There was a time when people reached for their copy of the Yellow Pages when they were in search of a local service or product. Your business had to be listed in it or you were missing out on potential customers in your area. Those days are long gone and printed business directories are tools of the past, as most of them go straight in the trash without ever being used. They had a good run and the right idea but in today’s digital world, all those big directory companies have shifted to providing that information in their online directories. For businesses that service specific regions, it is crucial to expand your optimization efforts beyond your website and invest time in creating a presence in these local directories, maps, and review sites. Google’s latest algorithm updates have been giving more and more prominence to local map and directory websites, often ranking them even higher than the business’ own website. It is initially very likely that more customers will be exposed to your business through these sites than your actual website simply due to their position at the top of search results. So just like before, it is essential for your business to be registered in these local listings or you will miss opportunities.
When you put your business in a directory, you aren’t simply providing your address and phone number anymore, you are increasing your overall visibility and letting people instantly engage with your business as well. There is a very interactive and even social experience served up that supplies a business description, map location & directions, operating hours, website & social media links, photos & videos, ratings and reviews from previous customers, and more. Appearing on the map that displays upon searching is one of the most important of these results. When someone needs information NOW, they reach for their smart phone that is pre-loaded with mobile apps like GPS, Apple Maps, and Google Maps which pulls in all the aforementioned local business information from Google My Business. On the go, a quick search will give them all the information they need and do so immediately. The consumer reviews that are integrated are another extremely important factor in how your business is being presented. Your customers now have an extra channel for determining your reputation. It is critical to not only make certain the listed contact information is accurate and consistent but to also monitor feedback and gather positive reviews. Maximizing your exposure in big online map sites and local directories like Yelp, Google My Business, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, TripAdvisor, and even smaller, well-optimized, locally focused niche sites will guarantee that your business is at their fingertips. Every individual directory you submit to is another chance to be found.
Adding these local efforts to your overall SEO strategy will drive awareness and increase the visibility of your business in just a few steps. From there, you can continue to optimize your listings and build fresh content to stand out even more by adding details and new photos, creating special deals, responding to reviews, and more. Get started and grow your local business today!