Increase SEO with Local Listings

If you are not taking advantage of free local online listings, your search rankings may be suffering. Below are direct links to the sign-up pages of well known online directories where your small business needs to be listed.

Just having a live website, does not guarantee you’ll be easily found online. It’s no different than a phone book (remember those?). If someone opens up the phone book to find you, and you are not listed – they will not find you. If someone searches for you on the internet, say Google, and you have a Google Places listing, they will find you. Take advantage of the local business listing offerings on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., – completely free. It takes some time, but it’s worth it!

Here is how the same directory listing looks on the top three search engines. In a search for “Kalamazoo Lamps” notice that the top three search engines offer paid ads, organic search listings (websites that are ranking well due to SEO done right), directory listings, images and maps. Directory listings are on the first page. Notice how those with Google+ pages are at the top? Try some of your own search terms and compare.

Click the images below to view larger.

And, here’s the list. Have fun!

  • Google Places for Business
    Google Places for Business gives you access to free tools that help your business get online, be found on Google Search and Maps and get closer to your customers. It’s the easiest way to manage your business across Google and it’s free.
  • Bing Places for Business
    List your business on Bing for free. Just find your listing and verify that you own the business. Make it easy for customers to find you.
  • Yahoo Small Business Local Listings
    A free Yahoo Basic Listing helps customers get your business’s contact information, including address, phone number, and URL. Simple to create and easy to manage, the Yahoo Basic Listing can be a first step for a business just starting out.
  • Yelp
    People use Yelp to search for everything from the city’s tastiest burger to the most renowned cardiologist. What will you uncover in your neighborhood?
  • MerchantCircle
    For local businesses, a listing will enter into MerchantCircle’s detailed database of local, trusted businesses. At the same time, a MerchantCircle listing will help boost your visibility and rankings in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. A MerchantCircle profile provides a quality link back to your website with this recommended local link-building tactic. Source: UpCity.com, and step-by-step instructions.
  • LinkedIn
    This is less of a business listing and more of a personal professional listing. May not get you organic search results, but will help you connect with others in your industry or looking for people in your industry.
  • YellowPages.com
  • Facebook
    Let’s not forget the value of having your own business page on Facebook. And, once you have a Facebook account, you can use it to login to many of these other listing sites.
  • Angie’s List
    Companies can create a free account and appear without a rating on the List. Once your company is registered, you may log in at any time to review and update your company’s profile, check your ratings, and read and respond to new reviews.

This should always work for someone searching your specific company name. If they are searching businesses using a wide search phrase like “Kalamazoo Restaurants,” that will depend on many, many other factors.

HubSpot (a reputable source I completely trust) published a blog article titled The Ultimate List: 50 Local Business Directories. I only listed some of the top places to get started. Read the article if you would like extra exposure. Not all of these are free. Also, there may be other industry-specific listings that could be of advantage to your business.

Note: Be wary of companies who will do it for you, in one super blast, for a high monthly or yearly fee. There may be some advantages to having all of your information in one place, but many times the high cost is not worth it. Also, watch out for free scans like “Check to see how your business appears across the internet. Find out instantly for free.” These are usually followed by a sign-up link, then phone calls and emails from companies trying to sell their services. And trust me, they will find a lot of “issues” to report with which they can “help,” for a hefty fee.

Kim Kopec

Kim has over 25 years of experience in marketing, design and communications. She loves to use her creative gifts to help Michigan small businesses (and start-ups) with their online presence and visual branding. Her motto is “Behind every great design, is a substantial amount of coffee!”

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