You’ve probably heard by now just how important it is for local shops, service businesses and restaurants to have an online presence, but you may not understand how to get one. After all, if you’re like most small business owners, you concentrate your marketing efforts on local advertising.
But today’s shoppers look online when they want to find US local businesses, and that means your business has to be there or it will miss out on a lot of new business.
And what’s the best way to get an online presence? By being listed on local business directories.
What is a Local Business Directory, Anyway?
Local business directories are the new Yellow Pages for today’s tech savvy shoppers. Because consumers almost always look online these days when they want to find local businesses, local business directories were created to give them a place to look.
In the recent past, shoppers had to rely on the major search engines to find local businesses that many times, that only led to frustration. Mixed in with the search results were articles about the topic, and websites for national chains. Not exactly consumers friendly, huh?
So some genius created local business directories, which give consumers only the local results they want. For example, if a shopper were looking for a plus sized clothing store in San Francisco, California, a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com would first show the visitor a customized home page that displayed events, recent social media posts, the weather, and local news for the city. And when the visitor type “plus size clothing store” into the site’s search engine bar, he or she would only see plus sized clothing stores in San Francisco. No articles about it, and definitely no online stores.
How to Make Sure Your Free Local Business Listings are Seen
Now to our topic; making sure your local business listings are seen by the search engine bots so they will be indexed, which will improve your chances of being seen by shoppers. Here’s a 3-step guide to doing it the right way.
- Decide how your name will appear. And then input it that way on every free local business listing you create. For instance, if your business name is Mary’s Clothing on Main Street, you will either enter it that way, or as Mary’s Clothing on Main. It’s up to you, but it should be the same in every local listing you crate.
- Determine how your address will appear. In the same way that your business name needs to be consistent across all free local business listings, so does your address. That means you’ll need to decide which street names you want to abbreviate and whether or not to include your zip code.
- Your phone number matters too. You may think your phone number can’t vary, but it does. For example, some local business owners decide to use the area code on theirs, while others don’t. Decide before you create your business listings and then enter it the same way on every one.
- Your business website URL needs to be consistent, too. For your website, decide whether you will enter the simplified version (yourwebsite.com) or the long one (http://yourwebsite.com) Be sure to input it the same way every time.
Local business directories are not only the best form of free local marketing, but they are also the place where shoppers look for local businesses. Don’t have your local listing set up yet? Go to FindUsLocal.com and do it now!