By now, we all know how important optimizing your website is in order to stay competitive and help your potential guests find you online. But often, guests will find you through online directories, such as bedandbreakfast.com or TripAdvisor
It’s important to use listings (especially if they’re free) to help increase your property’s online presence and your credibility. Google pulls information from these listing sites and cross-references this information, such as your business name or phone number, to ensure it has the most accurate information to present in the search results. So, the more optimized listings you have, the better you could rank in online searches.
Get started optimizing with the 8 “C”s of local listings:
- Complete it: You wouldn’t take a reservation from a guest if they just gave you their first name, so make sure your listing has all your information on it. This includes your property’s name, address, phone number, website, photos, descriptions, amenities, etc. If there’s a field available to fill it out, fill it out!
- Keep it consistent: We’ve talked about your NAP before (seriously, look in the paragraph above) but your NAP is supremely important to your online presence. It stands for your Name, Address, Phone Number and those three must be consistent on every single listing. Use the same name, same address, and a local phone number on all listings that you put on your website. You should also include your NAP in the footer of your website, so it’s displayed on every page of your site.
- Pick the right category/ies: Many directories offer main categories and sub categories to classify your business correctly. Search engines will also use your categories to properly index your company and have it show up in search results for certain search terms. Use the right categories to showcase what your property is all about, is it a boutique hotel or a bed and breakfast?
- Claim your listing: Listings like Google+ allow you to claim your listing, showing the search engine that this is indeed the right listing for your business and managed by the owner. Ownership of your listing is important as you know your business best and can update it as needed.
- Core value proposition: Communicate truthful and helpful descriptions of your property. Write about the amenities guests enjoy or the type of experience guests can expect at your property. Weave the right keywords into your narrative and avoid using unnatural sounding keywords as the search engines may think you’re tricking them into showing your listing for something your property has no relevance to.
- Customer reviews: Reviews about your business help establish your credibility as well as shows search engines that there’s fresh content about your business. Ask your guests to review your property online, whether it’s on a travel directory or on your social media accounts!
- Citations: Don’t worry, we’re not going back to college where you needed citations in your papers, we’re talking about online citations. An online citation is simply a mention of your website, with or without a link. This could be your property’s name on your local Chamber of Commerce’s website or perhaps a blogger reviewing your site and mentioning the property name. Google and Bing looks to these citations to reaffirm your online identity and again your credibility. In fact, Google states: “Google improves search results by aggregating information about your business from all over the web. Make sure information about your business on third-party sites is accurate, and try to contact the respective site directly to correct any inaccurate information.” When possible ask the owner of these sites to include a link to your site in their mention of your property as links have much more weight than a normal citation.
- Clean up: Potential guests and the search engines get confused on which page has the right or most up to date information on it, so every once in a while do a search for your property to ensure you don’t have any duplicate listings. To make it easier, using a service like Moz Local can do take care of listing clean up for you. If you don’t have the time, resources, or an agency to help you out with this, Moz Local will automate this effort for and monitor your listings. Check their website for current pricing for this product.
Now it’s your turn to review your local listings to see what improvements need to be made! What other tips or tricks for directories do you have to share? Tell us in the comments section below!