One of the biggest changes to online marketing for local business has been the reawakening of interest in local business directories. These are beyond the major social media type listings – the big review sites like Yelp and Foursquare. Rather, the focus has been on claiming and completing your business profile in local business directories with city-specific listings. Many business owners are confused by the renewed focus on these lesser-known directories. They’ll note that nearly everyone searches for businesses and products on Google – so why should they bother with filling out all these local business listings?
This sounds logical on the surface – but that’s mostly because their knowledge of how search listings work is, well, surface. Here’s why local business directory listings are important and how they help bring customers through your front door.
Business Directory Listings Help Your Business Rank Higher in Search Engine Results
When potential customers search for a product or service online, they’re most likely to visit or buy from a business that appears on the front page – the higher, the better. It’s a basic fact of human nature – people stop looking for something once they’ve found it. If you can get your business to appear as the first result on Google when your customers search, you’ll grab the lion’s share of customers looking for your kind of product.
Of course, if you own a pizzeria in Albuquerque, it doesn’t do you much good if your business comes up first when someone in New York is looking for pizza. You want to come up on top when hungry local kids are searching for a pepperoni pie. And here’s where the search engine magic happens.
Google has gotten really good at figuring out where people are and what businesses are close to them. They use a browser technology called geolocation services, similar to the technology your mobile phone uses to figure out where you’re located. The search engine then uses that information to show them results that are close to them geographically – and obviously, if you rely on customers walking through your front door (or calling to place a delivery order, as the case may be), you want to make sure you’re one of those top results.
This is where local directory listings come in. Google determines where your business is located by reading a series of “signals” – information that helps the search engine figure out your business location. Business directory listings are among the signals that Google trusts the most. When you claim your business listing in a local business directory, it’s like sending up a locator beam to Google.
Local Directory Listings Give Potential Customers the Information Then Need to Come Buy
… or come by. It’s not enough to just claim your business listing on a site like FindUsLocal.com. You’ll want to update the information in your listing to make sure that it includes the things your potential customers most want to know – like your business hours, your telephone number, your specialties – maybe even your menu and a link to your website, if you have one.
When you list your business on a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com, you’re getting a double-bang for your buck. You not only get an ad on their site, you also send up a signal flare to Google, making it more likely that customers will find your shop when they’re in the mood to buy what you’re selling.