If your business is geared towards getting local business, such as a retail store, restaurant, auto service center, car dealership, etc., one of the first things you’ll want to do once your website is up and running is to get it listed in all of the various local directories that you can.
If you’ve searched for anything on Google lately, you’ve probably noticed that local businesses are featured more prominently than ever before, and those local results are for the Google Places profiles for the businesses that have utilized Local SEO tactics to optimize their profiles.
This serves two purposes: One, each listing is another link to your site, which means that local directory listings help your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Two, getting listed in these local directories helps you get found by your target customers, many of whom are searching on these local directories specifically to find local businesses that provide what they want to buy.
If you’re a family in Kalamazoo, and have a leaky pipe that’s flooding your basement, you want a plumber close to you, not one in Flagstaff. In the old days, people would start with the Yellow Pages to find local businesses. Nowadays, over 80% of people search online first, which makes the Yellow Pages almost obsolete. Though there are many online “Yellow Pages” sites, let me ask you – where do you look first? Yellowpages.com or Google?
The odds are that you probably use Google or some other search engine first. In fact, most people don’t even know where their Yellow Page book is, if they haven’t thrown it away or taken it to the recycling center. The last one I saw was being used to elevate a computer monitor. At least that one was getting used for something!
Here’s an example of a search for “Chiropractic Clinic”
As you can see, the local listings dominate the page for this (and many other) search terms. If your company’s local profile shows up, this can bring in a tremendous amount of visitors to your website, depending of course on how man times people search for the keywords in your profiles. One W3 Group Client gets over 2,000 visitors per month through their Google Places profile – and it’s FREE to do!
So where do you start? First, go to Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, Kudzu.com, and Bing Local. Build profiles for your business on each of those directories. Unlike universal search, unique content is not required to rank highly for local search – in fact, for local search, duplicate content (such as your business description) helps the search engines know that your listings do, in fact, refer to the same business and therefore helps your ranking on local search.
Then you’ll want to find additional directories that you may have missed – one way to do this is to search for (Your Town) + “local directory.” Also check for local business associations where you can build your profile on their site as well. Be sure to include links to your website and blog on each of these.
Another tip: include not only your own ZIP code, but all the ZIP codes where you can provide your services. This helps you get found when people in nearby areas are searching for your business. These ZIP codes should also be listed somewhere on your site, perhaps in the meta tags. Do the same thing for neighboring cities, towns, counties, and metropolitan areas. Some people do search for a service or product plus the ZIP code, so you want to be sure you show up there, too.
Also make sure you list additional keywords in your listing that are appropriate for your products or services. You don’t want to go overboard by listing every single potential keyword, but make sure that you have the keywords you want most (link this to another article) in your descriptions. BUT HERE’S THE CATCH: You have to do this in the right way, otherwise you risk getting your profile removed, your account suspended, or even revoked.
Naturally, there’s a lot more to it than this, including optimizing your profile listings, and setting things up in the right way so your listings DO get approved.
For a free consultation on how W3 Group can help your business, contact us today!