You’ve likely heard of the big hitters in online directories such as Yelp, Google, and Bing. But what exactly are these platforms, and how do they impact your marketing and SEO? These days, online business listing directories can offer your business the exposure Yellow Pages once did. Local business listings are crucial for boosting your local search presence in search engines.
Learn everything you need to know about local business listings, why you need them, and how to use them to rank on top!
What Are Local Business Listings?
Online marketing is an important key to growing your business, and there are a lot of options out there. One of the easiest ways to reach and win more customers? Three words: Local business listings. Simply put, a local listing is an online mention of a business (a citation) that details the essential information of a business.
Think of business listings as online phone books with a library of important information like your company name, address, phone number, website address, map listing, etc. that serve as a powerful tool to help customers find your business online and in real life.
What are Online Business Listing Directories?
An online business listing directory is a database that contains information about a company. Business listing directories can be a website or an app that focuses on a particular niche. There, they provide data about the business related to that industry. Many directories usually list businesses for free. However, some require additional payment to unlock special features like placing call-to-action buttons, locating multiple venues, and comments.
Why You Need to Get Listed: The Role and Importance of Business Listings in Local SEO
Local listings have always been essential for local businesses. Back in the days of real-world phone books, before Google and mobile devices ruled the world, local businesses simply needed to sit back and let customers find them. Today, the pressure is on the local businesses to make themselves available to the public online for conversions to be booming. Internet marketing has become a necessity. If a business can’t be found on the web today, it’s akin to being “nowhere.”
Local business listings and citations play a vital role in reputation, rankings, and revenue. A quick search engine query brings customers nearby results they’re looking for. If a local business isn’t visible online, it won’t show up in search results amongst its competitors and there are big rewards it’s missing out on.
That’s why it’s critical to see the big picture of their purpose.
Why Get Listed in Online Directories? Benefits of Local Business Listings
Let’s get a closer look at how local business listings can help your business thrive, and get a grasp of why it is such a good idea to start using them.
Local business listings are a fantastic way to boost your SEO performance by helping physical businesses grow their online rankings when searchers enter location-specific search queries. Having multiple links going to your site from multiple local listings provides you with quality links and more traffic.
Expands Online Presence
By placing your website in directories, you’ll gain a lot of exposure. A lot of business directories nowadays draw from other big directory sites and automatically create listings. So, getting listed in a single directory means getting listed in several more, enabling you to kill two (or even more) birds with a single stone, thus amplifying your online presence and getting ahead of the competition.
Improves Local Visibility and Targets the Right Audience
Though they are massive, online business directories have advanced filtering and suggesting capabilities, and serve to connect you with your target audience. They make your business visible to your local community by aiding people looking for businesses like yours in a certain geographic area to discover you. You get to connect with people near you and their community, which boosts your visits.
Builds Reputation and Brand Image
When it comes to researching local businesses, studies say 64% of consumers trust online search engines more than anything else. If your business doesn’t appear in search engine results, why should consumers trust it? Nothing instills more trust in a consumer than a fleshed-out, accurate and well-reviewed online business listing.
Billboards, magazine ads, and word-of-mouth methods no longer cut it. Local businesses absolutely need to be listed in online business directories if they’re to be trusted, with complete profiles that address the real business hours and services.
Provides Customer Reviews and Useful Feedback
Studies show the majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do word-of-mouth recommendations. By providing online users with the chance to leave honest feedback, local businesses can significantly increase their customer interaction and trustworthiness. Additionally, you can respond to both positive and negative reviews, thereby improving your reputation.
And don’t let negative reviews ruin your day. View them as opportunities to reach out to dissatisfied customers and try to win back their trust.
One of the great things about local business directories is that adding your business name and information tends to be free or at a low cost. This gives you some great advertising and marketing benefits, and the only thing you have to spend is a bit of time. This way, you can get optimal results at a low price.
Choosing the Right Online Local Business Directories for Your Business
Some of the listings directories are universal. Others can be more important depending on your business. Determine which platforms and directories it makes sense to be listed on. It’s not a best practice to devote hundreds of hours to getting listed on every possible search engine, index, or app, just because they exist.
Instead, hit the majors. Google My Business, Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, YP, etc. – these are just some of the many places you’ll want your business to appear. Hand-pick other platforms that are relevant to your company’s industry or geography.
By getting listed in quality places, you won’t squander sweat equity.
NAP + W: Presenting Your Business in a Favourable Light
No, we didn’t fall asleep on the keyboard. NAP+W is the acronym that explains all the information that should be included in business listings – the online “thumbprint” of a business.
- Phone number
- + Website
These four pieces of information are the local business listings starter-pack. It provides the information customers need to research, contact, and locate your business. Local search engines use NAP information found by crawling the web to judge the accuracy of the data in their indexes. So, consistent and accurate NAP information is essential to getting more citations, improving search engine rankings, and local customer acquisition.
Want to score some major bonus points? Include information like hours of operation in business listings. It’s what consumers are most interested in!
Online Business Listings: A Necessity for All Local Businesses
If you take anything away from this article, it should be that local listings are essential to local businesses that want to attract customers and maintain a positive standing with the community. It’s easy to sign up and will cost you nothing but a bit of time. Whatever directory your business is listed in – be sure to claim it and keep coming back to refresh.
Working with local listings, and staying on top of them could be that final boost your business needs and the breakthrough you’ve waiting for!