Tag Archives: local SEO

3 Ways Local Business Directories Help Your Business Be Seen

kbux_local_business_directory_quartzsite_2.pngRunning a local shop, restaurant, or service business has unique challenges in a world where most everyone uses the internet to find US local businesses. And too many local shop owners still rely on old school  methods of marketing and advertising, which frankly, won’t cause many people to walk through their doors.

What they need is a new outlook on advertising methods, one that will help the people in their own community find them as they navigate the online world. And that’s where local business directories come in.

What are Local Business Directories?

In the recent past, people would use one of the major search engines like Google or Yelp when they wanted to find US local businesses. But that quickly became out of favor because the large search engines simply aren’t designed to help people find local shops and restaurants. Instead, they’re geared toward helping people find information or the large, national online retailers. Local businesses easily get lost in the mix, and consumers became frustrated with the entire system.

Then local business directories were born and now people can find US local businesses quickly and easily. They simply log onto a quality local business directory like FindUsLocal.com and enter their search term, and they will be presented with a list of relevant businesses in their area. For example, if they were looking for a Mexican food restaurant in San Diego, California, they would type that into the local business directory’s search bar and instantly see a list of the local Mexican food restaurants.

Now that you understand why local business directories are so important to consumers, let’s talk about 3 ways you can use them to make your local shop stand out from the crowd.

Create a Complete Local Business Listing

Not all local business listings are created equal, but those business owners who take the time to fill them out in complete detail will benefit from more traffic to their store. It’s important to not only include your business name, address, phone number, and website address, but to also include details like your store hours, product offerings, maps and details about how to get to your store, and everything else that will help someone make the decision to walk through your door.

Keep the Content Fresh and Updated

You can’t just create your local business listing and forget about it—not if you want it to continue to bring new customers to your store. Instead, you should continuously update your listing every time something changes. This will help you stay relevant to the search engine algorithms and ensure that your local business listing never looks stale to buyers. For example, did you get in a new product line? Why not list it in the details of your local business listing?

Make Sure Your Local Business Listing is Interactive

No one wants to do business with a faceless company these days, and your local business listing is the perfect opportunity to interact with your potential buyers. When you have a listing on a local directory like FindUsLocal, you will be allowed to leave comments on your local listing. You can let your community know when you’re having a flash sale, when you have a job opening, or when you have a new product line come in. And what’s even better is that your community can interact with you, too because the feature is a two-way street. Your customers can leave comments about their experience in your store, talk about products they found there, or send you a public “personal” note. The possibilities are endless!

Local business directories are the new Yellow Pages in an internet obsessed world. If you run a local restaurant, shop, or service business, you need to have a local business listing so that today’s internet savvy buyers can find you. If you don’t, head on over to FindUsLocal.com right now and claim your listing. It will take a few minutes to set up, but the benefits that you’ll get from it will last years and years. What are you waiting for?

 

3 Things You Should Know about Local SEO and Local Business Directories

advantage-of-local-search-resultsIt’s become common knowledge that people who run local businesses have to change the way they get the word out about their business in a different way than they have in the past. That’s because consumer behavior has changed so much since the advent of the internet. What’s more, the methods used to get local businesses seen on the large search engines has changed and the old school methods no longer work.

For example, in the past, local business owners would stuff their websites with long term keywords that included the name of their city or town in them. For instance, a bakery in New Jersey would include keywords like “New Jersey bakery” in all the articles on the site.

But Google and other large search engines have gotten better at anticipating when someone is trying to find US local businesses and since it has changed its algorithms, local business owners need to keep up to be seen.

Here are 3 things you need to know about why local business directories are important for local SEO.

Local SEO has Changed

Local business owners no longer rely on their own keyword stuffed websites to draw in local consumers, but instead list their businesses on other sites that already have the traffic that is trying to find US local businesses. And the most important of those sites is quality local business directories.

Local business directories like FindUsLocal.com offer consumers an easier way to find local businesses. These local directories are set up to automatically read a visitor’s location, and then show them only the results from their area. For example, if someone were looking for a bakery in New Jersey and typed it into the local business directory search bar, they would see a list of the bakeries in their area. No national bakeries, and no articles on the topic. Pretty cool, huh?

Your Local Business Directories Need to Match

When you set up your local business listings on quality local business directories it’s important to ensure that every one of them match exactly. It may seem insignificant, but the way the major search engines decide which local businesses to list in a search depends on how these local listings are set up.

Here’s how it works. The more local business listings on credible sites that your business has, the higher chance you’ll have of being seen in the rankings. These listings are called citations, and they are the key to higher search rankings. But if all of your citations don’t match, the search engine spiders won’t know to attribute them to your business. For example, if your business is called New Jersey Bakery, Inc. and is located on 123 Main Street, you must decide if you will include the “Inc.” and the word “Street” in your local business listings and then do it the same way on every local business listing you create. If you don’t, the listings that are different will not be attributed to your business and that could hurt your search engine ranking.

Social Proof is Important for Listings on Local Business Directories

Once your local business listing is set up, you need to ensure that it has the social proof that today’s consumers demand. For example, online reviews are a must have for most of today’s shoppers and studies show that most of them won’t consider doing business with a local restaurant, store, or service business without first reading a few of them. And they don’t all have to be good. In fact, studies show that when a local business has mostly good reviews and a few lukewarm ones, people trust them even more.

In addition to having enough online reviews, one local business directory—FindUsLocal.com—offers a way for both consumers and business owners to interact with one another. It’s via the comments section on each local business listing on the site. This handy feature allows business owners to leave comments about flash sales, upcoming product additions, job openings, or holiday sales. In other words, it’s the perfect way to keep your community informed about the goings on in your business. And the reason this is so beneficial is because consumers can also leave comments about the business, which opens a two way communication between you and the people in your community.

Local SEO is still just as important as ever, but people with local business insight understand that the way to do it right has changed. Your first step in getting your business up to date is to ensure that it’s listed on quality local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. Then, ensure that your listings are correct and updated, and you have the social proof today’s consumers demand.

Why You Should Use Local Business Directories

Online-Free-AdvertisingTRANSLong gone are the days of customers flipping through the yellow pages looking for a local business listing. While phone books do still exist, people are much less likely to use them. Most people have opted out of receiving deliveries of the iconic book either because they simply don’t want it cluttering up their house or they are environmentally conscious and want to preserve the earth’s resources. Whatever the case may be, society has moved away from printed forms of communication. Nowadays, everyone is on the go and doesn’t necessarily have access to a massive phone book. This is why local business directories are so helpful. The following are just some of the reasons why you should use local business directories to promote your company.

The Convenience of Local Business Directories for Your Customer

Everyone is so busy nowadays. Even if they did still get the yellow pages in print form, people would never be able to access the information they need as it would always be tucked away in some corner of their house while they are busy out and about. People who are doing their normal everyday activities are most likely going to be using their phones to access local business listings. And, even if they have access to an old-fashioned phone book when they are at home, they will probably still be more likely to use the internet just because it is so much more convenient. Instead of flipping through an entire book to find the information they need, they can easily just go online and type in a search term and up pops several listings. Also, the internet is much more likely to be up to date as opposed to a phone book that may have been printed several months ago. But that brings us to the next point.

Directories Drive People to Your Website

Because people are spending more time on the internet, it is essential that you have an online presence in order to direct potential local customers direct to your door. As people are using local business listings online more and more, these sites are helping people find US local businesses that they can really connect with.

In today’s day and age, some customers will still call the store to find out about current sales or products listings, but most people would much rather look up information at their own pace online. Listing your business in one of these directories will help you keep your customers up to date on what is happening in your business because you can use it to direct them to your website.

Part of the convenience lifestyle that is so prevalent right now is that people want to be able to find information easily and quickly.

Another benefit of using an online directory is that all of your contact information will be listed where customers can easily access it. What more could your customer ask for? Phone number, address, and website are all listed in one convenient place. Not only that, but your customer will immediately have access to information about your business. For example, if you run a nail shop, they’ll know that you recently started offering pedicures along with your manicures—simply by looking at your local business listing. Or maybe you have a sale on organic vegetables this week. Whatever the case may be, local business listings can help you connect with your customers and let them know what is going on in your business.

Positive Customer Reviews Are Advertisements

Local business directories also offer options for your customer to review your business which is an excellent way for you to do local business advertising to future customers. Word of mouth has always been an important component in helping businesses gather customers. In previous years, this sometimes caused a problem as people would not go to local businesses they had never heard about from their friends and family. With the advent of the internet, that has all changed. Now, customers can go online and learn all about what previous customers—people they’ve probably never met—are saying about local businesses. This is beneficial for obvious reasons. Local business directories offer an easy-to-use platform for customers to share their experience about your organization, which will most likely help drive more clients to your business.

The most important thing in business is connecting with those you serve. What better way to do that than to offer a local listing that gives them all the information they need about your company—including what other people have said about you—and it’s all right there whenever and wherever they need it? FindUsLocal.com offers you this service and so much more. Why not take a moment and check them out right now?

 

Local SEO Tips for Local Business Directories for 2018

121856-1OpP0Q1395155684Today, with over 80 percent of consumers using online search engines to find local businesses, laser-sharp Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical even if your business is already on local business directories. It’s a marketing advantage because eventually you can rely almost completely on local SEO and taper your advertising. Studies show that advertising tends to turn off consumers, while SEO attracts because it isn’t a hard sell.

Local SEO is not an instant marketing miracle. It will take time and a lot of hard work, study and intuition to make it work. But when the results start showing, it won’t be a promise of better sales – it will be better sales, brand awareness and global recognition.

Local business directories and listings, partnered with local SEO, is actually the almost perfect combination in marketing a business. SEO is tough. The competition is fierce. Being on local directories and listings will boost your online presence and aid in helping your business rank higher on search engines.

Here are local SEO tips that will help you now and in 2018 to complement your business so consumers or corporate buyers will be able to find your business more easily.

Be Aggressive in Getting Local Reviews

People will organically trust the locals. Want to go to the best restaurants, hotels, resorts, malls and shops where you can get the best deals? You and millions of others know that the best information (even over and above review websites) is the kind you can get from locals.

Use this treasure trove to help others find US local businesses – specifically, your business – with reviews. In fact, one of the top queries today in search engines is, “Who has the most stars in [industry/business]?” Just imagine if the answer to this query is your business! Search engine algorithms will only list those with at least 4-star reviews, which should whittle down the list to a few dozen. You see, consumers don’t just want the best – they want the best in the most convenient way possible. They’re not interested in interviewing employees about their products. Often, this takes too much time and effort. Last year, over 84% of thousands of online users said they trust reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

If your business is in local business listings like finduslocal.com, you have just about all bases covered!

Check for Negative Ranking Factors

You’ve done the work and nothing’s happening. Possible reasons are negative ranking factors like inaccurate details, malware or negative reviews. According to SEO experts, there are over 25 negative ranking factors that can seem like your business is invisible in local business directories.

A few of the more critical ones include:

  • Using generic information to describe your business. If a ton of competitors are doing the same, you will all blend into one big blob. To stand out, you need to emphasize your competitive edge.
  • Lack of accreditation or recognition from a reputable organization like the BBB.
  • Broken links in description content.
  • Negative reviews outnumbering positive reviews.
  • Poorly performing local business directories in which you are listed.

Picking the Right Pros to Help You with Your SEO

SEO has become so mainstream among business owners and Internet users that it’s easy to fall for the hype of the SEO pretenders. These are the so-called experts who merely mouth promises and guarantees, but have no clue how to customize an SEO strategy, let alone a localized version.

According to the real SEO experts, there are clues that will give away the imposters. Here are a few of them:

  • They have problems customizing their SEO planning and have a plan that applies to all businesses.
  • Overconfidence and unwillingness to explore all possibilities.
  • They promise the moon, stars and the sun, but can’t show proof of previous work attributed to them.
  • Simply repeating what you can read and learn online.
  • They cannot explain SEO terms in a way that you can understand. If an SEO expert can’t communicate, there’s a problem!

Use Local Link Building as a Power Tool

Local link building is unique because the common factor is not whether you are linked to your local competitors, but rather, to other local businesses – regardless of whether they are related to your industry or not.

However, focus on charitable organizations, local community events and local portals, and consider sponsoring local businesses. When selecting these groups, consider their current ranking in search engines. Ideally, they should be at the top of a local search; otherwise, they may be harder to work with based on the lack of traffic. Also factor in the kind of local business listings they are on because they may already be promoting your competitor’s products.

Another option to use when link building is the use of guest bloggers with a tremendous following. Choose a blogger whose content is relevant to your business and either get the blogger to allow you to post a link on his site or post an article from him on your site.

Local SEO in 2018 is going to be a lot of fun – tougher, yes, but challenging as more businesses are turning to SEO to build their online presence.

What’s Better: 411 Directory Assistance or Online Business Directories?

finduslocal.comAs a US resident, you have probably used 4-1-1 at least once. The service is directory assistance for the people across the nation who are trying to find US local businesses.  As a business owner, you may have benefited from this number but the numbers show that fewer Americans are opting for this service compared to an online search for several reasons. Some of them are:

  • Limited information available
  • If you make the call using your mobile phone, you incur charges
  • Inaccurate information is oftentimes given to callers
  • There is no master list for all 411 numbers
  • Sometimes technical failures prevent people from getting the information

There are also a number of reports posted on the Better Business Bureau about 411 operators calling business owners trying to sell them a new plan. The subscribers later find out just how expensive the new plan is or the business owners can’t get accurate statistics on the number of calls received or the number of times their ads were viewed.

Local business listings, on the other hand, can be web-based or print-based. The web-based versions are more effective for many reasons but mainly because they give people access to well, the world. Anyone from anywhere can find out about your business through these online local business directories. And your chances of being discovered on sites such as FindUsLocal.com is only limited to the rankings of the website and its SEO strategy.

In addition, online business directories aid in your business’ ranking with search engines and navigation systems which means it becomes easier for customers to find you using GPS or online maps. But keep in mind that this is only true when the local business directory that you’re listing on ranks well.

Other advantages of using online local business directories for local marketing include:

  • You don’t need a website when you already have a profile in one of these local business directories. Not everyone expects a full-blown website especially for small to medium enterprises. Often, consumers are fine with a listing and a social media account like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram which will allow you to interact online with your market
  • Online local business listings are more affordable local marketing strategies especially for average marketing returns for business listings – online, 411, or hard copy
  • It’s easier and quicker to update
  • You are not as restricted with content compared to 411
  • There’s no operator so no waiting, no selling, and minimal chance for wrong information since you have to approve copy as the business owner before it is posted and you have a chance to check the information any time of the day or night for accuracy

Interestingly, over 76% of local searches are done using the Internet which means other sources such as the 411 have to share the remaining 24 percent of the population that don’t use the Internet for directory information.

By creating local business listings, out-of-town and international customers will be able to find US local businesses like yours, which will bring in additional customers and inquiries for your business. But listing your business on a quality local business directory alone will not do the trick. You should also consider the following tips:

  • Start a social media account so inquiries can be posted on this business account and you can answer them quickly – preferably within the hour. Research shows that 67 percent of worldwide consumers prefer contacting a business through their social media account because it’s usually the platform that’s up and running on their gadgets and it’s more casual. In fact, Twitter reports that interaction has jumped 250 percent in the last two years
  • Optimize your brand logo by putting your business name in your logo and a little snippet about what your business is all about
  • Know how you’re doing in the rankings by searching for your business online. Check your listing and keep the content updated and accurate

Expand your Citations

If you sign up with more relevant business directories and have several social media accounts, you’ll increase the number of citations for your business. Citations are used to spread awareness of your business with mentions of your business name and address in sites other than your business website. The more citations you have, the easier it is for Google to index your website because it proves to them that you are a legitimate business with a reputation to protect.

However, it is important to be very particular about your citations. They should always be consistent, accurate, and listed on websites that have no issues or history of penalties. You also have to monitor that no on listing of your business is used without your permission and you can do this by searching for your business online regularly.

Keep in mind that quality is better than quantity and your gauge should be the number of citations your closest competitor has. Check them out! It pays to know how they are doing because you can bet they are checking up on you as well.

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.

 

5 Ways Local Business Directories Will Bring in More Customers

o-HAPPY-BUSINESS-OWNER-facebookIf you own a local business, chances are you’ve seen some huge changes in the past few years in the way customers seek you out. While you may have been able to rely on the local phone book or ads in the community newspaper, you now need to be online to be seen by all those people trying to find US local businesses like yours.

And the best way to be found online is to create local business listings in all of the quality local business directories. And the key word here is quality. There are lots of local business directories, but not all of them are designed to make it easy for consumers to find US local businesses. In fact, if the local directory doesn’t make use of GEO local technology, you may as  well ignore it and list your business with one that does.

What is GEO Location Technology?

On some of the older local business directories, consumers have to input the name of their city or town, or in some instances, their zip code, in order to find US local shops in their area. But the newer and more modern local directories use GEO location technology to make it easier for them. This cutting edge technology automatically shows consumers the results from their area when they log onto the site. For example, if someone were looking for a pet grooming place in San Francisco, California on FindUsLocal.com, a premier local business directory, they would only see pet groomers in that area.

Here are 5 Reasons Why Your Local Business Should Have Local Business Listings

Now that you understand how to wisely choose a local business directory to list your business on, let’s talk about the 5 ways having local business listings can help bring new business to your shop, restaurant, or service business.

  • It makes it easy to find you. Like we mentioned before, today’s consumers go online when they want to find US local businesses, and if you can’t be found there, they won’t even know that you exist. That’s because nowadays, people look for local businesses on their smartphones, laptops and tablets and typically only shop at stores they find there.
  • It gives them a place to leave online reviews. Some recent studies have shown that people don’t like to buy from local businesses until they have read at least 10 good reviews about the business. But that’s a problem for many local business owners who don’t have a company website. But when you create a local business listing on a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com, you’ll have a place for those all-important online reviews.
  • It gives your local business credibility. When your business can be found on a quality local business directory, it gives it credibility in the eyes of consumers—and that’s something that today’s consumers demand.
  • It gives you a chance to communicate with local consumers. In addition to credibility, today’s consumers want to have a two-way communicate with the local businesses they buy from. But that can be difficult when you go the social media route because it takes a lot of time to build a following and then communicate with them. But FindUsLocal.com, a local business directory that is quickly becoming the go-to directory for people all over the country, has solved that problem with its comments section. This handy feature allows business owners and consumers to interact in real time. For example, if you decided to have a sale one morning, you can inform all of your local customers about it within minutes by using it. But keep in mind, FindUsLocal.com is the only local business directory that offers this crucial option.
  • It tells consumers how to find you. Studies show that when someone is trying find US local businesses, they want to quickly be able to find the address, phone number or the store hours. Luckily, local business directories offer you a way to display that information on a local business listing. Just be sure to input the information exactly the same on every local directory you find or the search engine spiders won’t attribute them to your business and you’ll miss out on the SEO enhancements that come with it.

Local business directories should be an important part of your marketing and advertising plans for your small business. Just be sure to choose the right ones, and then take advantage of all they have to offer so you’ll be able to bring more customers through the door.

 

15 Online Marketing Statistics Every Local Business Should Know

Pressing Online Marketing IconHow important are local business directory listings to business success? Do a lot of people really use voice search to find local businesses? How do people decide where to shop after searching for local businesses online? These questions may not be at the top of ever local business owner’s mind, but there are people who make it their business to collect and compile those statistics. These and other statistics related to local business marketing can help business owners create and follow an online marketing strategy that will boost their in-store customers and sales. Here are 15 local business marketing statistics that show what local marketing and advertising can do for storefront businesses.

Why Local Businesses Need Online Visibility

  • 81 percent of people do online research before making a large purchase
  • 72 percent of people who search for something online visit a store within 5 miles
  • 78 percent of mobile searches result in an in-store purchase or sale
  • 18 percent of local mobile searches result in a local purchase within a day
  • 33 percent of local searches were made right before an in-store visit

Add one more statistic to that list – 60 percent of U.S. adults use smartphones and mobile devices to search for information on local products and services. Businesses that can’t be found online are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to bringing in new customers – and may even lose existing customers to competitors that take the time to brush up their online directory listings and make sure they show up in online searches.

Pro Tips to Increase Online Visibility for US Local Businesses

  • Get listed in US local business directories. Every listing in a high-quality, relevant business directory increases a business’ likelihood of being listed on the front page of Google search results when people do a local search for the services or products they provide.
  • Pay attention to local SEO when building or updating a website, creating social media postings and writing directory listing descriptions. Research the search terms customers use to find the specific type of business, and use them in local business directory listings, social media and website content.
  • Add location-specific keywords to business websites, social media profiles and local business directory listings. Dive a little deeper than city or town names. With most local searches resulting in a visit to a business within 5 miles, it’s also important to include local names for neighborhoods when trying to attract customers to your local business.

What Are People Searching for When They Do Local Searches?

  • 50 percent of people who do local searches on mobile are looking for the business address
  • 71 percent of people who search for local businesses online say they check the address before visiting a business for the first time
  • 68 percent of those who do local searches use the “get directions” or “click to call” link if it’s available
  • 40 percent want to know if a business is currently open for business

The takeaway for those local search statistics is simple: businesses should make sure that their US local business directory listings include their name, physical address, telephone number and hours of operation, since that’s what most people are looking for when they do a local search.

Those five statistics are for general local searches. When looking at statistics for specific types of local businesses, there are some slight variations. Someone searching for a local restaurant, for example, might want to see menus, while those looking for hotels and lodging might be more interested in knowing about nearby attractions. There is, however, one more thing that people are looking for when they search for local businesses.

What Local Businesses Need to Know About Online Reviews

  • 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends
  • 74 percent of people who read reviews say that good reviews increase their trust in local businesses
  • Google places businesses with better reviews higher on the search page results than those with poor reviews or no reviews at all
  • 87 percent of people who do local searches say they won’t consider a business with bad reviews
  • 90 percent of consumers read fewer than 10 reviews before making up their minds to patronize a local business

In case it isn’t obvious, business reviews are increasingly important to local SEO marketing. Businesses with good online reviews are seen as more trustworthy and better than those with bad reviews, and those with no reviews, or very few reviews may not even make it to the front page of the search engine results.

Tips for Leveraging Online Reviews for Local Business

  • Get listed at local US business directories, like Find Us Local, that allow customers to leave reviews.
  • Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on major review sites and business directory profiles.
  • Link to or feature good business reviews on the business website and social media accounts.

How Local Business Directories Bring Customers Through the Door

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

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

Local SEO and Why It’s Important

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

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

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

How Customers Decide Where to Go After a Local Search

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

How to Get Into the Local Pack

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

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

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.