Local businesses need to make sure that they can reach users from their area, and competing with industry leaders on a level playing field can be challenging to say the least.
Major companies have a marketing budget you simply won’t be able to match. However, you can employ a few tricks to boost your SEO and help customers find you online.
Today, we will discuss the importance of local business directories for SEO and how your business can maximize its online visibility.
How local listings improve your SEO
It’s become common for people to search online when they need to find services or products. Local business directories function like yellow pages.
Getting your website mentioned in several business directories across the web is definitely beneficial for boosting your site’s visibility. What’s great about business directories is that they generally have good domain authority, so being listed is an excellent way to get Google to pay attention to your business.
When search engines crawl the net to index pages, they will realize that you are a relevant authority in your field if they keep running into your site.
This means that the next time users are searching for the services you are offering, search engines will rank you higher on the results pages.
However, for this tactic to be efficient, you need to have your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) listed consistently across all directories. This includes local directories, your website, and your Google Business profile (formerly known as Google My Business).
If there are any differences or inconsistencies, Google might treat some of those listings as false information and give you an SEO penalty.
The benefits and importance of local business directories:
1. Listings improve your online presence
It’s generally considered good business advice to get your name in as many places as possible. The more online listings you have, the higher the chance of a user running into your business and reaching out to you.
Most people do a quick online search when they need a service or before making a purchase. If your name keeps popping up, users will be more likely to trust you with their purchases.
Additionally, some people are reluctant to go with choices recommended by search engines when they need something local. They might think that the first few results are paid spots and that the only reason someone has a high rank is due to expensive marketing.
Obviously, not everyone will think like this, but this type of user is more likely to trust businesses they find on dedicated local business directories.
Do the research and find out where businesses from your branch advertise and post listings. Make sure to establish a presence there. However, this doesn’t mean that you can neglect your Google Business profile – doing so would be a huge local SEO mistake.
Double your odds by working to improve local SEO with Google, and at the same time, you should list your business on local directories. Claiming your Google Business profile is a great way to get recommended on local searches and be on the map pack.
2. Increase the number of customer calls
A common problem that large companies face is that they often seem cold and impersonal. This is only compounded by the fact that it’s usually hard to find their physical address or phone number.
You might need to go through their website and submit an email inquiry before you can speak to one of their employees in person.
Small and medium businesses should use this to their advantage and offer their customers an easy way to reach out to them directly. Local business directories can help with this by hosting your contact information and phone number, thus helping you to boost the number of calls from customers.
Phone calls are a great way to connect to your customer immediately. Calls can also help you increase your rate of conversions. Therefore, you should encourage people to call you and include your contact information in all of your marketing materials.
3. Get more local customers
Certain types of businesses will naturally rely more on local customers. This is especially common for service-based businesses where you expect to meet your customers face to face. Most people will much rather try to find a local business for those needs than travel to a different area.
This fact only stresses the importance of local business directories for SEO when trying to find customers in your surrounding area. Keep in mind that if you have several locations available for your business, you should also create separate listings for each of them.
With that in mind, unique landing pages on your website can also help. They will make your site pop up in local searches and boost your organic traffic.
Manage and update your local business directory listings
Citations on some websites will be created automatically from the data gathered around the web. Even if those listings were automatically created, they might still need to be updated manually. It would be good to claim these citations and frequently monitor their status. Set up alerts and monitor your mentions to know when someone is talking about your business.
Regularly update all of the listings with accurate information. If you neglect to do so, the incorrect address or phone number might be copied to other directories. This can end up hurting your SERP ranking and website traffic.
When you spot incorrect information about your business, you can contact the website and ask them to correct it. Most website administrators will be happy to comply. Unfortunately, if they prove to be unresponsive or uncooperative, you might want to disavow those links to your site.
Now that we’ve looked at the importance of local business directories for SEO, you should start contacting online citation websites.
Get your business listed in local directories, and you will see an immediate increase in local traffic.