Tag Archives: local business directory

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!

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.

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.

3 Surefire Ways To Draw In Millennial Customers

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAzqAAAAJDBiY2RmNGU1LWYwZmUtNDI4My04MDE5LWZjODVhYzBmNjc2MgBased on most recent surveys, about 82% of Millennials shop online with the belief that they will be able to tag better deals on the Internet. However, this 2017, there has been a shift in attitude – 92% of Millennials plan to shop in physical stores for the holidays using local business listings posted online as  their data source! There is an evolution that is taking place and it’s going to revive the traditional holiday spirit with a twist. Shoppers plan to do both online and in-store shopping which will benefit businesses with both physical store and online presence. This suggests that when shoppers find and visit your store to get the item they saw online, chances are high that they will make additional purchases – depending on the skills of your merchandisers and salespeople.

Expanding your market to attract Millennials does not have to entail trying to match the marketing budget of the giants in the retail industry. There’s a smarter way to approach this challenge.

First, adapt to the generational gaps. The demographics of US shoppers are composed of Baby Boomers (53+ years old), Gen X (aged 38 to 52), Millennials (aged 22 to 37), and Gen Z (under 21). Each generation has its own specific interests, particularities, and preferences. For instance, if you want to reach out to Gen Z, you should focus on two marketing approaches: social media and personalized emails. For Millennials, more than social media, they lean towards loyalty, quality, and personalization. As for Gen X, it’s more about convenience and for Baby Boomers, they want it all – discount, quality, convenience, and variety but don’t exactly give much importance to social media.

All generations have one thing in common: generally speaking, they are all receptive to using the Internet which is where FindUsLocal.com comes in.

The Incomparable Value of Local Business Directories & Local Business Listings

As the world has become a global village, many international buyers will want to find US local businesses especially with local customers fast becoming dissatisfied with existing products in their respective countries. Tourists and foreign guests who have no personal connections are rarely satisfied with getting tips from hotel concierges since many have their personal hidden agendas. Instead, they scour the Internet for deals, choices, and opportunities. This is where aggressive online USA listings will locate and contact you.

Locals also shop in the same manner and business listings will add value and increase online visibility to your business without straining your budget. In effect, you get to sweep a large margin of your target market with one website using local marketing advertising.

Second, offer enticing trade-offs. One way to attract Millennial shoppers is to offer tempting deals. However, to gain access to your deals, there has to be a trade-off: you get to choose. Ask for:

  1. Their email address
  2. Sign up and subscribe
  3. Location

With a choice of these three options that are Millennial-friendly, research shows that over 50% of Millennial shoppers will agree to giving you something.  Have you heard of location or geomarketing?

This is a marketing technique that targets mobile phone users. According to PEW studies, by the end of 2017, majority of Americans will own a smartphone and be using it at least three hours a day from an average of 7 minutes a day in 2011. Millennials already can’t live without their gadgets. In fact, for many, they would rather lose their wallet than their gadgets.

Of that three hours daily on mobile gadgets, users are spending at least 20 minutes on networking, and the rest of the time on work, apps and browsing the Internet and checking new local business listings. By tapping the potential of location marketing, you can target people who are near your physical store to drop by for a few minutes to check out the deals you have to offer!

Third, understand the Millennial shopper mindset. About 66% of Millennials don’t shop for essentials if they can avoid it. Many would rather spend excess cash on concert tickets, nice dinners, and tech devices – as these have become their status symbol instead of clothing and accessories.  Nonetheless, considering that by 2036 the population of Millennials will peak at over 81 million with an expected spending of $1.4 trillion. Thus, even if clothing and accessories are not priority, they will still bring in tons in sales and revenues.

Some of the top recommendations on how to market to the Millennial mindset include:

  • Market events, not products
  • Promote a cause over a new product launch
  • Share a social human interest photo or story instead of posting marketing hype
  • Add attractions related to health, fitness, wellness, adventure, new experiences to draw in a Millennial crowd

And if you plan on using local business directories or local business listings, be creative! Don’t settle for a text only publication, a website with business listings that is not  marketing aggressively, or a company that relies solely on traditional media.

 

The 5 Most Important Features in a Quality Local Business Directory

The bestOnline business directories are now more important than ever because the world gets a substantial portion of its information online. We are just beginning a new information revolution where individuals everywhere are using their smartphones, tablets, and desktops to get all kinds of information, and this includes getting local business listings.

But these days, no one has the time to find a phone book and thumb through all the sections to look up a business listing. Chances are, because today’s local business owners don’t advertise in the phone book anymore, the people won’t be able to find local businesses that they want. And because there are so many versions of the “yellow pages” in every city, people don’t know which one to choose—and no one wants to flip through multiple phone books just to find US local business phone numbers.

Local Business Listings to the Rescue

However, when looking up local business listings on the internet, it seems rather obvious that the online local business directories are far easier to navigate than the old school paper directories that the previous generations once used. This creates many new ways for local business owners to boost your sales in ways that used to be impossible.

In order to do this, you need to be aware of the most important pieces of information that your customers seek, so you can create the most effective local marketing and advertising strategies relevant to your business. That’s why we want to talk about the five most important things that people are looking for when searching business directories.

The Name of Your Business

This one seems like a no-brainer, but quite often people overlook this important detail because it is so obvious. If nobody knows your name, then how are they going to know you even exist? This is why it is so important to have your company’s name clearly displayed in local business listings, so customers can discover you and begin to understand your brand.

The Location of Your Business

This is probably the single most important piece of information for people trying to find US local businesses. In other words, if someone doesn’t know where your local business is located, they won’t be able to find your business. You should also remember that if your place of business is hard to find, you should include some directions that will help them get to the store. You should always make everything as easy as possible so that more people will be able to do business with you. The last thing you want is for someone to have problems finding your place of business.

Your Business Hours

Are you open at six in the morning? Are you open at night? Only on weekends? This crucial data is vital to the consumers trying to find US local businesses, and you should include it in your local business listing so people can plan to visit your local business during your operating hours. This another just another way you can optimize your listings in local business directories.

Your Contact Information

Today’s consumers want to be able to get in touch with you. Many times they want information about detailed minutia, and sometimes, they just want to talk to you so they can get a better idea about what you and your employees are like. Whatever the reason may be, people need to communicate with a live person (or at least a recording) before taking the plunge and actually going to your location.

Local business directories provide a way for you to present this information in a way that is convenient and easy to find for consumers.

Reviews for Your Local Business

Online reviews about the goods or services that local businesses offer are all the rage on the internet right now. These honest reviews will often determine whether or not someone will choose your business over your competition. This is why it’s so important that local business owners provide a place where satisfied customers to leave them. When your business is listed on a local business directory, you’ll provide that place for your customers to leave these all-important reviews.

So after all is said and done, your business needs to be listed on a quality local business directory like FindUsLocal.com so you can make as many connections as possible and grow your customer base. By being listed in the proper business directories, you can be certain that you will reach a large amount of people who are looking for the goods or services that you have to offer.

 

So make sure that all these details are easy for people to find, and you will greatly increase the odds of your business continuing to grow and thrive in your community.

 

How to Make Your Local Business Listing Stand Out from the Crowd

Local-Directory-Listings-in-NYYou probably know by now just how important it is to claim your business listings on quality local business directories so new customers can find your store. But what you may not realize is that there is an art to creating a business listing, and if you don’t do it right, you may not see the results you’d hoped for. If you’re going to take the time to create your listing, don’t you want to get all the new business that you can from it? That’s why we’ve created this guide—to help you not only create your local business listing, but to show you how to optimize it so that you get all you can from it.

But before we show you how to optimize your local business listings, let’s talk about why you should create them in the first place.

Why You Need a Local Business Listing

In a culture where everyone goes online to find US local businesses, it only makes sense to do all you can to ensure that they find your business when they look for one like yours. But in the past, that wasn’t easy because the large search engines like Google and Bing don’t make it easy to find local businesses. Instead, the results people find on those search engines often include national chains or even articles and blogs written about the topic.

These days, if you want to find US local businesses, you’ve got to turn to local business directories. These local directories make it easy for consumers to find businesses like yours because it’s all they do—show people the local businesses in their area.

And the foundation of these directories are the local business listings that are created by business owners. And that’s what we’re talking about in this article.

What are Local Business Listings?

A local business listing is like a modern day phone book ad—only better. These listings include the name, address, phone number, and other relevant information about the business, and consumers use them to decide whether or to visit a store or restaurant. And luckily, setting them up is easy. Simply go to a quality local business directory like FindUsLocal.com and claim your business, then fill in all the details you can. As soon as you do it, your business will be listed on the directory and local consumers will be able to find you.

But there’s one more element to the local advertising and marketing equation—in order to see success with your local business listing, you need to optimize it. And that’ what we’ll talk about next—5 ways to optimize your local business listings.

Pick the Right Directory

There are a lot of local business directories out there, but you don’t want your business listed on some of them. For example, so local directories are only a database of local businesses, and most of the information is incorrect on them. This can hurt your search engine rankings, so if you come across a local business directory like that, you should shy away from it. Instead, look for one that caters to consumers so they’ll be more likely to use it. For example, one of the best local business directories is FindUsLocal.com. This directory caters to consumers so much that many of them start their day by logging on. It offers all of the local news, announcements about upcoming sporting events, concerts, and plays in their area—along with links to make it easy for them to buy tickets-and they even offer a funny name of the day feature and inspirational thoughts to start off each day. When you’re business is listed on a quality directory like that, you’ll get a lot more eyes on your business—and that means a lot more people walking through your door.

Think About the Details

Studies show that the more details a local business listing has, the more consumers will trust it. And as you know, when a consumer trusts a business, they are more likely to buy from it. That’s why your local listing should include every detail possible. For example, aside from the obvious—your business name, address, and telephone number—be sure to include other details such as your hours of operation, which products you carry, a website URL if you have one, photos, and directions to your business.

Create Your Local Business Listings the Right Way

Some people create their business listings and wonder why they never see any real results from them. The answer is simple—they must be done correctly or the search engine spiders will pass them by and never attribute them to your business. What do I mean? Here’s how it works.

In order to determine the search engine ranking of a local business, the large search engines like Google and Bing deploy search engine spiders that crawl the web looking for citations. A citation is a mention of a business on a reputable site. The more citations they find for a business, the higher up in the search engine rankings they will list them. That’s why it’s so important to list your business on as many quality local business directories as possible. But don’t gloss over the key word: quality. If you list your business on some of the database type directories we mentioned earlier, that could actually hurt your ranking because those directories aren’t considered reputable by the search engines.

Pay Attention to the Details

When you create your local business listing, you’ll need to ensure that you list your business the exact same way every time. If you don’t those search engine spiders we talked about earlier will pass by the citations and not attribute them to your business. For example, if you list your business as Cupcakes, Inc. on some local business directories and Cupcakes on others, half of your citations won’t be credited to your business, and that will affect your search engine rankings. And that doesn’t only matter with your business name. Your street name, phone number, and website address must also match. That means if you use the area code on some listings, you must use it on all of them. And if you address is Main Street, don’t list your business as Main ST on some listings.

Use Your Local Business Listing to Get Reviews

Finally, once you have created your perfect local business listing, you’ll need to drive your customers there to leave online reviews for your business. These reviews are so important to today’s consumers that many won’t even consider visiting a local shop, restaurant, or service business without first reading a few of them. And the good news is that it’s not difficult to convince your customers to leave reviews for your business. In one recent study, those asked said that they would happily leave a review for a local business if they were asked. That’s why you see so many local shops asking customers to leave a review for their business at the checkout line. Should you implement this policy in your store?

Have You Created Your Local Business Listings?

If you haven’t yet taken this important step, you should drop everything and visit FindUsLocal.com today to begin the process. Remember, you only want to list your business on quality local directories, and then follow the steps listed above to optimize them so you’ll get the best results.

3 Ways to Increase Your Local Business Sales Today

How-to-Increase-Sales-and-Audience-Using-Targeted-Local-Sales-AdsAre you tired of waiting for customers to walk in the door of your local business? Have you tried all of the tried and true marketing and advertising methods that used to work, only to find that they just don’t bring in new business like they used to? Maybe you operate a local business that’s been in the family for years, and don’t understand what you’re doing wrong. Your sales are down and you fear that all the years of hard work have been for nothing.

If this sounds like you, we’ve got some great news. Yes, it’s true that the old advertising and marketing methods don’t work anymore, but it’s not because they’re bad methods, it’s because consumer behavior has changed so drastically over the past few years and they don’t turn to the local phone book or community newspaper anymore. Instead, they look online when they want to find US local businesses.

What does that mean for your local shop or restaurant? It means that if you want to succeed in today’s internet obsessed culture, you’ve got to be seen online. Knowing that, it only makes sense that most of your marketing and advertising dollars are spent online. But here’s the crazy thing, the most effective way to get your local business seen online is free.

How to Get Free Online Advertising

In a world where the best things typically cost a lot of money, isn’t it good to know that you can effective online advertising for free? Here are 3 ways that you can not only get an online presence so your business can be found, but also bring in new customers so your store or eatery will thrive.

Find a Good Local Business Directory

You’ve probably heard of the importance of claiming your local business listing on a local directory, but what you may not have heard is that it matters which one you choose. For example, some local business directories are simply data bases filled with often incorrect information about businesses across the nation. While the concept works in theory, these data bases actually can hurt your search engine rankings unless you correct them.

Instead of using one of these cookie cutter directories, look for local business directories that give consumers a reason to use them—that way your business is more likely to be seen because you’ll have that all-important online visibility. For example, FindUsLocal.com is a business directory that go to great lengths to give consumers what they want so that the business owners who create their local business listing there will benefit from it.

Drive Your Customers to Your Local Business Listing

Once you’ve created your local business listing, you’ll need to drive your customers to the directory in order to leave reviews for your business. This is important for two reasons. First, when you have online reviews, it gives your business credibility in the eyes of consumers—and that makes them more likely to visit your store. And most studies show that many people won’t even consider visiting a local shop unless they’ve read some good reviews about it. Secondly, every time someone leaves an online review for your business, that pings the large search engines, such as Google and Bing, that your local business listing is active. And active listings always get more attention from the search engines than stales one.

Use the Local Business Directory to Communicate with Local Consumers

Finally, in order to keep your business fresh and current, you can use the Comments on local business directories like FindUsLocal. The feature allows you communicate the latest news to local consumers—and the best thing about it? It’s free and easy to use. Simply log onto your local business listing and scroll down until you see the option to leave a comment, and then use it to tell your community about a current sale, a job opening, or a new product that’s just arrived.

Local business directories are one of the best ways to build a quick online presence, and amazingly, you can use them for free. Get started by visiting FindUsLocal.com and filling out your business details. Then follow the above listed steps and soon you’ll have new customers walking through your doors!

Links Are Dead. Long Live The Link.

LinksWe’re not far from 2018 and if you’re reading this blog there is a pretty good chance you’ve heard about how important links are to your business website. As search engines evolve and update their algorithms, the one constant has been the importance of the all powerful link. But that doesn’t mean that all links are created equally and it doesn’t mean that links themselves haven’t evolved as well. In fact, sometimes a link isn’t a link at all. That’s where citations come in.

Local Citations are Important

As we’re previously discussed, local citations are essentially mentions of your business name on any website. Ideally, those citations are listed with accurate contact information such as your phone number and address and within a context that is relevant to your industry. If you can include a link to your website, that’s great. If not, you’ve still attained an important citation that in some cases can be equally as valuable as a link to your website.

The rising importance and popularity of local business citations is clear when we look at Google Trends. See the screenshot below which shows the increasing search volume for the phrase “local citations.” The trend is clear and there is no evidence it will slow in the near future. This makes it increasingly important to get high-quality citations and links from reputable websites. But simply acquiring a high volume of citations and links isn’t always enough.

Talk to any child around their birthday and you’ll quickly learn that age matters. The same holds true for links and citations. If we think about links and citations as votes, the sooner you obtain those votes the better. Yes, the search engines will index your links but when was the link published? If you run a landscaping company and acquire a local citation/link on a major local business directory such as FindUsLocal  that qualifies as a vote. But if your landscaping competitor published their own citation and/or link four years before you, that’s a problem.

That’s why it’s not only important to sign up for local business listings but to do so in a timely manner. There is no finish line in local SEO but there is absolutely an advantage to starting the race sooner. Any reputable SEO company or freelancer is going to review your existing links and citations to gauge the competition level for your industry. While it’s true they can often replicate your link portfolio, they cannot jump in a time machine publish it before you do. As previously mentioned, not all links are created equally and quite simply an older link is more valuable than a fresh link if all other metrics are equal.

Once you start your link and citation building campaign, don’t focus solely on directory submission sites. Those, such as FindUsLocal, are fundamental to local SEO but it’s counter-effective if the NAP (name, address, phone number) doesn’t exactly match the information on your directly owned web properties. Those include your website and social media profiles. This may sound basic but it’s not uncommon for people to make simple mistakes (such as leaving out Suite #s) or transposing the digits within a zip code. You want a consistent citation profile. This increases the confidence Google and Bing have that your business is legitimate and reputable.

If not all links are created equally, it stands to reason that not all link sources are created equally. Context matters in local SEO and that’s why you must target websites and directories that are hyper-local. Again, if a link is essentially a vote then a link from a local directory site is much more valuable than a link from your nephew’s old Myspace profile. Find directories that have an established history and require some sort of verification. If you have the ability to control the anchor text of your newly created link, chances are strong that link is essentially a spam link.

Legitimate directory sites verify listings and NAP information while displaying profiles in a context that makes sense for humans. It’s very easy to spot the local business directories that are created solely for search engines. Typically they contain hundreds of links on a single page and require reading glasses because the font size is vastly too small. If it seems obvious to you that a directory site is little more than spam, you can rest assured that Google and Bing has figured this out as well. If your link and citation profile has a large percentage of these type of links, it is unlikely your rankings and organic search traffic will increase.

In closing, reading blogs like this and submitting to local business directories such as FindUsLocal are tremendous first steps. But remember to be consistent when filling out your local listings and be diligent when selecting the sites you target. That attention to detail will ultimately be rewarded with qualified traffic because Google and Bing will likely rank your site. So don’t worry about reaching a finish line but do worry about starting the race as soon as possible.

How Local Citations on Local Business Directories can Boost Your Rankings

The art of running a local business doesn’t look anything like it did a mere 10 years ago. Back then, all you had to do was ensure that you had a decent sized ad in the local phone book, and run a few ads in the community newspaper. But those days are gone and today’s successful local business owners make sure that their store, restaurant or service business can be found online by engaging in online advertising.

But a little known secret that most local business owners don’t know is that citations play a key role in whether or not potential customers can find your business online. Let’s first talk about what citations are, and then talk about the role they play in your business and how to get them.

What are Local Citations?

In its simplest form, a citation is a mention of your business on the internet. But not all local citations are the same, and in order to positively affect your business’ search engine rankings, you’ll need the right citations. For example, when your business is listed on a quality local business directory, that’s considered a positive and effective citation. But when it’s mentioned on your Aunt Betty’s Facebook page, not so much.

Why are Local Citations so Important?

The major search engines like Google and Bing operate with algorithms. Those algorithms are software programs that anticipate and analyze the vast information on the web in order to rank the millions of websites there. And one of the key things the algorithm uses for local businesses is citations.

You see, the search engine deploys “spiders” to crawl the web and look for local citations, and the more it finds for a local business, the more importance it places on that business. And as you probably know, when a major search engine deems a website or local business important, that means it will show up higher in the search engine results.

What can you do to be thought of as important by the search engine spiders? If you guessed citations, you’re correct.

How to Get Local Citations

Now that you understand just how important local citations are to your local business success, let’s talk about how to get them. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to get a few good citations that will boost your business in the search engine rankings. Here are 3 steps that will give you instant results.

  • Search out quality local business directories. Since having a good local business listing is one of the best ways to get effective citations, you’ll need to identify a few good local business directories. Look for directories that utilize GEO location technology on their site, so consumers will automatically see the results from their local area. And look for a local directory that offers consumers more than just local listings. For example, FindUsLocal.com uses the cutting edge location technology, and offers consumers all kinds of special features to keep them coming back again and again.
  • Once you choose a few local business directories, it’s time to create your local business listings. To do so, simply claim your business on the directory and then fill in as many details as you can. Remember, the local business listings that offer consumers all the details they want, like the business address, phone number, and hours of operation, are the most effective.
  • After you’ve set up your local business listings, it’s time to promote them. Ask your current customers to leave online reviews, and interact with them in real time by using the comments section on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. There is a difference between online reviews and the comments section, so be sure to visit the local directory to learn how to use each of them.

Local business directories play an important role in today’s local business success, and if you haven’t already set up your local business listing at a quality directory like FindUsLocal.com, isn’t it time to get started? Simply log onto the site, and then claim your local listing. Then, follow the steps listing above and watch how new customers find your store and visit it to make purchases. Soon, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t create your local business listing a long time ago!