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.
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!