The Importance of Local Listings and Directories
When it comes to getting your business noticed in your local market ranking higher on local search engines is a must. Many businesses make the mistake of just trying to rank high in search results for the products or services they provide and completely neglect their local search results. Failing to focus on getting your business ranked higher in local search results will have a negative impact on your business. Think about how you perform a search for a product or service. Chances are you take out your phone and type in what you are looking for and are provided a list of local businesses. This is how you want your business to be found as well.
By implementing a few key tips and suggestions you can easily boost your businesses local search results. This will not only get your business more attention but will drastically improve your profits and foot traffic to your local business. There are a number of ways you can easily incorporate local search engine optimization to boost your business’s online visibility to your direct local markets.
Why List Your Business in Local Online Search Directories?
When it comes to using local listing and online directories the key is consistency. Your local online listing will be a profile that displays the name, address, phone number, website, and other details about the products or services your business supplies. Most of these are free to list on and some allow you to pay an additional price for special features, but these are most often not necessary or relevant to your search engine ranking.
The main reason why getting your business listed on many online search directories is because this is how customers are searching for local services and products. Since almost all individuals have their mobile phones at the ready they will most often begin their search to find something that meets their needs by looking for it on their phones. You instantly expand your reach when your business is listed on local search directories because you are putting your business in front of the customer who are already in the market for your product or services. Customers are already actively looking for what you have to offer and by getting your business on these search directories you are putting your business in front of customers who are ready to buy.
The listings you create will make your business more visible on the internet and will increase your chances of local customers finding your business. Many of the online directories will share data across the platforms, the more listing you have the more visible your business is. There are some requirements your business needs to meet in order to qualify for local business listings. These include:
- Your business must have a name.
- Your business number must match the city location you are listing in. You cannot use a shared phone number, a toll-free number or a call tracking number.
- Your business must have a physical address that is not a PO Box, shared address or virtual office.
- Your business must do face to face interactions, which means you can list a virtual business in local listings.
If your business meets all these four requirements, then you can begin listing your business in local directories.
How to Properly List Your Business for Better Search Results:
When you are ready to list your business for local search results you need to ensure that you keep all the information consistent on all listings. Even the slightest variations can have a negative effect on your search results ranking. The name, address and phone number for your business needs to be entered exactly the same in all your listings, this is known as the NAP of your business listing. Triple check that you type everything exactly the same from the apostrophe placement to the actual name of your business, you may be thinking that altering your business name slightly, will get your business seen by more people but this will decrease your ranking in search results.
If you have a photography business and you list it as “Your Name Photography” on one directory, but list it as “Your Name Portrait Photography” on another, these are calculated as two separate businesses; your rankings will result in two low ranking listings. If instead you list them as the same exact name, then they are verified as one business and this increases your rankings. The higher you rank the sooner your business gets seen by potential customers or clients. Having two businesses that rank low will result in even less visibility. These duplicate listing can also result in a lower ranking overall, any duplicate listing you have for your business that do not match should be deleted or removed from the directories.
Anytime something about your business changes in regards to the name, location or address you will want to keep your directory information up to date. This can be tedious work but the efforts will have a profound impact on the number of customers these listings can bring in. Keep a spreadsheet on file that will make updating your business information much easier when the time comes.
Some of the most popular online directories you should consider include:
- Google+ Local
- Bing Places
- Yellow Pages
- Yahoo! Local
Boosting Your Local Search Engine Rankings with Online Directories
Simply listing your business on a number of online directories is only half the task. You want to ensure that your business is as close to the number one ranking position as possible, or at least shows up on the first page of results. To help boost your search engine rankings in online directories consider these key factors.
When you go to list your business in many of these online directories you will be given the option to choose categories for your business to be easily found in. You can typically choose from two to five categories, which will better describe what type of business you are running or products and services you provide. If you neglect to add categories for your business it will not show up in local search results, so this is an important step to complete. You want to make sure the categories you choose for your business are relevant to the type of services or products you are offering; if you list your business under a category that is irrelevant than this will decrease your rankings.
Reviews are one of the easiest ways to draw more attention to your business. A business that has a number of reviews attached to their local online listings is more likely to get viewed by new potential customers or clients than a listing that as no reviews. Reviews and ratings will be displayed differently on the various online directories, but you want to encourage you present or past clients and customer to leave a review for your business. While reviews and rating can increase your ranking on some directories it will not also make a significant impact on all of them. They will, however, have an impact over how many customer or potential clients contact you. A raving review or a couple of positive reviews can be all it takes for someone searching for the product or services you supply to push the call now button on their phones.
One thing you need to keep in mind when asking for customers and clients to leave a review for your business is that each directory will have different guidelines that you must follow to do so. Some have no restriction on asking customer and clients to leave reviews while other platforms, like Yelp, only allow for you to simply suggest they visit your business on their directory, not actually leave a review.
What to Know About Citations?
Citations are an often overlooked but highly valuable component to getting your business ranked higher on search engines like Bing and Google. The more citations your business has across the world wide web the higher your business will rank. This is especially important if you have a business that falls in a less competitive industry, like many service providers, where businesses are less likely to have a website of their own. This is because without a website the search engines will rely on information found elsewhere on the web to rank that business.
Citations are primarily mentions of your business name and address on various web pages. This does not most often include a link back to your website. The most common place your business can gain citations is through the yellow page directories, where your business is listed but no link is included back to your web page. Your local chamber of commerce or business association pages are also key places on the internet where your business can have citations. These citations help establish certainty and confirm that your business is an actual business and you provide the types of services you promote.
Citations are vital at validating your business in your community because most of the pages, like the chamber of commerce pages, you will not be able to fake a membership to. Having your business mentioned in online newspapers or blog is also a way to increase your citations. Citations can greatly improve your business local search engine rankings.
Including photographs and short video clips related to your business can have an impact on your local search engine rankings. Photos and videos tend to lead to an increase of clicks your business gets. Photos and videos are also a great way to show your actual business location or storefront, products, and past projects. You can also introduce your team and staff members to searchers, which gives your business a friendly face and this can help you stand out from your competitors. Potential clients and customers are more likely to look through your business listing when it has photos over ones that do not. You want to make sure your photos and videos are of good quality. They should be crisp, clear, well lit, and colorful. If your video has sound you want to ensure the audio is of high quality as well.
It can also be a good idea to include a virtual tour of your location. If you have a restaurant or venue space that you offer customers to rent out for events like weddings this can be a great way to draw in more customers. You can give them a sneak peek of what it would be like for them to throw their next event at your location.
Utilizing local online directories can significantly get your business noticed more and bring in more customers and clients. Listing your business through a variety of business directories is not only an effective way to market your business but it does not cost your business anything to be listed. The main factors to remember is to keep all the information related to your business consistent across all your listings. This not only improves your online ranking but it gives your potential customers more confidence in your business. When they get different information from varying directories about your business it can cause them to be confused about what it is that you are actually offering or that they are even the same business.