Listing your local business in at least a few of the many online directories is an absolutely essential step in your marketing plan. Why? Because these directories are the way consumers find businesses to match the needs of the moment.
You should definitely, unquestionably make sure you’re listed in the major search engine directories. If you were only going to list in one, it would have to be Google. However, I’d encourage you to go further and get listed in as many different directories as you can. The more listings you have, the greater your chances of being found.
To help you figure out what sort of online directories are out there, I’ve assembled a list and provided a bit of information on some of the most important online directories. The top 6 are the ones you definitely should not pass up. But, as I mentioned, it pays to get listed all over the place. Being listed on as many sites as possible can only help you – it will help customers find you, it will improve your SEO ranking, and it will give you more opportunities to interact with customers.
Just about all of these offer free listing services, and may also give you access to additional resources, such as analytics tools. There are often opportunities for paid advertising as well if you want to take advantage of that. But it’s not necessary to pay a single dime to reap the benefits of using online business directories. Simply being listed boosts your SEO ranking and helps generate business.
Top 6 Online Directories – Get Your Business a Page ASAP
Google My Business
Google My Business is the directory you should pay most attention to. Google, of course, is numero uno in the search engine world. With nearly 8 billion searches per day, Google is a trusted and reliable source for both online and local results.
Google My Business is free to join and use. It also has lots of useful tools. You can ensure that your details, pictures, and contact info are up-to-date. You can see the reviews posted on your business’ page, and respond to them right away. You can see the number of website visits, phone calls, and direction requests you’ve gotten. And there’s even an app, which allows you to make updates, post photos, and more from your phone.
Yelp is a great place to be listed online for a few reasons. For one, it’s a very popular site for consumers to look up local businesses, so it behooves you to make sure your details are correct. For another, Yelp is one of the most-used review sites. If you list your business, you’ll be able to respond to reviews and reach out to your customers.
Finally, there are free business analytics tools available. You’ll be able to track activity on your business’ page, which is great for helping you make adjustments to your online presence and overall marketing plan. All of this is free when you claim your business on Yelp. There are also self-service and full-service paid advertising options available.
Bing is the number-two search engine. While it trails ways behind Google, it does get its fair share of traffic, so adding your business to Bing is a must-do. Bing Places for Business lets you fill out your business profile with information such as hours and contact information. You can also add pictures and a list of services.
You might think that Facebook is a social media site, not a business site. In reality, though, it’s both. It is highly advisable to create a Facebook page for your business, especially if your business is local. Not only is this a way for customers to find you, but it’s a way for them to connect with you long-term.
Yellow Pages aims to provide simple but detailed information in an easy-to-navigate format. This site isn’t a powerhouse like Google or Facebook. But then again, it doesn’t have the same do-it-all mentality. This is a single-purpose site, and that’s where its appeal lies (and yes, people do use Yellow Pages – the online version, at least). It’s free to list your business on Yellow Pages, and there are paid direct marketing and display advertising options as well.
CitySearch is a directory that emphasizes local business and communities. This site provides ratings and rankings of businesses. CitySearch also lets users vote on their favorite local businesses in more than 20 different categories. You can’t list your business directly on CitySearch though. You have to register through InfoUSA’s Express Update Service.
Already in all these online directories? You’re not done yet. Check these out next:
This is far from a comprehensive list – there are lots more out there. In addition to these, definitely do look into any industry or location specific directories that apply to your business.
Establishing and maintaining pages in multiple online directories is a simple and effective (though maybe a little time-consuming) way to increase traffic to your storefront and/or website. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!