Do you remember when you would flip through a phone book to find a plumber, print shop, florist or other local business? The days of the Yellow Pages are long gone, but it's still as important as ever for your business to be listed.
The use of online directories has skyrocketed in the last few years and have officially taken over as the go-to source for finding local business. Digging even deeper, online directories not only offer contact information, hours of operation and websites but also give users one very important component of the user experience: the customer review.
An estimated 135 million unique visitors use Yelp each month to find, review and research businesses. This business recommendation network allows users to search by service, product or category, and lists businesses by rating, as chosen by other local consumers. This powerful tool brings word of mouth to the palm of your hand and has been proven to be a powerful marketing tool to have in your arsenal.
If reaching local customers for your business is high on your list of business goals, making sure your business is updated and active on these powerful directories is a must. Here are our tips for making the most out of your directory listings.
Using a service like Moz Local can easily tell you where your online listings are lacking. Filling out a listing on several different sites can be tedious but is important to present a well rounded impression of your business. In addition to Yelp, industry specific directories like Urbanspoon or Trip Advisor are great resources for potential customers. Making sure you have claimed your business on these powerful directories allows you to control and maintain your listing.
In addition to your online directory services, search engine directories like Googles Business, Bing Places and Yahoo! Local Listings are valuable for your search rankings and help give you immediate visibility due to their high organic search volume while you're focusing on your local SEO strategy.
Don't forget your website
Linking to your website through each directory listing is a powerful backlink to your website. Backlinks are links to your website on other sites. When high authority domains link to your website, you gain favor in search algorithms. This increases your searchability and will ultimately help your website and total online presence.
Placing your URL in more places is a great way to drive traffic to your website. In addition to the backlinks, you are promoting your company to a broader audience and increasing the opportunity to be discovered by new clients.
Keep them updated
Once you've established multiple directory listings for your business, it's important to keep them up to date. New menu item? Change in hours? Failure to keep your directory listings up to date can turn customers off or keep them from visiting you during your open hours.
To keep track of your directory listings, create a spreadsheet or other document where you can keep a running list of which directory listings you have claimed, as well as when they were last updated. This spreadsheet will help you stay on top of your listings and easily manage them.
Ask for reviews
One of the most effective components of a directory listing are the reviews. You may have customers who can't wait to tell the world about you; those are the customers who will gladly spread your praise online. Don't be afraid to ask satisfied customers to leave you a review. You'll find that a positive review score will increase your brand's positive image and will increase foot traffic.
To create a review strategy, look at the directories that are already bringing your website traffic. Identify one or two platforms that your customers are most in tune with and start asking! You can hold a promotion for check-ins, reviews or sharing photos of their experience, or any other directory-specific element that will promote your business.
Listing your business online will create more opportunities for people to find you. Putting all of your business information into these directories lets customers find you on the internet and allows them to find you when they are actively searching for your product or service. Once you've established your business on web directories, monitor your web traffic and referral sources, noting any increases from specific sources. Having complete profiles throughout your directory listings will bring more traffic to your website
and more qualified customers through your doors.
We understand that directory listings can be a hassle. We routinely update directory listings for our SEO clients and understand the value they can provide to your businesses. If you'd like to learn more about getting your business listed to increase your visibility, contact our digital marketing team.