Tag Archives: local search directories

Why Local Directories are More Important Than Ever for Business Owners

mobile-local-searchIf you’re a local business owner, you understand just how important it is for potential customers to be able to find you online. After all, gone are the days when people would pull out the yellow pages to find a local businesses. Instead, most people today who are looking for a business in their local area will either jump on their computer to look up the information, or do a search on their mobile phone. And if your business name doesn’t come up, you could be missing out on some serious business.

But recent changes to Google’s algorithm has made it very difficult for local businesses to show up in the search results, even if the person is looking for local results. Here’s a brief overview of what changes Google has made, and what you can do to help keep your business relevant online.

 The New 3-Pack

In the past, when someone typed in a local query, such as “dry cleaners San Diego,” they would be presented with a list of seven names of local businesses. Business owners would either pay an SEO expert to get them listed in these results, or spend a lot of time perfecting their own websites SEO in order to achieve it. But last year, Google changed everything when they went to a 3-pack. Now, instead of seeing seven local business results, people only see three.

As you can imagine, the fewer available spots are fiercely fought over by business owners. And to make matters worse, Google has now began allowing some of those spots to be taken up by ads.

It’s no wonder so many local business owners are turning to local business directories like ours so they can still be found by consumers in their area.

How to Increase Your Changes of Getting in the 3-Pack

If you want to get your business listed in Google’s 3-Packs, there are a few things you can try. Here are some changes you can make to your SEO that should help increase your chances.

Use SEO on Your Pages

Make sure that you’ve maximized SEO on all pages of your site. You can do this by putting keywords in your titles, business titles, meta descriptions, header tags, page content, illustrations and even client testimonials.

Link to Local and Authoritative Sites

You will need relevant links in order to get ranked on Google, and for local SEO, local links are the best. Link to any relevant, local business to get a boost to your rank, as well as any authoritative site in your industry. At the very least, link to your Google My Business profile, as well as to your link on FindUsLocal, or any other local directory your business is listed on.

Maximize Local Directory Citations

Being listed on local directories can really help your rankings, but only if it’s done right. For instance, you’ll need to ensure that each and every local listing has the same name, address, phone number and web address. If they differ, it will hurt your rankings because Google’s spiders won’t be able to trust the information, so it won’t understand if you are one business, or many with different addresses.

Get Some Quality Reviews

Although it’s slight, Google does take reviews into consideration when ranking sites. Even if you only have a few reviews, it can only help in your efforts to show up in the local search results.

Enhance Your Social Media Signals

Some experts says that Google ranks those sites with a social media presence higher in the search engines. To make the most of your efforts, link your social media profiles to your website, be active on social media, and use keywords in your social media profiles and address, if possible.

Of course, even if you do all of this, it won’t guarantee placement in the 3-Pack in your industry. But there is something you can do to ensure that you’re always seen whenever customers are looking for a business like yours. Local business directories are quickly becoming the go-to place for local businesses because all you have to do to show up in these search results is list your business. Yes, it really is that easy. Start by checking out our page and then imagine your own business on it. Every time someone from you area searched for a dry cleaner, or pet supply store—or whatever type of business you own—your name will appear to them.

In a world where local businesses are struggling just to be found, doesn’t it make sense to list yours and stay competitive in an ever challenging business environment?

Local Business Directory Listings to Improve Local Search Rankings

local-search-directoriesOne of the most effective ways to improve the local search ranking for a local business is to get the business mentioned on as many authoritative websites as possible. That may sound scary, but it’s really a lot simpler than most people realize. These mentions, called citations in the industry, can be as simple as a listing in a local business directory, or as complicated as getting mentioned by local bloggers. These four types of websites are all excellent potential sources for local business citations.

Review Sites

Review sites like Yelp, Foursquare, HotFrog and others offer a lot of benefits for local businesses. Millennials, who are widely recognized as a small business’ best customers, love using their apps to help them find cool places in their vicinity, so reviews on Yelp and check-ins on Foursquare can, quite literally, put a small business on the map. In addition to the reviews, though, these sites serve up a local business directory that is indexed by the major search engines, and since they handle the local SEO, being listed there and having customers posting reviews can give an overall boost to a business’ website.

Local Blogs

Local bloggers, from formal newspaper-related blogs to the cabdriver that blogs from his cab between fares, are great resources for getting business citations. Like review sites, mentions of a business on local blogs, as well as links to a business web page, will provide a boost to SEO value. They can often be even more valuable than customer reviews, because Google and Bing do an excellent job of recognizing their physical proximity to the businesses they write about, and they assign a high authority to local sites talking about local businesses.

Tip: A search for [city] blogs will turn up many bloggers writing about attractions and locations in any city. That’s a starting point for contacting blog owners about advertising, or to invite them to enjoy your services for free in return for an unbiased review.

Local Business Directories

Local business directories aren’t really local as most are national in scope, but use geolocation services to serve up local content to site visitors. A business directory like ours at FindUsLocal.com relies on browser technology to determine where a user is and then deliver the most relevant content based on locale. So a person in Chicago and a person in Boston can both log onto the website at the same time, and each will see completely different content, including ads for businesses near them. And again, a listing in these directories is one more mention of the business on the Internet, adding more authority and SEO value to the company’s website.

Tip: Business owners should put in a few hours hunting down local business directories and filling out their profiles completely. Generally called claiming your business listing, most business directories like FindUsLocal.com allow business owners to edit basic information for free, and offer paid listings with additional perks. On FindUsLocal.com, for example, business owners also get access to an integrated social media tool, and a full page of their own to advertise their business.

Industry Related Blogs and Directories

Blogs and directories that focus on products and services can add visibility to a business website, increase SEO value and help local customers find the services and products they need locally. They’re another important part in an overall Internet marketing strategy, and should be considered in the small business advertising budget. A plumbing company, for example, should make sure that they’re listed alongside other contractors on both national directories like Angie’s List, and smaller local directories, including those maintained by the city’s Chamber of Commerce or town government.

Paid and Earned Advertising on Local Online Media

Finally, business owners should consider spending a bit of cash to buy ads on local online media sites, news, local magazines and local blogs. This is in addition to maneuvering to get their businesses mentioned in news stories on local media and encouraging customers to talk about their businesses on social media platforms, including Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Google now indexes all of these social media platforms, so every mention of a local business adds to the likelihood that it will come up high in search engine results when nearby customers look for their services or products.

Earned media mentions are actually among the most effective kinds of advertising that any business can get. It’s word-of-mouth to the nth power, and packs a major one-two punch when it comes to boosting a business’ local profile on the web.

Combined with other types of online advertising, including paid and earned advertising, local directory listings, customer reviews and local blogs can keep a steady stream of customers flowing through the business doors.

The Rebirth of Local Directories Makes Your Life Easier

mobile-local-searchAfter years of letting big search engines tell them what they want to read, Internet users are taking control of their browsers. A new breed of local directories, like our, is taking local search back to its roots and helping people find everything they need in their own communities.

The Beginning of the Internet

Once upon a time, the most popular destinations online were directory sites. Before search engines, with their ubiquitous – and ultimately distorting – algorithms, there were business directories that helped people find relevant local merchants, churches and information sources. Those who remember the early days of the Internet probably recall the original Yahoo! with its customizable home page, an idea that went away when Big Brother Google decided that it knew what you wanted to read.

Back then, you could point your browser to your personal home page and get your local news and weather, your horoscope, a listing of local events and information from all your favorite local restaurants, stores and service providers – all in one place. Readers could check out the sales from local stores, find doctors and dentists nearby and find out what their neighbors were doing all at one easy-to-remember website address.

The Changes Along the Way

And then it all changed. The rise of the search engine, with its ubiquitous mathematical algorithms, took control out of the hands of end users and put it into the hands of advertisers. While Google (and others) promised to deliver the results readers wanted, the truth is that mathematical algorithms are ultimately game-able, and clever advertisers with deep pockets easily found ways to game the system. The result was that a search for “dentist” churned up links to huge dentist referral websites rather than a list of local dentists, and “pizza” invariably linked you to national pizza chains rather than the mom-and-pop shop down the street that delivers until 3 a.m. every night of the week.

Local Search Directories Bring Back the Useful Internet

Now, the resurgence of the local search directory is turning a new page, one that looks an awful lot like the personalized home pages of the late 1990s. Websites like ours at FindUsLocal.com have all the charm and convenience of old-fashioned local directories, but we are powered by very modern geolocation services and local search to deliver far more than static information.

When users visit FindUsLocal, they don’t have to drill down through layer upon layer of directories to find what they want. Instead, the very front page features a plethora of information – all about things happening in their own home town. That’s because we use geolocation services to automatically serve up nearby results from businesses, events and many different social media sites. Visitors to our local business directory can find the latest reviews of local businesses, upcoming events at nearby venues, videos posted by their neighbors and friends – even coupons that they can use at businesses just around the corner.

For businesses, local search directories offer yet another boon – a way to be found by the people who matter the most – the potential customers that are likely to drop in and make use of those coupons and special savings. Many offer free listings for any local business, as well as premium listings that give business and organization owners more control over where and how their listing appears to site visitors.

Are you a consumer who is tired of getting national results when you look for a local business? Our local business directory could put an end to that frustration in just one search. And if you’re a business who wants to find a better way to reach out to the customers in your local area—instead of those across the country—then a local search directory is probably the answer you have been looking for. In short, if you long for the customizable and relevant searches of the past, then you should give our site a spin to find out exactly what you’ve been missing by limited your searches to the big guys.

With all these benefits and advantages, it’s no wonder that Internet users are deserting the big search engines in droves and finding their way to local search directories like ours at FindUsLocal.