Gone are the days when we simply page through a phone book to find and contact businesses. Now, things are a lot more sophisticated. Almost everyone will turn to the internet to identify and contact a business.
To make your business discoverable and accessible to these consumers, you need to use local listings. These online listings allow consumers to find your business’s contact information easily.
What Are Local Listings?
Local listings (sometimes called ‘local citations’) are essentially mentions of your local business on online profiles. They will typically include your business’ name, website, physical address, and phone number.
Listings can be made on local business directories, social media platforms, websites, and apps.
It’s also important to note that there are different types of listings.
The first is an industry-specific listing. These listings will typically occur on directories that are specific to the business’s industry.
The second type of local business listing is a geo-specific listing. Such listings will occur on local directories that are specific to a geographic area where they will appear alongside other local businesses.
The third type of local listing occurs on major business data aggregators/platforms. Examples of such platforms are Google My Business, Yahoo! Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Bing Places. These business directories allow all types of businesses to submit and update their information. This way, customers can search for the type of business they need and find the right information.
Lastly, your local listing could take place on other websites, publications, and blogs. For example, your local business could be mentioned on another company’s blog, a magazine, or a news publication. It could even be mentioned on a government website or app.
What Information Do Local Listings Include?
Almost all local listings will include your business’s name and at least one method to contact your business – such as a phone number, website URL, or physical address.
Typically, a local listing will include all of the above.
However, many listings will include other information about the business, such as online reviews, hours of operation, and even photos or answers to frequently asked questions.
It’s a good idea to provide as much information about your business as possible. This gives potential customers a better understanding of what to expect when interacting with you.
It also makes it easier for search algorithms to understand the nature of your business and when it should be prioritized in local search results.
Other important information about your business you might want to include in a submission for online listings includes:
- A brief description of your company
- Your industry
- Your operating hours
- An email address
- Customer reviews or testimonials
- Photos of your company
- Links to your social media profiles
Why Are Local Business Listings Important For SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website for search engines, such as Google. The better your SEO, the higher you will rank in search results when someone searches for something relevant to your business.
Local listings are essential for SEO success. They help you gain more backlinks (often high-authority ones) and they improve your visibility in local searches.
Most business listings will include a link directing people to your website. Getting lots of these backlinks from highly-ranked websites is one of the most effective ways to optimize your website for search engines.
Even if your local listing does not take the form of a backlink from a high-quality website or directory, it still provides your business with exposure.
It makes it easier for customers to discover and contact your business. In turn, this drives traffic to your website.
Building links and driving traffic both indicate to search engines that your website and business are credible. As a result, search engines will increase your ranking in the search engine results pages.
Moreover, local listings show search engines exactly where you operate – even if you have multiple locations. This helps them determine how to rank your business for location-based search queries.
Local listings matter. If you want to outrank your competitors and gain a competitive advantage, it’s important to work on your local SEO strategy.
As a business owner, having local directory listings will connect you with your local community. This will increase traffic to your website by simply increasing your business’ visibility and improving your local SEO.
Managing Your Listings: Which Directories To Target
Most local listings are made on online directories. Generally, smaller directories will get their information from larger directories with high authority.
So, once your information is in a top-tier directory, it will likely be circulated and added to many other directories.
If the wrong information is in a large directory, this could circulate false contact information about your business. And this is the last thing you want!
Thus, when it comes to managing your listings, the first thing you want to do is submit your business information to large directories. These include:
- Google My Business
- Yahoo! Business
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places
- Yellow Pages
This will ensure that these large directories have the right information about your business.
It also ensures that your information is accessible on these large directories. This is important because countless people use them to find businesses that offer a product or service they need.
Once you have submitted your information to these large directories, look into more niche directories that are relevant to your business.
These could be directories that contain information about businesses in a geographical area. They could also be directories that contain information about businesses in a certain industry.
You can never have too many listings. Just make sure that your business is on all the big, main ones listed above first. These high-authority websites will be more effective and will help boost your local SEO and drive traffic to your website.
The success of a modern business depends, in part, on its visibility in search results. By increasing your local SEO, local listings are one of the most effective ways for you to appear in local search results.
Now that you know the importance of local listings and which directories to target, it’s time to start using them to increase your local SEO!