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The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Local Business Listings

Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Co-Founder & Head of Product
Maximize your local business visibility with this comprehensive guide to optimizing local business listings. Learn the best practices for managing and improving your online presence.
The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Local Business Listings

Local business listings management is essential for business owners that want to reach their target customers. Having accurate and up-to-date information about your business across the web can help you get more customers and higher search rankings. With this guide to local business listings management, you can ensure that your data is consistent and accurate across all major search engines, directories, review sites, and social media platforms.

Our comprehensive online listings guide covers everything from setting up a local listing to managing it over time. You’ll learn how to create optimized business profiles for each listing, how to monitor customer reviews and respond to them quickly, as well as tips on how to use local SEO tactics such as keyword optimization and link building which are all essential in a solid SEO strategy. Additionally, MARA can provide you with a tool that makes it easier than ever to respond to your reviews. With these resources at your disposal, you can be sure that your online listings are always up-to-date and accurately reflect the current state of your business.


What are local business listings?

Local business listings are online business profiles that appear with Google Maps and contain information about a business, such as its business locations or address, phone number, website URL, hours of operation, and other details.

Local listings provide potential customers with the information they need to find and contact your business. The core components of local listings are known as NAP, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. This is the basic information that should be included in all local listings, regardless of the website or platform.

Here is an example of a local on Google or what is usually referred to as “Google My Business.”

In addition to NAP, there are other important pieces of information that should be included in your local listing. This includes

  • a website URL,
  • hours of operation,
  • and a business category that accurately describes what type of business you have.
  • Photos and videos of your business.
  • A brief overview of your business
  • Payment options available

Here’s an example of an optimized Google business profile containing essential critical information.

Some examples of other Google business profile that include details such as store description, store hours, photos, and other pertinent information.

By providing this additional information in your local listing and ensuring your GMB profile is well-optimized, you can help ensure that customers can contact your business when they need it and easily find it with the help of Google Maps.

What are the benefits of local business listings?

Local business listings are a great way to get your business noticed and make it easier for customers to find you. They serve as an online directory, helping consumers locate the businesses that will fit their needs. Not only do online business listings provide customers with reliable information, they also offer other benefits.

According to Safari Digital, 70% customers will visit a business based on what they find online – whether it be an ad, review, or marketing campaign. Alongside this, they also found that consumers are increasingly favoring businesses with an online presence, which is reflected in the 62% of consumers who said they refuse to try a business if they can't find the company's information on the web.

One of the main advantages of local business listings is that they kickstart the customer journey to you and overall provide a better customer experience . When your business is listed across the web, it makes it easier for customers to find your contact information and other details about your company. This ensures that customers have a positive experience from the start.

Additionally, many listing sites offer reviews that can help improve your reputation and build trust with potential customers. By having positive customer reviews on these sites and having the capability to track reviews even negative ones, you can show potential customers that you are reliable and trustworthy. Local business listings are an invaluable tool for any business looking to increase search visibility and reach more customers.

What is local listing management?

Local listing management is the process of creating, maintaining, and optimizing online business listings across the web. This includes ensuring that all of your business’s information is accurate and up-to-date on major search engines like Google. It also involves monitoring online reviews and responding to them quickly, as well as optimizing your listings for local search engine optimization (SEO).

This is how your typical Google local listing dashboard looks like.

What is the importance of local business listing management?

Local business listings are an important part of any online marketing strategy. They help customers find your business quickly and easily, and they also help Google recognize your business as a legitimate entity. When customers search for businesses in their area, having multiple local listings that are consistent across different sites helps Google know that your business information is trustworthy. This increases the chances of your business appearing in search results, which means better search performance, and a higher search rank that can lead to more customers and increased revenue.

According to research, 22.6% of website traffic actually come from local potential customer searches. 76% of consumers check out a business's online listing before physically visiting. More importantly, Brightlocal also found that 63% of consumers say that inaccurate information on local listings would discourage them from choosing a business. This is why keeping your local listings up-to-date is essential for success. If you have incorrect or outdated information on any of the listing sites, it could lead to confusion among potential customers and even cause them to choose another business instead. Additionally, if your local listings are not updated regularly, Google may not recognize them as reliable sources of information and may not include them in its search results at all. By ensuring that all of your local listings are accurate and up-to-date, you can ensure that all potential customers searches will lead to your online business profile.

How do I create a local business listing?

Claiming your local business listings is the first step in managing your online presence. Google creates profiles for existing businesses, so if you see that Google has made a profile for your business, all you'll have to do is claim it! Otherwise, you can sign up to create your own business profile. Nonetheless, if you see a listing on another site, chances are it was collected by a data aggregator or added by a user. Data aggregators such as Infogroup or Acxiom compile and distribute this information to listing sites by looking at both offline and online resources.

By claiming your local business listings, you can ensure that the information about your business is accurate and up-to-date. This will help potential customers find the right information about your business quickly and easily. Additionally, claiming these listings will also help improve your search visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). By taking control of how your business appears online, you can make sure that customers get the best possible impression of your company.

How can I improve my business listing?

Here are a few tips on how you can optimize your local business listing:

Ensure accurate information is listed

Once you have claimed and verified your local business listings, it is important to ensure that the information listed is accurate. This includes making sure that your address and any or all of your business locations, phone number, website URL, and other contact information are correct. Additionally, make sure that any images or videos associated with your listing are up-to-date and relevant to your business.

It is also important to keep the description of your business up-to-date. This should include a brief overview of what services or products you offer, as well as any other relevant information that customers may need to know.

Use keywords in your descriptions

Monthly, the search volume on Google averages 100 million and above. And this search volume pertains to the number of times a keyword is used on Google in a month. Hence, when optimizing your local business listings, it is important to use keywords in your descriptions. Keywords are words or phrases that customers may use when searching for businesses like yours. By including relevant keywords in your listing descriptions, you can make sure that potential customers can find your business more easily.

Here are some examples of great keywords you can use in your description:

If you are a hotel: “luxury hotel,” “family-friendly hotel” or “pet-friendly hotel.”

Here’s a sample of a Google SERP for the keyword “luxury hotel.”
Sample local listing description using the keyword “luxury hotel.”

If you are a restaurant: “fine dining,” “best Italian food in town,” or “romantic dinner spot.

Sample local listings that used the keyword “fine dining.”

If you are a retail store: “clothing store,” “shoe store,” or “gift shop.”

Sample local listings that used the keyword “clothing store.”

By including these keywords in your descriptions customers using these keywords are more likely to find your business.

Include photos and videos

Including photos and videos in your local business listings can help customers get a better understanding of what your business is all about. Photos and videos are a great way to showcase the products or services you offer, as well as the atmosphere of your business. Additionally, including photos and videos can help improve your online visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

When adding photos and videos to your local business it is important to take great care in selecting the right ones. Make sure that they are high-quality and relevant to your business. Here are some criteria for good pictures for your local business listing:

  • Photos and videos should be clear and in focus
  • Photos and videos should be of good quality
  • Photos and videos should show the products or services you offer
  • Videos should be short and to the point

Here’s an example of a local restaurant with good quality photos and well-optimized profile resulting in a 4.6 star rating.

A 4.6 local listing with good photos and well-optimized profile.

On the other hand, here’s a 3-star restaurant with poorly taken photos, low reviews, and not fully optimized Google My Business profile.

A 3-star restaurant listing with bad photos.

Encourage reviews

Encouraging online reviews is an important part of optimizing your local business listings. Reviews from customers can help potential customers get a better understanding of what your business is like and what services or products you offer. Additionally, reviews can help improve your online visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) by increasing your overall rating, search performance, and search rank. This is also exactly why it is crucial that business owners are able to track reviews and manage them properly.

When encouraging reviews, it is important to make sure that you are responding to both positive and negative reviews in a timely manner. Responding to reviews shows customers that you value their feedback and are willing to take the time to address any issues they may have. Additionally, responding to reviews can help build trust with potential customers.

Consumer trust in businesses grows exponentially when they witness business owners responding to reviews, no matter what they may be. Brightlocal found that a staggering 88% of customers are more likely to use such a company with an interactive attitude towards feedback.

Responding to reviews of your local business can quickly become a daunting task as following best practices is important to really improve your online reputation. Crafting individual responses to all your reviews is crucial, because on average, businesses experience up to 18% in increased revenue from displaying reviews - it's simply too valuable of an opportunity to pass up!


Optimize your local listings with MARA

Responding to reviews on your local listings is an essential strategy in boosting your online visibility. While it may be a daunting task, you can actually streamline the process with our AI Review Assistant of MARA. This intuitive tool is designed to ease your Online Reputation Management process, making it more efficient, personalized, and time-saving. It offers the best and most personalized AI for responding to and analyzing your guest reviews.

One Review Inbox for all your listings

One of the key features of this tool is the Review Inbox. Your review inbox makes responding to reviews as simple as hitting "Generate reply" and clicking "Send". The Review Inbox connects to multiple review sources, including Google,, and Tripadvisor, giving you a panoramic view of all your reviews. And you can even configure review response automation: Why not allow MARA to automatically respond to simple reviews, like 5-star Google reviews with no text, ensuring you never miss a review? Daily notifications about new reviews keep you updated and in control.

MARA Review Inbox
Streamlining all your reviews into one review management platform.

Extracting actionable insights through Review Analytics

To help you understand and analyze the multitude of reviews, the Review Assistant also incorporates Review Analytics. This provides actionable, easy-to-understand insights that are tailored exclusively to your business. With MARA, you can quickly get the gist of all your reviews without needing to read each one. The analysis is so detailed that you can find out about specific issues like "water in the pool is too cold" or "lack of vegan breakfast option”. These insights help optimize guest experience without requiring you to be a data expert.

MARA Review Analytics
Customer data from online reviews.

Running simultaneous Group Analytics

Additionally, our group analytics overview can provide a quick evaluation of the performance of each location. Other than key metrics such as response rates, ratings, and the number of reviews, MARA also offers category scores based on advanced AI analytics. In the screenshot below, you can find an analysis for hotels with category scores for areas like Food & Beverage, Front Office, and Housekeeping. This analysis aids in swiftly identifying potential weaknesses, with a preview of detailed topics appearing when you hover over a category.

MARA Group Analytics
Simultaneous data analytics across all your local listings.

Personalized review responses

MARA's AI isn't just about efficiency; it's about personalization too. The Brand Voice feature allows the AI to adapt to your tone, making sure your responses sound authentically you. Plus, with Smart Snippets, you can "teach" the AI how to respond to recurring praises or complaints. Your AI then incorporates this information into its responses, but always with different words, providing more personalized, relevant replies.

This review response assistant has quickly become a game-changer for over 2000 customers. Its promising capacity to elevate your overall rating, amplify response rates, glean insights from customer feedback and economize both time and money, is the reason behind its growing popularity.

Final thoughts

Local listing management is an important part of the customer journey, as well as an important component of your SEO strategy and optimizing your business profiles for search engine results pages (SERPs). By including relevant keywords, photos and videos, and encouraging reviews, you can improve your visibility in SERPs and build trust with potential customers. With the appropriate software, not only can you streamline the process, but you can also personalize your responses, and derive valuable insights from the reviews. So, why hesitate to give our AI Review Assistant, MARA, a try? It's completely free for testing, doesn't require a credit card, and can be fully operational in less than five minutes.

This article is part of our hero content “Optimize Your Hotel Listings to Increase Bookings - All You Need to Know".

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is local listing marketing?

A local listing is what potential customers find when using their location to find products and services. This is usually done by adding the phrase “near me” on searches such as “salons near me” or “hotels near me.” Local listing marketing is a set of online marketing strategies that allow businesses to connect with customers within their location.

What is the importance of local listing?

Local listing allows companies to showcase their offers and connect with potential customers within a specific location, which is essentially the most important marketing strategy for local businesses. Furthermore, a local listing allows consumers to find relevant information before purchasing.

How to do listing management?

Local listing management is the process of adding your business to local directories and business listing sites. To do this, you should look for online listing websites and create a business profile that contains your updated NAP data. It’s also highly recommended to optimize your listings with enough content that search engines can index.

How do I appear on local listing?

Nowadays, the best way to appear on local listings is by creating and optimizing a Google Business profile. This allows Google to rank your website on relevant customer searches within your location.

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