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A Business Listing Is Your Online Anchor (Five Rules for Ensuring Stability)

by Gib Olander  |  
January 23, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • The importance of maintaining a credible, consistent business listing
  • Five rules for effectively managing your online listing
  • How to maintain the visibility of your business listing

The business listing landscape is noisier than ever today because of the multitude of local business content available online via search, social, and mobile channels. In addition, consumer local search activity is skyrocketing. In fact, recent studies show that nearly 20% of searches are local (also reported by Google), and 40-50% of mobile searches are local, according to Google and Microsoft.

With the added pressure to increase visibility online, business owners are being tempted in a variety of ways to boost their local search presence via advertising vehicles that can water down their core anchor identities—i.e., their business listings. In some cases, advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) opportunities can tamper with a business's online identity, unbeknownst to the business owner.

What is an anchor identity?

A business's anchor identity is its online local search business listing, primarily consisting of its name, address, and phone number—its NAP information. Think of your anchor identity as your digital storefront or the glue that holds your online reputation together and ensures that customers can find you online when they want to call or visit your business to make a purchase.

Why are business listings important?

Business listings maintain the consistency of information about your business on the Web, breaking through the noise of online advertising, reviews, social media check-ins, and so on. Also, the majority of the local search engines crawl listings to determine relevance and ranking.

Since online business listings are the starting point for consumer buying research, business owners need to closely monitor the accuracy and consistency of their NAP information.

Listings are sometimes created with or without a business owner's knowledge by sites that pull advertising details from a variety of sources that do not always include correct NAP details. Business owners therefore need to take control of their listings now.

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Gib Olander is vice-president of marketing development at Localeze, a leader in the local search industry and a provider of business listings identity management.

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  • by scout Mon Jan 23, 2012 via iphone app

    Am I missing this in the article? What is NAP?

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Mon Jan 23, 2012 via web

    Hi, Scout. NAP is referring to name, address, phone: "A business's anchor identity is its online local search business listing, primarily consisting of its name, address, and phone number—its NAP information."

  • by Ron Mon Jan 23, 2012 via web

    If you have a company with a presence in multiple cities what is the best way to differentiate them and still achieve the strongest local presence?

  • by J Mon Jan 23, 2012 via web

    Regarding "Use your primary phone number" -- the author states that "it gives you a better chance to rank high on search engines, directories, and social media sites"

    Which sites specifically? I have seen several local retailers that list different local numbers on different "local" / directory sites and they still appear to rank quite well in both Google / Bing and the local sites.

    Are there specific sites / engines that favor consistent phone numbers? Where does this factor into general algorithms?

  • by Vickie Wed Jan 25, 2012 via web

    Great job in putting this how to article together. As a marketer, it's not only important to create a great listing that has powerful SEO keyword phrases built in, but to keep consistent and have a streamlined "brand signal" that others can quickly know what your true brand identity is.

    Thanks again!

    Vickie Siculiano
    Marketing Manager

  • by JavaScript's and More Fri Jan 27, 2012 via web

    I use Yellow Pages, Manta, and a few other business directories as well, following the guide above. All have pretty much the same info on it, just a few different descriptions and keywords. I also build links to those listings further helping elevate my brand. Thanks for the article above. Good read!

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