local business listingsMost people might be familiar with the extensive and more generic listings from Yahoo and Google. However, other highly-regarded directories are well-thought-out, niche-specific sites that can help bring you, new customers. These specialized websites serve as a local customer's go-to resource for finding information about locally relevant businesses, products, and services in their area.

This article will walk you through the steps necessary to identify the best local directories for your business.

How Important Is Local Search?

If you're thinking about local search, you already know that being found on Google is essential. But in most cases, this is only the beginning of your local search strategy.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term thrown around a lot, but how important is it really? If you're running a local business, local search is one of the most critical aspects of your digital marketing strategy. In fact, according to Moz, local search accounts for 92% of mobile searches.

Local search is so important because people are searching for local businesses with their smartphones, so if you're not showing up in their Google Maps search results or on their Yelp! App, you're missing out on a massive chunk of potential customers.

If you are a local business owner, getting found online is increasingly critical to your success in this crucial area.

Local Business Directories Are the Best Way to Get Discovered

There are hundreds of directories, and not all of them are created equal. Some may not be relevant to your business, while others may have outdated information. For small businesses trying to grow their client base, the best way to get discovered online is by being listed in high-quality local business directories.

Some advantages of local business directories include:

  • Free listings – most popular local business directories offer free listings because they're supported by other paid services that the directory provides.
  • Ease of use – most directories allow you to create a listing quickly and easily and usually do not require submitting any supporting documents.
  • Customizable content – some local business directories will enable you to specify your business' opening hours or even upload photos. This helps people find your business online when they're looking for it on mobile devices.
  • Exposure – thousands of people search for local businesses every day on Google and other search engines. By being listed on top local business directories, your company will have a greater chance of being found by these potential customers.

On Which Local Business Directories Should Your Business Be Listed?

Some local business directories are free, while others charge a modest fee. Some provide more value than others, and some may not be worth the time it takes to fill out their information forms.

Your first step is to evaluate each major online local business directory and decide which ones are worth your time and energy. There is no single best directory, as each directory provides slightly different exposure to users searching for your type of business. The real question is, how much additional traffic will these directories generate for your business? Here is a list of some possible online local business directories:

  • Google Local Business Center (free)
  • Yelp (free)
  • City Search
  • Yellow Pages
  • Bing Places
  • Yahoo Local Merchant
  • Circle
  • Facebook Places
  • Angie's List
  • Super Pages
  • Merchant Circle (paid)
  • Yelp has become one of the most popular places for consumers and businesses to leave reviews.

Start With Online Local Directories

Yellow pages may be a thing of the past, but there are still plenty of local business directories that can help you get found by customers.

If you're starting, claim your listings on the top local business directories in your area.

Start with Google My Business (formerly Google Places). This free listing helps people find and connect with your business on Google Search and Google Maps. You can also link it to other social media sites like Facebook so that people can find your business from their favorite social media site.

It's essential to claim this listing — even if you don't have a physical location — because you need to tell people about yourself. Your listing may show up in search results for nearby businesses, and you want to make sure that if someone sees your name in search results, they're directed to the right place.

Next, claim your listings on as many directories as possible. The three main ones are Yelp, Bing Local Listings, and YP (formerly known as Yellow Pages). You can also claim listings on niche directories that cater to specific industries or geographic areas like Chambers of Commerce or Angie's List.

Claiming these listings is easy. Just identify which ones are relevant, go to their websites, sign up for an

What to Know and Look for in a Directory Submission Service

If you're looking for a directory submission service, here are some things you should know:

A directory submission service is a paid service to submit your business information to local search directories. The idea is that being in the “right” local directory will help users find you in search results and drive customers to your business.

The best local directory submission services work with Google and Bing's local search algorithm to ensure your listing will be found within the search results when someone searches for related terms.

By paying for a submission service, you are guaranteed a spot in the top local business directories.

How a Local Directory Submission Service Works

To properly submit your business information to local directories, the directory submission service will ask you for certain information, including:

  • Your business name: Search engines look at how different business name variations appear across web pages to determine which name is most relevant. If you have multiple types of businesses under the umbrella of an LLC or corporation, make sure each variation of the name is listed on your website and other social media pages. 
  • Your address: This is used to confirm that your business is legitimate and complies with all applicable laws. If you are operating from home, make sure a firewall or router doesn't block before submitting it to the directory. 
  • A photo: You'll need a high-resolution image or logo for each listing so people

Make sure your business data is complete

If you're running and operating a local business, your business must be found by potential customers using popular search engines. And if you want to get found in the top local business directories, you will have to make sure your business data for these directories is complete and correct.

Every online local business directory requires a good amount of information to show up in their business listings. Every entry needs at least a name, address, and phone number. You should also include your website URL and your email address if you have one.

Businesses with a complete listing tend to get more calls because they appear higher on the search results pages. If there is not enough information about your business, it won't appear in the search results for your business type searches.

Conclusion:

Local business directories are essential sources for businesses to obtain the information their customers need and to be found by their target audience. If your site is relevant for the audience of a specific local business directory, then you must submit your website information.


Need more local marketing tips? Check out our entire Guide to Local Marketing for Real Estate Professionals