Marketing a local business online isn’t as complicated as most business owners believe. In fact, contrary to what many so-called local SEO gurus want you to believe, most of the “rules” for bringing in customers using the Internet are pretty common sense. If that’s the case, why do so many people think it’s so complicated that businesses have to pay experts to do things like create local business directory listings and manage their online presence?
If you own a local business with a website, chances are you’ve been spammed with promises to get your business listed in “hundreds of local business directories” and help you “manage your business profiles” online. In many cases, those companies use strategies that aren’t particularly helpful – and may actually hurt your business’ online reputation. Paying someone to make sure your business is included in hundreds of business directories won’t necessarily hurt your business – but it probably won’t help much. Google tech executives have indicated that LOTS of listings on random business directories aren’t as effective as a handful of well-crafted listings on well-managed local business directories like FindUsLocal.com.
In other words, the key to good local SEO is quality over quantity. In addition, the best practices for creating a good local business directory listing look surprisingly like the best practices for good customer engagement. These six tips for creating a high quality local business directory listing – and using it effectively – are practical and easy to do.
Double Check Your Listing for Accuracy
You don’t have to be a top-notch copy writer to make your business look good in a business listing, but you do have to be accurate. Double check your listing to make sure that your contact information is correct, and that there are no misspellings or typos. No one expects you to write like an English major, but they do expect you to know how to spell the name of your own business. Spelling mistakes and typos make your business look sloppy and unprofessional – and a typo in your telephone number makes it far more difficult for your potential customers to contact you.
Add Photos If You Can
Dating website owners famously tell their registered users that “profiles with pictures get more clicks.” The same is true for businesses that add photos to their local business directory listings. A picture may not be worth a thousand words, but good pictures will definitely attract the attention of potential customers. Tailor the photos you choose to the type of business you run. Use your business logo to help cement your brand image and help your customers find your business quickly and easily among all the listings. Add photos of the outside of your building, especially if it’s a locally recognizable venue. Restaurants might feature photos of their best-selling menu items. Shops could include interior photos showing product displays. Professionals such as lawyers, accountants and real estate agents – businesses that rely on client trust – could include a head shot, or an “action shot” of the business owner doing what they do best.
Provide Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Business reviews and testimonials are marketing gold. Satisfied customers are still the very best advertising for any business, and that’s truer than ever these days. These days, potential customers typically check online reviews before they buy just about anything. Local business directory sites like FindUsLocal.com often give business owners a place in their listing pages to show off testimonials and business reviews, so take full advantage of it. It’s no different than framing that great newspaper article about your place and hanging it on your wall.
Speaking of online reviews, do claim your business listing at major review sites for your industry and encourage your customers to post reviews on them. Use those reviews to gauge what your business is doing well and where it might be missing the mark. Just as importantly, take advantage of the opportunity to engage with your customers. Thank them for positive reviews, tell them how nice it was to serve them, and if you find a negative review, ask the customer to contact you so you can address their concerns.
Write a Good Business Description
The business description you write will often appear as the snippet of information that’s included in search results, so make it a good one. Keep the length in mind – in most cases, you’ll only have a short sentence or two to convince people you’re the best choice for their needs. Think of it as your elevator pitch, or your Unique Selling Proposition – short, sweet, and to the point.
A good local business directory listing does double duty when it comes to raising your business profile online. When you take the time to craft an engaging business listing, your business will benefit both from being more visible on that particular local business directory – it will also be far more likely to show up and attract attention when people search for your business on Google or other search engines.