Category Archives: SEO Website Linking

What Are Local Citations and Why Do You Need Them?

Ask any business owner what their number one concern is, and most of them will tell you that it’s increasing their business. After all, no matter how much you love what you do, we all work to earn an income so we can support ourselves and our family. And what’s the number one way local shops can increase their income? Local business directories.

Why Retail Shops Need to Increase Sales

It’s expensive to run a business today, isn’t it? In addition to your rent or building mortgage, you have to pay taxes, insurance, employee wages, and advertising costs. And let’s not forget about the fact that you have to buy all that product so you can sell it to your customers. All those expenses add up. And the more expenses you have, the more you will have to sell just to break even.

What if I told you that local business directories could help you reduce your monthly expenses and increase your business at the same time? Does that sound too good to be true? I assure you it’s not.

What Are Local Business Directories?

Local business directories are the places people go to find local businesses. They are websites that act like search engines. But they only find local businesses. You won’t find national chains, online businesses, or other digital businesses on a local business directory.

For instance, if someone wanted to find a local plant shop, they would type “plant shop” or “plants” into the search bar at a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com. And the list they see would only include the names of local plant shops—or those businesses that sell plants.

How does the local directory know which local businesses to show each visitor?

Let’s talk about that now.

But first, here’s a quick overview of how local business directories work:

GEO Location Technology

Some of the more advanced local business directories use a piece of technology called GEO location technology. It’s the same technology that your GPS system uses to find local businesses when you’re driving. But used in this context, it helps people find local business they want to visit.

Here’s how it works: when a visitor logs onto a site such as FindUsLocal.com, the site automatically reads their location. Then, in a split second, it shows them a home page that includes results from where they live.

For instance, anyone logging onto FindUsLocal.com will see:

  • The news from the city or town they live in
  • The weather from their local area
  • A listing of concerts, sporting events, and plays from their area—with the ability to purchase tickets then and there
  • Local comments posted by others in their community
  • Reviews for all of the local businesses and restaurants in their area
  • Funny sayings of the day
  • A feature that provides an unusual name each day
  • A complete listing of all the local shops, restaurants, and service businesses in the area

In other words, this technology is so advanced that a visitor doesn’t need tell the site where to look for local businesses. Instead, it already knows. That means the visitor can concentrate on doing what they came for: looking for local businesses to visit.

Can Shoppers Find Your Local Business?

If a visitor went to FindUsLocal.com right now and searched for a business that sells what you do, would they find your business? For example, if you run an Italian restaurant, and a visitor typed “Italian restaurant” into FindUsLocal in your area, would the name of your business come up?

If not, you just lost a customer.

Or maybe your business does come up, but because you haven’t claimed your business and made the appropriate changes, the information that comes up is wrong. For instance, what if they conducted that search for an Italian restaurant and found yours? But because you hadn’t updated the listing, the address was wrong. That means the visitor would drive to the wrong location and find their time had been wasted.

How’s that for customer service?

You can avoid this happening to you by claiming your listing and correcting any bad information you find on it.

Here’s how to do just that.

How to Claim Your Local Business Listing

To claim your free local business listing—oh, yes did I not mention that this service is free? —all you have to do is go to FindUsLocal.com and look for your business using the search bar on the website.

Next, when you see it pop up in the list, click on it to claim it as the owner. Once you claim it, you will have the right to change the information in the local business listing. Now you can ensure that customers will always have the right information.

Once you have access to change the listing, look over the information that is already listed. Next, change any information that is wrong. For instance, if your address is incomplete, complete it. Or if your phone number has changed, make sure the listing contains the new one.

After you’ve verified and changed the basic information, it’s time to start adding the information that customers are looking for. For example, if you run a restaurant, you should include highlights of your menu and the times of your services.

If you run a dress shop, list the brands you carry and any unusual sizes or colors. A hardware store could list the brands of tools it carries or anything else consumers might be looking for from that type of store.

Here’s a brief video that shows you how easy it is:

It’s important to know that you have to list your business details the exact same way on every local business directory you use. For instance, if you have an Inc. at the end of your business name and decide to include it on one local business listing, you will have to include it on every one you list after that.

Why?

Let’s talk about that now.

How the Search Engine Spiders Crawl

When most people think of crawling spiders, they don’t consider it a good thing. But when the search engine spiders crawl for your business, you should rejoice. That’s because those spiders are crawling for information. And they use the information they find to determine where you will be in the search engine rankings.

But if you don’t set up your local business listings uniformly, it messes up the spider’s ability to crawl. Here’s what I mean. If you list your business as Alfredo’s Italian Cuisine, Inc. on one business listing and Alfredo’s Italian Cuisine on another, the spiders won’t know it’s the same business.

So, they will count it as two separate businesses. That’s important because the way you climb higher in the search engine rankings is by having enough credible citations. A citation is a mention of your business—such as a local business listing on a credible local business directory.

But if the search engine spiders don’t recognize all of your business listings, you won’t be credited with the citations. And that means lower search engine results for your business.

Here’s a short video that explains why local citations are so important:

How Do I Get Credited for All My Local Business Citations?

The best way to get credited for all of your local business citations is to make sure each local business listing matches exactly.

Here is a list of some of the things you should search for.

  • Your business name: make sure the business name is written exactly the same. Capitalize the same letters, and don’t abbreviate a word in one listing without doing it in another.
  • Your business address: Use the exact same address in every local business listing you create. For instance, don’t write 120 Main Street in one local listing and 120 Main St. in another. The search engine spiders won’t be able to tell that they both belong to your business. The same is true for the city and state names. Don’t use abbreviations on some listing and spell them out on others.
  • Your business phone number: When adding your business phone number to the local business listing, you need to make sure that it’s the same, too. For example, you may use the area code in one listing and leave it out in another one. That will result in your not getting the local citations because the search engine spiders won’t recognize them both as yours.

Is It Time to Create Your Free Local Business Listing?

If you haven’t already updated your local business listing, it’s time to step up and get in the game. Studies show that almost 100 percent of consumers use local business directories when trying to find local businesses. And if your business isn’t there—or if it has the wrong information in the listing—those consumers will go to your competitors.

Why not take ten minutes right now and hop on over to FindUsLocal.com? Then, find your business, claim it as the owner, and set it up right. Who knows? The spiders might find it tonight and boost your search engine ranking!

How to Create a Free Local Business Listing

Creating free local business listings is an exact science, and unless you get it right, all your marketing plans may not become a reality. But many small business owners don’t realize that and they list their business on a local business directory the wrong way. Not only will that cause your search engine results to suffer, but it may actually hurt them. Here’s why.

How Search Engine Spiders Classify Local Business Listings

The search engine bots are literally that: bots that are designed to look for certain information without the guidance of humans. When you keep this in mind, it makes it easier to understand why being precise when creating your free local business listing is so important.

The bots search the internet for information and when they find matching information about a particular business, they automatically assign it to that business. In other words, if there are 14 matching local business directories, the bots will assign all 14 of them to that business, and the number of credible listings will increase the search engine rankings of that business.

But what happens when they don’t match?

Unfortunately, bots are only bots and even if a local listing is off by a letter, the bots won’t understand that it belongs to the same business. That’s why it’s so important to carefully construct your local listing in a way that makes it easier for the bots to identify.

Here are some helpful hints that will allow you to expertly create your free local business listing so that the bots will find it and attribute it to your local business.

Get the Business Name Right

It might seem simple, but when you create more than one local business listing, you need to ensure that your business name is exactly the same on each and every listing. For example, if your business name is John’s Cars and Trailers, Inc., you’ll need to decide whether to include the “Inc.” on your local business listings or leave it off. It doesn’t matter which one you decide on—as long as you enter the name exactly the same on every listing.

Your Business Address Matters, Too

Things can also go wrong when entering your business address. If you abbreviate words like Street, Avenue, or Parkway on some of your local listings and spell them out on others, the listings won’t match and the bots won’t attribute them all to your business. Decide in advance how you will spell your business address and do it the same on every listing.

Don’t Forget about Your Business Phone Number

When you’re asked to enter your business phone, you’ll have to decide whether or not to include the area code. Something as simple as including it on one local business listing and leaving it out on others could confuse the bots and result in lowered search engine rankings for you.

Your Website Address is Important, Too

Finally, when you enter your website address, be sure to either include the http at the beginning of the URL or leave it off. It will make it possible for the bots to attribute all of your local business listings to your shop or restaurant.

Local business directories are the most important aspect of your local marketing campaign, but in order to utilize them to the fullest, you must first make sure your local business listings are created properly. Visit FindUsLocal.com to find your local listing and if it’s not correct, make the necessary changes to ensure that the bots—and future customers—can find it.

 

Why Customer Reviews are Important for Your Free Local Business Listing

Most small business owners understand the importance of creating free local business listings so that new customers can find your local business. That’s because today’s shoppers don’t look in traditional places anymore—like the Yellow Pages or the local newspaper—but instead today’s savvy consumers look online when trying to find a local US business.

And that’s why small business owners across the US are going to credible local business directories like FindUsLocal.com and creating their own business listing. These listings provide shoppers with all the information they need to find the business such as the address, directions to the shop or restaurant, a business phone number, store hours, and anything else they need to make a decision about whether or not to visit it.

But the number one thing shoppers want to see on a local business listing is plenty of positive online reviews.

What are Online Reviews?

Many people think online reviews are only for businesses that operate online, like online stores or even nationwide chains that are spread across the country. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Today’s shoppers use online reviews for even local businesses that are located around the block. Online reviews allow shoppers to read the details they want to know about a local business from people who have already visited it.

And online reviews are important. One study shows that more than 70 percent of people trust them more than they trust a personal recommendations from a friend or family member.

So, if online reviews are so important for your local business listing, how do you convince your customers to leave them? Follow the 3 tips below for success:

  • Just ask them. Many small business owners think customers will be inconvenienced or unhappy when asked to leave an online review, but studies show just the opposite. More than half of them say that if they are asked to leave a review, they will be happy to do it.
  • Set up a system. Don’t approach the task in a scattered way, but instead incorporate a system so that every customer is asked to leave an online review. You can train your employees to ask shoppers to leave a review as they’re checking out to ensure that everyone who makes a purchase is asked the important question.
  • Put it in writing. Finally, people have short memories, so to increase the odds of a customer remembering to leave a review, back up the request in writing. For example, after you ask them at the cashier station, print it again on the receipt and have the cashier point it out to them.

Online reviews are an important aspect of the success of your free local business listing. But your first step is setting up your local listing so people have a place to leave those online reviews. Go to FindUsLocal.com, set up your free local business listing, and then start driving your customers there to leave those online reviews.

Small Business Directories Help Bring New Customers to Your Local Business. Here’s How to Use Them

For small, local business owners, bringing new customers into their store is their number one priority. After all, if you run a local business, you’ll need to continuously add new customers to keep the sales flowing in. Those local business owners who only rely on existing customers soon find themselves in a lot of trouble.

But in the age of the internet, how do you reach out to new customers and persuade them to visit your store? One word: free small business directories.

What is a Free Small Business Directory?

When people want to find US local businesses, they basically have 3 ways they can go about the task—and not all of them are efficient or realistic. Here are the 3 ways people typically try to find local businesses.

  • Use the Yellow Pages. The Yellow Pages have been around a long time, and until the past decade, it was the preferred way to find a local business. But with the advent of the internet, his old school method has fallen out of favor with consumers. It’s bulky, takes up too much space, can only be used inside the home, and just isn’t considered convenient anymore. Today’s consumers consider local business directories in place of the Yellow pages.
  • Use a large search engine. The larger search engines have been trying for years to implement a system to help people find USA local businesses, and while they have rolled out some efforts, the truth is that people just don’t like to use them. That’s because the search engine results are often filled with national chains, articles about the topic, or online stores.
  • Use a free small business directory. These handy online small business listing sites are the new and improved way to find local businesses and consumers are using them in droves. In fact, a recent survey shows that 1 out of every 2 shoppers use local listings when trying to find a local business.

How to Use Free Small Business Directories

In order to create a small business listing, there are some steps you’ll need to take in order to get the most out of the local marketing technique. Here are 3 that you should pay special attention to:

  • Choose the right small business directory. When searching online, you’ll find a lot of local business directories to choose form but be careful because not all of them will get the results you want. Some of the business directories are nothing more than databases filled with incorrect and outdated information and the search engine spiders don’t look kindly on those local directories. Instead, choose a quality business directory like FindUsLocal.com that offers its visitors an array of features such as links to local events, the local news, and the ability to leave live comments about a business.
  • Set up your small business listing the right way. When you log onto a local business directory, you should use the search bar to find your local business. Once you do, claim it and then you’ll be asked to fill in the details. Here’s where it’s important to be very careful. In order for all of your local listings to be attributed to your business, they must match—down to the tiniest of details. For example, if you have an “inc,” at the end of your business name, you’ll need to either include it on all of your local listings or not. You can’t include it in some and leave it out in others.
  • Keep your small business listing fresh. The search engine spiders reward those local listings that continuously add new content. The best way to do that is to ask your customers to leave reviews for your business. Those reviews are considered new content by the major search engines and if you have enough reviews, it will push up your business listing in the results.

In addition to the above mentioned tactics, you should also take advantage of the unique feature offered only by FindUsLocal. This free small business directory not only makes shoppers want to visit the site time and time again, but if offers a way for local shop owners to add fresh content to their small business listing daily. As a local business owner, you can add comments to your local listing, and those comments are considered content by the major search engines.

For example, if you want to announce a sale, a new product offering, a job opening, or just tell the community how much you appreciate their business, you can leave a live comment on your local listing. And the best part of this exclusive feature is that the community can also leave comments. They can respond to yours, or add comments all of their own.

Free small business directories are the new Yellow Pages—with major new benefits. Have you created your local listing yet? If not, why not take 5 minutes and head over to FindUsLocal.com, the best free business directory now? You may reap new business from the effort as early as this afternoon.

Almost 100 Percent of Shoppers Look Online for Local Businesses. Will They Find Yours?

Some new startling reports have come out recently that show just how much consumer behavior has changed in the past few years when it comes to finding US local businesses. In the past, people mostly relied on off-line methods such as looking in the Yellow Pages or local newspapers. But these days, people look on the internet when they want to find local businesses.

Here are just some of the takeaways from the studies:

  • 97 percent of people look to the internet when trying to find US local businesses. That means if your small business can’t be found online, you’re missing out on a whole lot of potential new customers.
  • Half of people look for local businesses online every single day. Can you imagine how many people look for a local business like yours every day?
  • 1 out of every 2 people use small business directories when trying to find local businesses online. Is your business listed in a quality local business directory yet? If not, why?

How to Create a Free Small Business Listing—the Right Way

There are a lot of small business directories on the internet, but not all of them will get you the results you want. In fact, if you create your local listing on the wrong directory, it could actually hurt your search engine rankings. Here’s why.

The major search engines deploy search engine spiders to crawl the web and look for local citations, and the more citations a small business has, the higher it will appear in the search engine rankings.

But in order for the spiders to attribute a local citation to your business, it must match the other citations exactly. For example, if the name of your business is ABC Rugs of Main Street, but on some free business listings it appears as ABC Rugs of Main St., that citation won’t be attributed to your business. What’s worse, it will confuse the spiders and that may cause your search engine rankings to fall.

Ensure Your Free Business Listings Stay Fresh

Another thing the search engine spiders do is to continuously look for new content added by web pages. And the more new content that’s added, the more they take notice and reward it by moving up that site in the search engine rankings. This is one of the best local marketing ideas you can use to get eyes on your local listing.

It’s easy to add new content to your local business listing. You can either add new products as they become available, add comments to the local listing, or encourage your customers to leave online reviews for your business. All of these things are viewed as new content in the eyes of the spiders, and they will all help you achieve higher search engine rankings.

What are You Waiting for?

If you haven’t already created your local listing, what are you waiting for? The small business listing is free and it only takes a few minutes to set up. And what’s more is that the potential for new business is astronomical.

Head on over to FindUsLocal.com now and claim your business listing. It’s one of the most popular small business directories around, and the search engine spiders love it.

4 Reasons to Get a Free Small Business Listing Today

Local marketing and advertising tactics have changed a lot in the past couple of years. Local business owners have drastically changed the way they think about attracting new business to their local store, restaurant, or service business.

That’s because shoppers don’t act like it they used to when it comes to trying to find US local businesses. Instead of using the old school ways of finding local businesses like using the yellow pages or looking for advertisements in the local newspapers, people who want to find local businesses are now looking for them on the internet in digital form.

Where to Find Local Businesses Online

Most people assume you need to have a company website in order to be seen online, but the truth is, recent studies show that shoppers don’t look for individual websites when looking for local businesses. Instead, they turn to business directories.

Local directories are a new form of local marketing that is taking the local business owner world by storm. That’s because they allow shoppers to bypass the large search engines with all of their irrelevant results and get the local listings they’re looking for.

For example, if someone were looking a kitchen store in Los Angeles, California, they could go to one of the free business directories online and find the local business they were looking for without the hassle.

If you haven’t yet created your free small business listing, here are 4 great reasons why you might want to do so today.

You Need an Online Presence

Gone are the days when you can rely on the Yellow pages or other offline local marketing techniques to bring in new business. These days, shoppers—even local shoppers—look to the internet when they want to find US local businesses. But those business owners who can’t be found online are missing out on all this because if a business isn’t listed online, today’s shoppers aren’t even going to know they exist.

You Need Higher Search Engine Rankings

In addition to having an online presence, your business needs to show up high enough in the search engine rankings that online shoppers have a chance to find your local business. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to contribute fresh content to your small business listings on a regular basis. One local business directory, FindUsLocal.com, allows you to do this by giving you the option of leaving live comments about your store. For example, you can announce—in real time—when you’re having a flash sale, need to hire an employee, or receive new product in the store. Each time you leave a live comment, the search engine spiders will view it as new content, and that will improve your search engine rankings.

You Need to Interact with Your Community

Part of successfully running a local business is becoming a part of the community so you will gain their trust. And luckily, local business directories like FindUsLocal make that possible. Remember the ability to leave live comments that we talked about in the previous section? You can also use that feature to interact with the community. For instance, you can use it to let your customers know how much you appreciate your business, be the voice for a worthy local cause, or anything else that you want to see to let your community know you support them.

You Need Credibility

Finally, as a local business owner, you need credibility in order to gain consumers trust and business. And one of the best ways to gain it is to create a free small business listing on a quality local directory like FindUsLocal.

Remember, it’s important to only list your business on credible business directories so that credibility will be passed on to your business. Steer clear of those local listing directories that are mere databases filled with outdated and wrong information.

Do you see how free small business directories can benefit your local business by exposing it to online shoppers? If you haven’t created your local listing, don’t you think it’s time? Why not head over to FindUsLocal right now and create a free business listing. Who knows? New customers could walk in your door as a result of it by this afternoon!

Correcting Your Local Business Listings: Should You Do It Using Automation or Manually?

It seems that everyone is talking about the importance of free small business listings these day—and for good reason. A recent survey shows that 97 percent of people use them to find US local businesses when they want to visit a store or restaurant.

But one important key is creating and maintaining the free small business listings is getting them right the first time, and correcting them if they’re wrong. And thanks to technology, local business owners now have the choice about whether they use automation to correct small business listings or do it manually.

But First, Why is it Important to Correct Free Local Business Listings?

A local listing does more than tell shoppers where to find local businesses. It also helps the search engine spiders identify and then rank your local business in the search engine results. In short, the more local business directories you’re listed on, the higher in the search engine rankings you’ll appear.

But that’s true only if all of your small business listings match. For example, if the name of your local business is Main Street Clothing Company, and it’s listed on one local business directory as Main St. Clothing Company and another online small business directory as Main Street Clothing Co., those local citations will not be attributed to your business because the names aren’t exactly the same. The same is true for the business address, phone number, and website that appear in the local listing.

That’s why it’s so important to continuously search for new small business listings for your business and correct them as soon as you can.

Now, let’s get back to our topic. Should you correct free small business listings manually or use the automation that is available on the web?

Using Automation to Correct Local Business Listings

At first glance, it may appear that using automation is the right choice because it will save you tons of time. After all, if you have correct each of your local listings by hand, it could take hours. But there are definite drawbacks to using automation for this important job. Here are a few:

  • Software can’t spot the nuances. Any time you’re allowing a machine to preform a task, you run the risk of it not being able to spot the nuances, and in this case, that could lead to big trouble. For example, some businesses have more than one phone number and need to list them both so that consumers can call the right number. But automated software, such as Yext, doesn’t allow for that. It will look for only 1 phone number, and if you happen to be a local business owner who has more than that, it will flag your local listings as incorrect.
  • Your fixes are temporary. If you sign up to have an automated system fix all of the inconsistencies in your local businesses and then come to the end of the contract and decide not to renew it, guess what happens? All those fixes it made to your small business listings will revert back to the pre-corrected condition. That’s right, when you use an automated system, you sign up for life, otherwise the fixes are only temporary.

Correcting Your Free Local Listings Manually

Your other option is to correct each of your local business listings manually. While this may seem like a lot of work, the benefits you’ll reap are well worth it. For example, once each and every local listing is corrected, the search engine spiders will attribute them all to your local business—and that will increase your search engine rankings.

What’s more, as you look at your business listings, you’ll be able to spot any information gaps, outdated information, or other areas that need immediate attention. Only you, or one of your employees, know your business well enough to optimize your local business listings the right way.

Free small business listings are the face of the future for local business marketing. But in order to make the most of these free and effective marketing tools, you’ll need to make sure they are updated, corrected, and optimized on a routine basis.

3 Astonishing Facts You Need to Know About Small Business Listings

Do you run a small local business? If so, how are things going for you? Do you have new customers constantly walking through the doors, or are your sales lagging and you’re wondering how long you’ll be able to keep the doors open?

Here’s the thing: every local business owner falls into one of these 2 categories. Either they have plenty of new customers to keep the business running, or they rely on existing customers and eventually have to close their doors. Which category do you fall into?

If your new customer base isn’t what it should be, it could be cured with something as simple as creating a free business listing online. Local business directories are the way today’s consumers look for US local businesses, and if yours can’t be found there, chances are you don’t have many new customers walking through your doors.

Luckily, free business listings are easy to create. Just go to an online local business directory like FindUsLocal.com and list your business there. Then, local shoppers who look online for US local businesses can find yours.

Here are 5 facts you need to know about free small business listings that will help you create the most effective one.

People Use Online Business Directories to Find US Local Businesses

A recent study shows that 97 percent of Americans use free small business directories when they want to find local businesses. Think about it,that means that almost every single person looking for local businesses turns to the handy local directories to find the shops and restaurants they want to visit. Can you see why more customers aren’t visiting your shop if you haven’t already created your free local listing?

Shoppers Require Online Reviews for Credibility

Online reviews have become so popular in the minds of today’s consumers that most of them won’t even consider visiting a local business unless they’ve first read some good reviews about it. In fact, 85 percent of people say they trust online reviews just as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a friend. And good reviews are important. Seventy-three percent of people say that in order to visit a local business, it must have at least a 4 star rating. The number of reviews you have is important as well. Most shoppers like to read about 7 reviews before making a decision, which is up from 6 reviews from last year’s survey.

Consumers Prefer Local Listings to Company Websites

A surprising fact discovered in the survey is what people do after reading positive reviews about a local business. In the past, the next step would be to go the business’ website, but most people aren’t doing that anymore. The next step for the online shoppers who read positive reviews about a business is to either contact the business by phone or visit it in person. Last year, 54 percent of people would go to the company website after reading positive reviews, but this year, only 37 percent say they would do the same. In addition, the percentage of people who will visit the shop after reading the good reviews has risen by 10 percent.

As you can see, having a free small business listing is one the most important local marketing actions you can take in order to bring in new business. If you haven’t already created yours, visit FindUsLocal.com and get started. It will only take a few minutes and may result in new customers walking into your store today.

Answered: How Can I Promote My Business for Free?

It’s an exciting time for local business owners because never before in our nation’s history has it been so easy to get your business name in front of local consumers. But if you’re still relying on the old-school methods of the past, you should know that you’re missing out on a lot of potential new business. A lot.

In fact, a recent survey shows just how much. The survey was conducted by BrightLocal and here are some of the key takeaways that, as a small, local business owner, you need to know.

If You Don’t Have a Free Small Business Listing, Today’s Consumers Can’t Find You

One of the most shocking statistics from the survey has a lot of people rushing to create local business listings on free small business directories. That’s because the survey found that 97 percent of consumers look for local businesses online. That’s a 6 percent increase over 2016, the year before. In other words, almost everyone who tries to find US local businesses turns to the internet to do so. What’s more, of that 97 percent, 12 percent of them say that find local businesses online every single day of the year. What does that mean for your business if you don’t have a free business listing?

You Need Online Reviews for Your Local Business

Another takeaway from the survey highlights the importance of online reviews. It turns out that 85 percent of shoppers trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. And when a local business owner has positive reviews, it makes 73 percent of consumers trust that business even more. And when online reviews are left using the star rating system, 49 percent of shoppers need at least a 4 star rating before they will visit a business.

And if you’ve ever thought about not responding to your online reviews, the survey results just may change your mind. It turns out that 30 percent of consumers consider whether or not a local business owner responds to reviews as a key factor in how they will judge the worthiness of a business.

How to do you get online reviews for a local business? The survey gives us some insight into that, too. It seems that 69 percent of people have left reviews for a local business, but 74 percent of them were asked to do so. That means you should ask every customer who makes a purchase from your local business to leave a review on your free business listing.

And finally, today’s consumers read an average of 7 reviews before deciding whether or not to visit a local business, which is up from an average of 6 reviews the year before.

Here’s How to Get Free Business Listings and Bring in New Customers

Reading the above statistics ought to get your attention and make you think if you haven’t yet set up free business listing on a small local business directory. If you fall into this category, here are the steps you need to take to create your own free local business listing.

  • Choose Your online business directory carefully. You have a lot of choices when it comes to free business directories, but you’ll need to list your local business with one that is credible in the eyes of search engines like Google and Bing. For example, FindUsLocal.com is a local directory that works hard to give consumers a lot of features that makes them want to visit the site time and time_ again.
  • Pay attention to details when creating your free business listing. How you enter the details about your business makes a huge difference to your search engine rankings. For example, when you enter your NAP+W’s, which stands for name, address, phone number and website, you need to enter the information exactly the same on every free business listing you create. If you don’t, the search engine spiders won’t recognize it as yours and that will be one less local citation you have.
  • Ask customers to leave reviews. As you can see from the above survey results, it’s important to get as many positive online reviews as you can. And remember, a large majority of consumers leave online reviews after they’re asked to. Be sure to ask everyone who visits your local store to leave a review on your local business listing to help build up those all-important reviews.

Having free local listings is one of the most important aspects to your local marketing campaign. When asking yourself, where can I promote my business for free, think about online small business directories. And if you haven’t yet taken this important local advertising step, be sure to head over to FindUsLocal.com and get your free local listing right now.

Can Shoppers Find Your Local Business?

Remember the days when all you had to do to pull in local customers was run an ad in the Yellow Pages or an occasional ad in the community newspaper? If you were ambitious you may have held local classes to introduce yourself as the area expert or bought space in those blue mail out coupon books that were so popular for a while. But as you probably already know, none of those local marketing techniques will work to bring in new customers to your store anymore.

In fact, those local shop owners who still rely on those methods don’t do very well in sales. That’s because today’s shoppers don’t look locally to find US local businesses—they look online.

Why Do Local Shoppers Search for Local Businesses Online?

At first glance, it seems a little strange, doesn’t it? After all, it would easy to pull out the local phone book when trying to find local businesses but compared to finding them on a local business directory, it’s not.

That’s why local shop owners who make sure shoppers can find them online do so well.

How Can Local Businesses Be Found Online?

Of all the local business marketing techniques, there is one that stands out as both the easiest and the most effective: creating a local business listing in a quality free small business directory like FindUsLocal.com. And the great news is that it’s not hard or time-consuming to create one of these local listings. Here is an easy 3-step guide to help you create yours today.

  • Decide which free small business directory you will list your business on.While you have many choices, if you want the best results you should choose a credible small business directory to list your local business on. Why? Because Google and the other large search engines don’t view all local directories the same. Some of them are considered credible, while others are not. When you list your business on a credible online business directory, the large search engines will sit up and take notice—and that will help in your search engine rankings.
  • Enter your details the same on every local listing you create.The large search engines employ bot, also known as search engine spiders, to crawl the web and look for local citations. The more credible citations a local business has, the higher in the search engine rankings it will be. Free small business listings are a great way to get these local citations, but in order to be effective, they all have to match. For example, your business name, address, phone number, and website address need to match down to the tiniest detail—otherwise the bots won’t recognize them as belonging to the same local business.
  • Ask customers to leave online reviews for your local business. Finally, those same search engine bots reward local business listings that have a lot of fresh content added to them, and the best way to do that is to ask your customers to visit your small business listing and leave an online review for your business. Every time a customer leaves a review, it catches the attention of a search engine bot, and you know what that means—higher rankings for your local business.

It’ important that today’s tech savvy shoppers can find your local business. If you don’t have an online presence, chances are they are going to visit one of your competitors that does.  Don’t lose out on potential business, but instead take the easy step of creating a free small business listing so that all those shoppers can find your local shop. Just head on over to FindUsLocal.com and search for your business. Then claim it, fill in the details and start asking customers to go there and leave online reviews. Soon, you’ll begin to wonder where all the new customers are coming from!