Online directories can help give a big boost to your local marketing strategy when coupled with SEO. They can be used to put your business right in front of the eyes of local searchers on the web and in social media. How do you achieve this?
Local business directory submissions are a sure way to stand out from the crowd. Online listings make up over 90 percent of Internet searching. They can greatly improve your website’s visibility in an increasingly populated arena. If you have a new company website, or want to take your reach to the next level, let’s talk about the benefits of targeted business directories.
There are several steps you must take to optimize your website for local search and to maximize the potential to attract attention of local searchers. It is also necessary to make the major search engines aware of your local listing. In addition to online directories, you should also make use of social networking to maximize exposure to your site, products and services and to the local community.
1. Provide Contact Details on Your Site
You should not only provide contact details on your website, but also your geographical location. This means your address! Many folks are reluctant to publish such information, but if you want to use local search and online directories, it is essential.
- Contact Details: Provide your postal address and contact telephone number on every page, whether you run a blog or a regular website. This offers two benefits for you: search engines can detect that yours is a local business (which does not detract from your national or international exposure) and visitors can easily find your address and your contact details. It is also important to make sure that your details are in a format that search engines can read (e.g. are not a screenshot, included as part of a logo or as any other form of an image.)
- A Page for Each Location: If your business has multiple locations, then you should create a web page for each of these. For example, if you have branches in Alabama, New York, and California, you should have one page for each of these, providing contact details and a map showing its location. (More on maps later on in this article.)
- Publish a 'Contact' Page: Google gives ranking points for Contact pages; Additionally, many people look for contact pages when they want to get in touch with you. A Contact page will contain your email address, telephone number, postal address and any other contact details for each of your locations.
2. Put a Google Map on Your Site
Google Maps and Google Earth are what are known as 'Earth Browsers' that can accommodate text files based on the tag-based XML structure. You can learn how to embed a simple map and driving directions on the Google Maps site. If you are not interested in having a regular Google Map on your site, but simply want the location of your business to be highlighted on a 'local map', use can use Google Places, which is described below.
3. Claim Your Listing on the Main Search Engines
- First create a Google account if you do not already have one. You can do that from the Google home page. If you use Google Webmaster Tools, or have Gmail or Google+, then you already have a Google account.
- Go to Google Places - login to your Google Account from there and make sure your address details are correct. Then click to receive a PIN. When your PIN arrives (usually by postcard) enter it and you will have claimed that location for your business. Make sure you edit the account so that all details are correct.
- Create a Yahoo account if you don't have one. Go to Yahoo's local listings page and sign up.
- Enhanced listings cost $9.95/month but offer you the opportunity to include promotional links, 10 photographs and a much more comprehensive business description (3,000 characters.) This is only worth paying if you believe Yahoo to be a significant player in onlinesearches for your type of business. Once you have made your listing on Yahoo (enhanced or not), click on 'Enhance Your Listing' and add the necessary details.
- If you do not yet have a business listing visible on the Bing Local Listings pages, then create one on the Bing Business Portal. Follow the simple instructions to create your local business listing.
4. Create Listings on Local Online Directories
When you query a search, such as 'San Francisco Restaurants,' on a specific local online directory such as Yelp, that directory will provide every San Francisco restaurant that is listed in Yelp. When you carry out the same search on Google, you will find the Google Places listings in the top local results, plus you may also find the most relevant Yelp results in the general listings.
Therefore, not only do online directories enable you to make the best use of local marketing, but you can also get listings on major search engines such as Google. However, the Google search algorithm can read your IP address, and will offer listings more relevant to your geographic situation.
For business owners who are interested in improving their online presence but feel as though they don’t have the time or expertise to do so, there are excellent and affordable local directory listing services offered by Homestead. This allows business owners to save hundreds of hours of labor learning how to list their business in the most effective directories and also ensures the consistency and accuracy of the listings created