You really want to rank for some competitive keywords, and maybe your Google My Business listing is ranking on page 1, but #7. In order for your local listing to be shown on the front page, you have to rank in the top 3. Further reading on citations: What a citation is and how it can help your local SEO
Maybe it’s time to see if your competitors have any citations that you do not already have. it’s possible they have a couple listings on industry local directories, or have a listing on a local business directory that you have never heard of before. How do you find these?
It’s really pretty simple.
First you should have a good understanding of all of the citations that your business currently has. If you don’t, the process won’t be as quick, but is still beneficial.
Next, we need to figure out who we are trying to outrank in the local listing pack results. Here we are going to want to do a search for our primary keyword + city. It’s important that you do this search with no cookies or previous search history. All browsers offer some sort of Private Window, Incognito Window, or Private Browsing Mode. If you’re unfamiliar with this, simply clear your cache and cookies.
Do the search and document the top 3 local results. We want to document the business name and phone number. Repeat this process on each keyword you are trying to rank for.
Once finished, we want to do some advanced searches in Google to see what listings our competitors have that we may not.
The format is this: “business name” “street number and name” “phone number”.
Using our previous example of the keyword “drug rehab Portland” here is what you would see if you were doing the advanced search with De Paul Treatment Centers:
If De Paul Treatment Centers were a competitor, we would look for opportunities to find citation sources that we do not have. If you knew the citations that you had or a spreadsheet to reference, you could find some opportunities.
Perform the search and see the results for your target market. The most authoritative websites are going to show at the top, so start there and work your way down. Open the local listing directories that you believe you don’t have a citation source, do a search to see if you have a listing. If you do not, winner!
More often than not, you should be able to find at least a few listings that your competitor has that you do not.
Quality of citations is going to trump quantity of citations. If you come across a local listing directory that looks spammy, don’t waste your time.
Try to think like a user when deciding if it’s a good source of information. Would you use this directory to find local information? If the answer is no, move on.
Sometimes you will run into local listing directories that charge a fee for inclusion. Prices can vary from a flat fee of $19 up to $299/year. You will have to be the ultimate judge to see if it’s worth it for your business. We tend to be pretty conservative when paying for inclusion to a local listing directory.
An example of one that is moderately priced, but worth it is local.botw.org. They have a local listing directory that runs $9.95/mo, and you get a link as well. They have a free listing, but miss out on adding a lot of information to your listing, and no link.
Repeat this process for each competitor that you documented at the beginning. And have fun doing it!