Category Archives: USA Business Directories News

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.

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.

3 Ways to Prevent Scammers from Using Your Business Listings

No-Scam-1-800x300Last October 2017, a news blast was posted over the Internet about how a woman from Miami used a local directory to find a repairman. The repairman came to her house with equipment in hand to fix her washing machine. After an hour, he charged her $420 and left. The woman tried to use her washing machine but it wasn’t even loading water so she tried to call back the repairman only to find that he wouldn’t answer the phone. She then decided to call another number for the repair shop that was listed on another local business directory and discovered she had been scammed. Unfortunately, by that time, the check had been cashed.

According to the Better Business Bureau, this new kind of scam is happening more often in the past two years. Other similar scams involve pet adoption agencies, jobs, apartment rentals, and other consumer services that require victims to present proof of identity, address, and other personal details aside from a “security deposit” or some form of non-cash payment like iTune cards. There are also the kind of scammers that target small business owners by sending in an email or calling to inform them that their subscription is about to expire, that you should upgrade your plan, verify your contact/payment details, or pay for additional features. Usually, scammers of this sort use robocallers to make the calls. Recent surveys show that around 2.4 billion robocalls are made every month and are made by overseas scammers. The majority of these calls are illegal and fraudulent.

How to Legitimately Find US Local Business

Whether you are a local resident or planning to visit a new town or city and need to find businesses or services, there are legitimate ways to find local business that will not put you at risk of scamming.

Once you find a business you’re interested in patronizing, check its online profile – website or social media account. You want to focus on contact details: do they connect you to the office? Are the details verifiable? Keep in mind there are fake numbers, fake area codes, and fake addresses. Does the online site have broken links? These are links that when you click on them, you either get an error message or it takes you to a strange site that is not related to the business. Look for other red flags such as wrong grammar, misspelled words, or stolen images. Try clicking on icons like BBB, PayPay, Visa, or official-sounding accrediting agencies. If the icons do not lead you to the official website of that company, it’s a red flag.

Finally, check the business website registration data and business feedback and reviews. A business that claims to be operating for years yet just created its website and has an expiring date that is fast approaching is a red flag.

Instead of browsing through pages of a search engine, use a reliable local source like local business listings. Not all small to medium businesses have a huge budget to finance a website and the lack of an online presence is significant, but if legitimate SMBs will do some amount of marketing on the local level, it will increase their odds of being successful.

Never List Your Business Without Approving Hard Copy

Convenient though it may be, some business owners opt to call in their business listings. Telesales is very risky because you never get to see the final copy before it is published. And if the phone call was not recorded by you, you have no proof that you didn’t or did approve of the copy since it was a verbal negotiation.

In addition, reputable local business directories will insist that you sign off on the written agreement before payment and posting. This protects both parties and sufficient time should be spent reading the fine print.

Never Trust Official Looking Document Inquiries Until Verified

One in every 10 American adults are scammed according to a survey of online activities in 2016. For phone scams, an average of $430 were lost by the victims while official-looking document scams were able to dupe consumers out of thousands of dollars through fake scholarships, holiday trips, charities and fund-raising events, trademark applications, inheritance fees, tax demands, and tech support, among others.

Local business directories will not ask for personal and private business details without submitting information that you can verify personally. They will not hide behind marketing hype and flashy promises but show you facts, data, and research. On your own, you should be able to verify the data you are given, check online for the directory’s authenticity, and do simple things such as get the names of the people behind the website – and some basic information about their background.

Local business directories need to build trust and loyalty and the best way for them to do this is to be sincere, upfront, and transparent. Anyone who pretends but fails to give real information has a hidden agenda.

In summary, if you want to find US local business, look up finduslocal.com – an up-and-coming online powerhouse that you can rely on completely.

How to Use Online Business Listings Effectively Now and in 2018

bbOnline local business listings is a growing arm of the advertising industry and the speed in which it is evolving can trip up small to medium enterprises (SMEs) who may sign up with the wrong directory. There are some online business directories that are industry specific and cater only to manufacturing firms and factories which means SMEs will not be able to garner any significant business revenues as the volume requirements and other criteria of these companies are based on large scale orders.

Who is Your Market?

Today, a local business is no longer limited to local clients. With the available shipping methods and e-transaction technology, you can stay local but be open to inquiries from around the world. However, first you have to get listed on a find US local business directory that is gaining top rank in search engines like finduslocal.com.

Even the potential for customers from other parts of the country is constant and available to SMEs. Based on 2016 figures, ecommerce in the US alone almost reached $400 billion while worldwide, there was an increase of 246% from the previous year. If you are not feeling even a little bit of the outflow from online buyers national or international, then your advertising and marketing efforts need to be reworked and you may need to get on a few of the reputable local business directories.

The Buy, Hire American Campaign

The Buy American campaign is old news. In fact, it was originally launched in 1933 – more than 84 years ago! The “Buy America” is not as old but still a campaign that was approved in 1983. These are two separate laws. The first does not include services and is limited to federal government agencies while the second is part of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. When Donald Trump became president, part of his government’s agenda was a “Buy, Hire American” campaign.

The thrust of this new campaign is what you should be interested in: preference for domestically manufactured products so if your business involves the production of local products, then you will begin to feel this advantage soon.

As for those businesses who don’t produce their own but sell as a US firm, they still have nominal advantage being a US company – and they should grab it. The business environment in all industries has become so competitive because of the Internet, experts recommend using every advantage you can get to corner a piece of the market.

How to Maximize your Advertising ROI

When using online local business directories or local business listings, you should always factor in the return on your investment (ROI) – even with free ads! This is because with or without ad fees, you still spend time and effort creating and perfecting your content so you might as well get the most out of it.

Here’s how you can maximize ROI:

  • Perfect your SEO marketing
  • Make sure contact details are easy to find and read
  • Include certifications and awards
  • Don’t forget to offer some kind of marketing teaser like discounts or coupons
  • Solicit reviews and feedback
  • Respond quickly to inquiries and reviews

In addition, measure, analyze and improve your ads. Some of the stats you can measure are the number of people who respond to your local business listings, number of people that lands on your website or walks in to your business store, and revenues generated from the local business directories.

Customer Experience is King but So Are Your Employees

The people who respond to your ads and inquiries are customers and employees. Treat them right and they will happily buy from you or assist customers so they buy from you. You can set up your own online customer service or tie up with a company that can do it for you.

The latest stats on customer experience will prove that they can make or break your business:

  • 89% of customers shift to a competitor after a bad experience including a no response action
  • 86% would continue to do business if happy with the experience – and would recommend the business to their network
  • 84% are frustrated when they don’t get answers and 42% expect a response within one hour
  • And here’s the clincher: 57% would rather call a business than chat online or send an email

As for employee satisfaction, it isn’t just their pay grade that will make them empathize with your business goals, but the whole experience with the job and the business owner or manager. In fact, employee experience depends on three things:

  1. Work tools, software, technologies
  2. Environment
  3. Employer’s attitude towards employees

Meet all these and you will have people willing to work hard and stay committed to your business.

Finally, be active in managing your ads and business listings regardless of whether you are a home-based business, have a staff of one or employ more than 20 people.

Hidden Minefields to Avoid with Online Business Directories

IFALKLAND ISLANDS SPECIAL-PICTURE BY MARK RICHARDSn 2012, online web directories were de-indexed and this was a major blow to online listings for small directory websites that failed to follow the strict user experience requirement of Google. Web directories that were properly managed survived and flourished. Businesses that signed up with online business directories were richly rewarded and this continues on up to today.

One fact is certain: online business directories is a passive lead albeit some industries perform better than others because they are consumer goods or cater to a wider market. The beauty of online listing is that you work on it once making sure that it is a professional job – and you won’t have to worry about it until the next revamp. It’s just like a card game of Bridge which also uses passive leads. In this game, passive leads is defined as a move with little or minimal risk while in lead generation, passive refers similarly to leads generated from a marketing strategy that you don’t have to work on daily but is capable of producing positive results for years.

Belonging to an Online Database

Truly, there is strength in numbers. If you sign up with an online business directory like finduslocal.com you become part of a huge database that will help guarantee against short memories. Science will tell you that even people from your community will forget about your business (whether you’ve been in business for a month or ten years) if your brand is no longer visible or audible somewhere. This is why many mom and pop shops close down – lack of visibility and with the busy-ness of customers, they no longer have time to meander around aimlessly and chance upon your business by accident. You have to be easy to be found.

An online business directory is also beneficial for new customers who use their mobile phone and the Internet to search for places to go, stores to shop in, and suppliers to provide them with their needs. With mobile search, the power lies in online databases.

There are other reasons to put your business in relevant online business listings such as:

  1. Links from online directories are very effective. They will be like gold to your business because you can play around with them in your listings until you find the placement with the highest lead generation – and run with it!
  2. It’s part of brand imaging and will negate negative reviews and mentions.
  3. Being visible in a major database will tell everyone including your competitors that you’re here to stay and fight for your share of the market.

Fight for your Business

There’s another very important reason you should seriously consider being listed in a find US business directory: you will be able to protect your business’ reputation. Without an online presence, customers searching for your product will settle for the next best thing – which in all probability is your closest competitor! And there’s no telling what stories will be bandied about because no one can find you on the Internet. “Oh, they’ve closed down.” Or “They’re stuck in the past and will probably close down soon.” These are common comments heard about businesses that choose to stay offline completely and majority of them eventually close down.

Online business directories is almost like free advertising because your brand is visible 24/7 and will help optimize your business with search engines to improve online and foot traffic. In fact, history will show that it is possible to run a business successfully with online marketing alone provided Internet users can find you easily online.

Why Your Choice of Online Business Directory is Critical to Success

If you choose an online business listing website that can guarantee protection of your data, you will not fall victim to scams like business identity theft. Business identity theft can happen when an unscrupulous business person steals your listings and changes the address and contact details. This has happened several times to businesses across the globe who report a sudden drop in sales and inquiries.

A dependable, security-conscious listing website will always conduct risk management processes and be on the ball about security features to protect data and privacy. Thus, when selecting the website, do make it a point to ask questions and not stop until you are satisfied with the offer.

After Being Listed

A major minefield with online listings is failure to track activities. Find out how new customers discover your business. Analyze whether your content on the listing is drawing in traffic or has become too boring to be noticed. There are different ways to track your data using feedback, software, or apps. They key is to stay updated on the latest technology related to database listings.

This move will also prevent you from making the same mistake twice or attracting the wrong kind customers.

All About Local Business Directories and Your Local Shop

local-business-blog-375x270Running a local business is one of the most rewarding things you can do, but it comes with its own unique challenges. After all, unlike internet businesses, your customer base is limited to the people in your own city or town. And it’s not as easy to reach those people as it used to be. In the past, local business owners would simply need to run an ad in the community newspaper announcing the current sales or discounts, and have a display ad in the local yellow pages. Unfortunately for local business owners, these marketing tactics no longer are effective. Instead, local business owners should look to online advertising to bring in new business.

Why Should Local Business Owners Use Online Advertising?

It seem counterintuitive for local shop owners to reach out to potential customers online, doesn’t it? But the truth is, most people try to find US local businesses online these days instead of locally at local sources. For example, if someone were trying to find US local restaurants, they would look to their smartphone, tablet or laptop and enter the keywords into the search engine. That sounds simple enough, but what they often see is a mish mash of some local results mixed in with the websites of national chains, and articles about the topic.

Because of this, many consumers have become frustrated and turned to local business directories to find US businesses.

What are Local Business Directories?

To bypass the many issues people have trying to find US local shops and restaurants, local business directories were created. These local directories are designed to make it easy for people to find the local businesses they want. It works like this: a visitor is automatically shown only the results from their local area because quality sites like FindUsLocal.com use cutting edge GEO location technology to match the results with the visitor’s location.

Then, the visitor has the option of immediately looking for local businesses via the site’s search bar, or browsing through other features on the site such as event announcements, local news, and online reviews of the local businesses in their area. Keep in mind that not all local business directories offer all these features, but only quality sites like FindUsLocal.

How to Be Seen on Local Business Directories

As you can see, having your site listed on a local business directory is one of the best online advertising moves you can make. That’s because your business will be seen by countless local consumers who are looking for a shop or restaurant just like yours. But how can you ensure that your business is listed? Luckily, it’s pretty easy. Here are the simple steps you should take.

  • Decide on a quality local business directory like FindUSLocal. It’s important that your business is seen on local business directories that are used by consumers, and to do that, you’ll need to determine which ones are popular with them. One of the best indicators is what the local directory offers to its visitors. Some local directories only offer a search function, but others go beyond that to offer visitors everything they need in one location. For example, Find US Local offers local news, a place to leave and read online reviews, a listing of all the sporting events, plays, and concerts coming to that area—along with links to purchase tickets—and a comments section, which allows local business owners to interact in real time with local consumers.
  • Once you’ve decided on a few local business directories, go to the sites and sign up for a local business listing. Most sites offer these for free, and some even offer premium listings which will give you option of being seen even more by local consumers.
  • Complete your local business listing by including all of the pertinent details about your business. You should include your business name, address, phone number, website address, hours of operation, directions to the store, and photos if the local business directory allows them. It’s important that when you list on multiple directories that you enter the exact same information on all of them. For example, if your business name is ABC, Inc., you’ll need to determine whether or not to include the “inc.” on your local business directory listings. If you include it on some and leave it out on others, the search engine spiders won’t attribute the local listings to your business and that won’t help you in the search engine rankings. The same is true for your business address, phone number, and website—make sure the information you enter matches on every local business listing you create.
  • Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your local business listing. People typically feel a need to read a few good reviews about a local business before visiting it, and local business directories are the perfect place to read them. But most consumers won’t leave reviews unless they’re asked. Make it a habit to ask your customers to leave a review for your business every time someone makes a purchase. Soon, you’ll have all the local online reviews your business needs to gain the social proof new customers demand.
  • Interact with your visitors. Finally, when you create a local business listing on sites like FindUsLocal.com, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with your customers in real time by using the comments section on the site. This feature allows both business owners and visitors to leave comments about the business, which are shown in a live stream on the site. Visitors can tell others about the experience they had at the store, or give hints about products they’ve purchased there. And business owners can use the feature to announce sales, tell the locals when new products or services are offered, tell people about a new menu item, or even let the community know when the business is hiring. This feature can only be found on FindUsLocal.com and it’s one of those features that really sets the site apart from other local business directories.

How Local Business Directories Improve You Search Engine Rankings

In addition to providing a place for local consumers to find US local businesses easier, local business directories also help local businesses be found easier than on the large search engines. Remember we told you that local business listings are all too often mixed in with national chains and articles about the topic? There is a way to improve your chances of being seen, and of course the answer lies in local business directories.

It’s all about citations.

The large search engines rely on citations to determine how high up in the rankings to show local businesses. A citation is a mention of a business on places like local business directories. For example, if your business is listed on FindUsLocal, that is one citation that the search engine spiders will attribute to your business. Can you see why it’s so important to list your business exactly the same on all the local business listings you create? If they’re off just a little, the spiders won’t attribute them to your business, and you’ll miss out on the citation.

The more citations you have, the higher up in the search engine rankings you’ll appear when someone is trying to find US local businesses like yours.

Be sure to use keywords specific to your industry when creating your local business listing because that will bring it up in the local search results. For example, if you own a furniture store, you should include keywords like chairs, sofa, table, beds, and other things people look for in a furniture store. That way when they type those keywords into the local business directory search engine, your store will come up in the results.

Don’t Miss Out on Local Business!

The way to run a successful local store has changed dramatically in the past few years, and only those store owners who keep up with the times will continue to draw new customers to their shop. Don’t be one of the local shops that has to shutter its doors because of a lack of new business. Instead, head on over to FindUsLocal.com right now and create your first local business listing.

How Local Business Directories Bring Customers Through the Door

open-door-clipart-house-7Local business directories got a bad rap a couple of years ago when a major online SEO blogger twisted an answer from Google’s Matt Cutts, the search engine’s go-to guy when people have questions about Google’s algorithms. Matt was asked a question about the importance of the number of local business directory listings to where businesses end up on the search results pages. His answer, taken in context, explained that local businesses shouldn’t pay someone to list their businesses in hundreds of local business directories, and should focus instead on maintaining their listings on highly rated, good local business US directory sites.

That’s a pretty key difference in interpretation. In fact, search engine marketing experts have confirmed that Google – and other major search engines – do indeed take business directory listings into account when they post up the search results. Businesses with storefront locations are much more likely to rank high in search results when they’ve claimed and customized their listings in highly regarded local business directories and online review sites. While those local directory listings may be only one factor in local online marketing, they’re a pretty important part, largely because they contribute to so many other ways that prospective customers find a business.

Local SEO and Why It’s Important

Local SEO translates to “local search engine optimization” – specific things that business can do to help search engines like Google decide where they should show up on the search results page when someone is looking for a business in their area. For a long time, local business owners didn’t pay a lot of attention to online marketing – but that’s changed as more and more of their potential customers have taken to searching online for just about everything they want to do or buy.

The search engines have also upped their game when it comes to figuring out why a person is searching for something so that they can deliver the most relevant results. It used to be that the top search engine results nearly always listed national chains and advertisers with big budgets. That’s changed as they’ve gotten better at figuring out where a searcher is located, and why they’re searching for a particular item. While searchers used to have to enter a city name or some other clue to let Google know that they were looking for a place to order pizza rather than a recipe for pizza, the search engine algorithms have gotten pretty good at figuring out when searches have “local intent” – in other words, when the person searching is looking for a local business.

And those searches tend to lead to purchases. According to market research, about 70 percent of the time, when someone does a local search, they visit a store from the search results (or make a purchase) within 24 hours. The research is even clearer about local searches on mobile devices – more than 80 percent of local searches result in an in-store visit within 24 hours – and usually much sooner.

How Customers Decide Where to Go After a Local Search

Here’s the important part – it’s not enough for local businesses to get on the page with a search engine. It’s also important to land a spot near the top of the local listings. Research shows that people are most likely to click on – and follow through with – a visit to businesses that are listed near the top of the page when they do a search. Even more importantly, Google gives some businesses an extra boost if their business directory listings and online reviews meet high standards. In the past few years, the search engine has taken the highest ranked businesses from their Google maps and placed them at the very top of the search engine pages, with a special call out box that lists extra information about them.

How to Get Into the Local Pack

There are two major requirements for businesses that want to get a spot in that Local Pack and claim the benefits that go with it. First, they need to submit a listing to Google My Business, and optimize their business listing with as much detail as possible. This is Google’s on local business directory, so the search engine puts a lot of trust into businesses listed there. As a special added bonus, less than 10 percent of local businesses actually claim their GMB listing, so any local business that does starts out ahead of 90 percent of other local businesses.

In addition to GMB, local business owners should also list their businesses in as many relevant local business directories as they can – with the key word being “relevant.” Online directories like FindUsLocal are always relevant, and offer a double advantage for businesses that list with them. Not only do they get a boost in search engine rankings, they also reap the benefits of being found by potential customers who come directly to the website to find local events, read local news and start their day off with an inspirational quote.

Shop Local with Local Business Directories – Tips and Tricks to Help Find Local Businesses

Tips-and-TricksThe shop local movement has been in the news for a few years now, and with good reason. When consumers choose to shop locally, they’re contributing to a wide range of benefits for themselves, their community and for the world in general. Finding the best local businesses to patronize can be complicated, but local business directories, search engines and other tools make it far easier for consumers who’d rather support their neighbors with their dollars and business.

The Benefits of Shopping Local

Some of the benefits of local shopping are obvious. Others are a bit more obscure, but also more far-reaching. Shopping locally benefits the community financially, ecologically and culturally in many ways. These are just a few of the reasons to shop locally using USA business directory listings.

  • Spending with Local Businesses Keeps More Money in the Community. Local businesses keep more money circulating within the community. When consumers spend their money at big box stores, less than half of those dollars come back to the community, usually in the form of salaries and wages to employees. When that money is spent online at big chains or websites, even less of that money stays in the local economy. By contrast, one study found that for every $100 spent at locally owned businesses, $68 stays in the community. When consumers shop with small local businesses, they help their community prosper and thrive.
  •  Local Businesses Employ More People. While economists tend to focus on big national chains as job creators, the facts present a very different picture. Between 1993 and 2009, small businesses were responsible for 65 percent of all net new jobs. In fact, more than half of all jobs in the U.S. are provided by small, locally owned businesses of all kinds – and as the local food movement takes off, that percentage also includes farm jobs.
  • Communities that Support Local Businesses Build Long-Term Sustainability. Over the past several decades, cities and towns across the country have seen what happens when a major employer or industry moves out of the community. A thriving small business sector helps insulate communities from the devastating losses that have hollowed out so many industrial cities and towns. Because small businesses are more likely to source their raw materials and ingredients locally, hire locally and contribute to local organizations, they help form a sustainable base and improve the self-sufficiency of the entire community.
  •  Shopping Locally Is More Eco-Friendly. Local shopping benefits the ecology in a couple of ways. Businesses that source their products and services locally generally maintain a lower carbon footprint than big box stores that ship in their products from across the country. And since many local shops are within walking or biking distance, shopping local also tends to reduce the carbon footprints of consumers as well.
  •  Building Local Traditions and Culture Through Local Shopping. From family traditions to community-wide festivals, local businesses are the cornerstone of building local culture. Parents may take their kids out to a local restaurant after church every Sunday morning, or celebrate birthdays with a visit to a nearby entertainment center, where staff and owners know how to make the celebration special. In many communities, local businesses and craftspeople band together to put on seasonal festivals and activities that highlight the special talents and flavor of the city.

How to Shop Locally with the Help of a USA Local Business Directory

All local business directories are not created equal. Some are far more helpful in finding locally owned businesses than others. Many traditional business directories force users to click through layer after layer of searches to find businesses in their area. Newer business directories like FindUsLocal make it much easier. FindUsLocal.com uses geo-location browser technology to automatically show visitors businesses in their geographical area – no need to even enter a zip code. Even so, shoppers can benefit from a few tips and tricks to help them find exactly the local businesses they want to find.

Check the Front Page

Find Us Local automatically generates a front page that’s personalized for the visitor’s location. The page includes local business listings from some of the most popular categories. Click on the category for a list of business results in that category. Know the name – or partial name – of the business? Just enter it into the search box there. In addition, the front page features upcoming local concerts, sports events and theater productions.

Search the Categories

At the top of each category page, there’s a box where visitors can enter relevant search terms to help refine the local business directory listings. This can be especially handy in larger cities or broad categories.

Use Multiple Search Terms

Think a little outside the box. If a search for bakery doesn’t return many listings, try searching for “cake,” “cupcakes” or “pastries.”

Broaden the Search Geographically

When searching for local businesses, some directories allow customers to define how many miles distant they’re willing to travel. Find Us Local lets visitors refine their searches from within 2 miles to within 100 miles. They can confine searches to businesses within their own city, or broaden it to include the entire state. Keep in mind that some businesses list themselves under all the cities they service – but many only maintain a business listing for the town in which they are located. Broadening or narrowing the search can control the number of listings that are returned.

10 Important Things to Know About Google and Local Business SEO

Local-SEO-ServicesSomehow, people have the mistaken impression that local search engine optimization no longer matters. It may be because Google has gotten so good at deriving the intent of searches that it automatically delivers local business results at the top of search pages when it guesses that the user is looking for a nearby business. Here’s the thing that some folks have forgotten – just because you don’t need to stuff your page titles full of longtail local keywords doesn’t mean you don’t have to optimize. Google still needs to figure out where a business is located if it’s going to come up when someone nearby does a search with local intent. It’s not that local SEO no longer matters – it’s that Google has gradually been considering other factors, like local business directory listings, when deciding whether and where to place a business in the search results. What should you know about local SEO? Here are 10 important facts about local business listings and local search for every local business owner.

Quality Is More Important than Quantity

The conventional wisdom used to be the more the better – more keywords, more links, more business directory listings. That’s no longer true – in fact, too much of anything could incur a penalty from Google. When it comes to local business directory listings, for example, a business is better off being listed in half a dozen highly regarded local business directories than in hundreds of them.

Readability Is More Important than Exactly Matching Keywords

Google is more impressed with content that’s easy to read than with whether or not a page has the exact keyword phrase that someone typed into the search engine. User experience is king these days. As long as the Google bots can find the relevant keywords in fairly close proximity on a web page, the page will probably show up in the search results. So, go ahead and throw in modifiers that make content easier for people to read. That’s what Google is looking for.

Local Business Directory Listings Are a Key Factor in Being Found

Despite some mixed messages about local business directories from a few years ago, Google still relies a great deal on local listings when deciding whether a business is close enough to count as local when someone does a search. It’s just not necessary to be listed in hundreds of directories. Instead, businesses should try to be included in the business directories that make the most sense for their business, and those, such as FindUsLocal.com, that will pay off in other ways.

What business directories make sense? That depends a great deal on the particular business and industry. The number one recommendation, of course, is to get listed in Google’s on Google My Business pages. That’s important for just about any local business or professional. Beyond that, a local directory like FindUsLocal.com provides added features and functionality that brings customers directly to their pages and local business listings, making them a good choice for most kinds of business. Finally, there are local business directories that focus on particular industries and professions – law directories for lawyers, for example, and sites like Angie’s List for contractors and other skilled labor professionals. Listings in professional directories should always include the same details that would be listed in any local business directory – correct name, address, telephone, email and hours of operation.

Inconsistencies in Directory Listings Will Hurt a Business

…in more ways than one. Inaccurate information in local business directory listings confuses the search engines – and potential customers. While Google is much better these days at reconciling differences in spelling and typos, inconsistent listings can be a signal that a company is no longer in business, or that other information may be inaccurate. Making sure that the business name, address and contact information is exactly the same across a broad range of business listings helps with branding and identity, as well as ensuring that customers don’t land on the wrong doorstep.

However, that doesn’t mean a business owner should devote lots of resources and money in hunting down every last local business directory. Some search engine optimization companies still try to sell “directory listing management,” promising to get a business listed in hundreds of USA local business directories and maintain the listings. Instead of chasing down obscure directories, business owners are better served by making sure their info is accurate in the databases of large data providers, such as Acxiom, Infogroup , and Localeze.

Customer Reviews Are Vitally Important

Customer reviews used to be a nice thing to have. These days, customer reviews are among the main drivers of new customers. People are more likely to trust a business or product that has good reviews from form customers. If they want a boost in customers walking through the door, small business should do everything they can to encourage existing customers to review their businesses online. Those reviews translate into more exposure and more customers.

While a business wants the majority of its reviews to be good or excellent, research has shown that potential customers actually trust businesses with one or two lukewarm reviews MORE than they do those with 100 percent five-star reviews. After all, no one is perfect. When the reviews are nothing but gold, customers may have a sneaking suspicion that they’re not all genuine – or worse, that the business owner deletes bad reviews.

Genuine Local Businesses Have an Advantage Over Huge National Chains

One of the biggest complaints most people had about using search engines to find local businesses was that those small, locally owned companies were often swept out of the search results by big retail and restaurant chains with equally big budgets. That’s no longer the case. In fact, since about 2014, Google has been working to lift up small businesses with one or just a few locations rather than featuring the local branch of a national big box store. In other words, Bob’s Plumbing is more likely to show up at the top of a search than RotoRooter.

Community Connections Matter

When local businesses band together and boost each other, they all benefit. Joining organizations like the local Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce builds connections that extend to online local search engine optimization. Among other things, many business organizations manage an online local business directory, adding an important local signal to the information that Google collects. In addition, business owners that do good works and interesting things in their communities often end up in the local press – good local publicity, and another Google citation for the business.

Directions Are Important

One sure way to make sure Google knows where a business is located is to include directions and a map on its website. It sounds like a no-brainer, but many websites neglect this single important detail. Google makes it easy to embed a Google map on any web page, but don’t stop with the map. Writing directions allows the website owner to mention local landmarks, neighborhoods and cross streets that are extremely valuable in the growing area of mobile search.

Mobile Optimization Is Growing in Importance

More and more people are using their mobile devices to search for local businesses. In 2015, Google started considering mobile-friendliness when ranking web pages. Websites that are optimized for mobile get about a 5% boost in organic traffic, according to one major online marketing company. Google isn’t the only one that appreciates a website that is easy to navigate on a mobile device, though – customers prefer them, too. And since it’s now incredibly easy to optimize for mobile, there’s really no excuse not to do it.

Social Media Signals Boost Search Engine Ranking AND Customer Engagement

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram changed the face of local business marketing in a huge way. Many smaller local businesses don’t even bother with a website of their own, especially in the early stages. Instead, they focus on building a social media presence, particularly on Facebook. Facebook business pages help Google determine the locale and popularity of small businesses, and often come up fairly high in the search results when people are searching for a business by name. Social media savvy businesses keep customers engaged by posting frequently to their pages on Facebook, tweeting to their customers and posting photos on Instagram. In addition, Facebook encourages user ratings and reviews for businesses, which becomes a handy source of reviews and testimonials that can be transferred to local business directory listings and business websites. Twitter and Facebook both make it easy to link back to business websites, blogs and local business directories, inspiring more traffic and more business.

These 10 tips for local business SEO barely scratch the surface of the research and tactics a business can use when creating a local search marketing strategy, but they do hit the high points. Any business that’s on point with these 10 items will be on target to be found by the customers that matter most – those who are close enough to use their services.