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Directories and Local SEO

One of the best ways to gain new customers as well as boost local SEO for your website is by submitting your business listing to directories. Local SEO refers to a business that is looking to get customers in their own town, possibly to get these customers to come to the brick-and-mortar store. Local SEO is especially important for service professionals such as
dentists, lawyers, photographers, caterers, etc. While driving traffic to your site is great, if someone lives across the country from your office it doesn’t do you much good that they visited your site.

Directories commonly show up for search terms you may also be targeting as a local business due to the large amount of content they contain. For example, our Orlando SEO team found that “nail salon Orlando” is a relatively competitive term, one that would take a good bit of SEO to rank number 1 on Google for. Because directories have several listings and reviews for nail salons in Orlando, Google sees this content as being relevant to this search and is likely to list a well-known directory higher than your nail salon’s website. If you are listed in this directory you will have an even better chance of being found. Another added benefit of adding your business to multiple directories is that each one provides a link back to your site which helps your SEO.

What Directories Should I Use for Local SEO?

Examples of directories include CitySearch, Superpages, and Google Places. There are companies that specialize in business directory listings as well as updating them. Yext.com is one such company, and on their blog they provide a great list of directories where you can list your business. Of course, if your business is larger and you can afford it, hiring a company such as this may not be a bad idea, either. Then if your business phone number or address changes, you simply need to tell your directory service, and they will update it across the web for you.

Citysearch Directory

Citysearch.com is a popular directory and business owners can “claim” their business for free, as well as set up a profile and add pictures. It is possible that your business already has a listing on Citysearch, as anyone can create a listing for a business and review it. By claiming the listing as the owner, you can control the information that is conveyed about your business, make sure it is accurate, and use the photos you want to use. The more information on your page the better, as this will make you look more legitimate. You can add hours of operation, your physical address, a phone number, and a menu if applicable.

Yelp

Yelp has become a large online presence for reviews and finding local businesses. More and more people are using Yelp to find a business in their town or to find a business when visiting elsewhere. Yelp allows free business accounts and it is advisable to keep on top of your reviews. Should a bad review occur, which is likely to happen for any business, a professional and courteous response from the business owner can persuade readers to not let that one bad review sway them too much. It has also happened that the reviewer returned to the establishment and wrote a follow-up positive review. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you show your business is willing to make it up to customers when something goes wrong it will keep your customers loyal. Yelp even provides guidelines for business owners responding to a negative review. Of course, if you are receiving several bad reviews perhaps it’s time to rethink the way you do business!

Google Places

Google Places has changed a bit recently with the advent of Google Plus.  In order to be listed on Google Places, you must create a Google account for your business and then have it verified. To do this, Google sends a postcard with a code to your physical business address. Once this postcard is received, you log in to your Google account and put in the pin. Google looks at verified businesses more favorably and you are much more likely to show up in search results if your business is verified.

The above are just a few of the many directories available. The addition of your business to directories can greatly improve your presence in your local online marketplace. People tend to trust a business that is verified and reviewed across several websites more than a business that seems to completely neglect their online presence. You will also be better able to manage your online reputation by taking control of your listings and responding to potential bad reviews.