You already know that Local SEO is important in digital marketing for making sure your business gets found online by people searching for services in their area. But do you know what can happen if you don’t follow through on your optimization and don’t also claim and verify your business listings on the major search engines? How bad it can get?
Read on and find out. This just happened to me, today.
You started a business, built your presence on Facebook, but you already have a following and decided to save money on a website for now.
I was searching on Bing for “hair colorists near me” this morning, and in particular looking at the “snack pack” results.
Bing is important to include in optimizing for Local search as Bing handled a quarter of all search queries in the United States. Additionally, Yahoo at 11% uses the Bing search engine. This means that the Bing search engine controls over 33% of the market share. (Market share results from Statista, and are as of October 2019).
Anyway, I get the expected results. Just like Google, Bing Local Search results include a “Snack Pack”, which is a box featuring the three to five businesses that have the best optimization for local search. (Google shows the top three, Bing shows the top five).
Here are the results I received on Bing, showing the top five results in the map and Snack Pack:
Woo Hoo! I start clicking on the websites for the five hair salons in the Snack Pack and look around.
Number four is for A Cut Above Salon.
This is what you want for a great result: A Cut Above Salon placed in the local search Bing snack pack. This is the Holy Grail for Local Search results. I click on their website link. https://www.acutabovehair.com/
Thinking like a prospective customer at this point. Decent site, it has two buttons right there where you can see them, you can click to either call them or book an appointment on the spot. I don’t really notice that this is A Cut Above Hair Design and not A Cut Above Salon because the site design doesn’t really emphasize the logo. Besides, that’s minor and maybe they call it both, right? Both versions are “A Cut Above”. No big deal. We are still good.
BUT… and this is important… the website link in the results takes you to a hair salon with the same name that is in Waterford, CT. Not close to me. Not even for a reasonable six miles away. Six hundred miles away!
And you won’t notice that it’s in a different state unless you scroll all the way down to the bottom and look at the address. Whoops.
This causes problems for both business and for the customers. They offer an online booking service. They’ve clearly have had issues with people from Ohio not realizing that it is a different company in a different state and scheduling a visit online. Enough of a problem that they have a message prominently displayed in all caps on the appointments page: “A CUT ABOVE HAIR DESIGN IS LOCALLY OWNED & OPERATED IN WATERFORD CT AND IS NOT AFFILIATED OR ASSOCIATED WITH ANY OTHER A CUT ABOVE HAIR SALONS IN THE UNITED STATES.”
How many bad reviews and how many customers lost for both businesses because of this mistake?
My guess is that most people will give up on A Cut Above and go look for a different hairdresser, because if you can’t get your website right A) how do I even know you are actually there at that location and B) do I even want to trust you with my hair if you can’t get your business information correct?
Because it is what I do and how I roll, I went next to see what results I found on the same search on Google. A Cut Above did not make the Snack Pack for “hair colorists near me”.
I clicked on “More Results” to see what showed for Google Maps.
A Cut Above WAS listed in the Google Maps result. I clicked on the listing to bring up more information.
And there you have it. The business has not been claimed on Google My Business and they do not have a webpage.
Google found enough information from review sites to put together a listing, but as of 2/19/2020 the company does not have a webpage (at least not one that I can find) and has not claimed their listing on Google My Business.
Again: how many customers lost because a business only uses Facebook and review sites for their online promotions and doesn’t claim and verify that their information is correct?
*Disclaimer: I’m really happy with my hair stylist at Crazy Beautiful Salon in Avon, Ohio and plan on continuing to have my hair done by her. I was looking at website designs for inspiration for another project. If you want great hair like mine you can visit Crazy Beautiful’s website at crazybeautifulsalon.com and book an appointment. FYI I did not build their website.