MARKETING ON LOCAL DIRECTORIES
What Are Local Business Directory Websites?
Local directories are trusted listing sites and social communities that specialize in indexing small businesses, according to category and geography. Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor and Google Local are among the most famous of these sites, but there are many more.
People looking for places to eat, shop, sleep and commission services often refer to the content on local directory sites to see what the communities of users there have to say in the comments and ratings. But perhaps more importantly, Google search holds many of these sites in high regard, so when you’re listed on good local directory websites, your business will quickly receive a dramatic boost in search rankings. Search engine optimization (SEO), the quest for the top results on Google for the search terms relevant to your business, is a tricky discipline that’s constantly evolving. But listing on local directories remains one of the SEO tactics that’s easiest and offers the most impact.
Why You Need to Rank in Local Search Results
Thanks to the rising popularity and usefulness of smartphones, people are increasingly interested in finding businesses that offer what they want nearby. Searching the web for local information is considered to be the activity that people use their smartphones for more than any other. Search engines are paying close attention to this trend and are changing the way they display results accordingly, with “geo-targeted” content receiving more of an emphasis – especially when the searcher uses keywords that suggest “local intent.”
How to Get Started with Marketing on Local Directories
With Google penalizing websites with links to shady directories, how do you know which ones are legit? A great starting point is this big list published by Hubspot.
|Better Business Bureau
||Discover Our Town
And here you can see a handy comparison of the capabilities and limitations of 13 leading ones. Submitting your website is easy: all you have to do is fill out your business information. Once you’ve been verified, your listings will go live. With your business appearing all over strong local directories, Google’s algorithms for local search will be sure to recognize you for the legitimate business you are. Within weeks, search results pages will be more likely to even display your five-star user ratings, map location and other key information that will encourage users to visit your website.
As previously noted, local directories and review sites are often referred to as “citations,” and they can help your business website rank well in local search results on Google. Here are points to keep in mind when registering to a directory. This will ensure that each local directory and review site you join counts towards helping your business rank well in local search:
- Make sure your business name, address, phone number, and website are consistent, on both your website and in local listings. Things that will cause ranking problems include having your business name listed as ABC Services in one place and A.B.C. Services in another, or having your address listed as 1500 West First St. in one place and 1500 W. First Street in another, or having your website address listed as “abcservices.com” in one place and www.abcservices.com/index.html in another.
- Encourage (but do not incentivize, bribe, or purchase) customers to write reviews about your business on the top local directories and review sites. The more positive reviews you have, the better your business is going to rank.
- Complete each of your local listing profiles as thoroughly as possible. If you are given the option of adding additional information, social network links, photos, and videos, be sure to do so.
To get in a wide array of listings without spending a lot of time, you can use services like Universal Business Listing. You complete a profile in their system, and they take that information and populate it across all of the local directories and review sites. You can also use tools like Whitespark to find citations for your competitors. They also offer a free review handout generator that helps you create a guide for your customers to use on how to do reviews for your business.
Don’t forget about local media and organizations such as newspapers, news stations, and chambers of commerce. Many have their own business directory that you can get listed in simply by asking or becoming a member. For more information, contact our Marketing Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.