When trying to grow a business online, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the options available.
Some platforms may only offer ad solutions involving complex pricing methods, whereas other websites may be offering SEO advice that’s not always relevant to the goals of the business.
Local SEO can be confusing in some respects as some businesses assume it’s only for those that offer a service or product via a bricks-and-mortar store.
Although a series of stores, restaurants and night clubs make use of local SEO, it can also be beneficial to those that run an online business that operates within the area, such as wedding planning and social media marketing.

Of course, those that run an online business may be able to target a larger audience, but it’s important not to undermine the benefits that local SEO can offer.
One of the most important areas of local SEO is the use of business citations, especially Google My Business.
Given that Google is the one the largest search engine providers in the world, it should come as no surprise that those looking to find traction with a local community will use Google My Business in the first instance, but why is the use of such platforms becoming an important part of SEO?

Google My Business: The Online Phone Book

We all remember a time when the Yellow Pages would be delivered and was often quite heavy due to the number of businesses advertising in the directory.
Although there can be benefits in local businesses doing this, small companies found that fees could be expensive, especially given the fact that the Internet was becoming the go-to platform for all forms of information, including the details of a local business.
Over time this has evolved into the world we’re familiar with today. How many times have you visited a business only to receive a notification asking for feedback?
Or maybe you’ve walked past a business, only to receive an alert that a nearby company accepts Google Pay?
These are all examples of how Google My Business can help reach out to local customers without straying away from other demographics.
Depending on the nature of the business, there could be several other platforms that allow for business listings.
Though this can be beneficial, it’s important to ensure that all the information is the same within each listing.

Why Google My Business is Important

As well as allowing businesses to become part of local search results in relation to businesses, the use of Google My Business can also increase trusts and loyalty in your brand, which can help the SEO efforts of the business as a whole.
SEO is a much different concept to what it was many years ago. Several algorithm changes have meant that those offering information to online users must do so in the right way.
The use of Google My Business means customers can leave reviews based on their experiences. This allows for a more organic flow of trust, meaning the more feedback a company receives, the more it will prosper in search results.

Improve the Reputation of a Brand

From time to time there will be times when the customer sees their experience as an inferior one, and will often use a review as a way of venting their frustration.
In an ideal world, a business would want to resolve the issue before it is aired on a public forum, but all is not lost.
Although online users have high expectations, if a problem is handled in the right way, it can be used as a positive when earning trust online.
Customers would much rather deal with a company that can admit fault or show empathy than one that simply ignores their feedback.
It’s easy to become dissuaded from using Google My Business for fear of bad reviews, but it’s simply about having the right approach when using the platform.

Should You Only You Use Google My Business?

The popularity of Google My Business can lead some business owners to think that other marketing funnels can be overlooked, such as social media marketing and other business listings.
There is no template in place when it comes to what platforms should and shouldn’t be used in relation to local SEO, as it depends on the service or product on offer.
Simply carrying out tasks that look to flood platforms with unnecessary information will mean that the SEO efforts are affected in a detrimental way.
Although some business directories allow for multiple industries, others may be more specific, so it’s important that the right groundwork is being carried out beforehand.

Overall: Local Business Listings for Any Online Business

Regardless of the online endeavours being carried out by a business, the benefits of marketing towards a local audience shouldn’t be overlooked.
Over 86% of people make searches online when it comes to local company information, so while there may be a small benefit in using conventional phone books, the big numbers are online.
If you’re unsure of where to begin in relation to business listings, then it may be beneficial to enlist the services of a seasoned professional.
This will ensure that listings are not only consistent, but also ensure that listings are only being entered onto relevant platforms, but that changes taking place in the industry are being applied sooner rather than later.