Local search continues to be a major SEO topic for 2016 and will continue well into 2017 and beyond. As Google’s search engine refines its algorithm further, SEO experts, marketers and business owners are beginning to realize the advantages of registering with as many local directories as possible.
Integrating Google Search and Google Maps, ‘Google My Business’ provides businesses, brands, artists, and organizations with a free listing, along with the capacity for user reviews and ratings that are prominently displayed with your business contact information, a link to your website and attending map directions. A star-rating is used for reviews, and showcases three businesses at the top the local search results or ‘map pack’. In the past Google used to show more than 3 results, but since they cut it down its even more important that you engage in local SEO and link building strategies to get into that coveted realty on the first page.
How do you capture the top spots in local search results? Making it easy for users to find you is the first step to increasing your online visibility. Although Google My Business is the most popular, there are many other local search directories used daily that capture significant traffic as well. Creating a business listing in these additional search engines can help you attract visitors who may never have become aware of you:
5 LOCAL SEARCH Directories
1. Better Business Bureau: The BBB is a North American-wide consumer group with locations in every state and province, as well as Mexico. It contains over 5 million business reviews and is constantly growing. Consumers and business owners alike can create a business listing as well as submit reviews. There’s a good chance that if your business has been in existence for a while, it may already be listed in the BBB. If your business is designated as a BBB Accredited Business, your credibility and rating is sure to improve. Registration is free at www.bbb.org.
2. Superpages: One of the oldest business directories, Superpages continues to function as a valuable resource for online business citations. Integrating many of the search features you’re familiar with (maps, directions, ratings, reviews) Superpages is a comprehensive business tool and a trusted business directory. It often ranks only second to Google in popularity with consumers and draws on listings from traditional sources such as White Pages and Yellow Pages, which they own. Not to be confused with SuperPages, you can register or claim your business listing for free. Keep in mind that Superpages is more popular among users age 65 and over, who are still familiar with the print versions of Yellow Pages.
3. CitySearch: Covering all of the United States as well as Canada, the ‘Best of CitySearch’ is a feature that provides user feedback for businesses in the form of polls and reviews. Polling reports for the top 10 businesses in each category are routinely published, which could generate further traffic for you if your website happens to be included. Consumers can find competitive deals on local dining, night life, health and beauty, shopping and travel. US and Canadian businesses can visit CitySearch to create a free business listing in only a few minutes. Join CitySearch and reach more people searching in your city.
4. TripAdvisor: Anyone specifically in the travel business should be listed in TripAdvisor.com. Consumers drive much of its content, sharing photos, reviews, feedback and ratings on their travel experiences. If you operate a bed and breakfast, a resort, hotel, luxury transportation, restaurant, or travel agency you can register your business listing for free. TripAdvisor widgets for your website can be added, which will help you stand out from local competitors without them. TripAdvisor’s popularity and credibility means that positive reviews generated here can have a positive impact on your website ranking.
5. Merchant Circle: Focused primarily on small businesses, Merchant Circle was founded in 2005 and has been growing ever since. Recognized by search engines as a trusted source for reviews, Merchant Circle provides a free business listing as well as savvy marketing tools, tips and advice for entrepreneurs. It also serves as a social network for local businesses, connecting local business owners with each other for expert help, advice and support. Their popular deals program connects consumers with popular local businesses and offers a great way to promote yourself to local customers as well as businesses and brands you may share common goals with. With an international presence in the US, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, MerchantCircle is a local search directory you shouldn’t overlook, especially if you are located in the United States.
These are only a few of the most significant local search directories, but there are dozens of others you can register with, most of them for free. Once you’ve listed your business with as many relevant local directories as you can, you’ll need to manage your online presence regularly to ensure your customers enjoy a consistent experience of your brand. Reply promptly to reviews and inquiries to cultivate a positive customer experience that will drive social engagement with your brand. Utilize the many free business tools, apps and resources offered by popular local search directories to make the most of your citations and watch the floodgates open!