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Request to clean up LBL’s

Bing’s Local 5-box and Google’s 7-box can be great tools for small businesses and can help them compete against nationally ranked competitors without investing the time and money to compete in the organic section for national searches. Generic search terms that have local intent like lawyer, dentist, chiropractor, plumber, locksmith, etc; display a local 5 or 7-box (it is typically 5 or 7 but may be as little as one) within Bing and Google’s organic search results. (Although changes are on the horizon, Yahoo! doesn’t yet provide local results for generic searches with local intent; a searcher must provide a search term and a location for a map to be presented in Yahoo!’s serp’s…)

The search engines list businesses near the searcher’s presumed location (locations can be altered by savvy searchers). Having your business listed in that local box can boost your ability to compete with organically ranked national competitors. Although I haven’t seen any studies I feel are good enough to reference here, I will note that the general consensus is that local results (those within the 5 or 7 box) have an approximate 25%-35% higher click-through-rate than organic results for the same search in which both Bing and Google consider the search term to have Local Intent, ie both Bing and Google show a map in their serp.

In the screenshots below, I searched both Bing and Google for Lawyer, not Lawyer in Phoenix:
Local Search Results for Lawyer in Bing

Optimizing your local listing…

It is well publicized (and accurate from my perspective) that claiming your business listing is among the top SEO tactics in increasing your Google Places serps; not so for Bing Local.

Case study…

I have a client whose listing I claimed in Bing Local over a year ago. I have done little SEO specifically for Bing because I have spent my energy and resources on organic and the Google Places listing. My client is currently ranking letter A in Google Places on the organic listing’s 7 box for the town in which the listing resides and a generic keyword phrase (a phrase without a city identification). For the same listing in Bing Local, the client is near the bottom of the second page in the maps section. To be fair, I have done no on-page optimization besides claiming my listing but I am about to explain why I may have been better off not having claimed the listing at all…

There are many problems with both Bing Local and Google Places but one of the biggest problems that I often run into is that old or incorrect information gets published as an official location result among the national data aggregators such as Axciom, Yellow Pages, InfoUSA, etc. Companies like these feed information to Bing, Google and other search engines and even if the information is incorrect, the search engines display the data they receive from the aggregators.

Back to the case study…

This client has an inaccurate address that is displayed as a top 5 result in Phoenix on Bing. The issue is that the result has inaccurate information that is shared by one or more of these aggregators. The business listing has not been claimed in the client’s Bing Local Business Listings Account and yet this unclaimed and inaccurate listing shows in the results for a competitive industry in Bing’s 5-box. On the other hand and as stated above, a listing that is not fully optimized but has been claimed and verified through Bing’s verification process is listed below businesses whose listings have not been optimized, claimed or verified.

Both Bing and Google have the ability in their local search results to have a very clean set of results every time but they are unwilling to put forth the effort (and I, of course, mean money) to clean up the results.  If Bing and Google altered their algorithm to dramatically increase the importance of claiming a listing through mail, and made it known that mail verified listings would be given preference in the algorithm, spam listings would nearly disappear and results from searches with local intent would give users a better experience.

Conclusion…

Bing and Google need to put some effort into cleaning up the map results that are littered with spam and inaccurate results.  In order to do this, they must quit relying on information given to them from national aggregators and gather information from their customers, the business owner.

1 comment. Leave a Reply

  1. need to post us on the maps

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