ensure accurate location information online?

Why do we ask this?

Inaccurate information is the most common issue with local search listings. This drives marketers crazy. Usually after asking this question, the prospect will vent their frustration about a duplicate listing here or an inaccurate listing there. We ask this question not to rile someone up, but to understand if there is a process of quality control. Many people do not realize that local search optimization is not “set it and forget it.” Local search optimization has to have a standard process of listings management (quality control) to ensure listings are accurate. If they don’t have a process, they need one.

Question 3: In your opinion, are your locations showing up enough in Google Maps for important keywords? If so, what are you doing to ensure higher rankings in Google Maps?

Why do we ask this?

There is always room to grow in organic search (both SEO and local SEO). But usually, clients don’t have any plans/tactics on further optimization of local listings. Companies want to rank higher for their keywords, but they won’t climb the rankings if they don’t have any future tactics in the queue. Local search is becoming more competitive and sophisticated. Improving Google Maps ranking factors should be a priority for any brick-and-mortar company.

Question 4: How do you handle reviews on local listings?

Why do we ask this?

Again, this is to understand the history of the listings a little bit deeper. Online reviews are becoming more and more essential to a brand’s online presence. Not doing anything with reviews is not good enough anymore. Companies need to take their online reputation seriously by having a standard operating procedure for online reviews. How do they get notified? How do they respond? How can they improve on their star rating? All of these questions should have an answer because, as recent studies have shown, customers won’t even consider buying anything from a brand with low ratings online.

Question 5: How do your local search listings work with your SEO and content strategies?

Why do we ask this?

Integration! Anyone can claim and fill out Google My Business pages. But how do all those local listings help out your location landing pages? How can you build out localized content on-site and distribute out to all off-site local listings? This is the next level to any local search engagement. Not many companies are doing stuff like this; and this will set you apart from the competition.

Note: Go back to the third question, “What are you doing to ensure higher rankings in Google Maps?” The answer is integration with SEO and content.

Ready For The Next Step?

Ethology’s goal is to optimize every part of your customer’s digital experience to drive measurable results. Our team can help you create a local search program that drives the right traffic to the right places, maximizing conversions and directly impacting your bottom line.

Get in touch with Ethology

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About the Author

Nolan is a Local Search Manager at Ethology who focuses on managing our local search department and strategically advancing client delivery to reflect the ever changing local search landscape. Nolan enjoys soccer and is an obsessive Liverpool FC fan.


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