As Internet marketers, we relish those rare moments when decoding what search engines want is actually straightforward.  This time, it is.  Search engines have been favoring local listings, and we know because, well, there they are- right on the first search results page, with a big map.  Since most Realtors concentrate on specific towns or regions, this is a perfect opportunity for real estate companies to increase their visibility for local searches.

How Does It Work?

Google local listingsResults for search phrases that include a town name generally include a map with “pins” identifying relevant companies located in that town.  For example, if someone searched “Alton NH real estate,” real estate companies located in Alton, NH, would be included on the map.  For searches on broader geographic areas like Cape Cod (see image on right), Google and Bing would display a list of real estate companies across Cape Cod towns.

How Do I Claim My Listings?

One of the easiest ways to see which listings you need to claim is to visit the site moz.com/local, which was set up for this very purpose.  Here are the steps you’ll need to take once you get there:

  1. Click “Check My Listing Score,” then type in your company’s name and zip code.
  2. If there are multiple listings for your company, choose the most accurate one.  If you don’t see your company in the list, scroll down to the next paragraph to find out how to create new directory listings.
  3. If you see Google, Bing, or Yahoo under “Missing Listings,” click “Create Listing” to get started.  You will then be directed to a page where you can follow the steps to create a new listing.
  4. If any search engines are listed under “Unclaimed Listings,” click “Claim listing” to start managing your listing or make updates if the information is incorrect.

For most local directory sites, claiming your listings requires two steps: actually claiming the profile and then verifying that the information is legitimate, either by phone or email.  Most sites will ask you to type in a PIN, or number code, that they send to you via phone (which happens immediately), or on a postcard through the mail. This is not spam. It’s simply their way of making sure your contact information is accurate.

What If I Can’t Find Any Listings for My Company?

If you haven’t claimed any of your listings yet, you may not see your business on moz.com/local.  If that is the case, select “I don’t see my business” at the bottom of the results page. GetListed will then give you a list of sites where you can create a new listing for your company.

Should I Claim Listings on Other Sites?

Some of the other directories listed on moz.com/local require paid subscriptions, but there are a few that are free, including Yelp, HotFrog, and ExpressUpdate.  Yelp is probably the most valuable of the three and has proven to drive a good amount of traffic to our clients’ websites.

Still Have Questions?

If you have subscribed to one of our Internet Marketing programs, your Internet Marketer will be able to walk you through the process.  If not, contact your Account Manager for more information about enlisting Internet marketing help.