Tag Archives: local business listings

Forbes on Local SEO – Local Business Directory Listings Are Important

121856-1OpP0Q1395155684When it comes to business topics, few publications carry more credibility than Forbes magazine, one of the most-read sources for news about financial, investment and marketing advice. So when the Forbes Business Council – a group of acknowledged leaders in those fields – offered 15 tips on improving local SEO, it wasn’t the least bit surprising that a clear one-third of those tips referred directly to local business directory listings – and several others referenced elements that relate to local business directories.

Why Managing Local Business Directory Listings Is Important to Local Business Marketing

As might be expected from a major publication, a great deal of the advice offered by the Forbes experts was aimed at making your business more visible in the search engine results. The simple fact is that when people look for just about any type of service or product these days, the first thing they do is Google it, or search for it on one of the other major search engines. Anything you can do that helps search engines understand the services you offer and geographical markets you serve is guaranteed to improve your visibility in the search engine rankings.

A Good Local Business Directory Is More Than Local SEO

But there’s more to local business marketing than getting your business to appear in the featured listings when someone does a Google search for the services or products you provide. The other side of the equation is making sure your business ads appear where your customers are already likely to be reading. While many businesses take out ads on local websites – and that’s also an important part of good local online marketing, it’s also very valuable to take advantage of the free business listings offered by larger online local business directory websites like FindUsLocal.com.

Unlike sites that purely cater to businesses, Find Us Local has positioned itself as a valuable resource for your customers. In addition to a comprehensive database of local businesses, sites like Find Us Local focus on being useful to local residents and consumers. The front page of the business directory functions more like an all-in-one-place for your local customers to find out what’s happening in their city, town or neighborhood. There’s a round-up of local news stories, local weather, and upcoming events that are specific to their geographic location. Elements like these are “glue” – they make a website “sticky” by offering features that bring people back over and over again.

When you run a business that relies on customers who live within a few miles of you, this is the kind of website where you want your business to appear prominently. You want people to see your business name frequently so that it becomes familiar, so that it’s the first name that comes to mind when they need someone who provides your services. Not only will a business listing on a local business directory help search engines find your business, it will help your customers find you when they need you.

So About Those Local SEO Tips…

The tips offered by the Forbes business experts break down into a couple of different categories – ways to improve your local business listing, and ways to improve your position in the local search engine results, so let’s take a look at those two elements separately.

Tips for Getting Found on Google (and Other Search Engines)

Good local search engine optimization is a combination of both on-page elements – things you can do on your own website – and off-page elements – things on other websites that help search engines learn more about your business and services. The first is completely under your control. No one but you (or the person/company that manages your website) can make changes to what appears on your website. These five things are all things to do when you’re creating or updating your business website.

  1. Put Your Location in Your Page Titles

When people see your business in a Google search, the page title is in big print at the top of the result. It should reference both your services and your geographical location. You want them to see something like Dr. Ada Greene – Pediatric Dentist in Albany. A page title like that tells both your potential new patients and the search engines what you do and where you do it.

  1. Put Your Address On EVERY Page

Take a little space at the top or bottom of every page on your website to list your business address and contact details. If you’re building it yourself using a template, look for the “header” or “footer” section. Those are pieces that will appear at the top or bottom of every single page when people visit your website.

 

  1. Add a Find Us Page to Your Website

Or include written directions and/or a Google map on your contact page. Again, this is a clear signal to search engines that your business is located in a specific geographical area. More importantly, it helps your customers find your office, store or restaurant.

 

  1. Take Advantage of Tags with Your Location and Business

There are lots of places on your website where you can insert your city, neighborhood or region. Every photo or graphic on your website, for example, can have tags that tell search engines what the picture is about. In the “alt text” tag, for example, you can write “photo of Sweet Bakery, Las Cruces.” You can use the “Description” tag for every page on your website the same way.

 

  1. Add Local Keywords to Your Page Content

When writing directions to your store, refer to local landmarks – “across the street from Crompton Field” helps your potential customers find you, and serves as another local reference to help search engines associate your business more strongly with your city or town.

You don’t have as much control over what appears about your business on websites controlled by others, but there are lots of ways to influence those references – and get lots of quality, incoming links. Unsurprisingly, many of these tips are more about being a part of your local community than they are specifically about online marketing. These are five ways to improve offsite local SEO.

  1. Get Coverage in Local Media

When your business appears on the websites of your local newspapers, blogs and other media, your reputation with search engines gets a big boost. That doesn’t mean paying for ads – it means doing things that local reporters and bloggers want to write about. Don’t just count on them noticing that you sponsor the cheerleaders at the local high school, though. Give local reporters a heads-up when those cheerleaders appear at a local event, for example, and suggest they might want to cover it.

 

  1. Do Things in Your Community

Give a talk at the Chamber of Commerce or other local business organization’s meeting. Organize local businesses to do a Community Giveback Day. Sponsor a contest for local vendors, or get involved in one. Those things boost your profile locally, and can be lots of fun for you and your employees. The additional payoff – high profile incoming links that connect to your business website.

 

  1. Cultivate Relationships with Local Media

Get to know local reporters and columnists and drop them a line when your business is doing something in the community. You want to be in their contact lists so that when they need a comment on something for a story – say, a feature article about holiday shopping or about neighborhood revitalization – they’ll pick up the phone and call you.

 

  1. Join the Local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or Other Business Organization

Many local business organizations maintain local business directories for members. You absolutely want to be listed there.

 

  1. Encourage Your Customers to Review Your Business Online

Customer reviews are huge factors in both your business’ reputation and its visibility online. Keep in mind that people are more likely to complain than compliment – it’s just human nature – but you can offset that by specifically ASKING satisfied customers to rate your business on review sites. Those reviews are local SEO gold. Not only will they provide a link back to your business, you can feature the best of them in your local business directory listings and on your website.

Best Local Business Directory Listing Practices

Google relies on “citations” to help it place local businesses in a geographic area. Among the best citations are local business directory listings. Taking control of your local business profiles doesn’t take much time or effort, and the results are better visibility for your business and more customers coming through your door. These five tips will help you make the most of local business directory listings.

  1. Claim Your Google My Business Profile

Your Google My Business profile is what shows up when someone in your area searches for someone local that provides a service they need. It’s to your benefit to claim that profile and make it attractive. You’ll need to provide a street address for your profile to set up a listing. Once you do, you can list it in a category, add contact information, business hours and photos that show your business at its best.

 

  1. List Your Business at Multiple Business Listings

Claim your business profile on all the major local business directories and on review sites. Make sure you pay attention to industry-specific catalogs – contractors, professional directories, etc. Every local business directory listing is a mini-landing page where customers can find and learn about your business.

 

  1. Make Sure Information Is Accurate

Inaccurate information can make your business less credible. Check your business listings on the most visible online business directories and review sites and make sure that the address, contact information and business details are consistent across all of them.

 

  1. Beyond Local Business Directory Lisitings

When you Google your business, you’ll often see local business listings on websites you don’t know or haven’t listed yourself on. Those local business directories get their information from a variety of data providers, such as Infogroup and Acxiom. Claim your business with those data providers, and make sure that your contact information and business details are accurate and up to date.

 

  1. Respond to Your Business Reviews

One of the most important things you can do on an ongoing basis is to check the reviews left for your business and respond to them. When you respond to reviews left on your business profiles, you’re letting potential customers know that you are involved and that you care enough.

Your Local Business Directory Listing – How It Makes a Difference for Your Business

business-directoryA few months back, one of the best-known online marketing sites made a startling declaration – Google doesn’t care about local business directory listings. That would be awful news to the many business owners who’ve invested time and energy in updating their local business directory listings – if it were an accurate statement. Like so many other news stories these days, though, it’s not quite accurate.

The premise in the article was based on one small part of an answer from a Google top-tier search engine exec – and it was taken completely out of context. The statement implied that businesses shouldn’t worry about getting listed in local business directories, but he was answering a question about those shady companies that offer to get your business listed in hundreds of local business directories. Taken in context, it’s obvious that Google most certainly does care about local business directory listings – but you don’t need to be listed in hundreds of business directories. As with anything else, it’s a matter of quality over quantity.

Why Local Business Directory Listings Matter

Your listings in local business directories matter on two very different fronts. On the one hand, they help Google find you when someone in your immediate area uses the search engine to find a business near them that offers the services or products they need right now. The more links they find with your business address, the more likely it is that the algorithm will “believe” that your business is where you say it is. Listing your business on quality local business directories makes it more likely that your business will pop up when someone in your neighborhood is looking for your services.

Of course, search engines aren’t the only ones looking at local business directories, especially if those directories offer more than just business listings. Websites like FindUsLocal.com offer a great deal more than a searchable database of business listings. They offer a streamlined local user experience that’s far closer to the old-time Web portals that put links to everything important on one page so users could find exactly what they needed on one page. Listing your shop or office on a site like Find Us Local offers extra benefits – not only are you amplifying your signal to the search engines, you’re also putting your business ads in front of the people who are most likely to become your new customers – the people who live within a few miles of you.

How Your Business Gets Listed on Random Local Business Directory Sites

If you do a basic search for your business name online, chances are you’ll find links to all sorts of unexpected websites, many of which you’ve never heard. That’s because there are dozens of local business directories trying to cash in on traffic directed to them by search engines. How did your business get on them, and what should about it?

Most online business directories start with a database populated with listings of businesses pulled from publicly available sources. You don’t actually have to do a thing to get listed with them – it’s automatic. In most cases, those listings won’t help you a whole lot, and they’re not likely to hurt your search engine ranking UNLESS the information in them is inaccurate.

That’s because one of the major things that search engine algorithms look for is consistency. If the listing has an outdated phone number an inaccurate address, it shakes the reliability of the information the search engine uses to determine if you’re a business its users want to find.

So what should you do? In most cases, these directories make it easy for you to update the information about your business. More often than not, you just have to fill out a free registration form to be able to access your listing and correct any misinformation.

The Local Business Directory Listings that Make a Difference

There are a few places you absolutely should be listed, and should put a little more effort into creating an engaging business listing. These sites are ones that can have a major effect on whether or not Google, Bing and other search engines show your business when someone local is searching for your services.

Local Chamber of Commerce or Business Directory

Your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or other social service/business organization probably has an online business directory specific to your city, town or region. Yes, you should make sure your business is listed with them. A listing on this type of local business directory is a strong signal to Google that your business really does exist.

Google My Business Page

As you would expect, Google gives its own local business directory a lot of credibility. It doesn’t take a lot of time to set up an engaging, accurate business listing on Google My Business, and it’s time well-spent.

Local Newspaper/Media Organization

If your local newspaper has a local business directory, your business should be listed in it. Newspapers – even online – are still one of the places that your customers look for information.

Review and/or Professional Business Listings

If you’re in the hospitality industry – a restaurant, tourist attraction, bed-and-breakfast or hotel, your business should be listed on the major review sites for your industry. Likewise, if you’re a professional – a lawyer, accountant, doctor, dentist, etc. – you should have your name and contact details listed in local business directories for your profession.

High Profile Local Business Directories

Finally, choose a few high-profile local business directories that offer engaging content and information for users, and make sure that your business listing is complete, accurate and engaging.

While it’s not necessary – or even desirable – to get your business listed in “hundreds” of online business directories, it’s still important to make sure you’re taking advantage of quality local business directory listings to promote and publicize your business.

Local Business Directory Reviews: How to Get and Use Them to Your Benefit

customer-reviews-2By now, you’ve probably read about all the benefits of creating a local business listing on one of the popular local business directories. These directories have taken the internet by storm as more and more consumers flock to them to find US local businesses. The reason they’ve become so popular in the past few years is because people got tired of looking for local businesses on the large search engines because frankly, they’re designed to give people national results.

So local business directories were born and savvy local business owners have had to rethink they way they bring in new business by using them.

Online Reviews are an Important Aspect of Local Business Listings

After you’ve created your local business listing on a directory like FindUsLocal.com, it’s time to put it to work for your local shop, service business, or restaurant. And one of the smartest ways to do that is to ensure you have at least ten online reviews for your business.

Today’s consumers demand social proof when looking for local businesses and online reviews are important to them. In fact, one recent study shows that people trust online reviews just as much as they do a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.

But many local business owners have questions about how to get online reviews—and then how to use them to attract new business. So we’ve put together this brief guide to help you with this important aspect of your local business marketing.

How to Get Online Reviews

Many local business owners become overwhelmed when they realize just how important online reviews are because they think they’re so difficult to get. But the truth is, another recent study shows that a full 74 percent of those people surveyed say they are open to leaving online reviews if they’re asked. In other words, if you make it a practice to ask your customers to leave a review for your business on the local business directory, they will do it. It’s just a matter of incorporating the practice into your everyday business.

Respond to Online Reviews

Whether you get raving reviews or ones that are a little less enthusiastic, it’s important for your customers to know that they’ve been listened to. By leaving a simple thank you when someone leaves you a great review, or opening an honest dialogue with those who leave less than favorable ones, you can open up the lines of communication with your customers. And quality local business directories like FindUsLocal.com make it easy with their new comments section. This allows you to leave comments directed toward your customers and community.

When You Get a Bad Review

Bad reviews happen, but the way you respond them will make all the difference in how they affect your local business. Don’t become defensive or arrogant in your response, but instead, listen to what the customer is saying and think about how you can improve your business so another customer won’t have the same experience. Thank the reviewer for their honest opinion, and then tell them how their review helped you implement some changes in the business. Other people will see your response and know that you are a local business owner who cares about the experiences of your customers.

Local business directories are changing the way local businesses operate and local reviews are an important part of that. Follow the above tips and learn how to use online reviews in your local business listings. Pretty soon, you’ll have a line out the door of people who found your business and were convinced to come because of all the great online reviews.

How to Brush Up Your Local Business Directory Listing

localmarketingListing your business in an online local business directory is an important part of any promotional strategy. These days, few businesses can flourish with just traditional marketing strategies. Ads in the local newspaper or local radio stations are still useful, but they contribute less and less value to the typical business bottom line. If you’re trying to reach new customers, online business promotion is vital. A listing in a good online local business directory can help you reach more potential customers and bring them through your door.

That said, some local business directories are better than others. While it’s helpful to at least list your business on as many directories as you can, the listings that will bring you the best results are the ones on a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com, which focuses on providing an engaging, totally local experience for the customers that are most important to you – those that live close enough to walk through your door. These 10 tips can help you create an engaging, compelling online business listing. Depending on the business directory site you’re working with, some of them might not apply. The more of these tips you can put into practice, though, the better your results will be.

Find Your Business Listings

Your first step is to find free local business directories where your business might already be listed. Many of these free local directories populate their database with business information taken from publicly available information, which means there’s always a chance that the information listed is out-of-date or incomplete. They invite business owners to “claim” their listing, a way of encouraging businesses to register with them. The signup process is usually quite simple, and well worth the little time and effort it takes. Claiming your business listing gives you access to make changes and updates to what is shown on the page.

Correct and Update Your Business Information

Customers may stumble upon your business listing in many different online directories, so you want to make sure that the information they find is accurate. When they – or a search engine – find conflicting or inaccurate information – they reasonably wonder about your business’ credibility. Make sure that the address, telephone number and hours of operation are correct, and if the site allows it, add a link to your business website and/or your business Facebook page.

List Yourself in Multiple Applicable Categories

Make it easier for your potential customers to find you by making sure your business is listed in every category that applies to what you do. The dentist office we mentioned above would obviously list their business under “Dentists,” but they should also list themselves under any specialty service – Pediatric Dentist, Family Dentist, Cosmetic Dentist, and so on. Whatever your business is, chances are that it fits under multiple categories.

 Make Sure You’re Listed in All Areas You Cover

If you do business with surrounding towns or cities, be sure that you add those areas to your local business profile. It will help customers who are only searching within their own town to find you.

Use Your Profile on the Best Online Local Business Directory Sites to Boost Your Business

Toot your own horn! If the directory allows you to write a small business blurb as a heading for your listing, use it to shamelessly promote your services. Did a local newspaper award you a Best Of prize? Make sure you mention it. At the very least, include your business tag line so that potential customers know what sets you apart from the others.

Upload a Business Picture

If it’s an option, add a picture – or more than one – to your business listing. It can be a photo of your location, or a professional head shot of yourself, or an attractive photo of some of your best-selling products.

Add Positive Reviews in the Comments

If there’s a space for testimonials or positive reviews from past customers, get them up there. Most potential customers will read reviews and recommendations from friends and neighbors before they make a decision on using a particular business. Make it easier for them by posting any testimonials and reviews you have. The easiest way to get those recommendations is to ask satisfied customers if they’d be willing to write a quick note about their experience working with you.

 Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews

If the local business directory allows customers to leave reviews for business, it’s even easier to get those recommendations. Send happy customers to your local directory listing to rate and review your services. You can add a link to your listing on your Facebook business page or website to make it even easier.

Go Through Any Reviews and Respond to Them

Make this a regular part of your business promotion routine. Check your profile regularly – or sign up for notifications if the option is available – so that you can thank customers for positive reviews or address any problems in a timely manner.

A Note About Bad Reviews

A bad review is not the end of the world! While some advisers recommend removing bad reviews from your local business listings, that wisdom is changing. In fact, a few not-so-great reviews make your business profile look more honest. Interestingly, what one customer finds “bad” could be exactly what another customer is looking for. Even more importantly, when potential customers see you responding to unhappy customers and offering to make things right, their impressions of the business and owner tend to get better. So – unless a review is a total hit piece – resist the temptation to remove it, and instead, address it publicly, even if all you say is, “Please call us so that we can resolve that issue.”

While it may seem like a chore to update and spruce up your local business directory listings, it really takes much less time than you’d expect – and the benefits are worth every minute you spend on them.

Increase Your Online Visibility with Your Local Business Directory Listing

sales-growthIf you’re a small business that relies on a local customer base, you already know that online visibility is vital to bringing those customers through your doors. In just a few short years, the entire world of small business marketing has turned topsy-turvy. Tried and true methods of promoting your business no longer deliver the results they did just 15 to 20 years ago. Local newspapers, which used to be the mainstay for local business advertising, have largely gone out of business or been gobbled up by enormous national media companies. The few local papers that remain have ever-decreasing circulation numbers – and advertising in the bigger newspapers is cost-prohibitive for most smaller businesses. Even the most basic of all local business advertising venues, the local phone directory, is little help. More and more households are opting out of land line phone service, and fewer and fewer even have a phone book in the house.

Today’s small business owners know that if they’re going to be competitive, they need to have an online footprint that makes it easy for potential customers to find them. It’s not enough to just create a website when you’re looking for local customers. The Internet is huge, and your business is competing with dozens, hundreds, thousands of other people offering the same products and services, and many of them have very deep pockets when it comes for paying for advertising. When you’re operating with a limited online advertising budget, you have to get strategic. One very effective strategy is to use local online business directories to increase your online visibility and your chances of being found by customers in your immediate geographic area. Here are five strategies that will help you attract more customers using an online business directory like FindUsLocal.com.

Inbound Links Increase the Visibility and Credibility of Your Website

First things first. It’s not absolutely necessary to have a website, but local businesses with websites are easier to find.  It’s most effective to have a Web address that matches your business name, and a .com extension is still the easiest for most people to remember. On the other hand, ICANN – the authority that assigns domain names – has recently released a slew of new top level domains (TLDs), making it easier than ever to customize a business domain name that’s easy to remember. Whatever domain name you choose, though, your website should display, at the very least, your business contact information, including your address, telephone number and hours of operation. A professional website is the linchpin of your online marketing strategy, and the only piece of online real estate where you control every piece of content.

However, even the perfect website is just a pretty page if your customers can’t find it. That’s where online business directory listings come in. When people in your area search for someone to trim their trees, deliver Chinese food or take photos at their wedding, they’ll usually start their search on Google or another search engine. One of the major factors the search engine algorithm considers is how many other reliable, well-known websites link to your business website. Listing your business in a local business directory serving your city – or in several – increases the chances that your customers will see your website when they do a search for a business nearby to fulfill their needs.

List Your Business in the Right Categories

An online business directory doesn’t just provide an alphabetical list of businesses in your city. That would be pretty useless, right? Get listed in business directories that allow you to choose the categories in which your business is listed. Think about the various services your business provides, and list yourself under as many categories as apply. If you’re a photographer, for example, you’d obviously list yourself under Photographers, but don’t stop there. Do you do event shoots? Weddings? Graduation photos? Family portraits? List yourself under Wedding Services and Event Services. If you’ve done photos for real estate listings or catalogs, list yourself under Advertising and Real Estate. Each of those categories will generate another inbound link to your business website – and make sure that you’re not overlooked when customers are looking for a service you provide.

While you’re at it, make sure you list your business in all the towns and surrounding areas that your business serves. It only makes sense to let customers in outlying areas know that you want their business, too.

Use Multiple Directories

There are dozens of local business directory websites around. Most are pretty basic – even those that routinely come up at the top of the search engine listings. It’s still to your benefit to “claim” your business listing on those. Claiming your listing is nearly always free, and it allows you to make sure all the information about your business is accurate. That’s important, because even small inaccuracies – an outdated telephone number, for example – can damage your business’ online credibility. If you can add a link to your website or social media profiles, all the better. You’ll gain a citation and an inbound link.

Get the Perks of Geo-Location Services

Save your real effort for a local business directory that offers you extra benefits. Some directories are more than just directories – they also serve as online portals where people can get local news, learn about upcoming events in their area, and follow interesting local people and businesses. FindUsLocal.com excels at this type of personalized landing page, encouraging people to drop by their site frequently to check in on local happenings. The people who are most likely to walk through your door are more likely to see your business listing on a site they visit frequently.

Capitalize on Reviews

More than ever, people rely on reviews from former customers to help them decide which business to call when they’re ready to buy. Listing your business on a local business directory that allows customers to leave reviews gives you one more boost in the online marketplace. Encourage your customers to drop by your business listing and leave a review, and if you can, add links to other positive reviews in comments on your own listing. Good reviews will help convince potential customers to visit your website or call your business instead of your competitors.

4 Ways Local Business Directories can Rock Your Local Marketing

0107_improve-800x480Local business owners across the nation are rethinking about the way they market their local business because it’s become clear that the old school ways of marketing simply don’t work anymore. Not so long ago, all local business owners had to do was run an ad in their community newspaper, ask for referrals from their existing customers, or take out a display ad in the local phone book. But today’s consumers don’t use any of those things to find US local businesses. Instead, they use their laptops and smartphones to look online when they want to find local businesses.

But that’s a problem for many local business owners because they either don’t have a website, or they haven’t invested the thousands of dollars it takes to get their website listing high in the search engine rankings. And that’s why so many successful shop and restaurant owners are turning to local business directories for help.

Local Business Directories are the Number One Choice of Consumers

In the early days of the internet, people had to try and find US local businesses on the large search engines, but those results were often hidden on the later pages so they were never really seen. That’s because Google and Bing often give preference to national chains and online stores with big marketing budgets. But that doesn’t help those consumers trying to find US local businesses and that’s why they’ve turned to local business directories.

If you are still on the fence about whether or not you should create a local business listing on a quality local business directory like FindUsLocal.com, here are 4 things that just may change your mind.

Use it as a Spring Board

Even if you already have a website, you can use a local business directory listing to bring traffic in to your own website. That’s because on your local business listing, you’ll have the opportunity to list your website and consumers can click on the link to visit it. There, you can give them additional details about your business, or even steer them toward your online booking page or other actions you want them to take.

Appeal to Those in Your Community

One of the best reasons to claim your listing on a local business directory is that it will be seen by the people in your community. Think about it: only the people who want to find US local businesses in your area will use the local directory, and that makes it even more probable that they will find your business.

Get Those All Important Citations

The large search engines use search engine spiders to seek out information on local businesses, and when they find a citation, such as local business listing, they attribute them to that business. And when a local shop or restaurant accumulates enough of these citations, it boosts their ranking in the search engine rankings. And one of the most effective citations out there are local business directories.

Local Customers can Tell Others About Your Business

Finally, when your customers are happy with your business, they can go to your local business listing and leave an online review for others in your community to read. Recent studies have shown that today’s consumers like to read a few reviews before they decide whether or not to buy from it. And that’s just another reason to be found on local business directories—so the people in your community can tell others about their great experience with your shop or restaurant.

Local business directories are an important part of today’s marketing for local shops, and if you’re not already listing, it’s a great time to get started. Just head on over to FindUsLocal.com and see how easy it is to ensure that your local business is found.

5 Unorthodox Ways Local Business Owners can Help Hurricane Victims

US-WEATHER-STORM-HARVEYThe devastating results we saw from hurricane Harvey made us all sit up and take notice, and now that hurricane Irma is pounding Florida and 2 other storms are forming in the Atlanta, local business owners are wondering what they can do to help their local communities. And that’s a good thing because oftentimes, local shops and restaurants can provide much needed services to people in need. For example, in after hurricane Harvey hit Port Aransas, Texas, a local eatery named “Eats” stepped up and offered free meals to all the local residents and volunteers in the area 3 times a day. People, who were weary with the clean up, came to the local restaurant to eat and mingle with other locals in the same predicament. And according to those locals, they will frequent the restaurant in good times because of the service it offered them in bad times.

If you own a local business, now is a great time to show your community that you care. Here are 5 ways you can do just that.

Make Donations to Your Local Community

When disaster strikes, people have needs that typically can’t be met in a timely fashion by local authorities. For example, after a hurricane, moms need diapers, people need hot food when there is no power, and families need financial donations to rebuild their houses. And as a local business owner, you can take part in these essential services. Whether you donate goods, money, or set up hot food lines like the restaurant did in Port Aransas, you will not only help your local community in its time of need, but you’ll show your business as a part of the community that truly cares about its residents.

Make Sure People can Find You

Even in the aftermath of hurricanes like Harvey, there was limited cell phone service and people relied on it to find US local businesses they could buy supplies from or eat at. That’s why it’s so important that your business is easily found on a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com. By creating your local business listing, people in need will be able to find your local business with the click of a button.

Take Care of Your Employees

It’s important to remember that your employees are a part of the local community, and they have needs, too. If it’s possible to keep them on the payroll until you are able to open your doors again, then do it. If it’s not financially possible, help them through the process of applying for state disaster unemployment assistance so they don’t suffer more than is necessary. And be sure to allow them plenty of time to clean up their houses or tend to the many tasks involved in rebuilding.

Offer What You Have

People will be so desperate for even the most basic things in life that whatever you can offer will be appreciated by your local community. For example, if you are one of the lucky ones who still have power after the hurricane, you can offer a safe place for residents to charge their cell phones or plug in their laptops to check emails or disaster assistance communications. If you have foam plates or cups, hand them out to people who need them. No matter what kind of local business you operate, you surely have something people need or can offer services to the people in your area.

Get Out and Help

One of the biggest needs people have after a disaster like Hurricane Harvey or Irma is a need for physical help. If you strong—or have employees who are—you can get out into the community and look for ways to help. People will need help moving trees out of their yards, moving ruined appliances and furniture out of the house, and many other things that the elderly or single women can’t handle on their own. And even if you’re not strong, you can help mop up the muck or go through people belongings looking for salvageable items.

Local business owners can play an important part in the aftermath of a disaster like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Just be sure you can be found on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com so people can get what they need, donate basic necessity items to the community, get out and physically help where you can, and be sure that your employees are taken care of.

If you haven’t already created your local business listing on a local business directory, why not head over to FindUsLocal.com now and do it? Who knows, the victims of a hurricane could be desperate to find US local businesses like yours this very minute.

How to Help Your Community Recover from Hurricane Harvey

ab536046b6444014a633e280a994b0cf_t1070_h833d6d541269956fdc46a71c214be7b274e69d1fIf you’re a local business owner, you are probably a big part of the community. Chances are, you participate in local charity events, fundraisers and provide products or services at county fair auctions and more. But when a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey hits, most local business owners step up and do all they can to make things easier on the local community.

Is your shop, restaurant, or service business located in the areas of Texas that have been hit by Hurricane Harvey? If so, there are some things you can do as a local business owner that will help ease the frustration and fears of your local community. Here are some things you can do today.

Make Yourself Known to the Locals

The people in your community are probably aware of the local businesses they typically use, but may not know about your business. And because most communications will be down for several days, you’ll  need to make it easy for them to find you. Most cell phones still work in the disaster areas, so ensure that they can find you by creating a local business listing on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. It only takes a minute and your business may be able to provide someone with exactly what they need to go forward in their life.

Let Them Know How You can Help

Times like this aren’t for advertising to bring in more sales, but you’ll still need to get your name in front of the locals to make it easier on them. For example, if you own a local convenience store, make sure your customers know that you have plenty of bottled water in stock. On the other hand, if you own a restaurant, be sure to announce when you’re open for business because people will not be able to cook in their own homes until the power comes back on. And if you run the local hardware shop, be sure to let them know that you have the supplies they’ll need to secure their homes. Whatever type of local business you run, be sure to pinpoint the services or products you can provide to the community in a way that doesn’t make you sound like you’re trying to sell them something.

One way to do this is to use your social media platforms. You can tweet out your announcements and the people who follow you will read them and may pass them along. Another great tool is Find Us Local’s comment’s section. This handy feature on the local business directory allows business owners to announce sales and product information in an easy to use format. For instance, you could announce the arrival of bottled water, or let the community know that you’re handing out free breakfast tacos the day after the hurricane hit. And even better is that consumers can use the comments section to make announcements of their own. They may talk about things related to Hurricane Harvey, or they may let other people know the good things about your business.

Hurricane Harvey brought a lot of misery and uncertainty into a lot of people’s lives, and as a local business owner, you should do all you can to alleviate as many of their hurdles as you can. That may mean giving them a free breakfast taco, having enough bottled water to get them through the day, or having just the right roof nails in stock. But in order to help, the people in your community need to know about your store, service business, or restaurant. Go right now to FindUsLocal.com and take a few minutes to create your local business listing so the people in your community can find you.

How Local Business Directories can Help People Find You in a Natural Disaster like Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane-Harvey-NOAA-Satellite-534x462Hurricane Harvey is all over the news as many Texas people have been evacuated from their homes because of the super storm. The hurricane made landfall as a category 4, which is the strongest storm to hit Texas in 57 years. Luckily, despite all the damage the storm did, the loss of life appears to be minimal as of this writing. But our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones, or have to face the daunting task of rebuilding.

But how will Hurricane Harvey affect local business owners and the people who seek out supplies, food, and products to rebuild their houses? After all, in some towns, the local businesses they’ve dealt with for years are gone and they’ll need to seek out new ones.

Local Business Directory Listings Will Help People Find You

For the past few years, more and more people have turned to local business directories to find US local businesses, and after a storm like Hurricane Harvey, things won’t be any different. Imagine that if someone needed to board up a busted out window caused by the storm and they drove to their local lumber yard only to find it had been demolished by the storm.  Unless they knew of another one, they would likely turn to a local business directory to find one. But in order to be found on local business directories, you need to be listed on them. And although the process of doing that is simple, it does require some specific knowledge to do it right. Here’s a rundown of how to get your business listed so those affected by Hurricane Harvey can find you.

Choose the Right Directory

There are hundreds of online business directories, but not all of them are as equally effective. In fact, there was a recently published list of the top 70 online local business directories and you should definitely select one from there. Local directories like FindUsLocal.com made the list for very specific reasons such as the fact that it uses GEO location technology to show visitors customized home pages that only display results from their immediate area.

Create Your Local Business Listing the Right Way

You can just slap up any local business listing and expect it to produce great results for your business. In fact, when you list your business, you’ll need to do it in a specific way to get the benefits they offer. For example, you’ll need to list your business name, address, phone number, and website address, known as NAP +W, exactly the same on every local directory you use. That means if you list your business name as ABC Lumber, Inc. on Bing, you’ll also need to use that exact name when you create your local business listing on FindUsLocal.com.

Be Active With Your Local Business Listing

Now that you’ve created your listing, it’s time to get active so that you reap the most benefits from it. To do that, you’ll first need to ask your existing customers to leave an online review for your business. Studies show the importance of this. In one study, consumers said that they trust online reviews as much as they would trust a recommendation from a friend or family member. And others from that same study said they wouldn’t even consider doing business with a local shop without first reading at least 10 online reviews written from other members of the community. In other words, without online reviews, it will be difficult to convince today’s consumers to take a chance on your business. Luckily, another study shows that over 70 percent of people asked say that if asked, they would leave a review for a local business.

In addition to online reviews, today’s consumers expect the shops and eateries they visit to open up the lines of communication with them. And local business directories like FindUsLocal make that easy by allowing both consumers and business owners to leave comments about a business on the local business directory. Consumers can leave comments for other visitors, while business owners can use the feature to make sales announcements or let the people of the community know when new products arrive.

Local business directories will play an important role in the recovery and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. Make sure your business can be found by creating your local business listing at FindUsLocal.com right now.

How to Make Local Business Listings Work for Your Business

action-blackIf you run a local business, are you doing all you can to ensure its success for the future? After all, the reports of the death of retail are every place, but smart local business owners know that if they only make a few changes, they will be able to serve their local community for years to come. What are these small changes? Making sure your business can be found online for starters.

Local Business Directories Allow People to Find Local Businesses

In an age where people look for everything—and I mean everything—online, it’s imperative that local business owners make sure their shops, restaurants, or service businesses can be found by the internet savvy consumers of today. And while many local businesses have websites where consumers can find the information, many others don’t have the time or budget to create one. And that lack of an internet presence is one of the reasons why so many local shop owners are being forced to close their doors this year.

Before local business directories came along, people had to use the large search engines to find US local business in their area. But that’s a problem because the large search engines aren’t exactly designed to give local results to people who just want to find a local business in their town or city. That’s because the results people see in major search engine results are often riddled with things like articles, and websites that aren’t relevant. For example, if someone were looking for a local wine shop, they may see articles about how to select a good wine, or online wine shop websites. But that won’t help them if they want to drive to a local shop and buy a bottle of wine.

That’s why so many people are turning to local business directories. These directories are designed to give people the local results they want in an easy to use format. For example, if someone were to log onto FindUsLocal.com, one of the most innovative local business directories around, they would automatically see a customized home page that is built around their local area. This happens because some local business directories use GEO location technology that reads a visitor’s location as soon as they log onto the site.

Once there, visitors only have to enter their search term in the local business directories search bar and they will instantly see a listing of the local businesses that fit the criteria in the results. In other words, if you were to look for that wine shop in your own town or city, you would enter “wine shop” in the search bar on a local business directory and you would only see the local wine shops in your area.

How to Ensure Your Business is Seen on Local Business Directories

Now that you understand the importance of local business directories for your local shop, let’s talk about the best way to list your business there. It’s not that difficult, but you will need to follow a few steps to ensure that your local business listing is correct so you’ll reap the most benefits from it. Here are 3 things you should always do when listing your business on a local business directory.

  • Create your local business listing. First, you’ll need to create your very own local business listing so people can find your shop or restaurant when they’re looking for one like yours. To do this, simply claim your business on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com and then fill in the details. Be sure to fill in your name, address, phone number, and website URL exactly the same on every local business directory because if you don’t, all your hard work will be for nothing.
  • Ask Customers to Leave Reviews. Most consumers want to read some honest local reviews about a business before they decide whether or not to visit their shop or restaurant, and if your business doesn’t have some, it could hurt your business. To overcome this, simply point your current customers to your local business listing on the local business directory. There, they can leave a review for your business, which will help other people decide whether or not to visit your shop.
  • Open a two-way conversation. Today’s consumers expect local business owners to have a professional relationship with them, and most of the interaction is done online. This has been a major problem for a lot of business owners because they don’t have the time needed to build a large social media following. But now they don’t have to with the innovation genius of local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. There, you’ll find something called the comments section and you can use it to interact with your customers in real time. It makes the process of communicating with your customers and others in your community easy and efficient. Plus it can be done in only a few minutes a day compared to the hours it takes to use social media to do the same.

Local business directories are an important tool in the tool belt of local business directories. Have you taken the important step of claiming your local business listing on FindUsLocal.com? If not, what are you waiting for? A new customer could be looking for a business just like yours right this minute!