Here’s a question for big and small brands alike: How effectively are you promoting your local stores online? Are potential customers able to quickly search the web and find helpful information about your store in their city?
Tomorrow is Halloween, and as much as I love Halloween, I tend to procrastinate on choosing a costume until the very last minute, every year, without fail. For our PMG Halloween festivities this year, I decided I want to create a Where’s Waldo costume. Late last night I finally started doing some research on clothing stores in my city where I can hopefully piece together a Where’s Waldo outfit just in time for the big day tomorrow. Looking at the Google local results for “red and white striped shirts in dallas” and loving SEO, I started thinking about local search and if there are free tools available to help these stores in their local SEO efforts.
Moz Local has an awesome free tool you can use to see how your local businesses are performing online.
Simply enter in your business name and zip code for the specific location you want to research.
Once you’ve entered in the store information and clicked Check my Listing, you will be given a current score for your local business that is based on how complete your online listings are. Your online listings include everything from Facebook and Twitter to Superpages, Yelp, Yahoo and more. In the example below, a store received a score of 85%. While this is a great score, this store still has some listings that are not optimized, and it’s worth digging in to find out what’s going on for the other 15%.
The first tab is the Complete tab, which shows you the percentage of listings across the web that have good information about your store.
You can click on the above bar graphs to check the status of your various listings. You can also use this graph to find any areas that are incomplete and could potentially cause your brand a loss in rankings, traffic, or a bad user experience for potential customers. Keep in mind here: even if some of your listings say they are 100% complete, it is still a good idea to click to those pages and check them. For example, a Google+ listing may register as 100% complete, but still be missing important on-page features, like your brand’s logo and cover photo. It’s always good to spot check.
The next tab looks at any incomplete listings your store has and offers recommendations for updating these listings. You can click the Update Listing box and will be taken to the site to update your listing, so this aspect of the tool can definitely come in handy.
To see any inconsistencies across your listings, go to the Inconsistent tab. Moz Local will mark each inconsistency with a red dot. Click on the red dot and you will be given a description of the issue.
I researched a few different brands, and some of the inconsistencies I found were address inconsistencies (having typos in address information: instead of “Pearl Street” on a listing, one had “Pearl Pearl Street,” for example) and URL inconsistencies (if your business domain name is http://www.sitename.com, but it’s listed in Yellow Pages as http://sitename.com, and in Facebook as http://www.sitename.com, and in Foursquare as http://www.sitename.net).
Inconsistency issues like these can cause ranking problems for your local search results, which is why it’s important to check and update any address, domain name or other inconsistencies you find across your online listings.
The final tab highlights any duplicate listings for your store and provides a “Fix duplicate” option that will direct you straight to the problem source and give you more details on fixing it.
In addition to information about your store’s online listings, Moz Local also has a Reviews section, where they show you reviews of your store from across the web. You can use these reviews to get an idea of the type of feedback your individual stores are getting, to better customer experience in your stores and to pinpoint any issues.
In addition to Moz Local, Yext is another good local tool that allows you to check your store listings and monitor any duplicate, incorrect listings or other errors.
Simply type in your business name and the local business phone number you want to check, and Yext will scan your local store’s performance across all online listings and give you status information about your store by listing (Facebook, Superpages, etc.) as well as an error grade.
And all of this information is free!
Whether you run a single-store local business or a large scale brand with hundreds to thousands of stores across the US and internationally, these tools can be used to gain high-level insights about how your stores are performing at the local level and provide you with new ideas and new directions to consider.