Should I List My Business in Local Directories?
Studies have found that almost 80% of customers do online research before visiting a shop. With more people heading to the internet for answers, ideas and suggestions, a strong online presence is crucial for growing businesses.
One way business owners are being found is by listing their company information in a local directory. This is essentially a website full of local business listings – similar to the yellow pages – that shows the key information on businesses in the local area. The top business directory sites include Yelp, Bing Places and Google My Business. If you search “Italian Food Near Me, the local directories will pop up. When the customer clicks on one, they are taken to a list of Italian restaurants in the local area. Typically, the directory listing will include website URL, hours of operation, phone number and sometimes even reviews for you to browse through.
If you list your business in a local directory, it’s crucial to keep your details up to date. If your profile has missing or inaccurate information, the customer will become frustrated and give their business to a local competitor. Providing you keep your profile up-to-date, local directories can be highly beneficial to your business. Below, we explore some of the key benefits.
Benefits of Online Business Directories
Improve Online Presence
Listing your business in a local directory can improve your online presence. For best results, list your business in a few different ones as the more business directories you are listed in, the more your company will appear in search results. The top business directories allow you to create a profile for your brand, rather than just adding your contact details. Take advantage of this and make sure your profile is complete. Make sure it has the right information and high-quality images that showcase your product or service. Data shows that 50% of mobile searches have local intent. With this in mind, listing your brand in the top directories could bring in new customers.
Local business directories can also boost your SEO. SEO, or search engine optimisation, is a way of ensuring your site is appearing on search results pages. One of the key elements of SEO is keywords. If you’re a local Italian restaurant, you may optimise your site for keywords like “best Italian”, “Italian restaurant” or “authentic Italian food”. As business directories have high domain authority, they are likely to appear higher on SERPs when searching for the same keywords. Having a listing on the top directories will allow your business to be found, even if your website doesn’t rank for those keywords.
Listing your business in local directories will increase your brand visibility. For best results, include as much information as possible. For instance, some directories allow users to upload a company logo and images of their product or service. If you don’t have a logo, hire a graphic designer to create something that looks great online. You can then add your logo to the local directories and your own website. The more sites that your information appears on, the more likely users are to see your logo and recognise your brand.
Local directories such as Bing Place, Yelp and Google My Business all allow customers to leave feedback on their experience with your brand. While some business owners are wary of reviews, they are a great way to improve your business reputation. As long as you provide the service you advertise and communicate with your customers, you can expect most of your reviews to be positive. If you do get a negative review, don’t panic! Regardless of how good their service is, all businesses receive negative feedback from time to time. As long as you reply to the review in a professional manner, it shouldn’t put off potential customers – particularly if the rest of your reviews are gleaming. When you receive great feedback, you can list it on your website or share it on social media.
Dominate Search Results
Listing your business in local directories will help you to dominate search results. Think of the SERP as a Monopoly board. In a game of Monopoly, you try to acquire as many properties as possible to increase the chances that people will land on your square. The same approach should be taken to a SERP. The more times your site appear on the page, the more likely customers are to click on it.
Are Business Listings Worth It?
The best thing about local directories is that most of them are free to use. Adding your details to Bing Place, Yelp, Google My Business and other major sites will not cost you a penny. Better still, they’re super simple to set up. All you need is a few minutes to sit down and fill out your profile. Of course, there are paid directories out there, too. Typically, these sites charge a one-time set-up fee or a monthly fee to maintain your profile. If you’d prefer to stick to the free sites though, we don’t blame you! The set-up process differs between directories, so keep this in mind when setting your listings up. Some sites will call your phone number and give you a PIN, some will send a PIN through the post, and others just send you an activation email to click through.
In short, local directory listings are worth the investment. As many of the top sites are free to set up, the only investment you’ll make is your time. They allow you to increase your online presence and bring in new business without spending a penny.