Did you know that more and more customers research online before visiting a store? With more people searching for answers, suggestions, and ideas on the Internet, it’s no wonder that businesses that have a large online presence do so well.
Do you remember those big heavy phonebooks of the past that used to have a long list of all the businesses in your proximity? Some of them also posted their business profile in local newspapers. Back in the day, before the internet was so widely used, it used to be the most efficient way to let your potential customers know about your business.
Things have changed since then and all those profile listings have transferred online in what we now call Online Directories. There are many of them out there and some are dedicated to a specific business field. For example, some are only relevant to those in the gastronomy field, others, on the other hand, are perfect for shops, but there are also generic ones that can be used by a variety of business types. When users click on them, they are met with a choice of dozens of local businesses to choose from. In them, you can find the opening hours, website URL, address, phone number, and even reviews. Working on your Local SEO will allow you to always have accurate information on your online listing and attract the customers closest to you.
The benefit of being on local directories
The best part about adding your business to local directories is that the majority of them are free.
That these entries are free is a great benefit, getting paid entries won't have a bigger influence on your SEO and rankings. The more times your website appears on the result page, the more likely users are to click on your website. One of the best ways to ensure that your site appears often in search results is by creating local business profiles on high-ranking local listings sites.
Also if a user searched for your business name online you would occupy most of the first page results, since not only will your website appear as the first result but also all your local directories along with your social media pages. They will appear on the results page before any competitor ever gets a chance. Local listings can increase website traffic and visits to your shop or restaurant.
The more business listings you add your company to, the more frequently your brand will appear in search results. Local directories give Google additional sources of information on your business. The important thing is to make sure that your business information stays the same across local listings. The name of your business, your address, and your phone number (NAP) should always be consistent across all directories. These are called online citations. For more information on them check out this article.
Thanks to local listings, Google will take you more seriously as a business and give you priority. Online listings have high domain authority, they are more likely to appear higher in search results for the same keywords. Having a listing profile on these reputable sites means your business will appear more frequently than perhaps your website will. Another amazing perk of local listings is that they allow customers to leave a review about their experience with your product or service. Online directories such as Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yelp all offer this. These reviews allow you to show your new potential customers what your service is like and allows you to also include such reviews in your social media (like Facebook) and on your website.
Customers can also search directly in the local directories, they don’t necessarily need to search from Google. Local directories consider different factors when deciding which listing to show to the user. The first factor is the location: how close is the business to the user searching, the closest businesses to the user will be shown to him first. That’s how people discover local businesses around them, it could be a restaurant or a shop, having a local listing puts you on the map. The second is the business category: If the user is searching for an Italian restaurant the local directories will only show listings that match that category.
The third is the opening hours: It doesn’t make sense to show a listing of a restaurant that will not open for hours. In such a situation local directories will prioritize the listings for businesses open at the time the search is being made.
The fourth is reviews: Listings with good reviews will get more visibility compared to a listing that either doesn’t have reviews or has low rating reviews.
The fifth is pictures: Your potential new customers need to see what you offer. Make sure to add as many pictures as possible. You can add photos of your products, your business location, and much more. Give them a glimpse of what you have to offer.
And there is more: Creating or updating your business profile on local listings increases brand visibility. Always include as much information as possible. For instance, many online directories allow business owners to upload a company logo. Make sure you create a logo that looks great online. The more sites you add your company information to, the more likely users are to see your logo and identify with your brand and what you offer.
Another amazing thing is that some of them even offer a mobile App feature allowing you to be present on mobile devices via the app. Some examples of local directories that also offer the App feature are TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google My Business, etc.
How to Find Local Directories
Local directories don’t only vary based on the business sector and notoriety. Another very important factor is location. Every country has a set of local directories relevant to them.
Some local listings are present globally and some others are used only in one country. It’s important to know how to research the right ones in your country so that you can make sure they all have your business page. A very easy way to find them is to Google them. Based on the country set in your Google setting page, Google will give priority in showing you the websites containing useful suggestions for your country first.
If you want to find all the relevant ones but don’t have time to research them yourself you can use the Local SEO feature available in our rankingCoach 360 application, you will be able to automatically create your business pages in all relevant online directories for your country and business sector. It takes only a few minutes to create multiple business pages in all the most important directories all containing the same NAP (Business Name, Address, and Phone number).
Want to know which local directories you should be present on?
Some of them are very famous and very relevant online. Such local directories are well known and users online rely heavily on them when searching for a business online. A well-known one is Google My Business. You can check our article on Local SEO for more information on Google My Business. But Google My Business is not the only relevant one. Other relevant online directories are for example:
Bing Places Yelp Foursquare TomTom TripAdvisor, etc.
How to create your local directory listing
When creating your local listing make sure to build as complete a profile as possible. Go ahead and add the maximum number of photos that the listing allows you to and select only the most relevant business categories, 2 or 3 will be enough.
Local directories also allow you to add a brief and detailed description. These descriptions are the most important aspect of putting your business online. The brief description should be no more than 200 characters and should convey your business, products, and/or services to your customers. The character limit is not much, so use it wisely. The objective is to make your visitors click on your website. Make sure you add your most important keywords as well.
The detailed description on the other hand gives you more space to write up to 750 characters. Use them to add your most important keywords and to give personality to your description. What makes your business stand out compared to your competition? Here’s the place you can talk about it.
How to manage multiple local directories
Some businesses worry that creating multiple listings on all the relevant local directories will be too time-consuming. Thankfully, they can now use an automated online synchronization function present in our application rankingCoach 360 and in only a few minutes they can create multiple business pages on all the relevant online directories.
Managing multiple directories can be challenging if done without rankingCoach 360. For each online directory, you would have to create an account and each online directory would be managed separately. Fortunately, rankingCoach can help you to manage everything from the same application. If you ever need to update any business information you can do it in your rankingCoach 360 account and publish your updates. That will automatically publish your listing in all the online directories you have synchronized.
Now you know the importance of being present in many local directories, how to find them, and how to create your listing in them. If you don’t have the time to research them and create one listing at a time in all of them you can use rankingCoach 360 to automatize the entire process and be more visible online in a matter of a few minutes.