If you’re trying to improve your business’s visibility in search results, you probably already implemented some stellar SEO website content and set up your Google Business Profile (if not, we should talk). Your next priority should be building trustworthy links directing to your website. One way to do this is through managing your local business listings.
We’ll explain below why these directory listings are so important, how to check your current listings, and the 12 places you should list your business if you haven’t already.
What Are Local Listings?
Local business directories are online platforms that list your business’s public information like name, address, and phone number (NAP). These directories can be general, like the Yellow Pages, or industry-specific, like Healthgrades. Many directory sites also serve as review platforms, such as Yelp or your Google Business Profile.
Consistent NAP listings not only influence search rankings but also influence your customer journey. People find your brand through a variety of online portals. Inconsistent information can confuse potential customers and cost you business. For example, a duplicate Google map listing with a different address could lead to customers going to the wrong location.
Benefits of Consistent NAP
Maintaining your online presence, especially on the directories that your customers are using, can benefit your business.
- Promote Brand Awareness: When people search directories, they see a snapshot of your business (if it’s relevant to their search). Increased visibility of your business can lead to future engagement.
- Improve Local SEO: Local business listings positively contribute to SEO because they validate the reputation of your business to search engines.
- Drive Website Traffic: Improved visibility in local search results and a variety of listings provide more opportunities for potential customers. Each listing and search result has potential to direct them to your website.
- Reach Your Target Audience: Niche industry listings and community listings can help your business connect with your target demographic. For example, someone looking for a lawyer may use a directory like Lawyers.com.
- Build Credibility: Many business directory sites are also customer review platforms. In 2021, 77% of customers “always” or “regularly” read reviews when browsing for local businesses. Reviews build trust and help potential customers verify your business.
How to Check Your Local Listing SEO
If your phone number on Facebook is different from your Google Business Profile, you will confuse or frustrate your potential customers. They may view your business as less trustworthy, and they could stop considering you in their purchasing decision.
Human error and business changes may result in inconsistent NAP information across the internet. For example, you outgrow your first location, move to another, and forget to update your address everywhere it was listed. Or, you generate different phone numbers for attribution tracking.
These inconsistencies may not be intentional, but they are easy to overlook and they negatively affect your potential customers. You can check the health of your local business listings by using this free tool from Moz.
Setting up Local Business Listings
Before you start adding your NAP to every directory available, you should first consider two things:
- Is the site reputable? You should only choose directories that are credible and will deepen trust in your business. SEMrush ranks local business directory sites by authority score.
- Is your target audience likely to visit the site? You should only choose sites where it makes sense to list your business. For example, a chiropractor wouldn’t list their business on TripAdvisor. We recommend starting with the major directories and then selecting a few others that are highly relevant to your industry or location.
It’s not in your best interest to devote hours upon hours listing your business everywhere just because you can. Prioritize the local business listings that make sense for your business.
12 Places to List Your Business
Some listings are simple directories and are easy to maintain for accuracy — so long as you remember to check them. Social media sites and online business profiles need to be updated more frequently.
Here’s where we recommend you start with your listings:
- Google Business Profile: This listing controls how your business is shown in Google searches and maps. It’s essential for you to claim your profile and ensure it’s complete and up-to-date.
- Apple Maps: This is the default map option for iOS users, so it’s important your NAP information is correct. You can claim your listing for free.
- Facebook: Creating a business page is free, and it offers a place for you to engage with your customers.
- Yelp: This popular review platform and directory attracts 178 million monthly visitors. Again, it’s free for you to claim your business listing.
- Yellow Pages: This original printed directory is still connecting customers to business — now via a website and app.
- LinkedIn: This is the biggest social media platform for professionals. Your profile can be a great place for your business to source leads and make connections.
- Bing: This search engine has its own version of Google Business Profile called Bing Places. Managing your listing here controls how your business is displayed in Bing search results and maps.
- Foursquare: This location discovery app is used by 50 million monthly users to find nearby businesses.
- Better Business Bureau: Consumers trust the BBB, so it can be beneficial to list your business here. You can create a listing for free, but you will need to pay for an accreditation.
Specific to You
- Local Chamber of Commerce: Membership in your local chamber is a great resource for connecting with other businesses. Plus, membership often comes with an online listing. This type of directory can help your business build trust locally.
- National Organizations: Just like the chamber, your membership with any national organizations may include a listing in their online directories. Ensure your NAP information is always up-to-date on these lists.
- Relevant Niche Directories: Choose the directories that make the most sense for your business. For example, medical offices might choose Healthgrades, hospitality businesses would want to be listed on TripAdvisor, and contractors or service businesses should consider Angi (previously Angie’s List).
Remember to ensure completeness and consistency on all your listings. You should keep all your information accurate and up-to-date and keep tabs on your various business profiles.
If you’d like more information about managing your listings, we’re happy to help. Just connect with one of our team for marketing advice specific to your business.