Local SEO: How to Tell if Your Local Business Directory Listing Has Been Claimed

Maintaining a positive web presence for your business is an important part of your search engine marketing strategy. Link building and business listings play an important role in ensuring that local customers can find your products and services online.

You may already have noticed that when you search for your business one the web, there are many directories & search engines that are offering information about your business to your customers. This happens because many sites “scrape” your information from public records, phone book listings, and other websites in order to populate their business directory or search engine. Most of these sites allow you to claim your local business listing so that you can edit it and optimize it, correcting any misinformation and adding descriptions of services and products, photos, and other information your potential customers might be interested in.

Every time you claim a business listing, you are creating an online account requiring a username and password. With hundreds of business directories and local listings available online, keeping track of which directory listings you claim and how to access them is crucial to maintaining an organized web presence.

Often, business owners hire professional local SEO companies to claim, optimize, & maintain their business listings. If you’ve worked with more than one professional, or have had employees claiming your listings for you, trying to figure out which directory listing is already claimed can become confusing.

How to tell if your listing has already been claimed on the top 5 local business listing sites:

Google Places

  • Find your Google Places Listing by searching Google Maps and click on your name.
  • Look in the top right corner of your Places Page. It should say “Owner-verified listing” if it has been claimed.

CCSEO Google Places Page

Bing

  • Search Bing for your business name. How detailed and filled in your business listing appears may indicate that it has been optimized, and therefore, already claimed. Near the bottom, look for this wording: “Change your business listing” and click on this link.
  • If it has been claimed, the phrase “This listing has already been claimed” will show up next to your business name.

CCSEO Bing Business Listing

Yahoo

  • Go to Yahoo Local and search for your business name.
  • Look at your listing to see if it is correctly filled out.
  • If it has not been claimed, it is unlikely that it will have photos and detailed information about your business.
  • Click on the words “Edit Business Details” at the bottom of the listing.
  • Click on “Edit as a Business Owner?”
  • You will be prompted to log in to your Yahoo account. You may attempt login recovery if you don’t remember your password.
  • If you are able to log in & your listing has been claimed, your business information will be available for you to edit.
  • If you are given the option to claim your business, then it has not been claimed already and you can do so now.
  • Be careful not to create duplicate listings. If duplicate listings already exist, you should claim and delete them.

 

Yahoo Local Listing

Yelp

  • Search Yelp.com to see if your business name and information shows up.
  • If it does, check to see if the words “Provided by business” show up next to your business descriptions.
  • If you find that your business listing has not yet been claimed, you can claim it on Yelp here: https://biz.yelp.com/claiming

Superpages

  • Search for your business on superpages.com
  • Look to see if the information is accurate
  • Look for a yellow box at the bottom of your business listing that states: “Are you the Business Owner?” and has a “Claim My Listing” button. (This will appear even if your listing is already claimed.)
  • Follow the process to claim your listing or log in to see if it appears in your dashboard.

Superpages Claim Listing Example

Other Local SEO Resources

Here are a couple more ways to see if your business listings have already been claimed:

Getlisted.org is an easy way to double check the status of your business listings. A quick scan will provide you with a free status alert, but be sure your information has been entered correctly.

Yext.com doesn’t let you know if your business listings have been claimed, but it will let you know if they’re listed and how well optimized they are.

Website Traffic & Web Analytics: what should you measure?

Savvy website owners understand the need for web analytics to keep a head count and make sure their services are on target. However, for many website owners the world of web analytics is quite overwhelming. They realize the importance of measuring their web traffic, and pinning down goals and metrics, but don’t know where to start when it comes to reviewing and analyzing the data.

What should you be looking for in your web analytics, and what does it all mean?

There are different ways of viewing your web analytics. One way is by signing up for and implementing the free Google Analytics on your website (learn more by visiting the Google Analytics Product Tour). Most of the following information can be gleaned from any web analytics reporting tool, but in this case I am referencing the information and terminology provided by Google Analytics specifically.

When reviewing your web analytics here are some important things to look at:

1.       Visits – how many visits do you get a day/week/month/quarter/year? If you have more than a year’s worth of data, you can compare your visits this year against last year. This is especially helpful if your traffic is seasonal.

What you would be looking for with data on visits, and on the traffic sources listed below, is growth, an increase in traffic over time, particularly if you have recently invested in marketing or advertising your business.

2.       Traffic  Sources – where is your traffic coming from?

  • Direct visits – these are visitors who come directly to you site, either because they have bookmarked your website on their computer, or they typed the website address directly into the browser address bar.
  • Referral visits – these are visitors who come via a link to your website from another website or from an email.
  • Search Engines
    • Organic (non-paid) visits – these visitors are from the non-paid website listings you see when you do a search on Google, or another search engine. You are most likely to position well in, and get visits from these listings, if your website is search engine friendly and search engine optimized for your target keywords.
    • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) – these visitors click-through from the paid or sponsored results you see when you do a search at the search engines. These listings typically are positioned above the organic results, or as with Google, above and to the right of the organic listings.
    • Local Search visits – these are from people who are in your local area who have done a search for services you offer and found your website via the results at a local search engine such as Google Places (Maps), Yelp or Insider Pages. These results are often accompanied by a map and customer reviews.
    • Image Searches – these visitors might do a search for an image at Google Images or Bing Images and might come across a photo, illustration or graphic from your website. If they click on the image a couple of times they will end up at your website.

When reviewing the traffic from the various traffic sources, the first thing you should pay attention to is how much traffic you are getting from each source. Your first goal when getting familiar with your web analytics is to assess your base lines, the amount of web traffic you ‘usually’ get. Then when you do something to market or advertise your business, you can assess the effectiveness of that investment.

For example, if you decide to set up a Facebook page to promote your business, you should keep an eye on your referral visits, and obviously referrals from Facebook in particular. If you are aggressively promoting your business via Facebook, you would expect to see your overall visits increase, and when you review your specific traffic sources, you should see that your referral visits have increased, and that the main referrer is Facebook.

3.       Top Landing Pages – these are the main pages that visitors land on when they get to your website. The will have arrived there via one of the traffic sources mentioned above. The top landing page is often, although not always, the home page of your website.

A page might be a top landing page because it is optimized for the search engines and ranks for a keyword you are targeting. Alternatively, a top landing page may be a blog post that you have written that is very popular, and has been linked to by other high traffic websites. Which in turn is going to help your post rank well in the search engines.

Your top landing pages tell you a lot about how your website is performing at any given time, and why and how you are getting traffic from the various traffic sources.

4.       Top Content – these are the most popular pages on your website. When reviewing your top content, you can learn a lot about what your visitors are looking at most on your website, and hopefully that reflects both what they are most interested in, and what you want them to look at. If it doesn’t, you should work on making that happen.

Reviewing top content can also identify usability issues. Some of your pages might get more page views because they are more obvious, and visitors are encouraged to click-through to them. This is fine if this is content you want them to see, but if your visitors are not viewing content you consider important then you need to revise elements of your website design.

5.       Goals – In Google Analytics you can set up goals. You do this by tracking pages that you want your visitors to go to when they visit your website. These should be pages that lead to a conversion (a lead or a sale), e.g. a contact page, a newsletter sign up, or the start of a checkout process. Consider especially goal pages further along the conversion path, such as a contact form or newsletter sign-up submission ‘Thank You’ page, or a page confirming the sale of a product.

In Google Analytics, if you have goals in place you can look at which traffic sources your visitors are coming from and how many turn into potential customers (or customers, if an ecommerce site). This can help you understand which marketing efforts give you the best return on investment.

In a later post we will look at search term/keyword data, what you should be looking at, and what metrics you should have in place.

Do you have web analytics for your website? If so which tool or service are you using and how much do you get out of it?

SEO Link Building Strategies – 7 Best Practices for 2011

A major ranking factor in Google’s algorithm is link popularity. The search engines assess the quality and quantity of links pointing to your website pages and factor that in when assessing the value of your website and where it should be ranked.

“When Google was founded, one key innovation was PageRank, a technology that determined the “importance” of a webpage by looking at what other pages link to it, as well as other data. Today we use more than 200 signals, including PageRank, to order websites…”  http://www.google.com/about/corporate/company/tech.html

Links to your website are beneficial because they:

  1. Drive traffic
  2. Increase link popularity, improve Google Page Rank & search engine ranking

However, efforts towards link building should be well thought out, well executed, and legitimate. A badly executed link building campaign will not only be a waste of time and effort, but could also risk your website being penalized by the search engines.

Some points to remember when building links to your website:

1. Build them up slowly and naturally, if you build up too many too quickly it can look suspicious and raise a red flag with the search engines.

2. Check out Google’s guidelines for webmasters on linking & potential penalties. “…some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.”

3. It’s the quality, not the quantity that counts. The best links are ones from high quality, high PageRank sites with related content. It’s better to have one good link, from a related high PageRank page, than many inconsequential ones.

4. Links from .GOV and .EDU sites are very valuable, however they are not easy to get. .GOV & .EDU sites have always been considered authoritative, and so are highly ranked by the search engines. In turn links from these sites pass on that authority.

5. It’s good to have your target terms in the anchor text for the links (the words that are linking to your site), however overuse and repetitive use of the exact same terms may raise suspicion.

6. If you buy links, it should be transparent that they are paid links (paid advertising).

7. One of the best ways to acquire links is to create great content. Blog’s are a good platform for this, since you can create short, pithy posts on topics you think will interest people.

Regardless of what type of search marketing you are doing (organic, paid, local, or social) Google is always looking for the same things when reviewing a company’s website and online activities:

  • Is it good for the user?
  • Is it transparent?
  • Is it credible?
  • Is it authoritative?

The best results will be achieved by consistent and persistent efforts over time, with a primary goal of improving the user experience.

As with climbing a mountain, with link building, and other search marketing activities, it takes time and effort to get results, but as with mountain climbing, if you make a mistake it’s shocking how fast and how far you can fall.

How’s your link building going? Are you actively working on it? Have you gained links by creating great content? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Author: Cecily Crout