For businesses that rely on daily footfall, local SEO remains pivotal. From the baker you purchase your bread from to that joint that serves you breakfast, every local business needs recognition in their area to attract more customers. And the essence of local SEO lies in having your business profile across major online directories.
Around 2004, Google started improving its search algorithms for queries with geographical content. What started then as a means to provide helpful information to users for businesses nearby has now progressed into a critical element of SEO. Indeed, local SEO has turned out to be a boon for franchise-based and other local businesses who want to gain footfall in their physical store or get higher visibility among their local audiences.
As the search landscape keeps getting complex, it’s becoming more difficult by the day for businesses to get noticed online, especially local enterprises that are confined to a geographical area.
This is where local business listings come in to save the day!
What are Local Business Listings?
Local business listings are online directories that contain all business information in a particular area or industry. These details include address, contact details, hours of operation, and more. Almost all major platforms, like Google, Yelp, etc., offer these listings free of cost. And it’s absolutely pivotal that you add all the necessary information or claim your business on these listings.
Local listings not only provide information to users but also improves the discoverability of your business online. If your business information is properly updated with relevant photos on such listings, it’ll garner more credibility and authority in the eyes of your customers. In addition, it’s beyond doubt that users rely on local business listings to make purchasing decisions. So make sure that all information is accurate on all your online listings. This is one of the reasons to keep them updated all the time.
Types of Online Directories
The next question that arises is: which local business listings should you target?
There are various online directories that allow you to submit your business information for free. While there are many location and industry-specific listings out there, you don’t have to promote your business in all of them at once. The idea is to start with common directories like Google My Business and Apple Maps and then work your way toward more niche listings.
The top free directories for promoting your business are:
- Google My Business
- Apple Maps
- Instagram for Business
Why Should Your Business be Listed on Local Business Directories?
Here’s a better way to put this question: why shouldn’t your business be listed on local directories?
Local business listings give your customers an insight into your business, acting like a virtual storefront. They offer a platform where local businesses can showcase their products, services, and contact details.
Local business listings are essential lead-generation tools, helping customers find products and services near them. For local entrepreneurs, this provides an additional online channel for marketing their products and services. Moreover, updating all data on these listings also lends credibility and authority to your business.
Last but not least, local business listings directly impact SEO ranking. Google and other search engine bots ascertain the legitimacy of a business by scanning local directories.
Benefits of Local Business Listings
Increased Online Presence
Local search listings are just like your online store. They make it easy for your customers to find your business and get more information. By listing your business on major directories, you holistically increase your online presence and make it visible to customers searching for products and services like yours.
Local businesses lend credibility to a business, as all details regarding your products and services, address, phone number, photos, and videos are available. You can introduce and reinforce brand credibility, foster brand recognition, and earn the trust of your target audience.
Finally, local business listings also help to improve your overall rankings. Search engines scan local listings to ascertain whether a business is genuine or not. With an optimized listing profile, you can enjoy top rankings for local queries that attract more traffic to your site.
How Local Business Listings Improve Traffic and Conversions?
An optimized business listing profile has immense benefits for your lead-generation campaigns. When your customers find your business in these directories, they’re more likely to buy from it. Your listing will also include a link to your official website, which means you can drive highly targeted traffic from these local channels.
With an improved flow of traffic, you can capitalize on lead generation and customer acquisition campaigns and employ strategies that convert people already interested in your business.
Here are some major benefits of local business listings:
Drive More Traffic
A robust presence across popular listings fetches more traffic to your website. Whenever users find your business on such directories, they’re likely to click on your website and explore more. Thus more opportunities open up for you to convert them using engaging content and compelling calls to action.
Local listings provide your customers with accurate and detailed business information that encourages them to make informed decisions. As the users are already looking to purchase or access information related to your niche, you can take measures to convert prospects with high intent who are more likely to become loyal customers.
How to Setup up your Local Business Listing Profile
To get the best out of local listings, take the following steps to get started:
Create a Profile
The most popular local business listing is Google My Business (GMB). Creating your profile on GMB is pretty simple; just fill in correct and accurate information about your business. Make sure that your company and product descriptions are compelling enough to showcase your USPs properly.
Updated NAP Information
NAP stands for business name, address, and phone number. You must ensure consistency across all listing platforms. This means that any change in your NAP should be updated across all the directories where your business is listed.
Encouraging your customers to leave reviews is necessary for every business that wants to thrive in the long term. Positive reviews have an immense impact on the decision-making process of other users. Respond to every review left by your customers: it tells them that you care for them and are ready to respond to any issue.
Add Schema Markups
Schema markups are a ranking factor for websites. Schema markups are structured data on the server that helps search engine bots to understand your business better. Adding structured data to your website’s backend will boost overall SEO performance.
Search for niche-relevant keywords for your industry and sprinkle them across your website’s content and local listing profile. Don’t go stuffing keywords – use them wisely so that your content makes sense to your customers.
Choose the Right Directory for Local Business Listing
It’s worth noting that just because there are dozens of listing services out there, it doesn’t mean you start targeting all of them. Directories differ as well – some are location specific, while others are niche specific.
Choose the platform that’s closely related to your industry and where your target audience is most active. That aside, you should create a profile on common directories like GMB, Bing, and Yelp.
Remember that industry and location-specific directories can significantly boost high-intent traffic to your website. Select the best platform that offers steady traffic to your website and boosts sales.
Local business listings are a vital cog in the machine when it comes to local SEO. An optimized and consistent presence on such listings can improve your organic rankings, site traffic, conversions, and footfall at your brick-and-mortar store.
Don’t ignore the immense possibilities that local business listings open up for your business. It can well be the bridge between today and your future business goals.