Local business directory listings are online directories that contains your company’s Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) along with other details about your business. You most certainly have heard of local business listings like Yelp, Foursquare and Yellow Pages. These are websites where local businesses can create free local business listings. And, there are many more sites just like those.
Creating local business listings is a high priority for any local SEO strategy. Business listings (also called citations in the SEO field) give more visibility to your business and increases the chance that your business will be found online. Also, if your NAP information is consistent across many of these local business listings, search engines will trust the accuracy of your business data. Thus, your chances of ranking on top for local searches goes up dramatically.
Where To Get Citations (Directory Listings)
1. Google Is First
Before you start registering your business with local directories (citations) you need to first create a Google My Business listing. A Google My Business listing is the most important listing to develop and manage. Google’s domination of local search makes this a no-brainer and extremely valuable for local businesses. For more information on setting up your Google My Business Listing go to Google My Business Account – Optimize Your Listing.
2. Core Citations – Top 50 Local Citation Sites for the U.S.
Having a local presence in search means more than just Google, Facebook and Bing. In order for customers to find you, start building a presence on other local business directories. These are general listings that are core for any local business and will help you get found on search engines. They are appropriate for just about every business in any industry or niche. However, if you don’t feel that one of these is appropriate for your particular business simply skip it.
These are the top 50 core local citation sites for the US.
- Apple Maps
3. Geographic and Industry-Specific DirectoriesIn addition to the core citations (directories) there are some geographic and industry specific directories that provide opportunities for building even more valuable listings. Geographic listings could include your local Chamber of Commerce websites, local business associations, and community hubs which are specific to the local geographic are you serve.
Industry-specific directories would, of course, depend on the industry your business is in. For example, if you are in the hotel or hospitality industry you would want to be listed on some popular travel review websites such as TripAdvisor.com. If you are a local Attorney you may want to list on FindLaw.com. Each industry has opportunities for some very specific review websites that you would want to consider.
To help you with industry-specific directories, Bright Local has created a list of over 1,000 directories serving 40+ industries. Click here for the Top Local Citations By Industry.
4. Unstructured Citations
An unstructured citation happens when your business appears on a website or app that is not specifically designed for business listings. For example, if your business appears in a news article, blog post or on social media, it acts just like a structured citation and gives you all the SEO benefits.
You can build unstructured citations by submitting editorials to you local newspapers, getting featured on blogs, sponsoring a local event or charity, or launching a campaign on social media. Any mention of your business helps your SEO. So, get out there and get involved. Be popular. Be newsworthy!
Once you have listed your business with the core citations and your Geo and industry-specific citations, it probably will not benefit you to continue to search for low-level directories to list on. You will be better served focusing on earning new unstructured citations from local websites and apps who can introduce you to new audiences and markets. Again, being newsworthy in a competitive market can make a huge difference!
Why Local Citations Are Important
1. First of all, you want your business to be visible on all the different platforms that your customer base uses so that they can find you! And, you want that information to be accurate.
2. And secondly, accurate and consistent information about your business across the internet will increase trust among search engines. This will increase your chances of ranking higher in search engine results and drive more traffic to your website.
Your objective is to make sure potential customers and search engines know how to find you.
How To Make It Happen
1. Do It Yourself
If you are the DIY type, this how-to article gives you all the information you need to get going. I recommend that you go through each of the listings above, register and list your business information on each one. Remember to keep your information (i.e., name, address and phone number) consistent across all directories.
Some of the directories are free while others have a paid version. I really don’t see any benefit to paying to list on a directory unless it is industry-specific. I paid to list on a few directories in the senior care space when I had my in-home senior care agency and it paid off for me. Evaluate the paid sites based on your specific industry or niche.
2. Hire a Local SEO Agency
There are other options for managing your local citations if you don’t want to do this yourself. You could hire a local SEO agency (like Beast SEO) to do this. A local SEO Agency will make sure you are listed on the core directories and that your NAP (name, address and phone number) is consistent across all listings. They will also ensure that you don’t have duplicate listings.
3. Outsource To a Third Party Service
The final option is to have a third party citation management service handle it for you. I use Bright Local for citation management services but there are others out there who do a great job as well. Third party citation management services have a dedicated staff who will add your business information to local citations/directories and make sure your information is consistent. The cost varies but is usually about $3/citation.
Make This a Part of Your SEO Strategy
Getting your business listed on local citations or business directories should be part of your SEO strategy. It’s easy to do, whether you do it your self or outsource it. And, search engines love when they see consistent business information across many sites. It creates trust and they will reward you with higher search rankings.
This article lays it all out for you and, if you list your local business on the directories listed above, not only will your potential customers find you but the search engines will as well. It’s more SEO Juice For Your Website.
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.
If you’d like a little more information on citations, check out this short video below.