A Beginners Guide To Local Search Marketing

A Beginners Guide To Local Search Marketing


arnold on Mar 03, 2019

Local Search Marketing:

When planning a digital marketing strategy, it is important to consider local search marketing.

Most companies focus on the organic results, which is the biggest component of the search engine results page. However, if your business has a storefront or physical location, then the local search results need to be a top priority for your strategy.

Local search results are search results from Google for brick and mortar businesses that have a storefront or physical location in order to serve their customers in person. Local search results typically appear when people search for businesses and places near their location.  You can see local results in the image below.

Local Search Results Page


Local search results are very important for storefront businesses because they appear before the organic results.  Most people looking for a local business will look for it in the local search results rather than going to the organic results.

In order to have a better chance of coming up in the local search results, businesses need to do a couple things. We are going to discuss briefly how we can appear and climb to the top of Local search results.

1) Claim Google My Business Listing

The first thing a business needs to do is claim their listing in Google.


Once you get signed in, perform a search for your business. If it has been around for a while Google will have a record of it. If it is brand new, then you will enter the information about the business. Either way, Google will mail a card to the business address that has a code on it. Use this code to verify that you are in fact the owner of the address and that you do have a physical storefront.

2) Completely Update Your Google My Business Listing

Make sure all the information in your listing is filled out.  Google will always suggest the most relevant business in search results. If you only provide partial information then Google will not present your business in the local search results.  It isn’t an overwhelming task, so make sure you enter every piece of information that Google asks for and take the time to upload nice photos into your listing. Here is a screenshot from inside a Google My Business account:

Google My Business example


3) Citations and NAP-W consistency

With organic search engine optimization we were concerned with links back to our website. With local search marketing we are concerned with what is called citations. A local citation is any mention of your business in a web directory and is any combination of your company name, address, phone number (NAP) and website address. Citations are a key factor in improving your local search results.

To keep it simple, we are most concerned with structured citations which come from business listing directories.  With sites such as YELP, Yellowpages, Facebook, Superpages, Mapquest, etc., we can enter our information to get us a citation.

Here is an example of a structured citation:

structured citation example


The only Caveat with this is that you must keep your business name, address, phone number and website exactly the same everywhere it is posted.  If your address has a suite number and you have 5 citations using SUITE in the address and 5 citation that use STE., then you only are only getting 5 citations.

This is generally referred to as NAP consistency. You must decide on the exact NAP information for your business and make sure it is always presented that way online and offline, 100% of the time.

You will need to do searches for your business and make sure all available information is NAP consistent. There are tools that help us with, which we will preview below. Additionally, you need to make sure there are no duplicate citations in directories as these become troublesome for Google in recognizing your business.

Listed below are the 10 biggest directory websites you should be concerned with on day one. When working on local search marketing it is common to seek out and find hundreds of directories to update your information. This can obviously take a lot of time.

  • Acxiom
  • Apple Maps
  • Bing
  • Citygrid
  • Facebook
  • Factual
  • Foursquare
  • Infogroup/ExpressUpdate
  • Localeze
  • Superpages
  • Yahoo!*
  • YP
  • Yelp

4) Local search marketing tools:

One tool we can use to help check our local search marketing efforts is:


Once you get here, you can click “Check My Listing” at the top right. This will take you to the following page.

Moz local citation finder

From here we get a nice report that shows how Jax is doing in the main directories. I have a screenshot of this posted below. Overall, Jax isn’t doing too bad compared to most companies.  Their listings on the main directories are about 73% consistent.

structured citation example



The graphic above has three tabs that indicate where the problems are occurring. We can use these tabs to break down the errors into three main categories: Incomplete, Inconsistent and Duplicate errors.

If we click on each tab we can see where the errors are occurring.  Let’s start with the Incomplete errors tab. You can see in the image below that MOZ found some listings with incomplete information (highlighted in red). What MOZ is pointing out is that two of the listings don’t have their categories updated and three of the listings below do not have all their pictures updated.


Incomplete Citations Moz


The next part of the report is Inconsistent errors which is pictured below. This highlights that the information about JAX that was entered differently in each directory.  You can see in the image below that the website was entered differently in each of those directories and also the name of the store itself.


Incomplete Citations Moz


If I were the digital marketing manager, I would have to go back and fix all the errors found in the report. I would have to fix all the incomplete information, then fix all the inconsistent information and finally find the duplicate listings and delete the duplicate listing that was least relevant.

HOTH Citation Scan Tool

Another tool you can use that gives even more local directories is the citation cleanup service by HOTH.


Once you get to this page you can enter information about your company.  I will use JAX as an example again.

Incomplete Citations Moz


It will ask you for an email address. You can give them a fake email address if you want or create a 10 minute email:  https://10minutemail.net/

This will give you an analysis of the top 60 directories and show you missing listings or inconsistent listings.

jax Moz citation problems


You can use this tool to fix your listings or HOTH will do it for a one-time fee of about $350.

That is all we will talk about for today. If you would like to learn a little more about local search marketing you can check out the following resources.

How To Improve Your Local Ranking According To Google:

Local Search Ranking Factors for 2018:

Comprehensive List of Local Search Result Tools:

Company’s that sell citations for Local Search Results:


The Ultimate