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Marketing Mythbusters Recap: Is the Long Tail of Local Search Dead? 


As a multi-location marketer, it can be challenging to decipher the myths versus the facts. We created the Marketing Mythbusters series to help you determine between the two when it comes to localized marketing. For our next myth, we’re going to dive into local SEO and the long tail of local search. In the past, multi-location businesses would include local business information in as many digital directories or listing platforms as possible, but is this still necessary? You’re about to find out! 


What is the Long Tail and Why Does It Matter? 


In broader terms, the long tail is a statistical distribution pattern that occurs when a larger share of occurrences happens farther away from the “head” or center of the distribution. In terms of listings or directory sites, this means that multi-location marketers would previously add their local business information to as many directory sites as possible, rather than just focusing on the major platforms.


Multi-location businesses would use this long tail effect, thinking that if they spread their listing information across as many online directories as possible, it would boost SEO and increase online visibility. In the past, Google rewarded businesses with more online listings, but that is not the case anymore. More citations in directories no longer mean your Google ranking will automatically improve. Let’s look further into whether your business should focus its efforts on as many directory sites as possible or just a few.


Looking Deeper Into Directories and Citations


An analysis of Google’s most updated local search ranking factors reveals citations (the volume of local business listings you have across the web) only make up a small portion of the ranking factors. According to a survey conducted by Whitespark, citations accounted for only six percent of localized organic ranking factors. While citations may have been more critical in the past, they have decreased in importance over the years. In the early days of local search, you needed a widely distributed presence across different directories because the long tail still drove customers to your business. That’s not exactly the case anymore. 


These days, Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business are the directory sites consumers use most frequently, and that’s where you should be spending your energy. This narrowed focus should deliver your multi-location business the same results for customers searching for your brand and free up time to strengthen other areas of your local SEO strategy. 



Where You Should Focus Your Local SEO Efforts


As mentioned, Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business are the three leading platforms to zero in on when it comes to monitoring your local listings. While current listings may not necessarily help your local SEO, they play an essential role in keeping consumers informed, especially throughout the pandemic. Directory listings can indicate a change in business hours due to government-related restrictions, highlight safety measures in place, and share new offerings, like curbside or delivery. 


Listings aren’t the only element to focus on to boost your local SEO. For instance, ratings and reviews play a role in your local search rankings for the Google 3-pack. If your business isn’t managing your ratings and reviews effectively, your business’s online visibility could suffer. Similarly, the use of keyword-rich content and in-bound links play a crucial role in developing your local SEO strategy. While we’ll focus on the long tail of directories in this Mythbusters video, you can find additional information on building a robust local SEO strategy here


Effectively Manage Your Local Listings and Dominate Localized Marketing


The myth has been busted! The longtail is figuratively dead, and there’s no reason for you to focus all of your local SEO efforts on various directory sites. Instead, make sure that all of your local business information is updated and accurate on Facebook, Yelp, and GMB, and then pivot to other aspects of local SEO. Here at SOCi, we understand that it can be challenging to keep all of your local business information up-to-date and accurate across all of your business locations, which is where SOCi comes in! SOCi Listings will help increase the accuracy of your listings data and improve local search rankings, resulting in stronger brand awareness and visibility.


If you’re looking for other ways to distinguish your multi-location business from the competition, SOCi can help! SOCi is the central command for multi-location marketers and the all-in-one platform for your localized marketing needs. For more information on how SOCi can take your localized marketing efforts to new heights, request a demo today, and don’t forget to stay tuned for our next marketing MythBusters video, where we’ll tackle another common marketing myth. 



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