Why Local Business Directory Citations Will Help Boost Your Sales

seo-local-citationsWhen creating a marketing campaign for your local business, it’s important to remember that along with the offline things you do, you’ll also need to make sure potential customers can find your local business online—and that means you’ll have to do some online advertising for your local business. That’s because most of today’s consumers take to their smartphones, tablets, or laptops when trying to find US local businesses. But that has taken a lot of local business owners by surprise because in the not so recent past, online searches were always conducted for national chain businesses or information about a topic, but for local businesses? Not so much.

But all that changed when local business directories came on the scene. These useful business directories are designed to help consumers find US local restaurants, shops, and service businesses—and consumers are using them more and more every day.

Why Local Business Directories Replaced Large Search Engines for Local Search

It’s been a problem for years: when people try to find US local businesses or restaurants on a major search engine, they often become frustrated because the results they see are filled with website URLs for national chains, and a bunch of articles about the topic. For example, if they’re looking for local US flower shops, they may see some online flower shops and a  lot of articles about flower growing or arranging. Not so helpful when trying to find US local flower shops.

But local business directories are different. They cater to the people trying to find US local businesses, and only show the results from the visitor’s area. In other words, local business directories are such a powerful marketing and advertising tool that they’re considered even better than social media for local business owners.

But What About Those Local Citations?

You may be wondering what in the world local business directories have to do with local citations, and here’s where it gets exciting. But before we tell you how local business listings can help with that, let’s define local citations.

  • Local Citations: When a major search engine decides how to rank a local business, it sends out its search engine spiders to look for all mentions of that business. But just any mention won’t do, in fact a mention on a less than credible website may actually hurt your rankings. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your business is mentioned on credible websites and local business directories, like FindUsLocal.com. All of these mentions are called “citations” in the online advertising world.

How Local Business Directories Give You Effective Local Citations

Luckily, getting those local citations isn’t hard. The best way to do it is to find quality local business directories and create your local business listings on them. For example, FindUsLocal is a quality directory that will ensure a credible and effective citation for your local business.

In order to reap the benefits of this local directory, you simply have to log onto the site, and then claim your business listing. Then fill in the necessary details about your business, and you’ll have your first local citation.

Be sure to fill in the details exactly the same on every local business directory that you list your business on. That ensures that the search engine spiders will attribute each of them to your local business. Remember, the more credible local citations you have, the higher you will rank in the search engine listings.

Local business directories like FindUsLocal.com are a great way to get the local citations that you need to rank high in the search engine results. If you haven’t yet begun this important aspect of your online advertising campaign, what are you waiting for?

Why Reviews are Important for Your Local Business—and How to Get Them

online-reviews-for-local-businessesIf you’re a local business owner, you understand all too well how important word of mouth is for business. These days, people don’t like to do business with shops, restaurants, or service businesses without first checking out the social proof from other people who have spent time in the business. For example, before someone finds US local restaurants to visit, they will first read the reviews that others in the community have left for it. The same is true for service businesses of all types, including hair salons, plumbers, accountants, doctors, and every other type of business where the owners perform a service for customers. And retail stores are no exception—most people want to make sure the shop carries great products and has good customer service before stepping foot in the door.

And where do people get all of this information? By reading local reviews left by other people who have visited the business on local business directories.

What’s the Big Deal About Local Reviews?

At first glance, it’s easy to overlook the benefits of online reviews because many retail business owners don’t yet understand the huge role they play in consumer decisions. Just to emphasize the role online reviews play in a customer’s decision to visit a store, here are some startling statistics you should know.

  • The majority of people—84 percent to be exact—place more trust in online reviews than they do a recommendation from a friend or family member. Just think about that. It’s a huge revelation, and that fact alone should make you want to get as many positive online reviews as you can.
  • Two-thirds of those people surveyed say that when they read positive reviews about a local business, it makes them trust that business. This means people take what others have to say about a local business seriously.
  • When your local business listing includes enough positive reviews, Google will sit up and take notice. The search engine spiders like to showcase local businesses with positive reviews, and they reward them by giving them higher search engine rankings. On the other hand, if your local business listing has a lot of negative reviews, the large search engines may not rank your local listing at all—or put you on pages so far back that no one will see it.
  • Almost all of the people surveyed, 90 percent, say that they want to read at least 10 local reviews before making a decision about whether or not to visit a shop or restaurant. That means you’ll need to be proactive in asking customers to leave them on your local business directory listing.
  • A shocking 87 percent of the people asked say that they would not consider doing business with a shop or restaurant that has negative reviews on their local business listings. If you have some negative reviews, you’ll need to do some juggling to ensure that the good reviews outweigh the bad. Better yet, strive to have the business insight to be so good and customer oriented that no one ever leaves a bad review for your business.
  • At this point, you may be panicking because you can’t figure out how you will ever get enough online reviews to make a difference, but the good news is that it’s easier than you think. In fact, in the same study we talked about earlier, 7 out of 10 customers say that if a local business owner asked them to leave an online review, they would do it. That means if you make it a habit to consistently ask your customers to go to your local business listing and leave an online review, they will. So if you ask every customer at the checkout counter to leave a review for your business, you’ll soon have enough good reviews to drive new business to your store.

As you can see, online reviews are an integral part of your local business, but you will have to work hard to get them. Luckily, there are steps you can take to add them quickly to your local business listing on your local business directory. If you don’t already have one in place, head on over to FindUsLocal.com, one of the best local business directories on the web.

How Your Customers Find US Local Businesses

LKd3Qpzd_400x400The art of running a retail store has changed dramatically over the past few years. Not that long ago, all you needed to do was carry good products, employ a staff of friendly and knowledgeable people, buy an advertisement in the Yellow Pages, and run a couple of ads in the local community paper every week. The people in your community would learn about your business this way, and then tell their friends and family about it, which brought in more people to your store.

Boy have times changed.

Today, while it’s still important to carry great products and hire the right people, using those marketing and advertisement methods to attract new customers won’t reap the same results. In fact, local business owners who still rely on those methods are likely doing very poorly.

So what’s the answer? Being seen online in places like local business directories.

Why the Old School Marketing and Advertising Methods Don’t Work Anymore

With the advent of the internet, everything changed. At first, people used it to find information and online businesses, but as things evolved, people now use the internet to find US local t and restaurants. That’s because people now rely on their mobile devices to find local businesses. For example, if a couple were looking for a local restaurant to eat at, they wouldn’t buy a newspaper to look for ads, but instead, they would pull out their smartphone and look online for an eatery.

That’s why it’s so important for local business owners to ensure that their service business, restaurant or retail shop can be found online.

What’s the Best Way to Be Found Online?

Local business directories are changing the way people try and find US local businesses. Before they came along, a person would search a major search engine to find the business, but the results would always be mixed with national chain businesses and articles about the topic. People became frustrated with it, and the large search engines looks for ways to better display local results. But they failed miserably, and that’s why local business directories came on the scene.

How Local Business Directories Help Customers Find You

A local business directory like FindUsLocal.com is designed to help consumers find US local businesses. These sites are set up to easily allow people to input a search term, and only see local businesses in their area in the results. For example, if someone were to type in Mexican Food Restaurant into the FindUsLocal local business directory, they would see all of the Mexican restaurants in their city or town.

How to Get Your Business Listed on a Local Business Directory

Can you see why you should use local business listings? If you want to reap the benefits of having your business listed on a local directory, you’ll need to create a local business listing on it. To do so, simply go to a quality local business directory like FindUsLocal.com and claim your listing. Enter all the details, such as your business name, phone number, address, and website if you have one. Be sure to list the details exactly the same on every local business directory you use—otherwise the search engine spiders won’t know the listings belong to your business and they won’t do you any good.

Taking a proactive approach to ensure consumers can find your local business online is one the smartest things you can do to ensure its future success. If you haven’t already created your local business listing, head on over to FindUsLocal.com and do it now. Who knows? Potential customers may be looking for a local business like yours right now.

 

Why Local Business Directories are Better Than Social Media

finduslocal-logo-sept2014The facts are in: today’s consumers don’t want a one-way street with the local shops, service businesses, and restaurants any more. In fact, in order to be a success in today’s culture, local business owners need to reach out to the people in their community and interact with them. But many don’t, and the number one reason for it is that it takes a lot of time, money, and knowledge to successfully build an effective social media platform—and then operate it in a way that brings in new business. In fact, many large businesses hire social media experts and pay them huge salaries to get the job done for them.

So where does that leave the local mom and pop store that doesn’t have the specialized knowledge or large budget to hire someone to do it for them?

Unfortunately, in many cases it leaves them out in the cold. In recent business news, studies show that more than two-thirds of consumers use the internet to find US local businesses when they want to shop, and if a local business can’t be found there, chances are they are missing out on a lot of business.

Local Business Directories are the Answer

If you don’t have the time or budget to create a huge social media following and then use it to market your local business, don’t worry because you have options. And the most effective option is to use local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. This directory allows you to interact with local consumers in a unique and exclusive way.

It’s called the Comments Section, and here’s how it can allow you to interact with the people in your community.

How to Use Comments on Local Business Directories

After you create your local business listing on FindUsLocal, scroll down to the bottom of the page where you find an option to leave a comment for your business. This option is given to both business owners and consumers alike. This is revolutionary in that FindUsLocal is the only local business directory that offers this feature to business owners and consumers.

Once there, you simply follow a few basic steps and then can leave a comment about your business. You can use it to announce an upcoming sale, a flash sale, let people know about a new product or line that you’re carrying, or even publicize a job opening. On the other hand, consumers can use the comments to write favorable remarks about your business, give tips to other people in the community about shopping in your store, or communicate with you personally.

Once a comment is left, it is instantly seen on the live feed on the home page. That means anyone who is trying to find US local businesses in your area on FindUsLocal will see the comments. This innovative feature opens up a two way communication between business owners and the people they serve in the community, and that’s exactly what today’s shoppers require from the local businesses they visit.

Can you see why this method is so much better than a costly social media campaign? This is by far the best way to get free local business marketing for your shop, restaurant, or service business.

Create a Local Business Listing to Gain Free Access to this Valuable Resource

You would think that a service like this would cost hundreds of dollars per month because of its potential to bring in new business, but the fact is that FindUsLocal.com is offering it at no cost to the business owners who create a local business listing on their local business directory. Why? Because the local directory understands that in order to run a successful directory—one that best serves business owners and consumers—it has to up the game and offer a directory that keeps consumers coming back time and time again. And the Comments Section on the site does exactly that.

So if you’re looking to create a local business listing, why wouldn’t you choose a local directory like FindUsLocal to do it on? It’s the only local business directory innovative enough to offer this feature and it does it at no cost to you.

How to Pull Out-of-Towners to Your Local Business

shoppers_2101364bAs a local business owner, you probably focus all of your advertising and marketing efforts on the people in your local community. That’s because you might not have a website where you sell your products or services online, and instead you rely on foot traffic walking through your door. But if you only focus on local buyers, you may be making a mistake. The truth is, people travel all the time and when people are away from home, they’ll still need to purchase clothing, food, gift items, some services, jewelry, and many, many other products.

How to Catch the Attention of Out of Town Buyers

When someone is traveling in an area they aren’t familiar with, they turn to the internet to find US local businesses and eateries. Think about it, they don’t know the area, and the only way they can determine which stores and restaurants are worth visiting is to look online and read the reviews of people in that area. In addition, they need to be able to find the details of stores and eateries, such as local phone numbers, business addresses, and maps with directions to the local shop.

But this can be a problem for many local business owners because even if they can afford the expense of designing and running a website for their business, they likely don’t have the cash flow or knowledge to conduct effective online advertising campaigns so that out of town visitors can find them. And that brings us to our next point.

Local Business Directories Help Your Business be Seen

What if I told you that there was a way to put your business in front of those out of town buyers without having to spend thousands of dollars on online advertising? Luckily for you, it’s possible with local business directories. These local directories are free to use and they are where most people go to find US local businesses.

But you can’t list your business in just any old local business directory—you need to choose one that gives consumers a reason to bookmark it as their local business directory of choice. People don’t like database type local directories because frankly, most of the local business listings on sites like those are out of date. Instead, people look to quality local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. This innovative local directory offers a wide variety of features and benefits for people in addition to making it easy for them to find US local businesses.

Make Your Business a Must See Attraction

Finally, when trying to appeal to out of towners, you want them to be excited about visiting your store or restaurant, and the best way to do that is to build some online excitement about it. Luckily, FindUsLocal.com gives you a free method to do just that. It’s called the comments section, and with it, you can announce the exciting happenings in your local business. For example, you can let people know when you’re having a sale or a special discount on your most popular products. You can also let the community—and those out of town buyers—know when you receive new products or have a special service to offer. By building this kind of online hype, you will attract the attention of people visiting your area and they will put your store or restaurant on their list of things to do before they leave.

Local business is great, but in order to be a successful business owner, you should also think about how to draw in the visitors that come to your area. And just by following the tips listed above—being seen online by creating a local business listing on a quality local business directory, and using that directory to create some hype around your business—your store, service business or restaurant will quickly be found on out of towners “Must do” lists. What are you waiting for? Head on over to FindUsLocal now to create and optimize your local business listing!

3 Ways to Make Your Local Business Listings Shine

let_your_light_shine_by_kevron2001-d6z3r1tIf you run a local shop, service business or restaurant, you understand just how times have changed in terms of marketing your business and attracting the attention of new customers. After all, unlike online businesses, most of your sales come from the people who live in your community.

But even those people use the internet to find US local businesses, something too many local business owners just don’t understand. That’s why having your business listed on a local business directory is key to success in this internet consumed world.

But just creating a local business listing isn’t enough anymore. These days, you’ll need to pay strict attention to how you create it, and then take a few steps to ensure that it works to draw new people to your store. Here are four ways you can make your local business listings shine.

Choose the Right Local Business Directory

There are a lot of local business directories online, but not all of them will help you bring new customers through the door. In fact, if you choose the wrong one, it could actually hurt your chances of being seen by the search engines. The key here is to choose a quality local business directory like FindUsLocal.com. These types of directories spend a lot of advertising money to ensure that the local businesses listed on it are seen in the search engines. What’s more, the local directory makes it fun for visitors to use it by including a lot of additional features that keep them coming back again and again. For example, they list all of the upcoming concerts, plays, and sporting events, and then include links so visitors can buy tickets with the click of a mouse. Details like these not only keep people coming back to the site, but ensure that your local business has a much better chance of being seen every time they do.

Create Your Local Business Listing the Right Way

Many people think they can simply type in a few details to create a local business listing and they will have a powerful way to attract new business, but unfortunately, that’s just not true. In order to be successful with your listing, you need to pay attention to the details about how you set it up. And one of the most important details is how you list your business name, telephone number, address, and website address.

You see, the search engine spiders that classify all the citations of your local business and use them to determine how far up in the rankings you’ll be seen are looking for citations that match. (A citation is a mention of your local business on a reputable website.) Good quality local citations can boost your business because it will cause your local business listing to be seen higher up in the search engine results.

When you’re ready to create your local business listing, you must first determine which business name, address, phone number, and website you’ll use in them. For example, if your business name is GC Roofing, Inc., you will need to determine whether or not to use the “Inc.” in your local business listings, or simply list your business as GC Roofing. This small detail can make the difference in whether your local business listings help boost your sales or not.

And it’s not only your business name that you need to pay attention to. You’ll also have to ensure that your business address, phone number, and website—if you have one—are all listing in the exact same way.

Local Business Listings Must be Kept Current

Finally, in order for your business to benefit from you local business listings, you must work to keep them fresh and current. One of the key points to a successful online advertising campaign is that it must be consistently updated in order for the search engine spiders to recognize and reward it, and that’s no different with a local business listing.

But how can you keep your local listing current when you’re not in charge of the site? By using comments and reviews. You see, every time someone leave a review for your business on the local business directory, the search engine spiders view it as fresh content, and that will up your rankings. The same is true every time you or a customer leaves a comment associated with your local business listing. (It’s important to note that FindUsLocal.com is the only local business directory that allows business owners and visitors to leave comments about a business.)

In other words, you can’t just set it up and forget about it. In order to maximize the benefits of your local business listing, you need to treat it like any other marketing effort and work to keep it fresh and updated.

Local business listings are one of the best ways to get your local business in front of in consumers, but in order to be successful, you have to go about it the right way. Just follow the 3 steps above, and be sure to list on a quality local business directory such as FindUsLocal.com.

Why You Should Use Local Business Directories

Online-Free-AdvertisingTRANSLong gone are the days of customers flipping through the yellow pages looking for a local business listing. While phone books do still exist, people are much less likely to use them. Most people have opted out of receiving deliveries of the iconic book either because they simply don’t want it cluttering up their house or they are environmentally conscious and want to preserve the earth’s resources. Whatever the case may be, society has moved away from printed forms of communication. Nowadays, everyone is on the go and doesn’t necessarily have access to a massive phone book. This is why local business directories are so helpful. The following are just some of the reasons why you should use local business directories to promote your company.

The Convenience of Local Business Directories for Your Customer

Everyone is so busy nowadays. Even if they did still get the yellow pages in print form, people would never be able to access the information they need as it would always be tucked away in some corner of their house while they are busy out and about. People who are doing their normal everyday activities are most likely going to be using their phones to access local business listings. And, even if they have access to an old-fashioned phone book when they are at home, they will probably still be more likely to use the internet just because it is so much more convenient. Instead of flipping through an entire book to find the information they need, they can easily just go online and type in a search term and up pops several listings. Also, the internet is much more likely to be up to date as opposed to a phone book that may have been printed several months ago. But that brings us to the next point.

Directories Drive People to Your Website

Because people are spending more time on the internet, it is essential that you have an online presence in order to direct potential local customers direct to your door. As people are using local business listings online more and more, these sites are helping people find US local businesses that they can really connect with.

In today’s day and age, some customers will still call the store to find out about current sales or products listings, but most people would much rather look up information at their own pace online. Listing your business in one of these directories will help you keep your customers up to date on what is happening in your business because you can use it to direct them to your website.

Part of the convenience lifestyle that is so prevalent right now is that people want to be able to find information easily and quickly.

Another benefit of using an online directory is that all of your contact information will be listed where customers can easily access it. What more could your customer ask for? Phone number, address, and website are all listed in one convenient place. Not only that, but your customer will immediately have access to information about your business. For example, if you run a nail shop, they’ll know that you recently started offering pedicures along with your manicures—simply by looking at your local business listing. Or maybe you have a sale on organic vegetables this week. Whatever the case may be, local business listings can help you connect with your customers and let them know what is going on in your business.

Positive Customer Reviews Are Advertisements

Local business directories also offer options for your customer to review your business which is an excellent way for you to do local business advertising to future customers. Word of mouth has always been an important component in helping businesses gather customers. In previous years, this sometimes caused a problem as people would not go to local businesses they had never heard about from their friends and family. With the advent of the internet, that has all changed. Now, customers can go online and learn all about what previous customers—people they’ve probably never met—are saying about local businesses. This is beneficial for obvious reasons. Local business directories offer an easy-to-use platform for customers to share their experience about your organization, which will most likely help drive more clients to your business.

The most important thing in business is connecting with those you serve. What better way to do that than to offer a local listing that gives them all the information they need about your company—including what other people have said about you—and it’s all right there whenever and wherever they need it? FindUsLocal.com offers you this service and so much more. Why not take a moment and check them out right now?

 

Mistakes That Can Damage Your Online Business Listings

LKd3Qpzd_400x400The reason most local businesses want to be found in online business listings is because that’s where the customers are going to find what they need. Unfortunately, being on a directory is just the first step to online success and higher revenues. In the first place, there are over 4 trillion public web pages and customers rarely go past the first two pages of a search. This means, it’s a race to be found on these two precious top pages – even in local business directories. This has led to the birth of a more sophisticated marketing strategy – local presence management.

Local presence management is simply managing your online business listings so your target market can easily find you, like what they see, and inquire about doing business with you. It’s taking the initiative to protect your online local presence and resolve any issues that may crop up.

And issues will eventually crop up like the following:

  • Missing or incomplete information
  • Old or outdated data
  • Malicious spam
  • Poor visual content
  • Boring content
  • Duplicate content
  • Not standing out

The bottom line? Poor conversion! Studies also confirm that online business listings that generate one or two star reviews have a 90 percent chance of non-conversion. But if you have reviews of at least 3 stars, it opens up your business to potential revenues worth thousands of dollars.

Mistake #1 Failure to Interact

Business interactions through online business directories take on several levels: with prospective buyers, satisfied or dissatisfied customers, suppliers, industry partners, or international inquiries. Treat each interaction as a VIP inquiry but take the necessary precaution to protect sensitive business information until you have verified the source of the inquiry.

Were you aware that latest research shows that 91 percent of Americans read online reviews and testimonials before making a decision to purchase? Furthermore, 60 percent of consumers admit that negative reviews make them automatically decide not to consider that business unless there are signs that the company did something positive to appease the dissatisfied customer. But how do you get good online reviews to gain new customers? According to studies, you only have to ask.

Mistake #2 Failing to Nurture your Online Presence Scientifically

Aside from interaction, there is a pressing need to continuously nurture your presence in online business directories – professionally. This means using analytics, audits, and SEO management and following these tips:

  • Choose your SEO keywords carefully and be ready to change them when they are no longer relevant
  • Partner with a quality online local business directory that can guarantee fast and secure upload speeds. It takes only a few seconds to distract someone trying to access the directory website – and when that happens, you lose an opportunity to be seen
  • Conducting regular analytics on your business online profile and NAP data

Mistake #3 Getting Blacklisted by the Directory and Search Engines

Your directory can blacklist or the search engine can blacklist the directory where you have your business listing. This is the action taken when black hat tricks or other rules like keyword stuffing are used. Unfortunately, ignorance is not a valid excuse you can use and the penalty is often permanent.

Online business directories will always prioritize their survival over any nasty tricks their clients may attempt to use so it’s best to know the rules and stick with them Use professional advertising and marketing strategies and go with directory websites that do the same. While online business listings are powerful tools, they don’t always deliver instant results. Continuous, consistent quality advertising and marketing will serve you best in the long run.

Mistake #4 Offering More than You Can Give

It’s tempting to offer the moon, sky, and everything else when advertising online but you’ll soon discover that irritated consumers are very vocal and public about their disappointment. Consumers would rather trust reviews and feedback than any content you include in your local business listing.  One of the easiest ways to get negative comments is by not standing by what you post in your advertisements and listings. And consumers can now also tell when a review comes from a verified independent user or not. With an average of 70 percent of online users willing to go public with their opinions, it’s best not to over-promise.

Mistake #5 Not Having a Plan

Online business listings or posts in websites that help consumers find US local businesses should not be done randomly. Have a plan and a strategy on how to implement the plan so it is 100 percent effective. Making random decisions is like relying on a hit-and-miss strategy that will waste a lot of your funds. For instance, if you decide to get listed but you fail to launch an online profile whether it’s website or social media-based, you make it hard for consumers to reach you. People don’t like to spend time on phone calls when an email or chat is easier. Consumers are used to getting replies to their inquiries within 24 to 48 hours.

In conclusion, plan ahead and stay on top of that plan but always be ready to make adjustments at the drop of a hat.

Local SEO Tips for Local Business Directories for 2018

121856-1OpP0Q1395155684Today, with over 80 percent of consumers using online search engines to find local businesses, laser-sharp Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical even if your business is already on local business directories. It’s a marketing advantage because eventually you can rely almost completely on local SEO and taper your advertising. Studies show that advertising tends to turn off consumers, while SEO attracts because it isn’t a hard sell.

Local SEO is not an instant marketing miracle. It will take time and a lot of hard work, study and intuition to make it work. But when the results start showing, it won’t be a promise of better sales – it will be better sales, brand awareness and global recognition.

Local business directories and listings, partnered with local SEO, is actually the almost perfect combination in marketing a business. SEO is tough. The competition is fierce. Being on local directories and listings will boost your online presence and aid in helping your business rank higher on search engines.

Here are local SEO tips that will help you now and in 2018 to complement your business so consumers or corporate buyers will be able to find your business more easily.

Be Aggressive in Getting Local Reviews

People will organically trust the locals. Want to go to the best restaurants, hotels, resorts, malls and shops where you can get the best deals? You and millions of others know that the best information (even over and above review websites) is the kind you can get from locals.

Use this treasure trove to help others find US local businesses – specifically, your business – with reviews. In fact, one of the top queries today in search engines is, “Who has the most stars in [industry/business]?” Just imagine if the answer to this query is your business! Search engine algorithms will only list those with at least 4-star reviews, which should whittle down the list to a few dozen. You see, consumers don’t just want the best – they want the best in the most convenient way possible. They’re not interested in interviewing employees about their products. Often, this takes too much time and effort. Last year, over 84% of thousands of online users said they trust reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

If your business is in local business listings like finduslocal.com, you have just about all bases covered!

Check for Negative Ranking Factors

You’ve done the work and nothing’s happening. Possible reasons are negative ranking factors like inaccurate details, malware or negative reviews. According to SEO experts, there are over 25 negative ranking factors that can seem like your business is invisible in local business directories.

A few of the more critical ones include:

  • Using generic information to describe your business. If a ton of competitors are doing the same, you will all blend into one big blob. To stand out, you need to emphasize your competitive edge.
  • Lack of accreditation or recognition from a reputable organization like the BBB.
  • Broken links in description content.
  • Negative reviews outnumbering positive reviews.
  • Poorly performing local business directories in which you are listed.

Picking the Right Pros to Help You with Your SEO

SEO has become so mainstream among business owners and Internet users that it’s easy to fall for the hype of the SEO pretenders. These are the so-called experts who merely mouth promises and guarantees, but have no clue how to customize an SEO strategy, let alone a localized version.

According to the real SEO experts, there are clues that will give away the imposters. Here are a few of them:

  • They have problems customizing their SEO planning and have a plan that applies to all businesses.
  • Overconfidence and unwillingness to explore all possibilities.
  • They promise the moon, stars and the sun, but can’t show proof of previous work attributed to them.
  • Simply repeating what you can read and learn online.
  • They cannot explain SEO terms in a way that you can understand. If an SEO expert can’t communicate, there’s a problem!

Use Local Link Building as a Power Tool

Local link building is unique because the common factor is not whether you are linked to your local competitors, but rather, to other local businesses – regardless of whether they are related to your industry or not.

However, focus on charitable organizations, local community events and local portals, and consider sponsoring local businesses. When selecting these groups, consider their current ranking in search engines. Ideally, they should be at the top of a local search; otherwise, they may be harder to work with based on the lack of traffic. Also factor in the kind of local business listings they are on because they may already be promoting your competitor’s products.

Another option to use when link building is the use of guest bloggers with a tremendous following. Choose a blogger whose content is relevant to your business and either get the blogger to allow you to post a link on his site or post an article from him on your site.

Local SEO in 2018 is going to be a lot of fun – tougher, yes, but challenging as more businesses are turning to SEO to build their online presence.

What’s Better: 411 Directory Assistance or Online Business Directories?

finduslocal.comAs a US resident, you have probably used 4-1-1 at least once. The service is directory assistance for the people across the nation who are trying to find US local businesses.  As a business owner, you may have benefited from this number but the numbers show that fewer Americans are opting for this service compared to an online search for several reasons. Some of them are:

  • Limited information available
  • If you make the call using your mobile phone, you incur charges
  • Inaccurate information is oftentimes given to callers
  • There is no master list for all 411 numbers
  • Sometimes technical failures prevent people from getting the information

There are also a number of reports posted on the Better Business Bureau about 411 operators calling business owners trying to sell them a new plan. The subscribers later find out just how expensive the new plan is or the business owners can’t get accurate statistics on the number of calls received or the number of times their ads were viewed.

Local business listings, on the other hand, can be web-based or print-based. The web-based versions are more effective for many reasons but mainly because they give people access to well, the world. Anyone from anywhere can find out about your business through these online local business directories. And your chances of being discovered on sites such as FindUsLocal.com is only limited to the rankings of the website and its SEO strategy.

In addition, online business directories aid in your business’ ranking with search engines and navigation systems which means it becomes easier for customers to find you using GPS or online maps. But keep in mind that this is only true when the local business directory that you’re listing on ranks well.

Other advantages of using online local business directories for local marketing include:

  • You don’t need a website when you already have a profile in one of these local business directories. Not everyone expects a full-blown website especially for small to medium enterprises. Often, consumers are fine with a listing and a social media account like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram which will allow you to interact online with your market
  • Online local business listings are more affordable local marketing strategies especially for average marketing returns for business listings – online, 411, or hard copy
  • It’s easier and quicker to update
  • You are not as restricted with content compared to 411
  • There’s no operator so no waiting, no selling, and minimal chance for wrong information since you have to approve copy as the business owner before it is posted and you have a chance to check the information any time of the day or night for accuracy

Interestingly, over 76% of local searches are done using the Internet which means other sources such as the 411 have to share the remaining 24 percent of the population that don’t use the Internet for directory information.

By creating local business listings, out-of-town and international customers will be able to find US local businesses like yours, which will bring in additional customers and inquiries for your business. But listing your business on a quality local business directory alone will not do the trick. You should also consider the following tips:

  • Start a social media account so inquiries can be posted on this business account and you can answer them quickly – preferably within the hour. Research shows that 67 percent of worldwide consumers prefer contacting a business through their social media account because it’s usually the platform that’s up and running on their gadgets and it’s more casual. In fact, Twitter reports that interaction has jumped 250 percent in the last two years
  • Optimize your brand logo by putting your business name in your logo and a little snippet about what your business is all about
  • Know how you’re doing in the rankings by searching for your business online. Check your listing and keep the content updated and accurate

Expand your Citations

If you sign up with more relevant business directories and have several social media accounts, you’ll increase the number of citations for your business. Citations are used to spread awareness of your business with mentions of your business name and address in sites other than your business website. The more citations you have, the easier it is for Google to index your website because it proves to them that you are a legitimate business with a reputation to protect.

However, it is important to be very particular about your citations. They should always be consistent, accurate, and listed on websites that have no issues or history of penalties. You also have to monitor that no on listing of your business is used without your permission and you can do this by searching for your business online regularly.

Keep in mind that quality is better than quantity and your gauge should be the number of citations your closest competitor has. Check them out! It pays to know how they are doing because you can bet they are checking up on you as well.