map-pinWhen it comes to being found online, many businesses overlook the power of local search results. This is surprising considering the popularity of searches done on mobile devices.

Let’s say you were in Downtown Fort Collins (Old Town as us natives call it) and wanted to find a something to eat. You might search for something like, “Thai restaurants near me” or “best craft brewery” – you’re going to use a local search.

According to a recent survey, it is estimated that over 80% of consumers use local search results to find what they’re looking for. Furthermore, the popular review site Yelp boasts a jaw-dropping 132 million unique monthly visitors. The numbers don’t lie – you need to be optimized for local searches.

The most important element of local search

If you do nothing else for local search, be sure your NAP – name, address and phone number – are consistent across all the directories you are listed on. These listing sites are also referred to as “citation sites.” It’s best to think of these sites like the phone book (remember those?). Arguably, the most important site to get listed on is Google. Google My Business carries a great deal of weight when it comes to local SEO. As a matter of fact, Google My Business accounts for 19.6% of local search result clout.

Now, before you go out and claim your business page please note it is imperative to fill out the listing correctly. If done improperly it can take weeks, even months, to undo.

What about tracking numbers?

Tracking numbers have been a popular method marketing firms have used to prove where calls are coming from. Personally, I’m not crazy about this method. Here’s why: using a tracking number confuses search engines. Remember, they like to see your NAP consistent across all of the directories you’re listed on. Some directories may pull your phone number from your telecommunications provider.

Another problem with tracking numbers is that you don’t own them. If you ever part ways with your tracking number provider it can be a nightmare. Imagine having to go through every citation site or appealing changes. I’m sure this isn’t something they’d offer to help with. This can take months to filter through the internet. Personally, I feel the job should be done right the first time.

If you are planning on using an agency that insists on utilizing tracking numbers be sure to ask them if they are able to list your primary phone number for search engine results. This can be done through javascript or non-alt tagged images. If the firm cannot accommodate this request, it may be a red flag and should warrant some additional discussion about their practices.

Just a taste of local

Although we’ve just scratched the surface, hopefully, you’ve gained some insight as to why local optimization is so important. If you’ve still got questions, call us! We are specialists in local optimization and ready to put your mark on the map.