If you’ve spent any amount of time managing your company’s presence online, you’re familiar with local business listings. Even if the only one you’ve used is Google Business, that’s enough to give you a basic understanding of how these Internet directories work. Collecting all of your company’s information in one spot, directories help customers quickly learn your location, contact information, hours of operation, and more. But, did you know that there are over 70 online directories that can impact your search visibility? If even one of these listings contains inaccurate information, it can hamstring your company and limit people’s ability to find you.
With so many directories, though, how can business owners be expected to find, access, and maintain them? Ultimately, is it even worth it to make sure that your company’s entries are consistent? Thankfully, managing your local business listings can be automated with Creative Marketing Group’s directory management software. And, as to the benefits of ensuring the consistency of your listings, let’s take a closer look at what you stand to gain.
Local business directories are essential
A lot of companies view their website design as the only thing necessary to attract customers online. But, your website isn’t the be-all-end-all of your company’s Internet existence. Digital marketing is a diverse collection of disciplines and there are a ton of moving parts involved with getting your company found. And, while managing your Google Business listing is a good first step, your company appears in so many other places. To be found, all of your company’s details need to be synchronized across the most common business directories. Beyond these, attention needs to be paid to immensely popular directories that most people won’t even recognize, such as Waze, Baidu, Hotfrog, Scoot.
The most popular local directories
It’s easier to get found online
In a lot of ways, local business listings are a contemporary rework of the phonebook. Gathering information on local companies into a central location, they are often the first resource consulted by would-be customers. Whether they intend to use them or not, Internet users are often directed to these listings before seeing any search results. Because of this, prominent – and accurate – entries can help draw more visitors, more prospects, and more customers to your website.
For example, take a look at what happens when you search for ‘plumber.’ The first three results are likely Google Business listings. That’s one directory. After that, you may have Angie’s List, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau. That’s three more directories. Past those, you might see the website of one local business. That, of course, is followed by three more lists. To summarize, nine of the first ten positions on Google are occupied by local directories. The conclusion is simple: accurate listings on these directories increases your site’s visibility and makes it easier for you to be found.
Local listings boost your site’s SEO
A big part of search engine optimization is reliability and authority. Search engines want to see that your company’s information is consistent across all platforms. While this includes your hours, location, and phone number, it can also mean other things, including your service categories, tags, and keywords. By making sure that the keywords in your local listings match the keywords used on your website, you can improve your odds of ranking for important keywords.
But, more importantly, if your listings are out of sync, it can negatively affect your performance on search engines. Because search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others – value reliability, they look unfavorably on companies whose local business listings don’t match, especially if the information they have on file is out of date, inaccurate, or incomplete.
Attract more qualified, local leads
The primary goal of your website is to generate valuable, qualified leads that your team can convert into sales. To do this, you may be juggling a number of coordinated efforts, such as Facebook ads, monthly newsletters, sales calls, and mail campaigns. But, as a way to attract local traffic, business directories are extremely powerful. As they appeal to qualified traffic, they are a direct pipeline to an audience of likely buyers.
Visitors who find your business listings are more qualified because they have expressed interest in your offerings and, above all else, they are confirmed to be local. A user who searches for a ‘plumber’ and finds a Yelp listing for a business located in their city is an incredibly strong lead. They’ve found the service they want and they’ve been directed to a local business that can help. Now, that business just needs to convert them into a sale.
Reviews can help your reputation
Many local business listings encourage their users to leave reviews. In many cases, these reviews can impact your position on the listings. But, a slew of positive reviews doesn’t just improve your ranking, it improves your reputation in the eyes of your customers. With so much of sales boiling down to trust, having a collection of glowing reviews spread across multiple platforms is a great way to show your customers that you’re an established, trustworthy company.
Even better, your company’s reviews can be integrated into your website design. There’s no better way to convince prospective customers to do business with you than to show them the trail of happy customers at your doorstep.
Concerned about your business listings?
At Creative Marketing Group, we encourage all of our clients to take control of their local listings. Understanding the challenges that this can pose, though, we arm them with the tools they need to automate, streamline, and simplify the management process. With the goal of driving more visitors to their websites, we are able to provide a range of digital marketing services that have been proven to boost traffic, generate leads, and increase revenue. So, if you’re looking to coordinate your online presence, get found online, and make more sales, contact us today.