An often overlooked area of importance is listings, or “citations” on internet directories. There are hundreds of online directories from the popular and recognizable to the obscure. Many professional and industry-specific or specialty directories may apply to your business. There are also countless local listing opportunities through newspapers, local business organizations, local advertising flyers and other media. Here are several areas we recommend you get connected with:
1. Business Listing Directories
Yes, it’s true – most people use Google to search for local businesses and services. However, many online business directories do well in organic search rankings for key search terms because they spend a lot of money to drive traffic to their sites. Your website may not rank high on Google for particular search keywords, but your listing can appear on the directories that do rank for that term. Also, the more listings (or “Local Citations”) you have on these directories, the more visible you will be to the search engines, which in turn will help your own site’s rankings!
2. Search Engines
Did you know that most search engines also provide an opportunity for you to list your business information? You may recognize some of the more popular ones: Google (Google My Business), Bing (Bing Places for Business), Yahoo! (Yahoo! Local), Ask, AOL and more.
There are currently five major players (Acxiom, Factual, Foursquare, Infogroup and Neustar Localeze). Ok, what do they do? They collect information about millions of companies from telephone directories, state and local licensing agencies and numerous other public records for the purpose of compiling databases to sell to other businesses (where do you think all those solicitor calls come from? Most of the major online directories use data from one or more of these companies. You never know which site your potential customer might be looking at, so why not cover them all?
4. Local and Specialty Directories
Many directories are local or regional or apply to a specific industry, demographic or other group. You should be listed on as many of these as possible.