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Local Business Directories: Lost Cause or Lead Generation Dynamo?

Posted by Deborah Young

1424-local-business-directories-lost-cause-or-lead-generation-dynamoLocal business directories can be the best friend your business ever had ... and at the same time the worst enemy. Say what? 

Your Worst Enemy. When people search for your keywords what sort of listings show up at the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages)? Directories, that's what. Whether it be Yelp or Yellow Pages or Angie's List or Superpages, those listings dominate the search results. And because those sites have such credibility and strength with the search engines, it's really hard for a local business to break that ceiling using only organic search strategies. 

Your Best Friend. People click on those top search engine results, so the upside to this situation is that if you can optimize your business listing within these local directories it's the next best thing to having a top ranking on Google yourself.

But how do you do that?

Be Consistent, Consistent, Consistent

We talked about this a little bit recently, but you just can't emphasize it enough. You must be 100 percent consistent with your business's NAP everywhere it is used online:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone

Doing this one small thing is a giant step toward helping potential customers find your business online and making them — and Google — happy with your business. 

Do Your Research

What directories show up for searches of your keywords? Search for your keywords and see what directories show up at the top of the SERPs. That will give you a good idea which local business directories should be part of your online marketing strategy. 

For example, a search for AUTO REPAIR DC includes listings for Yelp and Angie's List. There's your starting point for directories on which to focus your efforts. 

What 7000 Businesses Discovered About Content Marketing How do I best use these directory sites to benefit my business? Now that you know which directory sites you want to work with, it's time to look at how you want to approach it:

  • Do you already have a listing on the site? If so, does it show up on Page 1? 
  • Will a free account do the trick or should you pop for a paid version?

If you're using a free version and are already appearing on Page 1, you may only need to tweak your listing to move to the top of their results. On the other hand, you may need to put some monetary skin in the game — either through advertising or a paid membership.

For some directories purchasing an entry-level ad or membership may be a requirement for appearing on Page 1. Remember, your primary goal is to be on Page 1. If you don't show up there, you're receiving zero benefit from your listing. 

Optimize Your Profile

Whether you pay or go with a free listing, you'll want to optimize your profile. Every local business directory is different, but in addition to minding your NAP, there are a few other things to consider:

  • Business Category. Think about this from the perspective of your potential customers and choose the best business category or categories.
  • Business Description. Include an optimized description of your business.
  • Hours of Operation. Tell people when you're open (and when you're not!).
  • Links. Include links to your website and social media accounts.
  • Images. Upload your logo, a picture of your store front and some "action shots" of your business. 

Bottom line? Make your directory listing stand out and as attractive as possible. You want to make a good first impression!

 

1424-flying-pigeonThe recent Google Pigeon update seems to have breathed new life into local business directories. Make sure your business is there to soar with the ... um, pigeons! 

About Deborah Young

Deborah Young

Deborah is a reformed tennis bum and inbound marketing strategist whose main professional purpose is to support local business owners, experts and entrepreneurs by helping them understand the impact and importance of online marketing. She is one happy camper when she can help clients be more visible on the Internet, increase their own customer base and become more profitable. How can she help you?

 
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