Tag Archives: online advertising

Why Your Business Must Be Listed on a Local Business Directory

Online-Free-AdvertisingTRANSIn case you haven’t noticed, there has been a huge shift in the way today’s consumers find US local businesses. That’s because most everyone goes online when they want to find anyone these days, and that includes local shops and restaurants. Don’t believe us? Just try to remember the last time you searched for local business using a phone book or thumbing through the local newspaper. If you’re having a hard time pinpointing the last time you did that, you’re in great company. People simply don’t use those old school methods anymore, and as a local business owner, you have to make sure your business can be found online.

Why Do Buyers Look Online to Find US Local Businesses?

Today’s shoppers don’t have a lot of time, and when they want to find US local businesses, they want to do it in the fastest and easiest way. And today, that means looking online. But only a few years ago, that meant going to one of the large search engines like Google or Bing and entering the type of business they were looking for, plus the city or town name. For example, if they were looking for a Bakery in Los Angeles, they would type in “Los Angeles bakery.” This produced results a little better than a general search, but there would still be a lot of irrelevant results in the search engine listings. People tired of this quickly because they didn’t want to have to drudge through countless results to find the local businesses they wanted.

Enter Local Business Directories

To solve this problem, local business directories were created. These directories are specifically designed to show consumers only the local shops, restaurants, and service businesses in their own area. In other words, they are search engines that only show local results. For example, if someone were looking for that Los Angeles bakery on a local business directory, they would simply need to type “bakery” into the search bar and they would see a list of all the bakeries in their town or city. Can you see why most local shoppers insist on using local business directories when trying to find US local businesses?

How to Ensure Your Business Can Be Found on a Local Business Directory

If you want those online shoppers to find your local business and visit it, you need to get it listed on local business directories. Here are the steps you need to take to get your business listed.

  • Identify the most credible local business directories. Some of them are obvious like Google and Biing, but don’t discount the smaller local business directories. For example, FindUsLocal.com is an up and coming local business directory that has a huge following. That’s because it goes a step beyond most directories by offering visitors a lot of extra features and bonuses. That’s why so many local business owners make sure their business can be seen on this innovative local business directory.
  • Create your local business listing. Once you’ve identified the local business directory you want your business to be seen on, you’ll need to claim your business and create a local business listing. This listing is what consumers will see when they search for your type of business. For example if you owned a bakery business in Los Angeles, and a shopper visited FindUsLocal to find one, they would see your business in the listings after they typed in the search term. Be sure to include as many details as you can when creating your local business listing. Remember, the more information consumers have, the more comfortable they’ll feel visiting your shop.
  • Be active with your listing. Don’t’ just create your local business listing and forget about it, but instead keep it fresh by asking your customers to leave online reviews for your business and by using the unique comments feature you’ll only find on FindUsLocal. This feature allows you to use your local business to announce sales, new product arrivals or even employment opportunities.

If you want to run a successful local business these days, your shop or restaurant has to have an online presence for online advertising. And the best way to accomplish that is to create a local business listing on a credible local business directory like FindUsLocal.com. If you haven’t already created yours, what are you waiting for?

Cyber Monday is Over—What’s Next for Local Business Owners?

W_N1511P26005CSo many small and local business owners geared up for yesterday, which is the biggest shopping day of the year. In fact, we ran an article telling local business owners how to cash in on Cyber Monday sales instead of sitting back and watching all of their online competition rake in all of the sales. But now that the big shopping day is over, what’s your next move?

For far too many local shop owners, the next move is sit back and continue to wait for shoppers to come through the door. But in today’s shopping culture, that’s not a wise move. You see, today’s consumers like convenience, and it takes a lot to get them through your door. After all, they can sit back on their sofa with a cup of home brewed coffee in their hand and do all of their Christmas shopping in under an hour. No traffic, no fighting other people for that discount product, and no having to drive across town to buy Christmas gifts.

So, how to you compete with that?

Here is a 3 step plan that will help you boost your holiday sales and get the most that you can before the Christmas season rush is over.

Create a Local Business Listing

If you’re trying to run a local shop, restaurant, or service business without executing an online advertising plan, your chances of success are very, very slim. People look to the internet to find US businesses these days, and unless your shop can be found there, they won’t even know you exist.

That’s why your first step in racking up holiday sales is to ensure shoppers can find you, and they’re looking for local businesses on local business directories.

Local business directories are just like the major search engines, except they only show results from the seekers local area. For example, if someone were looking for a clothing store in San Francisco, California, they would go to a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com and enter the search term “clothing store.” Then the local directories GEO location technology would “read” the visitor’s location and show them a listing of all the clothing stores in San Francisco. Can you see why consumers are using local business directories to find US local businesses instead of the major search engines?

To create your listing, simply log onto FindUsLocal and claim your business, and then fill in all the details you can. Be sure to include your address, phone number, directions to your store or eatery, hours of operation, and make sure the map provides the proper direction to your store. After you’re finished, it’s time to move on to the next step in the process.

Optimize Your Local Business Listings

As you can image, the more local business listings you have, the better chance you’ll have of being seen by all those Christmas shoppers. But before you go and create a listing on every local business directory you find, there are some important things you should know. For instance, if all of your local listings don’t match exactly, it could hurt your ability to be seen on the major search engines. Why? Because those search engines catalog every local business citation associated with your business, and the more you have the higher in the rankings you appear. But if the citations don’t match, they won’t all be attributed to your business. For example, if your business name is even slightly different in some listings than it is in others, you won’t get credit for all of them. So if you have 20 local business listings, and only 8 of them include the word “Inc.” in your business name, you will only be credited for 12 local listings. But if they all matched, all 20 would be attributed to your business, which would put you much higher in the search engine results.

Keep Your Local Business Listings Fresh

Finally, if you keep your local business listing fresh and interactive, the search engines will take notice of them, and that will also help you be seen by holiday shoppers. You can do this 2 ways. First, encourage your customers to leave online reviews for your business because every time they do, the search engine sees that review as fresh content. And the algorithms they use reward fresh content by giving you a higher search engine ranking position.

Next, when you list your business on a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com, you’ll have the ability to lave comments for the people in your community. For example, when you’re having a flash sale, a special holiday discount, or are hiring Christmas help, you can leave a live comment for everyone in your community to see. This will not only be viewed as fresh content by the search engines, but it will open a two way communication with your community that is the core of any good online advertising campaign in today’s business culture.

Just because Cyber Monday is over, that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for more holiday shoppers to come through your door. Instead, continue to be proactive in your efforts to ring up more sales. By following the above 3 tips, your business will indeed have a very merry Christmas!

3 Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Local Business Directories

citation (1)Local business owners who operate a shop, restaurant, or service business in this internet centric environment have had to change their game in order to keep up with today’s consumers. That’s true because the internet has had a dramatic effect on how consumers try to find US local businesses, and how they decide whether or not to visit them.

Why Consumers Find US Local Businesses Differently Now

To understand why people look for US local businesses in a different manner than they used, we must first think back to the age before the internet came on the scene. Back then, local business owners only had to run an ad in the community newspaper or ensure their Yellow Pages ad was up to date. But then came the internet and everything changed.

But as more and more people began using the internet, it became painfully clear that local businesses were left out of the equation because it was just too difficult to find them online. For example, if someone were looking for a local plumber on one of the major search engines, they would most often see national plumbing supply stores and articles about how to do plumbing work yourself in the search engine results.

Then then came local business directories, and once again, everything changed for local business owners. Now consumers have a way to find US local businesses in an easy and efficient way.

Here are 5 Things You Need to Know about Local Business Directories

Just in case you thought you knew all you needed to about local business directories, here are 5 things that every local business owner should know about them.

  1. Some Local Business Directories can Hurt Your Rankings. While it’s true that quality local business directories can improve your search engine rankings by giving you credible citations, some of the poorer ones can actually hurt them. That’s because some local directories are nothing more than large databases that incorporate public data into their site. The problem is that this data is largely outdated and just plain wrong, and those incorrect citations will confuse the search engine spiders and lower your search engine rankings. If you find your US local business on one of these local business directories, be sure to correct the data so it doesn’t harm your business.
  2. Google relies on Local Business Directories to Determine Your Ranking. There is a lot of talk about how important it is to be listed on Googles local directory, and while that’s true, it’s also important to be found on other local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. That’s because Google’s algorithm is set up to look for those credible citations when determining search engine ranking positions. In other words, the more quality local business directories you’re listing on, the higher your search engine results will be.
  3. Not all Local Business Directories are Mobile Friendly. Studies show that when a website is mobile friendly, Google gives it about a 5 percent boost in the search engine rankings. That’s important to know because not all local business directories are mobile friendly. But if you create your local business listings on mobile friendly local business directories like FindUsLocal.com, it will automatically improve your search engine ranking results.

Isn’t it great to know that as a local business owner, you can use local business directories to positively impact your business? Whether you own a local restaurant, shop, or service business, listing it on a local business directory will positively impact your business—and bring more customers through the door. FindUsLocal.com is free to use for business owners, and it only takes a few minutes to boost your online advertising efforts by setting up your local business listing.

How a Local Business Directory Helps With HyperLocal SEO Marketing

Third-2Why is an online local business directory important to your small business? If your company relies on local business – people who live within 20 miles or so of your geographical location – you can be forgiven for thinking online advertising isn’t important to you. You could also be losing an awful lot of business to your competitors who realize that being visible online is an important part of today’s business promotion strategy. In fact, promoting your business online is more important than ever, especially if you’re looking for customers who live close to you. A local business directory like FindUsLocal.com can be an important part of finding local customers for your storefront business or professional office.

As the global Internet becomes increasingly localized, local SEO grows more and more important to small businesses that rely on nearby customers to make money.

How the Internet Has Changed Local Small Business Advertising

As recently as 10 years ago, most people who wanted to do business locally picked up the local phone book or hopped into their car to take a ride to the store. They ordered food from pizza joints they saw as they drove around their neighborhoods, and when they needed to find US local businesses like a lawyer or accountant, they flipped open the Yellow Pages of their local telephone book.

While the rise of online commerce changed that a little, those business advertising tactics were still “enough” for most local businesses until two factors converged – the growth of social media and the explosion of mobile devices. Smart phones essentially changed the way most people  shop for everything from cupcakes to a new car. The ability to essentially carry a computer in your pocket was a complete game changer for local business advertising. Paper phone books are nearly obsolete – in some areas, local phone directory providers have reduced or eliminated their distribution of free phone books – and newspaper advertising is a story of diminishing returns.

Welcome to the World of Hyperlocal Online Marketing

So how do customers find small, local businesses today? The simple answer is that they search online – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past 15 years as computer and telecommunications companies compete to offer the best, the newest, the most convenient features to sell their new products to the public.

One of the most revolutionary tech updates was the advent of geo-location services for mobile and computers. The same technology that provides directions when you’re driving your car unleashed an amazing asset for local small business enterprises. As geo-location services have become integrated in web browsers and mobile phones, it has become easier and easier for small businesses to target the customers that are most likely to spend money in their businesses – the people who live within a few miles of where they are located. That’s not just local – it’s hyperlocal.

How Hyperlocal Marketing Works

Websites like FindUsLocal.com – as well as many mobile advertising providers – use geo-location services to figure out where a device – and therefore its user – is located. When a person logs onto the website or does a search for something, the browser figures out where they are located and presents them with results that are tailored specifically to that geographic location.

This is especially evident in Google, which is one of the pioneers of hyperlocal search results. The search engine first tries to determine the “intent” of a search. If the algorithm determines that you’re probably looking for a nearby location – a hair salon, say, or a bakery – it searches its database for businesses that fit your search AND that are located close to you. Your potential customers don’t even have to type in “cupcakes in Hyde Park” – the browser simply assumes that if you’re looking for cupcakes to buy, you probably want to find bakeries that are close to you.

With mobile devices, it can be even more targeted than that. Suppose you’ve just left a concert and are heading for the parking garage, wondering where you can go to grab a quick drink and snack before you head home. You say “Siri, I’m looking for buffalo wings” – and lo and behold! Not only do you get a list of nearby joints with buffalo wings on the menu, but there’s a coupon offering a discount if you show your ticket stubs.

How Do The Search Engines Find Those Small Businesses?

It’s magic! No, not really. Search engines maintain huge databases of information they scrape from websites. When someone does a search with “local intent,” it combs through all that data looking for websites of businesses that it thinks are within the same geographical area as the searcher. It looks for references to those businesses on other websites to determine whether or not the business is open, active, and really near that location or just faking it. (Yes, there are websites that try to pretend they’re local in order to get visitors to click on their ads!)Those references are called “citations” – and the more reputable citations a business has, the more likely it is to be featured when someone does a search with local intent.

Why Local Business Directory Listings Help You Get Found

Among the most reliable citations are those from well-known local business directories that use SEO strategy like FindUsLocal.com. When a search engine finds your business address listed in a reliable local business directory, it has pretty good confidence that your business just might be exactly what a searcher is looking for. Of course, a single business listing isn’t enough all on its own to boost your business into the local search results for your industry. These five tips will help customers find you when they’re searching for the services your business provides.

  1. Get listed in a good online local business directory like FindUsLocal.com – and make sure that your address, phone number and hours of operation are accurate.
  2. Create social media business pages on Facebook, Google+, Google My Business, Twitter and other platforms relevant to your business. Add all of your contact details!
  3. Encourage your customers to give your business positive reviews on your business profiles at FindUsLocal.com and other online review sites. This is a great technique to boost your online advertising efforts.
  4. Post to Facebook and Twitter about your business – and use local references. Share pictures of your company participating in local events, and when you can, mention other local businesses and organizations.
  5. Make sure that all information on your own website is accurate and up to date, and include a Google Map with written directions to your business location to send a strong “local” signal to the search engines.

Local Business News is Mixed—Where Will Your Store Fall?

maxresdefault (1)If you’ve read the news lately, you’ve seen all the reports of the retail store closings across the nation. And along with all the national chains that are calling it quits, a lot small, local retail shops have shuttered their doors too. But not all of the experts hold a negative opinion of the future of retail. Here are surprising facts in the midst of all the bad news:

  • One study shows that a majority—75 percent in fact—of consumers say that if given the chance, they would prefer to shop in their retail stores rather than buy their products online.
  • Moody’s rated local businesses, and the report says that despite all the store closings, only about 16 percent of them are in dire straights financially. The remainder of them are “fundamentally healthy.”

What the News Means for Your Business

With the mixed reports about local businesses, it makes sense that you would do all you to ensure that you don’t fall into the 16 perfect of local shops that have to close its doors. And here’s the thing: most experts agree that if you simply make a few changes, you can ensure the success of your local business. And the biggest change you’ll have to make is how to go after new business. In other words, you will need to change the way you try to attract new customers.

Local Business Directories are the Answer

For so long, local business owners have used their local community to tell people about their business. They have spent money on ads to make sure they’re seen when people open the phone book, or take out large display ads in the local newspaper. But the sad truth is that people just don’t look to either of those places any more when they want to find USA local businesses. Instead, they log on and look online for the local shops and restaurants they want to visit.

That means unless you have an online presence, you’re missing out on an awful lot of business. And that’s where many of the problems arise. You see, up until now, an online presence was a luxury for local shop owners and many of them still think that way. But the truth is, being seen online is now a necessity for any local business that wants to thrive in today’s internet culture.

And local business directories like Find US Local offer local business owners the opportunity to have an online presence—for free.

Why Consumers Love Local Business Directories

For starters, online local business directories allow consumers to easily find US local businesses without all the hassles they encounter when trying to find them on major search engines. For example, if they were looking for a local flooring company on a large search engine they would see national chains and online flooring stores, along with a lot of articles about flooring. But when looking on a local business directory, they would only find the local flooring retailers in their community.

And in addition to this ease of use, they’ll find other cool features on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com, too. Here are just a few:

  • Local News. It can be tough to find all of the local news on one website, but local business directories like FindUsLocal offers up a fresh serving of daily local news to consumers. That’s why so many of them check in at least once a day to find out what’s going on in their community.
  • Local Events. For people who like to keep up with the sporting events, music concerts and theatrical plays and other performances, local business directories are the one place they can get all the information in one place. Find US Local offers a live stream of all the events coming to a visitor’s area—along with a link where they can purchase tickets with the press of a button.
  • Reviews. Most people these days wouldn’t even think about doing business with a local shop or restaurant without first reading some reviews left by other people in the community. And local business directories are the perfect place to read those reviews. And in addition to reviews, local business directories like Find US Local allow consumers to leave comments about the business, and for the business owners to respond to them. This two way communication is a vital part of today’s marketing.
  • Details. Finally, people like to use local business directories to find all the details they need about the local businesses they want to visit. For instance, they’ll find the address and a map with directions, a phone number, reviews, and any other information the owner believes is important.

Staying current with today’s marketing trends is the best way to ensure that your local shop, service business, or restaurant will continue to serve you community for years to come. And your first step is to ensure that you have a business listing on quality local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. Why not take this important online advertising step now and find out how it can bring in new customers to your shop?